Sojitz Corporation

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Human Resource Development

Policy and Basic Approach

Creating a Diverse Team of Autonomous Individuals

Sojitz strives to continue addressing market needs and providing solutions to social issues amidst a rapidly changing business environment. We have therefore selected “diversity as a competitive advantage” as a key theme for Medium-term Management Plan 2023. At Sojitz, we are engaged in a variety of human resource initiatives that aim to create teams of diverse, autonomous individuals in order to turn diversity into a competitive advantage for the company.

In addition to the promotion of women in the workplace and other ongoing initiatives to advance diversity, we are strengthening our efforts to create a work environment that facilitates employees’ diverse work styles through the implementation of telework and through work style reforms such as curtailing long working hours and encouraging the use of annual paid leave.

We are also expanding Sojitz’s frameworks for promoting company-wide engagement in new challenges. These efforts include the Hassojitz Project (a project launched in 2019 for developing new business ideas and business models), which aims to cultivate Sojitz employees’ ability to run businesses, create and actualize new businesses, and involve others and see projects through to completion. Sojitz is increasing opportunities for all employees to experience professional growth and development through initiatives including overseas assignments for junior employees and our long-term trainee system.

By supporting each employee’s career path, we can leverage the growth of each individual as a driving force for both organizational and company-wide growth, which will lead to new business creation.

Human Resource Systems

Sojitz’s human resource 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 resource policies to enable employees to be promoted even earlier than before.

Approach to 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

We believe that Sojitz Group’s growth depends on the development of its employees. Based on this belief, we carefully consider the skills, mindset, and experiences that are critical for our employees, in order to offer on-the-job-training, job rotations, human resource development systems, and a variety of training programs which serve as concrete methods for acquiring these important capabilities.

Medium-term Management Plan 2023: Human Resource Strategy

The Three Pillars of Our Human Resource Strategy

The Three Pillars of Our Human Resource Strategy

We are implementing policies in line with the following concepts selected as key themes for Medium-term Management Plan 2023.

1. A Framework for Leveraging Diversity

Sojitz aims to transform diversity into a competitive advantage by maximizing the unique strengths of all employees and emboldening individuals to take on new challenges.

ご参照diversity at Sojitz

2. A Framework for Taking on New Challenges

In order to ensure each individual develops greater autonomy in their work, Sojitz is expanding its human resource initiatives to create opportunities for employees to proactively take on new challenges. Initiatives such as the Hassojitz Project call for employees of all ages and backgrounds to contribute innovative ideas, and Sojitz is not only offering these growth opportunities but building a framework for fairly evaluating employee initiative.

Sojitz has also established policies and organizations for supporting employees who seek to take on new challenges outside the company, including systems to support entrepreneurs and independent businesses, in addition to organizations such as Sojitz Professional Share and the Sojitz Alumni organization. Sojitz supports the desired career paths of employees, including those who pursue entrepreneurial opportunities outside the company.

3. A Framework for Experiencing Growth

Sojitz has established a company culture which supports diverse employees regardless of their age, gender, or nationality, to ensure all employees can freely take on new challenges. Employees work in an open and accepting space where they have the freedom to make mistakes and can proactively take on new challenges. This environment fosters individuality and allows employees to experience personal growth, creating a positive feedback loop in which employees have a higher level of engagement and are motivated to help further raise Sojitz’s corporate value.

We will continue to implement initiatives including training programs and the job rotation system in order to ensure that all employees can experience growth at every stage of their career. Employees progress through several stages throughout their career at Sojitz, which include: the training stage for developing the basic skills required for general trading company employees; the practical implementation stage to use their training to actively involve others in projects and tackle new challenges; and the management stage, when employees act as leaders for their teams and organizations. We believe it is important to provide employees with the rewards of tangible growth and sense of contribution, and we will continue to build an environment in which employees work together with the company to achieve mutual success.

Goals and Targets

Establishing Human Resource KPIs

Basic Approach to Human Resource KPIs

We have established human resource key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to align our human resource strategy with our overall management strategy for pursuing value creation. We will develop talent while simultaneously assessing the success of our human resource policies with metrics to measure employee understanding and level of implementation throughout the company. Sojitz has put in place a system for monitoring this process using dynamic KPIs, which are flexible and can be revised in response to changes in the external environment or based on progress of policy implementation.

