Sojitz Corporation

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Human Resource Strategy

Basic Approach: Creating an Environment that Leverages Individuality

The sustainable growth of Sojitz Group depends on having a deep pool of talent to create, maintain and develop foundations for generating stable earnings. We define global management talent as people who can create value and generate profits in the global business arena by thinking and acting on their own initiative and persevering until successful. To this end, we are making great efforts towards systematically developing people who can contribute as much as possible to the company and organization to which they belong, embodying the following three ideals:

Basic Approach
  • ◆ People that can actualize new ideas
  • ◆ People that can create new businesses
  • ◆ People that can manage subsidiary companies

We recruit and develop people who have the qualities we seek, assign the right people to the right positions so they can maximize their potential, and promote their success with various human resource programs

Hiring

Seeking people who can deliver future prosperity to all our stakeholders

At Sojitz, the source of our value creation is our people. In order to create new value and achieve sustainable growth for our company, it’s necessary for our people to be able to respond to changes in the business environment with a sense of speed and not be afraid of making mistakes in overcoming difficulties and seeing tasks through to their completion, built on a foundation of respect for people of all backgrounds.

Throughout the year, our company's hiring efforts focus on new graduates, mid-career candidates that include individuals with disabilities, and recruitment of new graduates from foreign universities in an effort to strategically hire human resources who possess rich creativity, untapped potential, and varied experiences—as well as the ability to develop their own capabilities.

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2019 Hiring Results

  • ・New graduates: Approximately 120 (20 in administrative-track positions)
  • ・Mid-career hires: Approximately 30

Human Resource Development

Sojitz aims to develop people who can create “two types of value”— value for Sojitz and value for society—and is supporting their ability to excel.At Sojitz, the value we create as a company is directly tied to strengthening the skills of our greatest asset—our people.

Based on our belief that Sojitz Group’s growth depends on the growth of its employees, we deeply consider the skills, mindset, and experiences that are critical for our employees, in order to offer on-the-job-training job rotation, human resource development systems, and various training programs which can serve as concrete methods for acquiring those attributes.

Human Resource Development Policy

  • ・Develop our people to be able to respond swiftly to a rapidly changing business environment
  • ・Develop our people to not fear failure, and to find the will to overcome difficulties and see through their work through to the end

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Human Resource Development Programs

Human Resource Development Programs

Required Training Programs

Sojitz offers various kinds of training to support the professional growth of employees. The core training programs are mandatory courses and professional training. For the mandatory courses, we use lectures and exams (business trading, legal/compliance, accounting, TOEIC IP tests (LR/SW)) conducted in-house, as well as an exam conducted by an outside institution (bookkeeping) so that employees can acquire basic knowledge and elevate their own skills as trading company employees. Our professional training menu focuses on developing their skills and mindset. In skills training, employees acquire the necessary knowledge and polish the skills they will need as professionals working in various fields. In mindset training, we aim to strengthen people skills and goal achievement through overnight training while focusing on items such as understanding of the company, understanding of roles, commitment, and the ability to accomplish assignments.

Global Training Program

As a trading company operating a multitude of businesses worldwide, Sojitz is making great efforts to offer its employees international experience, in order for them to gain the broadened perspective and cultural understanding necessary to develop business anywhere in the world.

To develop talent with strong motivation and the will to succeed globally, we offer four training programs that enable young employees to gain practical experience.

Overseas Training Program

Sojitz has established a system that enables young employees to get experience working overseas early in their careers, by sending all employees abroad as overseas trainees or for overseas language training within five years of joining the company. Our goal in providing these experiences is to nurture the qualities required to work overseas, as well as a global perspective.

Short-term trainees are sent to overseas operating bases for a period of one to six months, where they get comprehensive on-the-job training and pursue specific topics. Long-term trainees are sent for approximately one year to overseas regional headquarters or to overseas operating bases and operating companies. The long-term trainees, in addition to receiving on-the-job training through routine work at overseas operating bases, are also assigned off-the-job training as part of their mission. These include work on individual issues and research topics given to them upon assignment, as well as university classes and language training. In this way, the intention is for them not only to gain overseas experience, but also to form a network of contacts and acquire wide-ranging knowledge that they can draw upon in future overseas assignments.

Overseas Language Training Program

The overseas language training program supports the development of highly-motivated, truly global talent by sending employees to strategic focus regions overseas for the purposes of language training as well as to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, history, and customs of those countries and regions. Each year, the company conducts an internal selection process in which candidate employees are interviewed, and upon consideration of their career path and area of responsibility, they are sent to various overseas locations. This system aims to enable trainees to utilize the target language in actual business settings, so they can contribute to the expansion of business. This system calls for trainees to study the language in Japan before departing for a year of study overseas. After that, they spend half a year taking part in actual business training. Through on-the-job-training in their placement countries, we hope our employees can keep improving their language abilities, and ultimately help expand our businesses by leveraging their language skills.

MBA Study Abroad Program

The MBA study abroad 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 with four to ten years of work experience are dispatched to MBA programs in Japan and overseas, where they acquire the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills that will equip them to plan, prepare, and execute new major businesses for Sojitz. Another objective is to foster global leadership by enabling them to gain diverse experience together with the next generation of leaders from many different countries. Some of those who have completed the MBA study abroad program are now playing active roles as top management of overseas operating companies.

