Sojitz Corporation

CLOSE

Diversity Management

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

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Total number of days 339 338 302 109 72
Number of employees 37 50 49 30 23

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, Sojitz offers seminars that 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.

Support System for Family Remaining in Japan during Overseas Assignment

In order to alleviate the burden on family members remaining in Japan when an employee is posted overseas, Sojitz provides access to subsidized housekeeping services, care-giving support, and childcare support services based on predetermined parameters.

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. Of the 1,500, roughly 1,200 are locally hired staff, and 32 among the locally hired staff are general managers. (As of April 1, 2022)

Locally-Hired Staff: Number of General Managers

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Locally hired general managers 30 31 35 32 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.

GPDの参加者

GPD Participants

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.” Beginning in 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.

GPDの様子

GPD session

Global Recruitment

Number and percentage of foreign employees

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Number of foreign employees
Total number of employees
67(2.9%)
2,343
66(2.7%)
2,410
80(3.3%)
2,460
80(3.1%)
2,551
76(3.0%)
2,558

Staff Nearing Retirement Age

Employees 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.

Sojitz strives to support the success of employees nearing retirement age and leverages their skills and expertise through its post-retirement rehiring system and reemployment support system.

Rehiring System

Our company has a mandatory retirement age of 60, however we offer continued employment for persons over 60 years of age in accordance with the Act for Stabilization of Employment of Older 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 such that the employment conditions and evaluations of rehired employees are based on their assigned mission and expected role.

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.

Rehired individuals

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Employees rehired after reaching retirement age 17 29 31 31 43

Recurrent Education Support System

As we enter an era of 100-year lifespans, employees must enrich their extended working life by thinking proactively about their careers, continuing to educate themselves, and striving to increase the value they contribute as individuals.

Upon taking stock of career milestones and future goals, an employee may determine that they require recurrent education. Sojitz provides subsidies and extended leave to these types of mid-career employees seeking further education.

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.

Program Overview

  • 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.

Training Overview

  • 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 April 2022, the employment rate of persons with disabilities at Sojitz was 2.33% (exceeding the legal requirement of 2.30%). 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 partners 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

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Number of hires 52 50 59 62 65
Percentage 2.00% 1.89% 2.20% 2.25% 2.39%

Opportunities for Employees with Disabilities: Sojitz Shared Service (Special Sojitz Subsidiary)

Sojitz Shared Service is a special Sojitz subsidiary established in accordance with the Act to Facilitate the Employment of Persons with Disabilities. Many employees with disabilities are exercising their full potential through their work at Sojitz Shared Service.

Sojitz Shared Service primarily handles general affairs-related work for Sojitz Corporation and Sojitz Group companies, as well as select human resource-related duties. The company’s general affairs-related work includes managing a document center (making business cards and printing and binding documents) and operating the Health Care Room, where it offers massage services by a licensed professional and creates videos on self-care techniques. Sojitz Shared Service disinfects office doorknobs and surfaces, manages office hand sanitizer, cleans printers and replenishes paper supplies, manages visitor cards and taxi tickets, and orders rubber stamps and other stationary goods. The company also handles mail services, document storage, and support for employees moving overseas (storage of employee belongings while on assignment).

In addition to Sojitz Shared Service’s ongoing sanitation duties, the company also actively supports the distribution of antigen test kits and other efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Sojitz Shared Service will continue to expand its scope and provide its employees with further opportunities for success.

Sojitz Shared Service works to offer a comprehensive support system that enables each employee to enjoy a long career in a welcoming environment. The company employs qualified professionals with specialized knowledge who give employees guidance on their work tasks and offer mental health support. In an effort to support employees’ career development, Sojitz Shared Service is pursuing initiatives including sending employees on internships and assignments to Sojitz Corporation, strengthening communication between Sojitz Shared Service and Sojitz employees, and fostering a culture of diversity at the company. Moving forward, the company also aims to support the employment and retention of people with disabilities at Sojitz Group companies. Through these initiatives, Sojitz Shared Service is striving to create a supportive, flexible work environment in which every employee can fully exercise their unique abilities.

Company history as a special Sojitz subsidiary

  • March 2012  Sojitz Business Support Corporation established in accordance with the Act to Facilitate the Employment of Persons with Disabilities
  • April 2018  Establishment of Osaka office
  • July 2022   Merger with Sojitz Shared Service Corporation

Barrier-Free Facilities

Sojitz’s working spaces have been built with consideration for employees with disabilities. Accessible toilets are installed on every floor. On floors where visually impaired employees work, Sojitz replaced dark brown carpeting with a bright ivory color based on guidance from visually impaired employees. Moving forward, Sojitz will continue to incorporate the ideas and opinions of disabled employees as it creates a work environment that is comfortable and accommodating for all employees.

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.

労使関係

Yoshiyuki Kunishige
Human Resources Dept., HR Recruitment Sect.

LGBT Initiatives

LBGT

Sojitz is working to create a work environment where diverse employees can excel, regardless of their sexual orientations or gender identities. Sojitz strives to encourage the independence of employees and further foster a company culture in which all employees, regardless of gender, are able to excel. Sojitz promotes gender equality, including understanding of issues facing LGBT employees and members of sexual minorities.

Sojitz’s Working Regulations prohibit harassment relating to sexual orientation or gender identity. Both the Sojitz Group Code of Conduct and Ethics and Sojitz Group Human Rights Policy clearly state Sojitz’s respect for diversity, including race, nationality, gender, age, mental and physical disability, and sexual orientation.

Consultation Desk

Sojitz provides a consultation desk for LGBT and sexual minority-related inquiries. Minority group members and their colleagues are able to contact the consultation desk anonymously. In-house inquiries related to LGBT matters are handled by a dedicated diversity team, and external experts and organizations are consulted as necessary.

Related Links:

Page top