Communication with Employees
Our people are our greatest asset. In order to create a work environment which maximizes employees’ potential, we use a number of internal surveys to gather opinions from our employees and develop policies which address actual working conditions. Prior to implementing policies, we also work to help employees understand their relationship to the policy and ensure that the policies help solve the issues employees face, by forming taskforces that include staff from different departments, holding internal seminars to explain the policies, and using e-learning and other internal IT communication tools.
We also actively create opportunities for dialogue between the management and employees. We aim to create a more open company culture through this face-to-face communication, incorporating employees’ opinions and sharing the management’s thoughts.
Sojitz has been conducting an employee survey in an effort to understand and continually raise employee engagement from FY2017. The questions cover employee motivation and how the workplace environment affects the degree to which employees can excel. We conduct separate analyses by organization and affiliation, which we use to create action plans for the entire company and for each organization.
We also hold regular meetings where representatives from each department and different sections come together to discuss how to fix the issues found through the employee survey. These meetings allow each organization to share its issues and what members are doing to fix them, and they serve to reform organizations and alter employee mindsets. In FY2019, departments which greatly contributed to taking actions for higher employee engagement based on their action plans delivered presentations before President Masayoshi Fujimoto and other mangement members. The departments with outstanding outcomes were given prizes.
The survey that we conducted in FY2019 shows a higher engagement than FY2017, with responses collected from approximately 92% of those surveyed.
Since FY2018, we have conducted 360-degree surveys to provide general managers and managers with multi-faceted feedback from bosses, coworkers, and subordinates. This allows them to evaluate their everyday behavior, encouraging improvement and motivating managers. In FY2019, we widened the scope of the survey to improve the workplace environemt and communication with employees.
The new “Sojitz e-Campus” system was introduced in October 2018 to promote faster employee development and greater diversity at Sojitz. It combines an e-learning system, enabling employees to study a wide variety of contents at any time, with internal communications tools for sharing information from corporate departments. The e-learning programs include business skills, such as accounting, business strategy, and marketing, as well as programs covering Sojitz’s history, language study, and corporate governance. The communication tools, on the other hand, include a delivery system for video messages from the upper management, as well as company-wide surveys and questionnaires. We will continue to use Sojitz e-Campus as a tool to share important information throughout Sojitz Group and promote individuals’ skills development.
Sojitz e-Campus (as of March, 2021)
|No. of e-learning programs
Facilities to Promote Communication
We have equipped offices with facilities and equipment designed to inspire multilateral, organization-spanning communication between employees. We also use them to hold regular events; for example, this year, we started regularly keeping the in-house café open after working hours for happy hour events, which has seen employees of all ages, from a wide variety of organizations, come together to enjoy the open atmosphere.
We operate several “S’Cafés” within Tokyo HQ and the Sojitz branch offices in Japan, helping facilitate open communication between staff. By providing a broad product lineup which both includes healthy foods and drinks as well as regular snacks, we help keep working employees healthy and create an area where employees can casually gather during their breaks or otherwise. We also use the space for afterhours events which promote communication between employees.
We are working to make our company dormitories even more comfortable living spaces. The men’s dormitory is equipped with a lounge, cafeteria, and fitness room, while the women’s dormitories house a lounge, cafeteria, and shared kitchen space. In this way, the dorms also help to foster communication between residents. The men’s dormitory has a new initiative where they form teams of 10 for community service or volunteering activities, which further fosters a sense of unity between employees.
Sojitz respects workers’ rights, including the right to free association and the right to collective bargaining. We constantly monitor relations between the labor union and the management, maintaining constant dialogue with both parties to confirm whether these rights are appropriately safeguarded.
Sojitz Labor Union
The Sojitz Labor Union was established in 2005, under a charter which includes a union shop clause. As of the end of FY2019, the union comprises 1,267 employees belonging to 50% of Sojitz’s total organizations. It aims to create prosperity for the company, improve the economic and social standing of union members, and pursue greater benefits for company employees. They have a number of initiatives designed to improve communication between employees, and they have succeeded in creating a favorable relationship between the union and the management by respecting each side’s position, conducting discussions in good faith, and sharing information as necessary.
Discussion with the Labor Union
The union and management discuss the HR system, salary (both in Japan and abroad), bonus, severance pay, pension, employee health and safety, working hours, training, and career development. Systems and policies are only implemented upon agreement from both parties. They also discuss any major reorganization which would impact employees’ working conditions. At any time, employees can confirm the content of these discussions themselves on the company intranet.
Dialogue with the Labor Union and the Management
We regularly hold meetings with the President, meetings with the COO in charge of the Human Resources Department, dialogues with the COOs, and financial closing briefings to both ensure company management policies and vision are well understood, and to share proposals from the Labor Union. We are also working to construct systems which create a motivating work environment and which help achieve work/life management, such as the Work Style Reforms Promotion Committee which was established jointly by the union and the management.
Inspiring Communication between the Company and Employees/their Families
Tokyo HQ held “Sojitz Family Day” in August 2017 through cooperation between the union and management, with a “Sojitz Field Day” for Tokyo and “Sojitz Family Day” for Osaka held in August of the following year. The union also holds sporting events, such as bowling tournaments and softball tournaments, as well as theater-going, morning exercises, and other smaller events. We are working to create a stronger sense of solidarity between staff by continuing to hold events which help inspire multilateral communication, not only with employees, but with their families as well.
A Message from the Sojitz Labor Union
The Sojitz Labor Union believes that if each employee takes pride in their work at Sojitz, feels the value of their work, and demonstrates their abilities to the utmost, this will lead to further growth for employees themselves and for the company as a whole. We are working to create a work environment which enables each employee to think proactively and take on new challenges. The values held by union members vary greatly from person to person, but as their representative, the union aims to provide advice to the company through wide-ranging dialogue with the management, bringing the union and management together based on our mutual trust and building the future of Sojitz.
Full-time members of the Sojitz Labor Union
■Labor Union’s rights guaranteed by “Japan’s Labor Standards Act” and
“Labor Union Law”
･Workers' representatives are respected by Japan's Labor Standards Act
and Labor Union Law. Additionally, we proactively communicate with the
workers' representative in the Labor Union, and we always respect workers'
･The effective exercise of the trade union's rights in the work place
is guaranteed by Japan's Labor Union Law, and all the activities of
Sojitz Corporation are in compliance with this Law.
■Change in working conditions for employees
･When we change working conditions for employees or make any changes
which could potentially impact working conditions for employees, we
proactively conduct collective bargaining and carefully explain the
background of such change, impact to employees, and so on.
･When we change working conditions for employees, we consult with an
external Labor Law lawyer in advance.
･All newly-hired employees are given the opportunity to undergo training
sessions on union rights, conducted by the Labor Union, during the training
period in their first year of employment.
■Information for employees shared by Labor Union
･The Labor Union has a dedicated intranet through which union members
can get information. This includes not only their rights, but also the
meeting minutes of collective bargaining sessions.
･For employees throughout the world, the Labor Union shares information
on collective bargaining minutes and our company policy and strategy
etc. in a timely manner, through intranet of the company and/or by e-mail
･We provide a dedicated Labor Union room and allow them to use the company
meeting rooms and other related facilities of the company, as necessary
for their activities.