In-Depth Interviews with Store Employees to Find Out Why Excellent Human Resources Are Not Retained

Client-MEDIROM Healthcare Technologies Inc.        Senior Researcher-Naoko Okawachi


The client was a major massage store franchisor with many stores.
The problem with the client was that the better the store managers were, the more easily they tended to quit.
They also felt that the quality of service had deteriorated as the quality of store managers had declined.
IDEAFUND conducted a research to identify the cause and suggested solutions.


  • As a third party, we interviewed store employees about their true feelings, which the headquarters had not been able to grasp.
  • We extracted issues from those interview responses and identified negative spirals through structural analysis.
  • Based on our extensive experience as consultants, we presented them with solutions to help them get out of the negative spiral.

Research methodology

We held a preliminary hearing.
Based on the results, we selected some distinctive stores and conducted in-depth interviews with store managers and employees.

Questionnaires and surveys conducted by headquarters are unlikely to provide accurate information on issues that are difficult to answer honestly to headquarters or store managers.
Furthermore, events that are disregarded as “normal things” within the company may actually lead to the identification of serious problems.
Therefore, IDEAFUND, an external research organization, succeeded in eliciting useful answers by creating an environment that made it easy to answer and through excellent interview methodology.

Utilizing the insights gained from the responses, we conducted a structural analysis to pinpoint the client’s challenges and the negative cycles occurring within their operational field. Subsequently, we proposed tailored solutions to address these issues.

Research results

The client prioritized human resource development in their policy, and initially had many talented people working as store managers. 

However, the client faced challenges in clearly defining the role and future career path of an effective store manager.
In addition, talented store managers had to work hard outside of business hours to improve store performance.
Consequently, this led to the departure of some of the exceptional store managers.
Those who remained and demonstrated excellence were often promoted to positions at the headquarters.
This series of events resulted in a noticeable decline in the overall quality of store management.

Based on these analyses, we proposed a solution to this issue: fostering a mindset change in the workplace. This aims to enhance business performance by boosting motivation and heightening service awareness through improved communication between store managers and staff.


IDEAFUND is a professional research company located in Tokyo. Since its foundation in 2018, its founder Naoko and her colleagues have applied the methodology of cultural anthropology to market/consumer research. By doing so, they have always tried to understand the wholeness of consumers/users and to find some keys to innovation.

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