Diversity and Inclusion

Human Resources Development

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.

Promotion System

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute, Personnel Department

The program is designed for all Sumitomo Forestry employees, from recruits to middle management and executives, who strive to 1. teach the corporate philosophy based on Sumitomo's Business Spirit, 2. master universal business skills 3. nurture global human resources, and 4. train management 5. create a workplace culture that allows employees to work energetically without hesitation.

We are also promoting group management by 6. foster a sense of unity between all Group employees and developing human resources.

Human Resources Development Department, Housing and Construction Division

Employees of the Housing & Construction Division 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 are conducted at each Group company and in each department.

Human Resources Development System

Under a theme of "Supporting Motivated People", Sumirin Business College (SBC) of the Personnel Department 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 visit the ruins of the old Besshi copper mine and Company-owned forests to learn about the Sumitomo Group history and business spirit. In fiscal 2021, 180 employees of whom 136 and 44 belong to the parent company and Group companies, respectively, took the class.

In addition, the Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute e-learning hosts a program on the history and corporate philosophy of Sumitomo Forestry taken by each Sumitomo Group employee every year.

2. Acquisitions of business skills

We support learning that emphasizes employee autonomy in our self-development training programs.

We have established a system to subsidize 50,000 yen for employees to attend external training programs that they have sought out, in addition to providing e-learning and correspondence courses for acquiring business skills and knowledge. In fiscal 2020, a total of 372 employees participated in such training, and 642 employees participated in fiscal 2021. We have also focused on enhancing training by specific levels.

We conducted online training for 17 newly appointed managers in April 2020, in line with the establishment of a new promotion system to management career-track positions by changing administrative positions to administrative planning positions with the goal of increasing productivity through the expansion of operations.

In addition, training for evaluators has been conducted to ensure that the evaluation system is firmly in place. The program was implemented for 293 evaluators in fiscal 2020, and then in fiscal 2021, it was implemented for 66 evaluators, mainly freshly appointed evaluators.

In addition, as part of the multifaceted assessment to develop managers' management skills, a multifaceted evaluation feedback workshop offered for 185 first-time evaluators in fiscal 2021, to assist them accurately grasp and practice the evaluation results.

In addition, all of our 62 branch managers from the Housing and Construction Division attended the housing branch manager workshop co-hosted by 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, with Indonesian language training added this year. The curriculum is an original program adapted to the level and work content of each employee taking the course. 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 complete from the program. Since fiscal 2018, a total of 65 employees have graduated, with 41 of those trainees participating in fiscal 2021. (104 employees are working abroad as of December 1, 2021, 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 2020, 31 employees took part in eight programs, and 140 people took part in 29 programs in fiscal 2021.

5. The creation of a work environment that motivates people to work hard and without hesitation

In fiscal 2021, the Housing and Construction Division and the Timber and Building Materials Division launched the "Three-Star Project" and the "New Value Creation Project" respectively, with the goal of creating a workplace culture in which employees can work energetically and vigorously with a free and open attitude and high engagement.

The "Three-Star Project" aims to create a branch that is as vibrant as a three-star restaurant, with each employee highly respected by customers and rooted in and adored by the community. 25 employees from the two pilot branches participated in a six-month workshop. The knowledge obtained from the training was immediately applied to their work. The participating members evaluated the project as a "Necessary Initiative" "Awareness and behavior have changed", and "I think it will lead to increased performance over the medium term". In the future, we plan to expand the project gradually to a total of 62 branches.

In a six-month workshop, 10 employees participated in the "New Value Production Project", which examined the creation of new value and encouraged a frontier spirit and entrepreneurial spirit. The final business proposal is scheduled to go into effect in fiscal 2022.

6. Foster a sense of unity between all Group employees and develop Human Resources

We are aiming to build a sense of unity throughout the Group and raise awareness of working members of society by offering training for new employees in a program that is common to all Group companies. In fiscal 2021, the content of the programs was standardized and conducted online training at each company, while connecting Group companies online for some programs, with 258 employees taking part.

In addition, Group companies with similar goals participated in self-development seminars and group exchange training etc., with 26 employees participating in fiscal 2021.

The e-learning system has also been deployed as a learning tool shared by Group employees, allowing employees of Group companies in Japan to share and learn from 118 courses on topics such as Sumitomo Forestry's history, business spirit and corporate philosophy, as well as acquiring business skills and knowledge.