Basic Approach to Human Resource KPIs

1. KPIs for Leveraging Diversity

Percent of female career-track employees with secondment experience in Japan or overseas・・・40%(as of 2023)(*20% as of fiscal year ended March 2021)

Sojitz aims to provide female employees with a wide range of professional opportunities based on each employee’s career aspirations and major life events. We believe that increasing opportunities for female employees will support the development of female candidates for managerial positions and increase the number of female role models forging their own career paths at Sojitz.

Percent of locally hired employees in chief officer positions・・・50% (as of 2025) (*40% in fiscal year ended March 2021)

We are placing our overseas operating companies at the center of our efforts to tap into local networks, expand Sojitz’s business areas, and create new business. We are therefore increasing the number of locally hired employees holding chief officer positions at these overseas bases.

Percent of employees taking childcare leave・・・100%(as of 2023)(*Female employees: 100%, Male employees: 56%. Percentages for fiscal year ended March 2021)

In order to further support the promotion of women in society, Sojitz is creating an environment in which male employees can take an active role in childcare, so both men and women can successfully balance work and childcare responsibilities.

Percent of employees undergoing follow-up health checks when recommended・・・70%(as of 2023)(*20% in fiscal year ended March 2021)

Sojitz maintained its record of having 100% of employees participate in the annual health check. By following up with employees after this initial checkup, we aim to ensure that employees attend any recommended follow-up appointments (for tests required following the initial health check) in order to prevent illness though early detection and improve employee health.

2. KPIs for Promoting New Challenges

Percent of employees completing core online trainings・・・100% of career-track employees(as of 2023)(*Online training content available as of December 2021)

Digital technologies are a critical foundation for Sojitz’s efforts to connect customer and social needs to value creation, and we believe that digital literacy is an essential skill for all of our employees.

3. KPIs for Experiencing Growth

Challenge-taking Index: Percent of employees identified by their supervisor as demonstrating above-average progress on annual objectives・・・70%(as of 2023)(*51% in fiscal year ended March 2021)

In order to ensure sustainable growth for Sojitz, it is essential that we foster a company culture in which employees are continuously taking on challenges in new fields and business areas. This index is included as one of the annual commitments for all employees in their objective setting, and we are aiming to increase the number of opportunities employees can take on that will be considered above average progress by their supervisors in this area. We will continue our efforts to connect each employee’s progress towards their objectives to the overall growth of the company.

Systems

Executive Responsible Masakazu Hashimoto, Managing Executive Officer (COO, Human Resources Dept., General Affairs & IT Operation Dept.)
Secretariat Human Resources Dept.

Systems

Initiatives

Sojitz has established three themes for its human resource strategy as part of Medium-term Management Plan 2023: 1) leverage diversity, 2) promote new challenges, and 3) experience personal and professional growth. In line with these themes, Sojitz conducts training programs to provide staff with the basic knowledge required of every general trading company employee. Sojitz also actively works to offer employees opportunities outside the company, such as its overseas trainee system, so that employees are able to experience growth and feel a sense of contribution. Sojitz seeks to systematically grow its pool of future candidates for managerial positions through all of its 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 sense of contribution, and we will continue to build an environment in which employees work together with the company to achieve mutual success.

Initiatives

Trainings for Every Career Stage

Programs for Managers

Sojitz conducts selective professional training and group training programs for managerial staff suited to each stage of professional growth and the business environment for general trading companies. 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.

Since 2011, Sojitz has held “action learning”-based trainings for select general managers, where they 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. Approximately half of past participants are now executive officers or business division COOs at Sojitz’s Tokyo HQ.

Since FY2021, Sojitz has offered an executive coaching program for managers, including senior management candidates and newly appointed GMs and other managers. In this program, experts coach senior management to develop their discernment skills, and to support the onboarding process for new managerial appointees.

Sojitz also conducts an employee exchange program in which managers are seconded to companies in differing 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.

