Sojitz Corporation

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Experience Personal and Professional Growth

Basic Approach

Sojitz strives to offer career opportunities to all of its highly capable and driven employees, regardless of their age or gender. We believe that by taking on new challenges, employees’ gain a real sense of their personal growth and their contribution to the company, which increases motivation. Sojitz strives to create a cycle in which employees are motivated by each success to take on additional new challenges in the future.

Sojitz is engaged in efforts to develop its human resources, such as through the job rotation system, which helps employees develop a broader perspective by working within a range of roles at the company.

In addition to training programs that provide foundational knowledge for general trading company employees, Sojitz actively works to offer opportunities outside the company, so that employees are able to experience growth and feel a sense of contribution, such as through its overseas trainee program. Sojitz seeks to develop future managerial candidates through a variety of human resource initiatives. In this way, Sojitz is developing the staff who will take on management roles at Sojitz’s headquarters and its operating companies. We believe it is important to provide employees with the rewards of tangible growth and a sense of contribution, and we will continue to build an environment in which employees work together with the company to achieve mutual success.

基本的な考え方

Trainings for Every Career Stage

Programs for Managers

Sojitz conducts trainings for select managers and group training programs for managerial staff suited to each stage of professional growth and the business environment for general trading companies. These trainings aim to foster a diverse and autonomous workforce at the company.

At group training programs, managers deepen their understanding of business management issues and develop the ability to approach matters from a management perspective. The trainings provide them with the management skills necessary to successfully foster diversity within the organizations they lead and to maximize results.

Sojitz also implements 360-degree surveys as a framework for encouraging managers to continuously improve their managerial mindset and behavior. Through these surveys, managers receive feedback that they cannot readily obtain through day-to-day work, and this feedback allows managers to take notice of any existing issues and take steps to remedy them. The 360-survey initiative seeks to enhance the work environment and facilitate stronger engagement from every member of the organization.

In addition, Sojitz held a training in FY2019 for section and general managers on ways to support career development within their teams. The managers learned about effective communication skills and furthered their understanding of ways to support the diverse career goals of their team.

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Training for Selected General Managers

Since 2011, we have held action learning-based trainings for select general managers where managers come together to discuss their organization’s business and the issues facing their organization with an external consultant. This helps managers strengthen their ability to strategize and manage their organization. Using the results of the 360-degree survey and objective pointers from the external consultant, the general managers review their strategy and vision for their organization, thereby refining their ability to strategize, identify root issues, lead teams, and motivate stakeholders. This process aims to give them the means of not only etching out a strategic vision, but also making those strategies more realistic and attainable. A total of 15 managers who participated in the general manager trainings held for specially selected managers have been promoted to the level of executive officer or higher. (As of April 2022)

Since FY2021, Sojitz has offered an executive coaching program for managers, including senior management candidates and newly appointed general managers, among other managers. This program, which provides coaching by leadership experts, supports the onboarding process for new roles and allows Sojitz to determine which employees will be the best candidates for future management positions.

Sojitz also conducts an employee exchange program in which managers are seconded to companies in a variety of industries. The program aims to allow employees to cultivate the qualities of a corporate leader, acquire advanced management skills, and network with management teams from other companies.

Sojitz’s HR system assigns ranks based on the individual’s qualities, abilities, and drive, regardless of age or gender. Individuals are then evaluated according to the job grade in question. Since introducing the system, we now see employees in their 30s taking up the reigns of management at Sojitz Group companies. We will continue to do our best to place every employee in the most appropriate post so that employees that possess the necessary qualities and abilities can become involved in business management at an early stage in their careers.

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Peer Mentor System and Senior Mentor System

On-the-Job Training Initiatives

In addition to off-the-job trainings (OFF-JT) in which employees step outside their daily work tasks to participate in internal trainings and self-guided development programs, Sojitz is also placing focus on on-the-job (OJT) training initiatives, which are conducted as part of employees’ daily work in order to foster growth through on-site work experience.

