Relations with Employees
Cultivating Human Resources
As stipulated in the “Respect for human rights” and “Prohibition of discrimination” sections of the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Group Code of Conduct, we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and prohibit discriminatory treatment based on factors such as nationality, race, gender or other factors. We also work continuously to enhance our highly practical training programs with the aim of fostering the next generation of ”The Gas Professionals.”
Fair and Impartial Hiring Practices
The Taiyo Nippon Sanso Group seeks to secure diverse human resources and have eliminated such potentially discriminatory factors as gender and age from our hiring practices. Our personnel system is based on three key concepts: Put the right person in the right position, ensure impartial evaluations and training, and provide results-based compensation.
Evaluating Employee Performance and Determining Compensation
We have developed job/role-specific criteria for evaluating the performance of and determining compensation for employees. Prioritizing a fixed cycle of actions (fulfill expectations/exercise capabilities → evaluate performance/determine compensation → provide feedback → foster human resources) and repeating this cycle both ensure fairness and impartiality and enhance job satisfaction.
In a bit to invigorate our organization and create a bold, forward-looking corporate culture, in April 2015 we modified personnel systems for management-level employees. We began by seeking to ensure our ability to assign the right people to the right positions in a timely manner by eliminating our vocational qualification system, an essential component of which is seniority, in favor of a system that focuses on performance. Additionally, to enhance profit sharing, we raised the percentage of annual remuneration accounted for by bonuses, thereby creating a system of compensation that is more closely tied to the achievement of medium-term management plan targets.
Training “The Gas Professionals”
We believe that companies can provide a place for employees to gain experience, training that increases knowledge and develops skills, and a framework that allows personnel to grow through varied work experiences. Guided by this belief, in fiscal year 2008 we began to build a new educational system comprising programs classified by type, i.e., hierarchical, selective, optional, theme-specific and divisional training.
Regardless of the positions to which they have been assigned, new graduates hired are given basic training for new employees, as well as training on the front lines of manufacturing and sales, thereby ensuring they acquire the expertise and experience demanded of all Taiyo Nippon Sanso employees. Training classified as hierarchical, which is designed to impart crucial knowledge and professional skills, can be taken in the first five years of employment. In fiscal year 2018, we also began offering training for line managers. Given the rapid globalization of the industrial gases business, we recognize the need to cultivate employees who are able to function in a global business environment. In fiscal year 2017, we launched the Overseas Trainee Program, whereby employees are dispatched to overseas Group companies. (For details, see our 2019 Integrated Report.) We have also created an incentive program for employees seeking to obtain nationally recognized qualifications and subsidies for employees taking correspondence courses.
Employee Training Framework (Headed by the HR Division)
Steps have been taken recently to strengthen the Overseas Trainee Program.
Life planning seminars provide information that helps employees prepare for life after retirement.
Strategy and marketing training is provided for employees in their fifth year.
Training for new employees includes a Self-Defense Forces boot camp.
We are striving to invigorate internal communications with the aim of creating smoothly functioning, open workplaces.
Holding Young Researchers’ Conferences
We hold young researchers’ conferences four times annually at our Tsukuba and Yamanashi laboratories (The facilities host one conference each independently and collaborate to host the remaining two.). The conferences provide an opportunity for young researchers to present their research, thereby improving their communication skills, as well as to pose questions to other researchers, which increases their comprehension. To encourage active discussion among young employees, there is a rule in place that management members do not ask questions.
The Tsukuba Laboratory began conducting young researchers’ conferences since 1992, with more than 500 individuals having presented their research to date. Researchers participate actively in Q&A sessions and lead the exchange of opinions on individual presentations, underlining the importance of these events as a source of new ideas and responses to issues.
Conferences provide an opportunity for communication for young researchers from across the Group.
Enhancing Internal Communications
In Japan, we publish Best Scrum, a bimonthly in-house newsletter. In addition to corporate information designed to promote awareness of management policies, share operating results and enhance understanding of Group operations, Best Scrum features information on the activities of individual divisions and Group companies and on important new technologies. With the goal of giving Best Scrum a personal touch and encouraging communications across the Group, employees across the country are encouraged to submit articles and comments for inclusion to local communications managers.
