Building a Company Where a Diverse Workforce Can Flourish
Balancing Work and Family Care
Sojitz has put in place various systems and engendered a work environment that enables employees to balance their work obligations with their responsibilities of providing care for family members, and supports those employees’ ability to do both successfully.
The main initiatives include family care leave, extended family care leave that employees can take multiple times, reduced working hours for caregivers, and a rehiring system for employees who have left the company to care for family members. In addition, we have introduced a remote caregiving support program.
In terms of employee education, we inform employees about the family care leave system and provide information about the caregiving insurance system on the company intranet. Furthermore, we have set up a caregiving support email service, and we regularly hold seminars to discuss balancing work and family care and conduct individual caregiving consultations with employees.
In terms of enabling flexible working styles, we have implemented a telework system throughout the company in addition to the flextime system.
Number of employees that take leave for family care
Year ended March 31st, 2016
Year ended March 31st, 2017
2Year ended March 31st, 2018
Year ended March 31st, 2019
Year ended March 31st, 2020|
Year ended March 31st, 2021
|Total number of days||191||199||339||338||302||109|
|Number of employees||23||25||37||50||49||30|
Examples of Initiatives
Seminars on balancing work and family care
As a way to support employees who must provide family care for an undetermined amount of time, these seminars provide employees with an opportunity to consult with long-term care support specialists (care managers) who can advise them on how to utilize vacation and long-term leave for family care so that they proactively manage their time in order to balance work and care responsibilities. Seminar participants have commented, “In order to continue providing family care while working, I realized that I needed to pay more attention to the overall management of the situation by utilizing the services of professional caregivers instead of doing it all myself.”
In addition, after the seminar, an individual consultation meeting is provided in which specialist care workers provide advice tailored to the individual caregiving requirements of each employee.
Diverse, International Employees
Leveraging Talent from Diverse Nationalities -Unlocking Sojitz’s Competitive Advantage-
Employees from many different countries with their own diverse values come together at Sojitz, a company developing business around the world. Placing each employee in the optimal position, promoting them, and leveraging their strengths leads to greater ability to respond to business changes and come up with innovative ideas.
Programs to Strengthen Hiring and Development of Local Employees
Outside of Japan, Sojitz has nearly 100 offices, subsidiaries, and liaison offices in locations around the globe. We set up HR systems and training menus at each office, developing, utilizing, and promoting locally-hired staff to further talent development at our overseas offices and promote business rooted in the regional economy.
There are approximately 1,500 total employees between Sojitz Corporation’s overseas subsidiaries, branches, and liaison offices. Roughly 1,200 of that are locally-hired staff, and of those, 32 are general managers. (As of April 1, 2021)
Locally-Hired Staff: Number of General Managers
|Locally-hired general managers||-||25||30||31||35||32|
We provide locally-hired staff with opportunities to transfer between offices within their region and between regions, as well as to transfer to the head office in Tokyo, in order to help the best Sojitz talent around the world expand business utilizing their information and networks rooted in the local community. As of FY2020, 13 people have transferred between regions or moved to Tokyo HQ, and these individuals are working to create new customers and build new business.
Developing the next generation of leaders for overseas offices
We aim to develop local staff overseas through Sojitz’s Global Professional Development (GPD) and Global Next Leaders Development (GNLD) programs. The GNLD began in 2011, and the GPD in 2012. The 396 total participants thus far have included people from 36 countries, in regions including the Americas, Europe, Asia, China, Oceania, and the Middle East.
The GPD is designed to deepen employees’ understanding of the Sojitz culture, with a focus on its corporate organization and history, to boost participants’ loyalty and help them better understand themselves as members of Sojitz Group. It also aims to help participants obtain management skills and experience so they can utilize the full capabilities of Sojitz Group in expanding business within their regions. The GNLD, on the other hand, targets local employees overseas who are management candidates in positions higher than GPD participants. It similarly focuses on deepening understanding of Sojitz’s culture, its corporate organizations and business divisions, and its history, but is also aimed at developing participants into leaders who can network with participants from different regions and business areas to generate create synergy throughout Sojitz Group, as well as take a company-wide perspective in creating “New way, New value.” From FY2020, the sessions have been conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 100 participants from 22 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and China have participated thus far.
Number and percentage of foreign employees
|Number of foreign employees
Total number of employees
Staff Nearing Retirement Age
Staff nearing retirement age possess a wealth of experiences and skills, as well as an awareness and sense of values about different working styles. Sojitz is working to promote the advancement and success of these employees.
Our company has a mandatory retirement age of 60, however we offer continued employment for persons over 60 years of age in accordance with Japanese laws concerning the stabilization of employment for elderly persons.
Given that staff nearing retirement age have a deep understanding and nuanced set of values regarding various working styles, in April 2019 we created a new job grade for rehired individuals in order to promote their success. This new system was revised to decide treatment for and evaluate staff based on their mission and the expectation that, following their rehiring, they will play an important role in educating less-experienced staff.
