What Diversity Means to Us

Jason Sabatino
  • GLOBAL

Bringing Together People with Diverse Backgrounds and Talents
Enhancing Greater Creativity

Jason Sabatino Director, Global In-store Merchandising, Uniqlo

Bringing Together People from Around the World with Different Backgrounds and Talents

UNIQLO is a global brand from Japan with over 2,200 stores around the world, as well as online stores. I work at the company’s Global Headquarters (GHQ) in the Ariake district of Tokyo, where I am the director of both the In-store Merchandising (IMD*) and R&D departments. IMD is responsible for visual merchandising and R&D conducts research and development for our products and services.

In both departments, we work to deliver what we create here to our customers around the world. At the same time, we receive customer feedback and sales trends every day from every market where we operate. It is the mission of the IMD and R&D departments to deduce existing and latent customer needs from this information, coming from all over the world, and reflect that in our creations, whether that’s a product an in-store display. To achieve the mission, we need to be highly creative. Therefore, it is very important for us to build a team made up of people with diverse personal and cultural backgrounds and different talents so we can better serve customers.

*IMD is responsible for overall product presentation in store, and creating an attractive shopping experience where customers can easily find and purchase what they need.

At UNIQLO, Diversity and Inclusion Are Not Just Buzz Words

Before joining UNIQLO I worked in various major cities, including New York, Paris and London, and I am pleased to say that the culture at UNIQLO is a comfortable fit for me.

One outstanding aspect of UNIQLO’s culture is that people are always actively learning from each other. They really listen to you. When I joined the company, I was surprised to find everyone, including the management, listening to me seriously even though I was a newcomer. What impressed me also is the speed at which things are executed here. The people here move rapidly to make changes and accomplish goals.

A new mentoring system to support foreign staff was launched in GHQ following my proposal. My mentor was a group senior executive officer who taught me the unique aspects of UNIQLO’s business operations based on its customer-oriented mindset and the fundamental values that govern our activities. Frequent conversations with my mentor enabled me to quickly gain a deeper understanding of UNIQLO’s ideals and corporate DNA, and ultimately contribute more and more to our business overall because I had a much clearer view of the company clearly.

The whole experience also made me realize that UNIQLO is a company that takes diversity and inclusion very seriously. “Diversity and inclusion” are not just buzz words in this company. It is more like a corporate philosophy. It is clear that the company is committed to listening to employees from various backgrounds and making changes for the better. Our culture of active daily communication at the workplace promotes diversity and inclusion quite effectively.

UNIQLO Makes LifeWear
Diversity Promotes Business Growth

I think both diversity and inclusion, at their core, is about understanding each other’s differences and values, and embracing them with respect. Everything starts there. In this sense, I think UNIQLO provides a great platform for every member of staff to become successful.

This is especially important because UNIQLO is a successful maker of LifeWear, clothing designed to make everyone’s life better, which we deliver to our diverse customers around the globe. I think LifeWear symbolizes diversity and inclusion. LifeWear is the product that reaches beyond differences in nationality, race, gender and age. In fact, our engagement with diversity and inclusion have contributed to the process greatly because they have been an important source of our new ideas and inspirations. They are directly connected to our business of making LifeWear.

Communication barriers exist in society because of the differences in languages and cultures. But surely, we can at least overcome them at our workplace by using our ingenuity and creativity. For example, I am improving the quality of daily communication by visualizing my ideas and images more effectively when I am doing my work.

Communication supported by visuals are extremely useful in creative fields. You can express what and how you want to present your ideas more easily. As a result, people can understand you instinctively. It overcomes the barrier of language and it also enables better and more robust presentations in much shorter timeframes. In my case, my efforts to enhance communication with better visual backups have contributed to many corporate decisions made by the senior executives and the board members. The quality of daily communication among our staff also improved greatly. I can feel strong and promising responses to my efforts across the company, and I think I can promote new and better communication by sharing my creativity with everyone.

Going forward, my plan is to make my team much stronger by leading and activating the regional rotation of our staff in IMD and R&D, which will improve our global view and awareness. This would allow us to deepen our understanding and empathy for people with different backgrounds, leading to realizing what customers around the world really need. Also, from my experience, diverse teams are where creativity and new ideas can be generated and nurtured. To achieve these goals, I will firmly continue my efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in more creative fields.