We also produce Konnichiwa, a seasonal English-language newsletter for Taiyo Nippon Sanso Group companies overseas. Each issue of Konnichiwa includes summaries of key articles from Best Scrum and a section introducing employees in various countries who have made notable contributions to the Group’s development and growth, each of which is asked to convey a short message to his or her colleagues around the world.
Working with the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Employees’ Labor Union
The Taiyo Nippon Sanso Employees’ Union was established in May 2005, and a union shop agreement was concluded in October of the same year. Our policy is to disclose information to the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Employees’ Union as much as possible and to consult and negotiate in good faith. Labor–management relations are healthy, and both parties are committed to working and growing together.
|Collective bargaining||This is a forum for consultation regarding wages, bonuses and various working conditions based on labor union demands and for discussions between labor and management on a wide range of topics, including important Company initiatives and business conditions.||Regularly held in early March (requested submission date) and April (specified response date)|
|Central Labor Council||This is a forum for discussing various matters affecting union members in general. In response to proposals from the Company, the union’s central executive committee and the executive general manager of the HR Division hold discussions, and financial reports and information on important Company initiatives are presented. Principal matters discussed include amendments to working conditions for union members, permanent reassignments, early retirements and proposed temporary transfers.||Unscheduled (20–30 times/year)|
|Branch Labor Council||This is a forum for discussing matters related to union members at regional sites. Discussions are held between branch executive committees and local labor managers, i.e., branch general managers, department general managers and department managers. Matters discussed include provisions regarding working hours in Japan’s Labor Standards Act and the relocation of sites.||Unscheduled (Frequency varies from one region to another.)|
Work Style Reforms
With the goal of creating positive work environments conducive to diversity and a healthy work–life balance, we are promoting changes to existing workplaces that make it possible for employees to achieve balance to their careers and responsibilities at home and that encourage job satisfaction and provide motivation. Our efforts to advance work style reforms have also included promoting the creation systems that facilitate flexible work arrangements.
Creating Positive Work Environments
With the aim of creating positive work environments for all of our employees, we have developed a variety of leave systems to accommodate individual needs. These include a childcare leave system that includes reduced working hours, flextime and other measures designed to assist employees with childcare responsibilities. Initially targeted at employees with children under three years of age, eligibility was later expanded to include employees with children up to the third year of elementary school. In fiscal year 2018, the possible reduction in working hours, previously set at 2.0 hours, was lowered to 1.0 hour, making the system easier to use.
We have also made it possible for employees with children of elementary school age or younger to take special childcare leave to provide nursing care in the event of illness, assist with childcare or attend school functions, or take part in volunteer activities by using expired annual vacation days. Recognizing that the rapid aging of Japan’s society will increasingly require employees to assist with long-term nursing care, we established a system for employees to assist with nursing care for elderly family members that enables employees in this position to take long-term leave of up to 365 days. In addition, we created a “Refresh Holiday” system that gives employees special extra paid vacation days to celebrate their 10th, 20th and 30th years of employment.
Other moves designed to realize more flexible work styles include the adoption in fiscal year 2018 of a leave system that allows employees to accompany spouses on overseas assignments and a rehiring scheme for employees that have resigned because of pregnancy or responsibilities associated with childcare or nursing care. In fiscal year 2019, we introduced a flextime system that allows employees to take vacation time in hourly units.