Additionally, we offer career design training to staff nearing age 50, to provide them with an opportunity to examine their careers until that point and design the next phase of their career themselves. In this way, we are implementing policies to empower employees in the years after the mandatory retirement age.
|Employees rehired after reaching retirement age||19||9||11||18||27||57||98|
Career Design Training
Sojitz offers career design training to the employees. This offers them a chance to think freely about their career plan between the ages of 50 and 65. In this training, employees reflect on their own unique characteristics/values and create a personal action plan that takes into account their individual strengths and the abundant wisdom and experience they possess. In addition, one month after completing the training, all participants are offered individual consultation services. After sharing their thoughts and receiving encouragement from the lecturer and other training group members, some employees have even submitted applications to do side jobs. We launched this program in FY2017 and offered it three times in FY2019, with 58 employees participating.
- 1. Initial Preparation: Participants create an inventory of their career assets, taking into account the types of work they’ve experienced, the knowledge they’ve attained, the wisdom and skills they possess, and times that they were highly motivated or experienced difficulties.
- 2. Training: Participants go on a two-day, one-night group retreat. There, they learn the career design process, and create a concrete action plan taking into account how their values may change in five and ten years.
- 3. Consultation: Participants undergo a private consultation to follow up on their action plan, and discuss any other private matters.
Management-Level Employee Training for Empowering Staff Nearing Retirement Age
Managers play an important role in empowering staff nearing retirement. Therefore, we hold seminars for managers of staff who have undergone career design training, offering those managers assistance in empowering different types of employees, educating the staff they manage, and supporting the career design process.
- 1. Managers learn about career design and gain an understanding of the role of managers in supporting the life-career development process and the career designs of staff they manage, while studying real-world examples and case studies.
- 2. Managers participate in portions of the training that their subordinates are undergoing in order to grasp the gap between the role the employee wishes to play in their career and the role that management expects of them.
- 3. Managers acquire effective conversation techniques, as well as deepen their understanding about how to communicate with subordinates and the points to be aware of when having discussions with them. Also, they exchange information with direct superiors during lunch time.
Employment and Support for Persons with Disabilities
As part of its diversity management program, Sojitz is committed to employing persons with disabilities. We also seek to create an environment that supports the success of our employees working with disabilities.
Increasing Employment of Persons with Disabilities
As of the end of June 2021, the employment rate of persons with disabilities at Sojitz was 2.32% (exceeding the legal requirement of 2.20%). We believe that creating a supportive environment will be instrumental to hiring and retaining more persons with disabilities. In order to further expand employment, Sojitz will partner with Sojitz Business Support Corporation (recognized under Japanese law as a special subsidiary of the company in 2012) to create an environment that helps employees—each with different disabilities, skills, experiences, and career plans—be placed in a well-suited post and perform at the highest level.
Sojitz is also working to build awareness and understanding of persons with disabilities through policies deliberated across multiple related departments, as well as through the blind soccer simulation program. *
*Sojitz concluded a partnership agreement with Japan Blind Football Association (JBFA) to provide support for its blind soccer activities and “Spo-iku” program.
Percentage of Persons with Disabilities Hired
(End of June)
Sojitz Business Support’s Activities
Sojitz Business Support Corporation was established as a special Sojitz subsidiary to increase employment of employees with mental and physical disabilities hired, and to create a supportive work environment. Sojitz Business Support conducts HR and document-related work for Sojitz Corporation and Sojitz Group companies.
Sojitz Business Support currently has offices in both Tokyo and Osaka. The Tokyo team acts as a document center, making business cards and printing and binding documents for Sojitz Group. Sojitz Business Support in Tokyo also runs and offers services at the health room (including massages), replenishes paper in the printers on each floor, monitors visitor cards, manages taxi tickets, orders rubber stamps, tracks IDs used to order stationary goods, and enters information from accounting slips. The Osaka team focuses on printing business cards and looks to expand its services to other areas, such as a health care room.
Working from Home
Due to illness, I became unable to commute, so I left my sales job with an IT company. I was introduced to a job I could do at home for Sojitz through a support group. My work consists of information-gathering about hiring and diversity and maintaining Sojitz's internal website on these topics. I work four days a week in a home office that Sojitz readied for me, and I feel grateful and motivated in my work.
※Excerpt from CSR Report 2009, issued Aug. 2009
Human Resources Dept., HR Recruitment Sect.
Sojitz is working to create a work environment where diverse employees can excel, regardless of their sexual orientations or gender identities.
Sojitz’s Working Regulations prohibit harassment relating to sexual orientation or gender identity. Sojitz Group’s Human Rights Policy clearly states Sojitz’s respect for diversity, including race, nationality, gender, age, mental and physical disability, and sexual orientation.
Prior to assignment overseas, we inform employees of points of caution with regards to differences in LGBT-related legal systems in other countries. We also hold occasional LGBT-related seminars and events to deepen awareness throughout the company so that all employees can excel, regardless of their sexual orientations or gender identities.
Furthermore, in-house inquiries related to LGBT matters are handled by a dedicated diversity team, and external experts and organizations are consulted as necessary.