Basic Policy

Guided by the policy for human resources development of “autonomy” and “support,” Sumitomo Forestry aims to realize its Corporate Philosophy by supporting the growth of employees with a strong sense of pride and motivation, and by creating a culture that is open and inclusive.

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Promotion System

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute, Personnel Department
The Personnel Department of Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute strives to 1. teach the corporate philosophy based on Sumitomo’s Business Spirit, 2. teach universal business skills and secure competency linked to personnel systems, 3. nurture global human resources, and 4. train management, to every Sumitomo Forestry Group employee from new employees to middle and executive management.
The Institute is also working to 5. foster a sense of unity between all Group employees in order to promote Group management.

Human Resources Development Department, Housing and Construction Division
The Human Resources Development Department conducts practical education around the axes of the customer perspective and professionalism for employees who belong to the Housing and Construction Division (sales, design, interiors, production, general affairs, and head office staff).
This department also supports training at each company by working closely with each Group company managed by the Housing and Construction Division.

Group company and each department
Education to teach the necessary skills in each field and training to develop professionalism in each business domain are conducted at each Group company and in each department.

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Human Resources Development System

Under a theme of “Supporting Motivated People,” the Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute launched in fiscal 2011 has increased training programs to not only include “training for each level,” which had previously been advocated across-the-board, but also more “self-development” and “selective” training, to develop employees' ability while valuing the autonomy of each individual for the purpose of nurturing employees who take the initiative to learn, think and act independently.

  1. Teach the corporate philosophy based on Sumitomo’s Business Spirit
    We hold Shikoku forestry training in which all of our new graduates and mid-career hires who join the Company as well as new managers visit the ruins of the old Besshi copper mine and Company-owned forests to learn about the Sumitomo Group history and business spirit. (221 employees participated in fiscal 2019, but the training program was canceled in fiscal 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).)
    In addition, the Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute e-learning hosts a program on the history and corporate philosophy of Sumitomo Forestry taken by all our employees every year.
  2. Teach universal business skills and secure competency linked to personnel systems
    Self-development training in fiscal 2020 provided 102 online courses easy to take during the COVID-19 pandemic from e-learning to distance education to a total of 165 employees.
    Sumitomo Forestry also provided a subsidiary of 50,000 yen to 52 employees who found external training courses for self-development.
    Training by specific levels in fiscal 2020 offered training linked to personnel programs.
    As a way to first improve productivity through the expansion of operations such as rationalization proposals and implementation in April 2020, Sumitomo Forestry held a total of 345 hours of online workshops to raise awareness in 115 voluntary participants (average of 3.0 hours per person) after a job category change from a general administrative position to an administrative planning position.
    Next, we conducted evaluator training in fiscal 2019 to fully leverage the evaluation systems adopted in April 2019. In fiscal 2019, this group training was taken by 726 people for a total of 5,808 hours (average of 8.0 hours per person). In fiscal 2020, 293 people who were mainly newly appointed evaluators took part in a total of 2,344 hours (average of 8.0 hours per person) of online training. In response to a question on the employee satisfaction survey asking whether feedback interviews considering career and skill development are conducted, satisfaction had improved an average from 3.34 (fiscal 2018) to 3.41 (fiscal 2019) and 3.46 (fiscal 2020) in the five-tiered evaluation. (Average of 3.37 for other companies surveyed by the research firm)
    In addition, all of our 62 branch managers from the Housing and Construction Division took a total of 900 hours of training (average of 14.5 hours per person) at the housing branch manager workshop held jointly with the Human Resources Development Department. Branch managers improved their management skills by engaging in discussions about setting visions and formulating strategies at each branch and their readiness as a person responsible for a branch with other branch managers and the corporate management team.
  3. Nurture global human resources
    Sumitomo Forestry strives to nurture human resources to entrust with business operations as business expands overseas. Therefore, we conduct an overseas human resource development program where employees who were in charge of overseas-related businesses for many years including those posted overseas provide 1-on-1 guidance to employees who would like to work abroad with extraordinary business performance. While this guidance mainly focuses on English language acquisition, the curriculum is an original program adapted to the level and work content of each employee taking the course. In addition to following up on their progress, we also encourage these trainees to study bookkeeping and accounting. Anyone who has acquired the minimum knowledge (languages including English, and accounting-related knowledge) required to handle overseas-related businesses in anticipation of a future overseas assignment or has achieved that level through self-development graduate from the program. Since fiscal 2018, a total of 56 employees have graduated, with 44 of those trainees participating in fiscal 2020. (100 employees are working abroad as of December 1, 2020, including those preparing to leave for their post)
  4. Train management
    Sumitomo Forestry conducts selective training for employees who are at least 35 years old. In fiscal 2019, 51 employees were dispatched to 16 programs. In fiscal 2020, 31 employees were dispatched to 8 programs in spite of the group training programs being canceled due to the impact of the COVID-19.
  5. Foster a sense of unity between all Group employees
    Sumitomo Forestry conducts new employee training in a group format jointly with its Group Companies to quickly establish personal relationships between colleagues. (485 employees participated in fiscal 2019, but the program was not held in fiscal 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19.)
    Group companies also participate in other training sharing common goals with 147 employees participating in fiscal 2020.
    We have also expanded the Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute e-learning system as a common tool for Group employees. Today, this system teaches Group employees in Japan through 96 shared courses.