Systems to Assist Employees with Childcare Responsibilities
|Reduced working hours||Flextime|
|Eligibility||Employees with children up to the third year of elementary school||Employees with children up to three years of age|
|Duration||Up to the end of the child’s third year of elementary school||Up until the month the child turns three years of age (i.e., until the day before the child’s birthday)|
|Terms||Start and/or end of working day can be adjusted in either direction in 30-minute intervals (maximum permitted reduction per day: two hours)||Flextime
(Core time: 10:30–15:00)
Number of Employees Making Use of Childcare Leave Systems
|Fiscal year 2017||Fiscal year 2018||Fiscal year 2019|
|Special maternity leave before/after birth||6||2||4|
|Childcare leave||7||7（Female employees: 7）||7（Female employees: 5）|
|Reduced working hours||9||11（Female employees: 11)||11 (Female employees: 11)|
|Flextime||0||0||1 (Female employees: 1)|
|Special childcare leave||Cumulative number of individuals||42||39
(Female employees: 25; male employees: 14)
(Female employees: 46; male employees: 29)
|Cumulative number of days||37.0||52.0
(Female employees: 34.0; male employees: 18.0)
(Female employees: 33.0; male employees: 19.5)
Promoting the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities
We provide information on opportunities for individuals with disabilities with the goal of further opening the door to employment at our offices across Japan. Such efforts have led to the hiring of individuals to fill positions in a wide range of areas, including general affairs, administration, accounting, sales, distribution, technological management, production control, R&D and engineering. As of March 31, 2019, the percentage of our labor force accounted for by individuals with disabilities exceeded the legal minimum of 2.2%. We will continue working to maintain our employment of individuals with disabilities at above the legally mandated percentage.
The Taiyo Nippon Sanso Group Code of Conduct forbids any act that may be construed as harassment. Our Rules of Employment clearly stipulate the prohibition of harassment and the establishment of hotlines for employees to seek consultation or report complaints. In addition to providing training to raise awareness of the importance of eliminating harassment, in January 2017 we formulated the President’s Policy on the Prevention and Eradication of Harassment in the Workplace, calling on employees to help create positive workplaces by, among others, disseminating information on the policy.
Establishing the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Helpline
We have established the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Helpline to facilitate the swift discovery/correction and prevent the recurrence of compliance violations while also protecting the privacy of whistleblowers. Use of the helpline is governed by the Guidelines for Use of the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Helpline, which also outline robust protections that prohibit anything unfavorable to whistleblowers.
Providing a Working Environment that Encourages Innovation and Diversity
At our Shiba Office, home of the Innovation Division, an independent team within the Global Operations Division, we strive to facilitate global business expansion and value creation by providing a working environment conducive to the development of original ideas and new value and to job satisfaction for a wide range of human resources. As part of this effort, we have established an open area on the eighth floor of the office based on the concept of “a work/lounge/office where employees can choose how and where they work.” The space is suitable for a wide range of uses, including meetings, as a workspace and for presentations using large displays.
The Innovation Division brings together diverse human resources, including a number of foreign nationals. In addition to facilitating in-house communication, the open area has also proven useful in encouraging innovation and diversity.
Eighth floor open area equipped with tables, counters, meeting spaces and large displays
We strive to create work environments that support and motivate employees. To this end, we are promoting measures in three areas: Healthy people, healthy workplaces, and healthy families and communities. We have positioned safety and health in the workplace as a key priority in the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Group Code of Conduct and have formulated the Rules for Occupational Health and Safety, in line with which we are promoting a variety of initiatives.
Taiyo Nippon Sanso’s Health Management Declaration
—Creating a work environment that supports and motivates employees—
On April 1, 2017, we announced the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Health Management Declaration, the subtitle of which is “Creating a work environment that supports and motivates employees.” This declaration reiterates our belief that achieving sustainable growth depends on our ability to maximize our human resources, one of our most important assets, by actively promoting initiatives that support employee wellness and work style reforms.
Taiyo Nippon Sanso’s Health Management Declaration
Creating a work environment that supports and motivates employees
We look for three key qualities in our employees, namely, health, integrity and resourcefulness. With the aim of giving form to the first of these, health, and recognizing that employee health is the driving force behind everything we do, we hereby declare our commitment to promoting sound corporate management and helping realize a spiritually affluent society through the creation of a health-first corporate culture.
Recognizing the health and wellness of all of our employees as a crucial corporate asset, we will also strive to realize secure and pleasant workplaces. We also understand that the health and wellness of each individual employee and of his or her family is a critical motivating factor for employees in both their professional and private lives. Accordingly, we encourage employees to be proactive in maintaining their own health and ask for their active participation in the creation of a health-first corporate culture.