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 away from 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.

OJT(On the Job Training)での取り組み

OJT(On the Job Training)での取り組み

Mentee: Miho Otomasu, Ferroalloys Sect., Metal Resources Dept., Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division

Peer mentor: Kensaku Kawazoe, Ferroalloys Sect., Metal Resources Dept., Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division

Senior mentor: Tetsuya Takahashi, Planning & Administration Sect., Planning & Administration Office, Metals, Mineral Resources & Recycling Division

(Employee departmental affiliations as of October 2021)

ご参照Round Table Discussion (Japanese only)

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 junior Sojitz employees the qualities and global perspective that is standard in business environments overseas.

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 overseas operating companies and local subsidiaries, Sojitz is working at the company level to develop the next generation of managerial candidates.

In addition, Sojitz sends junior and mid-career employees to complete MBA programs in Japan and overseas. 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. This program seeks to develop employees who can adapt to globalization and the rapidly changing business environment worldwide, and acquire the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills that will equip them to plan, prepare, and execute new major businesses for Sojitz.

Developing DX Employees

Sojitz is developing DX employees: employees 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 DX employees who are equipped to operate in a digital society, applying digital skills to pursue value creation.

Sojitz also encourages all employees, regardless of age, to pass the “IT Passport” exam—a national certificate in Japan that covers the fundamentals of IT literacy.

Sojitz is developing trainings for all employees on the basics of digital technologies in order to raise the overall level of practical utilization of digital tools at Sojitz. Sojitz also provides courses for employees seeking to acquire advanced knowledge and skills. Through these resources, Sojitz is developing employees with the ability to lead company-wide innovations in business models and work processes.

Hassojitz Project

Hassojitz Project: Anticipating 2050 and creating Sojitz’s two types of value through business and human resource development

The Hassojitz Project (Subtitle: Challenges for the World of 2050) was launched with the objective of generating discussion about what further growth might mean for Sojitz and encouraging visionary and strategic thinking at the company. The project entered its third year in FY2021. First proposed by President & CEO Masayoshi Fujimoto, the Hassojitz Project allows employees to explore various paths towards turning their ideas into businesses over the course of several months and is underway again this year.

活動スケジュール図

Goal Setting and Evaluations

Sojitz has 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.

Job Rotation and Internal Recruitment Systems

Sojitz implements systems to promote the professional growth of employees and broaden their career paths. These include the job rotation system, which enables employees to acquire a diverse range of expertise and skills and bring new energy to their organizations by gaining experience in different positions within the company. In addition, the internal elective system allows employees to achieve self-actualize and carve out their own career path by voluntarily applying for development opportunities.

Performance

Human Resources Development Data

Unit
Year Ended 31-Mar-17
(FY2016)
Year Ended 31-Mar-18
(FY2017)
Year Ended 31-Mar-19
(FY2018)
Year Ended 31-Mar-20
(FY2019)
Year Ended 31-Mar-21
(FY2020)
Number of employees receiving training (cumulative total) *1
Persons
approx.
7,400
approx.
9,000
approx.
24,000
approx.
21,500
approx.
5,200
Total training hours *1
Hours
approx. 39,000
approx. 40,000
approx. 40,800
approx. 43,000
approx. 38,000
Average hours of training ◎
Hours
18
18
18
19
16
Overseas trainee program Participants
Persons
18
27
30
31
10
Short-term
12
22
23
22
1
Long-term
6
5
7
9
9
*1:
Training refers to employee training, including self-development training, conducted by the Human Resources Department, and e-learning, ISO 14001 environmental standards and CSR training programs provided by other departments. Sections of the e-learning data apply only to October 2018 to March 2019 period due to our transition to a new system during the FY2018. The dramatic rise in the number training participants is a result of our new e-learning program, which offers a variety of online training courses. In the FY2020, the formula of the calculation has been reviewed as only video contents are included for e-learning. In addition, the number of trainee is decreased since some group training has been shifted to e-learning and the number of people who had taken the course is not included.
*2:
Excludes directors, executive officers, Audit & Supervisory Board members and employees who retired as of March 31

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