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute Training System, Personnel Department (FY2020)

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute Training System, Personnel Department (FY2020)

Number of Employees Attending Main Training Programs (FY2020)*

Training program Number of people attending
(Non-consolidated)
(Persons)
Number of people attending
(Group companies)
(Persons)
Total
Training by specific levels (21 courses) 1,300 251 1,551
Selective training (21 courses) 91 0 91
Self-development training (103 courses) 217 1 218
e-learning (6 mandatory courses) 4,218 6,554 10,772

* April 1 to December 31, 2020

Hours of Training and Expenditure on Training (Non-Consolidated)

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020*1
Hours of training received per employee 9.4 13.1*2 13.6 18.0 10.5
(13.0)*3
Expenditure on training per employee (yen) 100,000 100,000 97,000 102,000 59,000
(77,000)*3

*1 The period of data collection for fiscal 2020 is from April to December 2020 (nine months due to the change in the accounting period)

*2 Calculation method was changed from fiscal 2017

*3 Figures in the parenthesis are reference data collected from January to December 2020

Support for Obtaining Qualifications and Attending External Education

Sumitomo Forestry promotes independent efforts for capacity building and career development. For instance, the Company's Regulations for Assistance in Obtaining Qualifications and Attending External Education include provisions for assistance when an employee seeks to obtain qualifications or use an external educational institution.

With regard to obtaining qualifications needed for managing operations and qualifications recommended for capacity building, the regulations prescribe assistance limits for each qualification.

In particular, a lump-sum payment is provided to employees who pass the examination for first-class registered architects to acquire a first-class registered architect's license. 31 employees satisfied the criteria in fiscal 2020.

Initiatives in the Human Resources Development Department, Housing and Construction Division

The Human Resources Development Department engaged in training and a variety of other initiatives in accordance with the training and education policies. Among the trainees, junior employees aim to become independent (fully qualified) by the end of their third year in education that concentrates on making trainees think. OJT strengthens the coordination with trainers and incorporates methods for flipped learning as a means to strengthen OJT. The training aims to provide faster mastery of the content as a place to find more practical follow up.

Flow of Flipped Learning

Flow of Flipped Learning

To ensure the OJT for junior and mid-level employees reaches its full potential, we are nurturing management skills, product knowledge, and human assets development capabilities of current and future managers to support and guide on efficient work styles.

