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.
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
Related information (links):
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.
From FY2020, we have implemented a new guideline that requires all employees to pass "IT Passport", which is a national certificate that covers a wide range of knowledge in digital technology.
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. In addition to this current training program, we started a new type of long-term program, which enables more employees to be sent to overseas operating bases and operating companies of different sales divisions or departments. By increasing the number of these type of trainees, we will provide opportunities for young employees to be future leaders through working side by side with management.
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 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 acquire the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills that will equip them to plan, prepare, and execute new major businesses for Sojitz.
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.
Developing Employees for a Digital Society
Sojitz will foster employees who are equipped to operate in a digital society
As digital technologies and the use of data become increasingly central to business operations, Sojitz is focused on developing employees equipped to operate in a digital society, who can apply digital skills to pursue value creation.
On-site Personnel Development
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 within 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. We also assign experienced employees from different departments within the same sales division as senior mentors to support the new employees. 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.
A Look at the Office
Mentor Ferroalloys, Non-Ferrous & Precious Metals Dept. Non-Ferrous Metals Sect. (Joined the Company in 2018)
I always try to encourage my mentee to understand the meaning of tasks before dealing with them and to aquire the basic knowledge needed to make his own decisions. I want my mentee to do not only tasks passed to him from superiors, but also find what else he can do to make new businesses in the future. He has been hungry to learn and experience new things, so I expect that he will develop into an employee who will be trusted bu those both within and outside the company.
Mentee Ferroalloys, Non-Ferrous & Precious Metals Dept. Non-Ferrous Metals Sect. (Joined the Company in 2020)
I have been learning the importance of understanding the meanings of tasks through working closely with my mentor. Not just doing as I have been told, I try to understand the background and situations behind tasks. I will continue to actively learn a wide range of things and want to be a global leader who can build basic needs for industries and people around the world.
*Job titles and organizations reflect those at the time of the
Human Resources Systems
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. From FY2020, we increased our basic salary for new employees and revised our Human Resources policies to enable employees to be promoted even earlier than before.
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 grade. 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
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, when setting annual targets, the management personnel who serve as evaluators, such as managers, general managers, and COOs, are required to add employee development as a target, at a ratio of 20% to 30%. This will help to continually improve the quality of human resources management. In addition, every employee can specify their “challenge” at the yearly challenge setting stage, accelerating Sojitz’s “New way, New value”.
*From FY2019, every employee can specify their “challenge” at job setting stage. This will accelerate Sojitz’s “New way, New value” based on thousands of challenges every year.
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 was 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 enables to have prospective
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.