Sojitz has established a peer mentor system to provide new employees with on-the-job-training, as well as a senior mentor system. Peer mentors support new employees as they learn their work responsibilities, and senior mentors provide counsel and emotional support. These systems empower senior employees to act as role models and help new employees develop into confident and capable team members.

In the peer mentor system, Sojitz employees are paired with new recruits within their organization. Peer mentors provide a year of on-the-job training to guide new employees on the core work of their organization and basic knowledge and skills needed in the workplace.

Senior mentors belong to different departments than the new employees whom they mentor. These senior mentors take a broader perspective in order to help expand their mentee’s horizons and support them as they create a plan for their career.

OJT(On the Job Training)での取り組み

Voices from Participants

現場の声

Peer mentor Ryoko Takashima (joined FY2018)
Non-ferrous Metals Sect., Ferroalloys, Non-Ferrous & Precious Metals Dept.

 

As a peer mentor, I strive to communicate in a way that will help my mentee become an independent thinker, and I try to make sure he understands the significance of a task first . I want to encourage him to become an employee that not only carries out assigned tasks , but also seeks out new work and takes initiative to eventually create new projects. Uemura is eager to learn and gain new experiences, making him a highly reliable team member. I think the steady growth he has achieved will be a driving force for his career moving forward, and I hope he will continue to develop into a reliable teammate that people can count on both inside and outside the company.

Mentee Kaichi Uemura (joined FY2020)
Non-ferrous Metals Sect., Ferroalloys, Non-Ferrous & Precious Metals Dept.

 

Through my daily work with my peer mentor, I have learned the importance of understanding the fundamental purpose of a task and staying focused on intended outcomes as I work. Rather than simply completing tasks as instructed, I try to go above and beyond to make sure I have a solid grasp of the underlying context and any relevant information. My personal goal is to become a global business leader, and I will continue to work proactively to gain knowledge in a wide range of fields to become an employee that can support global industries and improve the lives of people around the world.


Note: Employees’ departmental affiliations are listed as they were at the time of the interview.

 

Trainee Program

Developing Global Human Resources

Sojitz develops a diverse range of business on a global scale. The company is focused on fostering human resources who show an understanding of foreign cultures,  expand their perspectives through overseas work experiences, and  grow Sojitz’s business around the world. Sojitz provides a variety of training programs available to all employees in order to develop talent with an international mindset who have ambition and an eagerness to grow. The following three training programs are available to Sojitz employees: 1) the short-term trainee program, 2) the long-term trainee program, and 3) the MBA program.

Trainee Program

Sojitz offers an overseas trainee program (both short-term and long-term) which allows junior employees to gain experience working overseas at an early stage of their career. This program aims to instill in Sojitz employees the qualities and global perspective that is standard in business environments overseas.

Short-term overseas trainees are assigned to overseas branches or project companies to gain comprehensive on-the-job training or work on a specified theme or project. All participants are required to give a progress report on the outcomes of their experience upon returning to Sojitz HQ, and this process motivates trainees to think critically about their trainee experience and track their growth while overseas.

Long-term overseas trainees are dispatched to Sojitz operating companies or major overseas branch offices for one year. Employees set a primary mission for their trainees period and work to achieve their goals through both on-the-job and off-the-job training, including conducting self-guided research on a specific subject (or topic)  and taking part in university courses or language training. The aim of this program is to not only provide employees with overseas work experience, but also allow them to build local networks and gain a wide range of business knowledge that can later be leveraged during overseas assignments in the future.

In FY2019, Sojitz created a new system for sending trainees to Sojitz businesses to support cross-divisional and cross-departmental collaboration. By enabling these employees to assist in the management of operating companies and local subsidiaries, Sojitz is working at the company level to develop the next generation of managerial candidates.

The MBA program

The MBA program is aimed at giving employees the opportunity to undergo intensive training where they will learn advanced, broad-ranging skills that are difficult to acquire through on-the-job training alone. The goal of the program is to foster human resources who can adapt to globalization and the rapidly changing business environment worldwide. Young employees and middle managers are dispatched to MBA programs in Japan and overseas where they develop the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills that will equip them to plan, prepare, and execute new major businesses for Sojitz.

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