Programs for Management-level Staff

For management-level employees, we provide training for newly appointed managers, classroom-based training, and training for selected employees. We thus support the professional growth of employees at every level with training appropriate for the trading company business environment. Furthermore, a 360-degree survey is conducted to encourage improvement in managerial mindset and behavior. This survey seeks to provide managers with feedback that they cannot readily obtain in their day-to-day work environment, providing them with increased awareness and encouraging behavioral improvements, to create a better workplace environment and higher achievement among every member of the organization.

Career Design Consultation

As of 2017, Sojitz has been offering career design consultation services to employees who are 50 years of age or older. This consultation service provides employees with an opportunity to freely think about their own career plan by identifying their strengths as well as the skills they wish to acquire, considering their future career goals. In this way, it supports the formation of individual career paths for employees of all levels within the company.

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On-site Personnel Development

On-the-Job Training

Sojitz has introduced a mentoring program to help new employees acquire the skills necessary to work independently in their departments. Mentors are experienced employees appointed by the head of their department to coach new employees in the same department. Through a year of on-the-job training, mentors make new employees aware of the conduct expected of them as members of Sojitz, provide instruction on the business knowledge needed in their department, and educate them about the etiquette, mindset, and basic behavior of a businessperson. Mentors receive mentorship training from the same outside instructors who train new employees and managers. This gives mentors an opportunity to receive advice on how to train and teach new employees in a way particular to Sojitz and exposes them to both sides of the mentor-mentee relationship. In addition, a “Lunch Salon” is held to provide an opportunity for mentors to talk about the growth of their mentees and share effective teaching methods.

人材育成プログラム

A Look at the Office

Mentor Ferroalloys Section 2, Ferroalloys Department (Joined the Company in 2008)
Yuta Asai

The first requirement for earning customers’ trust as a partner is sincerity. Mr. Kanaya’s serious attitude gives him a solid foundation for that. In my mentoring, I tried to get him to exercise his own ideas and ingenuity as much as possible within the scope of his work. But sincerity involves more than that; we also need to make sure we have the humility to listen to the people around us. I look forward to seeing him earn the trust of customers around the world and achieve professional growth beyond my expectations.

Mentee Ferroalloys Section 2, Ferroalloys Department (Joined the Company in 2014)
Ryutaro Kanaya

In my work, I’m reminded every day of the importance of something I learned from Mr. Asai, which is to always think things through without being limited by past practices. I still have a lot to learn from him, such as persistence and how to explain things from another’s perspective, but I hope to eventually catch up with and surpass him, to show him that I’ve reached my goal of becoming someone that people around the world want to work with.

Human Resources

Sojitz’s human resources system was formulated around the concept of treating each employee according to the role they are given, regardless of characteristics such as age or nationality. The system seeks to clearly define assigned roles as well as convey clear information concerning advancement and promotion, and in doing so, serve as a source of motivation for employees. Furthermore, the system undergoes periodic reviews and revisions that take into consideration things such as external factors and changes in age composition.

Goal Setting and Evaluations

We have implemented a job grade system to systemize the expected roles of each employee and corresponding salaries, also enabling employees to be promoted early in their career based on employee evaluation results. Our results-oriented evaluation system evaluates the extent to which employees fulfill their commitments, as well as the necessary to create medium-to long-term, sustainable results.

The evaluations use an appraisal system through which employees initially lay out their objectives to evaluators and are informed of the competency appraisal items corresponding to their job rank. The employee and evaluator engage in open dialogue during the initial goal setting stage (individual goal setting, following a meeting where the goals and strategy of the employee’s organization are shared), mid-term review (checking employee’s progress and revising goals as needed), year-end review (confirming degree to which goals were ultimately achieved), and when feedback is provided on evaluation results. This establishes mutual understanding between the employee and evaluator, as well as connects the results of an employee’s evaluation with his or her growth over the following year. Evaluations are conducted by superiors at multiple levels, and the Human Resources Dept. oversees these discussions.

If an employee has doubts about the results of their evaluation, the system has HR mediate from an objective standpoint, determine the final evaluation result, and provide the reasons for and feedback on these results to employees.

Furthermore, the management personnel who serve as evaluators, such as managers, general managers, and COOs, are required to set targets for employee development, at a ratio of 20% to 30% of the whole, thus continually improving the quality of human resources management.

Concrete Measures

Greater Involvement of Administrative-track Employees

In an effort to provide administrative staff with opportunities for increased engagement and a more rewarding work environment, a new job rank will be introduced in July 2019 along with various policies that encourage the formation of diverse career paths.

Job Rotation and Internal Elective Systems

Sojitz has established systems to promote the professional growth of employees and broaden their career path. One example is the job rotation system, which allows employees to acquire a variety of professional knowledge and skills by experiencing multiple different career paths—a requirement for promotion to the managerial level—while bringing new life into organizations. Other programs include the internal recruiting system as an opportunity for employees to define who they are and carve their own career path by voluntarily applying for development opportunities.

The job rotation system has prospective management-level staff experience at last three different job functions (including external or overseas assignments) before assuming a managerial position, providing them with crucial development through the acquisition new skills and knowledge in various fields.

Under the internal elective system, an average of seven employees are transferred out of their departments each year, bringing fresh perspective to organizations and helping the company deploy the right people in the right places.

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