HIGHLIGHT 6 A Diverse and Vibrant Workplace

With falling birthrates and an aging population, Japan's working population continues to decline. To secure a good workforce, it is ever more important to promote diversity and create a work environment where women and senior citizens can succeed. In its Action Guideline and Code of Conduct, Sumitomo Forestry Group has formulated ways to secure and respect diversity and is focusing on initiatives that will enable a diverse workforce, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors, to play an active role.

Promoting Women's Empowerment by Breaking Away from Stereotypes

In 2013, Sumitomo Forestry Group announced as part of its diversity management its Declaration on Empowering Women, which has three major pillars: to create a positive work environment for women, to leverage women's unique creative powers and to spur innovation through the participation of women. By drawing out women's potential, the Declaration seeks to integrate a wide range of viewpoints to vitalize the work environment. In 2016, the Company formulated is Voluntary Action Plan on the Appointment of Women Directors and Managers. Currently, we aim to have at least a 5.5% ratio of women in management positions by 2021.

To make this goal a reality, in 2020, we established a new job description called administrative planning to provide more opportunities for active participation and open a path for employees in many different departments and roles to become managers. In addition, we are continuing our Mentor System that we adopted in fiscal 2016 where division managers and group manager-class supervisors serve as mentors and support junior female managers, manager candidates and other mentees. In fiscal 2019, six mentees participated in this program.

In fiscal 2019, we held an event called the Women's Conference 2020, aimed primarily at young women employees in their 20s and 30s. Participants were given the opportunity to hear from people who could serve as role models, namely female managers and female directors. The response was very positive, with participants saying that they gained a better idea of what they should strive for and that it served as an opportunity to reevaluate their position and job description. Feedback was shared widely among the directors and president, who also attended, and discussed at management training seminars. It was an opportunity for all employees to dispel their unconscious biases, including their perceptions of gender roles, and raise awareness that a diverse workforce benefits the company's development.

Comment from a Participant of the Women's Conference 2020

We had the opportunity to attend the Women's Conference 2020. I was impressed at how motivated all the participants were in their work and how they each carved out their own workstyle. This conference was both simulating and fulfilling in helping me realize that there are many such women. I now know that the company needs me and has high expectations of me, and this has given me both confidence and courage. I realized that I sometimes take things too seriously and hesitate, so in order to advance in my career, I will try to take on new challenges and be more proactive. The conference encouraged me to have a positive attitude to try new things, including moving up the career ladder.

Seiko Kitajima
Housing and Construction Division,
Fukui Branch

Participants of Women’s Conference 2020 displaying their individual goals

Page Top

Creating a Company where Employees can Continue to Work with a Sense of Security

To expand work opportunities for older generations, in fiscal 2020, Sumitomo Forestry raised the retirement age from 60 to 65 and implemented a flexible age retirement system where employees can choose when to retire. In addition, we abolished the upper age limit of our Senior Human Resources Bank, a system for employees over the age of 65 to continue working. Providing opportunities for employees to continue working for a long time with a sense of security and enabling everyone to develop career paths at an early stage leads to securing better people. Having employees with a wealth of experience pass on their valuable knowledge and skills to younger generations is also an aim. Since fiscal 2018, we have also begun promoting the Universal Manner Test, which teaches people how to interact with individuals with physical, mental or other challenges. We are aiming to have all employees pass Level 3 of this test. Because we believe a clearer understanding of the difficulties associated with disabilities and of the importance of diversity will lead to better product development that responds to diverse customer needs, employees in our research and design departments are also required to take the higher Level 2 of this test in-house.

Veteran employees supporting younger staff
(Senior Human Resources Bank Center)

Being awarded a certificate after the company’s first Universal Manner Test by then-President Ichikaw

Page Top

Supporting Employee Health, the Foundation of Everything We Do

The most important element in the company's management is employee health. Sumitomo Forestry conducts regular stress checks of its employees and promotes the use of a workplace mental health service called EAP (Employee Assistance Program). We also hold health-related seminars and events and promote other initiatives to protect employee health. In addition to a 100% compliance rate for primary-level medical checkups for all employees, we are working to create a structure that will raise the percentage of employees undergoing secondary-level checkups as well. We will continue to implement more effective wellness promotion measures by communicating closely with our employees and incorporating improvements. With the spread of the novel coronavirus, we have significantly accelerated the timetable for expanding the scope of eligibility for teleworking, one element of our workstyle reform. In addition, in an environment where working from home will continue indefinitely, we are looking into ways to support teleworking, such as providing information on ways to prevent the lack of exercise. Not only will we try to respond to the current situation, we will also consider different workstyles that reflect each employee's home environment, aptitude and other factors to promote workstyle reform and health management.

Working from home

Page Top

Sustainability Report