Our ongoing initiative to provide training using VR video has proven extremely effective as an alternative to conventional on-site training. In addition to on-site training, trainees quickly learn the knowledge necessary for construction by experiencing various virtual environments without exterior influences, and deepen their understanding of operational processes through hands-on experiences as though they are training on an actual site. Going forward, we will get the most out of insourcing and actively use equipment at Group companies and divisions with the goal of providing highly productive as well as cost effective training.

Visual and Auditory Sensory Training via Video Projected to a Head-mounted Display Worn by Trainees (Image)

Visual and Auditory Sensory Training via Video Projected to a Head-mounted Display Worn by Trainees (Image)

Sumitomo Forestry has adopted a paperless system as a training material for employees in their first year who have a particularly high number of training opportunities during the education period and have begun providing tablets during the training (conventionally given to employees in their second year after joining the company). By using this system, employees can revise and save things, such as notes on important matters in the text during the training session. Trainees can even review and use learning materials anywhere by using these tablets even after the training ends.

In fiscal 2020, we conducted training mostly online due to the impact of the COVID-19. Training online eliminates the need for trainees to travel to achieve highly productive courses. Differing from conventional training, this format should provide a great chance to build training curriculum in the future by increasing the selection of training operation methods, such as creating short training programs over multiple days. However, some online training curriculum is not as effective as in-person training. Therefore, in addition to the use of online training, we will also build training programs for greater productivity that improve values in the future by setting up a hybrid-type of training which integrates small-scale, in-person training with online training.

Hybrid training

We have begun insourcing video materials to broadcast before training for the purpose of an effective flipped classroom before regular training. These audio-visual materials use 360-degree video to heighten student engagement and the retention rate by adding interactive elements, such as information hot spots, quizzes, and knowledge comprehension modules. In addition, Sumitomo Forestry is furthering links to a Learning Management System (LMS) to manage the learning progress of each employee while also driving future human resources strategies, human resource management and other initiatives in anticipation of the medium to long term by advancing the understanding of skills and accumulating employee data.

Flipped Classroom Using Videos

Flipped Classroom Using Videos

Example of LMS in Use

Example of LMS in Use

Handing Down the Techniques Used in Building Wooden Houses

Sumitomo Forestry recognizes that in order to preserve the way of building houses that makes best use of the traditional Japanese wooden post-and-beam construction method, it is important to pass on these skills and techniques to the next generation of workers.

The Sumitomo Forestry School of Professional Building Techniques is an in-house educational institution certified by the governor of Chiba Prefecture, and was founded by the Company in 1988 as a corporate boarding school for vocational training. Implementation of a one-year training curriculum, the school provides training for new employees at Sumitomo Forestry Home Engineering Co., Ltd. who aspire for a job in carpentry. In terms of construction-related subjects, students study classroom-based subjects such as an introduction to building, structure, drawing, methods of construction, materials and supervision, as well as practical subjects, such as tool operation and maintenance, the traditional technique of marking timber with sumi ink and a carpenter's square, processing, safety work, model-based practical training, demonstration-based practical training and computing with the goal of acquiring a 2nd class carpenter license upon completion. On completion of their training, graduates are assigned to places all around Japan, and after a few years, they return to the school to undertake seven to ten days of training in Japanese rooms and in a preparatory course for acquiring the 1st class carpenter license as a certified specialist.

In fiscal 2019, the school welcomed 57 new enrollments, including carpenters employed at partner firms outside the Company and saw 55 graduating. In fiscal 2020, the school had another 61 new enrollments.

Practical training in construction of a house

Practical training in construction of a house

Practical training in construction of a house

New Students and Performance at The Sumitomo Forestry School of Professional Building Techniques

FY2016
(29th graduating students)
FY2017
(30th graduating students)
FY2018
(31st graduating students)
FY2019
(32nd graduating students)
FY2020
(33rd graduating students)
Number of new students 63 67 69 57 61
Number of graduates 61 66 68 55 -
Students who acquired the 2nd class carpenter license 57 49 62 55 -

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Sustainability Report