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute Training System, Personnel Department (FY2021)

Sumitomo Forestry Business Institute Training System, Personnel Department (FY2021)

Number of Employees Attending Main Training Programs
(FY2021)*

Training program Number of people attending
(Non-consolidated)
(Persons)
Number of people attending
(Group companies)
(Persons)
Total
Training by specific levels (20 courses) 843 0 843
Selective training (30 courses) 175 3 178
Self-development training (117 courses) 642 7 649
e-learning (6 mandatory courses) 5,159 6,505 11,664

* April 1 to December 31, 2021

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

FY2018 FY2019 FY2020*1 FY2021
Hours of training received per employee 13.6 18 10.5 13.0
Expenditure on training per employee (yen) 97,000 102,000 59,000
(77,000)*2
77,473*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 Figures in the parenthesis are reference data collected from January to December 2020

*3 Expenditure on training for fiscal 2021 (Non-consolidated) is 394 million yen.

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 up to 500,000 yen is provided to the employee who passes the examination for first-class registered architects to acquire a first-class registered architect's license. 25 employees satisfied the criteria in fiscal 2021. 58 employees obtained second-class architect licenses under the guidance of the Human Resource Development Department in fiscal 2021.

Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech introduced an in-house qualification system, the "Structural Diagnosis Master" in fiscal 2021. 240 employees from 14 locations nationwide took the test in the first examination, and 103 were confirmed as passing. The goal of the internal qualification system is to improve employee motivation for self-improvement while also improving legal compliance and quality control.

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 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.

We have begun insourcing video materials to broadcast before training for the purpose of an effective flipped classroom before regular training. There are interactive features in the 360-degree videos, such as information hotspots, quizzes, and knowledge verification modules, where clicking on information pulls up text and other information, contributing to student engagement and retention. 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

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.

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. By using this system, employees can revise and save things, such as notes on important matters in the electronic text during the training session. Trainees can even review and use learning materials anywhere by using these tablets even after the training ends.

We have conducted training mostly online due to the impact of the COVID-19 since 2020. Online training saves the student traveling and enables highly productive lectures. Unlike traditional training, there are additional training management alternatives available, such as multiple days of brief training sessions, which greatly contributes to the structure of the training curriculum. We will establish a hybrid training management approach that combines small scale face-to-face training and online training, in addition to the usage of online training, since there are some lectures where face-to-face training has a greater training effect.

Hybrid training that combines smaller scale face-to-face training and online training

小規模化した対面型研修とWEB研修を融合させたハイブリッド型の研修

We've been working on VR videos for a while now, and they've been proven to be quite effective. 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. We hope to expand the highly productive VR training to the entire group and boost the cost-effectiveness of training operations by bringing the training materials in-house.

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

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

In addition, we are currently conducting sales talk analysis for housing salespeople, with the goal of efficiently and effectively strengthening customer service skills by using AI to objectively analyze the content of business talks with customers. More customer service assessments will be conducted in the future, leading to the development of Sumitomo Forestry's conversation model and the improvement of individual skills.

Promotion of Qualification Acquisition

Sumitomo Forestry encourages the acquisition of the qualifications necessary for business operations and ensures the availability of competent people, thereby strengthening employee skills and improving customer satisfaction. The most recent results of this support are as follows.

Real Estate Agent

FY2020 FY2021
Number of examinees 198 142
Number of successful candidates
(Number of sales positions obtained)
24
(414)
25
(440)
Passing rate 12% 18%

Level 2 Financial Planner

FY2020 FY2021
Number of examinees 150 120
Number of successful candidates
(Number of sales positions obtained)
25 40
(260)
Passing rate 17% 33%

First-class construction management technician

FY2020 FY2021*
The 1st test
(Subject)
Number of examinees 52 -
Number of passers 40 -
Passing rate 77% -
The 2nd test
(Site)
Number of examinees 56 -
Number of passers 38 -
Passing rate 68% -

* No support for obtaining qualifications in fiscal 2021

Second-class architects and first-class architects (Subject)

FY2020 FY2021
Second-class architects Subject passing rate 100% 100%
Passing rate of drawing 89% 84%
Second-class architects (Subject) Subject passing rate 27% -

Sumitomo Forestry focuses on training to develop its design capabilities. The Company seeks to develop its "Design Skills", "Presentation Skills" and "Customer Service Skills" by having all design personnel evaluate drawings in advance to detect and reinforce the Company'’ design trends and challenges, resulting in a strong design group that can compete with other companies. In the future, we will also collaborate with interior designers to strengthen their "Presentation Skills", "Customer Service Skills", and "Total Coordination Proposals", and are considering and planning to develop a team that includes interior designers. We're also considering training engineers who can handle medium- to large-scale projects.

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 2021, the school had another 69 new enrollments.

Practical training in construction of a house

Practical training in construction of a house

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

FY2018
(31st graduating students)
FY2019
(32nd graduating students)
FY2020
(33rd graduating students)
FY2021
(35th graduating students)
Number of new students 69 57 61 69
Number of graduates 68 55 60 -
Students who acquired the 2nd class carpenter license 62 55 60 -