Communication with Employees
At Sojitz, we consider our employees to be 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 to address actual working conditions. In implementing these policies, we form cross-organizational taskforces, hold informational seminars, and use e-learnings and other internal IT communication tools in order to foster a culture in which each employee feels a personal investment in company initiatives and to ensure that our policies effectively address the issues that employees face.
We also actively create opportunities for dialogue between management and employees. We aim to maintain an open company culture through this face-to-face communication, incorporating employees’ opinions and sharing management’s vision.
Employee Survey (Engagement Survey)
Sojitz has conducted an employee survey since FY2017 in an effort to understand and continually raise employee engagement. 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 (age, job grade, etc.) and the results of these analyses are shared throughout the company and used to create action plans within individual organizations.
Each organization creates and carries out a unique action plan based on analysis of survey data and proactively implements initiatives for improvement. Sojitz believes that each organization’s reform efforts lead to overall reforms to company culture. Additionally, Sojitz seeks to accelerate organizational reforms and promote new ways of thinking by sharing both the issues organizations have identified and their strategic solutions throughout the company. Since FY2019, Sojitz has selected organizations that actively worked throughout the fiscal year to effectively improve employee engagement based on their action plans, and these groups present their work to the president and other members of Sojitz management. Awards are presented to teams that demonstrate particularly outstanding efforts.
In March 2021, we created and conducted an engagement survey under the supervision of an outside expert using questions unique to our organization. Our aim was to gain a more accurate understanding of the situation within the company and use the results to implement more effective human resource policies. Employee engagement remained high with a 91% response rate. We will continue to regularly conduct this engagement survey as a means of understanding feedback from our employees. The results of this survey are also incorporated into human resource KPIs and executive remuneration as part of efforts to achieve effective human capital management.
Since FY2018, we have conducted 360-degree surveys to provide general managers and section managers with multi-faceted feedback from senior managers, coworkers, and subordinates every year. This allows managers to evaluate their everyday behavior, encouraging improvement and providing motivation. In FY2019, we widened the scope of the survey to include COOs in order to improve the workplace environment and communication with employees.
Sojitz has introduced Sojitz e-Campus as a tool for accelerating employee development and promoting diversity at the company. The e-learning programs cover a wide range of topics including corporate governance and Sojitz’s company history and include business skills such as accounting, business strategy, and marketing. In addition, Sojitz has expanded trainings for developing IT skills, and employees have unlimited access to learning materials on topics including IT security, IT literacy, data science, and digital marketing.
The e-Campus site also serves as communication tool. Sojitz conducts company-wide questionnaires via e-Campus and makes announcements regarding company management and workstyle-related matters including family care and childcare on the site. Individual departments are also able to make announcements through e-Campus. Sojitz will continue to use e-Campus as a tool to share important information throughout Sojitz Group and promote individuals’ skill development.
Sojitz e-Campus (as of March, 2022)
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Facilities to Promote Communication
We have furnished all workspaces with equipment designed to inspire multilateral, cross-organizational communication between employees. The in-house café is kept open after working hours for an informal happy hour which allows employees from all age groups and a wide variety of organizations to come together and enjoy an open and relaxed atmosphere.
We operate several “S’Cafés” within Tokyo HQ and the Sojitz branch offices in Japan that serve as social areas. The S’Cafés provide a place to relax and communicate, and employees make use of these facilities to take breaks throughout the workday, enjoy lunch, or hold a casual meeting.
Sojitz seeks to ensure that its dormitories are spaces where residents can freely interact and communicate. The men’s dormitories (including Koto, Tokyo) feature shared kitchens, fitness rooms, and lounges, and the women’s dormitory (Shibuya, Tokyo) also features a lounge space. These facilities foster open communication between residents. Sojitz also holds events to strengthen ties between each of the dormitories and with local communities, such as cooking classes and sports events.
Labor Management Relations
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 FY2021, the union comprises 1,391 employees, and Sojitz’s unionization rate is 54%. The union aims to create prosperity for the company, improve the economic and social standing of union members, and pursue greater benefits for company employees. The organization has a number of initiatives designed to improve communication between employees and has succeeded in creating a favorable relationship between the union and Sojitz management by ensuring respect for each side’s position, conducting discussions in good faith, and sharing information as necessary.
Cooperation with the Labor Union
The union and Sojitz management discuss issues including the HR system, salary (both in Japan and overseas), bonuses, severance pay, pensions, employee health and safety, working hours, training, and career development. Systems and policies are only implemented upon agreement by both parties. The two organizations also discuss any major reorganization which would impact employees’ working conditions. At any time, employees can confirm the content of these discussions on the company intranet.
Dialogue between the Labor Union and Management
To ensure the company’s management policies and vision are well understood and to share proposals from the labor union, we regularly hold president’s briefings, meetings with the COO in charge of the Human Resources Department, dialogues with the COOs, and financial closing briefings. Sojitz also works to construct systems which create a motivating work environment and which help achieve work-life balance, such as the Work Style Reforms Promotion Committee which was established jointly by the union and Sojitz management.
Inspiring Communication between the Company and Employees and Their Families
Tokyo HQ held "Sojitz Family Day" in August 2017 through cooperation between the labor union and Sojitz management. A Sojitz Field Day for Tokyo employees and a Sojitz Family Day for Kansai employees were held in August of the following year. Sojitz Festival, a sports day and exhibition event for employees, was held in Tokyo in June 2022. The union also holds sporting events, such as bowling tournaments and softball tournaments, as well as theater outings, morning activities, and other smaller events. Sojitz works 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 employee and company growth are both made possible when each employee takes pride in their work at Sojitz, feels the value of their efforts, and exercises their full potential. We are striving to create a work environment which enables each employee to think proactively and take on new challenges. While the values held by union members vary greatly from person to person, we at Sojitz Labor Union aim to represent all members and advise the company through extensive dialogue with management. The union aims to bring employees and management together based on mutual trust in order to build the future of Sojitz.
Full-time members of the Sojitz Labor Union