April 1, 2017
Representative Director, President CEO
Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation
In 2019, we earned certification in the large enterprise category (dubbed the “White 500”) of the Health & Productivity Outstanding Entities Program, marking the second consecutive year we have been so honored. The program was established in 2017 by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Nippon Kenko Kaigi (“Japan Health Council”) to recognize companies with particularly excellent health management practices that are consistent with community health issues and health promotion activities undertaken by Nippon Kenko Kaigi. In addition, in October 2018 the initiatives of Group company Taiyo Nippon System Solutions Corporation, which announced a Healthy Business Declaration* in December 2017, were recognized with a silver commendation, recognizing success in the first step of the Healthy Businesses Program.
Note: A Healthy Business Declaration is a declaration of a company’s commitment to promoting health at all business sites with the aim of earning designation under the Healthy Business Program, which is operated by the Tokyo Branch of the National Federation of Health Insurance Societies. Companies achieving a certain level of success are certified as Healthy Businesses. Step 1 of the program involves creating a workplace and work environment that is conducive to health management.
Promoting Employee Health
In addition to arranging consultations with doctors for employees who work long hours, employees on unaccompanied postings are required to undergo annual medical and brain health checks in addition to the annual health checks mandatory for employees. To support employee wellness, in fiscal year 2018 we began subsidizing employees using healthcare facilities or taking part in health promotion programs and distributing wearable health monitoring devices to increase the visibility of individual health-related data. We have also collaborated with industrial physicians and health insurance societies to assign such physicians to all sites across Japan, enabling us to respond to health issues related to extreme overwork, expedite support for employees who have taken leave for the treatment of mental health issues returning to work, revise items covered in annual health checks to facilitate the early detection of cancer, and introduce subsidies for employees obtaining influenza vaccinations and treatment to quit smoking.
In a new initiative, in fiscal year 2019 we held the first Improving the Health of Working Women seminar at our corporate headquarters in Tokyo. Three female speakers—a nutritionist, public nurse and trainer—were invited from Pasona Inc., a personnel placement firm noted for promoting career advancement for women, to speak at the seminar, which focused on three central themes (female hormone-related issues, exercise and diet). Going forward, we will continue working to create healthy working environments that enable female employees to pursue successful careers.
We also conduct health checks for former employees who in the past worked with asbestos and have expressed a desire to receive such checks and have set up a system to compensate individuals whose health has been negatively affected as a result of their work with asbestos.
Stretching (Health of Working Women seminar)
Caring for Mental Health
We have introduced an employee assistance program (EAP) provided by a third-party specialist and set up an external counseling service. At the same time, we have continued to take steps to support mental health care, including establishing a support program for employees who have taken leave for the treatment of mental health issues returning to work.
Participants in Mental Health Care Training
|Period||Management-level participants||Executive-level participants|
|Fiscal year 2015||25||38|
|Fiscal year 2016||37||38|
|Fiscal year 2017||32||24|
|Fiscal year 2018||32||28|
|Fiscal year 2019||35||29|
Employee Welfare Program
We have created a welfare program that provides extensive support for employees. In addition to Company housing or dormitory accommodations for individuals on temporary transfers, the program provides rent subsidies for married employees, subsidies for employees who are homeowners and a mortgage system for employees purchasing homes that includes a Company guarantee, a preferential interest rate and an interest subsidy. The program also makes it possible for current employees and family members, as well as retired employees, to use three Company-owned recreational facilities.
Occupational Health and Safety
In line with our Rules for Occupational Health and Safety, we promote a variety of efforts in Japan to ensure health and safety in the workplace. Based on these rules, we have created an occupational health and safety team and an Occupational Health and Safety Committee at each site. In addition, we continue to promote efforts to eliminate workplace accidents. These include providing safety training and holding morning assemblies, offering Kiken Yochi Training (KYT) (“hazard prediction training”) and introducing 5S (a workplace organization methodology based on five words (Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize) and Shitsuke (Sustain). We also distribute Health and Safety News, an electronic newsletter that includes materials published by the Japan Industrial Safety & Health Association (JISHA), among others, to raise employee awareness.
Site Occupational Health and Safety Management Framework