Seven & i Holdings has positioned supporting active roles for women, youth, and seniors as a material issue, and aims to enhance its corporate competitiveness through active participation of diverse human resources, with the goal of becoming a company with a sustainable competitive advantage.
Seven & i Holdings established the Diversity Promotion Project in 2012 and has promoted initiatives with a focus particularly on women's participation and advancement, based in part on the thinking that incorporating the perspectives and sensibilities of women into product and service development and sales floor arrangements translates into higher customer satisfaction given that a majority of customers that visit the Group's stores and other establishments are women. As the next steps in the initiative, in 2012 we created a promotion system and in 2013 conducted measures for awareness-raising among women themselves and revised operation of the system. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2015, we moved to the stage of raising the awareness of management-level employees. In addition, since the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, we have promoted initiatives to support the balancing of work and family care responsibilities, and we will take further measures to achieve our targets for diversity promotion by 2020.
At the same time, we have also reviewed working formats for greater productivity, focusing on rectifying long working hours, which have been a barrier to the further advancement of diverse personnel, and on achieving employee work-life balance. By promoting initiatives in line with the business formats at each Group company, including organizing work process improvement teams to raise the efficiency of store operations, visually representing overtime work and leave days used, and establishing no-overtime days, we have successfully corrected overtime work and increased the rate of leave taken. Our next step will be to aim for even greater productivity gains while promoting initiatives to enable flexible work styles that allow diverse human resources to play active roles.
Seven & i Holdings is working to promote active roles for women by conducting community activities and seminars targeting various levels within the Group.
Internal interviews conducted in 2012 revealed concern among many female employees about balancing work and childcare responsibilities. In response, in 2012, we started holding Mama's Community meetings to build a network of women involved in raising children. The group uses lunch breaks to hold discussions on balancing work and child-raising. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, a career planning sheet was created and community participants conducted self-analysis of their own strengths and weaknesses and the skills they have acquired and created their own career plans based on life plans, which served to foster greater career awareness. Since April 2017, Mama’s Community has been developed further to host a “Child-Raising Community.” Both male and female employees involved in raising children, as well as pregnant employees, their spouses, and others, share information and hold discussions on balancing work and child-raising. Their activities have led to a review of work styles.
Women's participation and advancement requires that men become more involved in housework and childcare. For this reason, the Ikumen Promotion Program was established in October 2013. It brings in outside lecturers from organizations such as the NPO Fathering Japan, reaffirms the necessity of participation by men in housework and childcare, supports awareness-change among men, and promotes review and revision of existing work formats. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, Group company directors, general managers, section leaders, and other responsible male employees held a panel discussion comparing fathers from the mid-20th century with fathers from the late 20th century through to current times, and the fathers of the future.
The Women's Management Community meetings have been held since October 2012 to create a network of female managers and further refine managerial abilities. The community held a total of 19 seminars through to the end of February 29, 2016 and invited speakers from inside and outside the Company and held seminars on management knowledge and skills needed to advance to a higher position. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2018, the Company started holding new “Nadeshiko Academy” for developing future managers.
The Diversity Management Seminars have been held since June 2014 to change the awareness of managers. The seminars have been held 12 times as of February 2017, and approximately 4,000 people from all Group companies have participated. Led by outside lecturers, the seminars cover such issues as management of diverse staff members, reforming work formats, and leadership. They provide the opportunity for managers to think about diversity from a number of different perspectives. In June 2017, to mark the fifth year since the launch of the Diversity Promotion Project, lecturers were invited from leading companies to “Seven & i Diversity Day 2017.” The event was attended by around 400 CEOs and management team members from every Group company.
The Diversity Management Handbook is also distributed to managers at all Group companies to promote communication with staff members working to balance work and childcare or family care responsibilities in order to further train managers to make good use of their diverse personnel to generate results.
We are working to promote highly capable women and further bolster personnel training to meet the goal of a 30% ratio of female managers by 2020, one of our targets for diversity promotion. As a result of this initiative, female manager ratios, which were 21.3% for team leaders and 14.2% for section managers at the end of February 2012 before the project started, have risen to 30.2% for team leaders and 23.0% for section managers as of the end of February 2017. There has also been progress in changing awareness among female employees and managers in general, and there are now actually numerous managers in the short working hours program. At present, we are working to further train and promote women by holding selective training for managerial roles and management track candidates at Group companies and encouraging them to share career plans with supervisors during individual meetings.
Seven & i Holdings has established specific targets for promoting the active role of women, and the entire Group has worked together to make progress on them. The Group's initiatives and proactive appointment of female managers were recognized in January 2015, when we were awarded the Prime Minister's Award at the Leading Companies Where Women Shine Awards, as well as the Corporate Activity Award from Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. In 2017, we were chosen as a “2017 Nadeshiko Brand” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. Moreover, we placed No. 2 overall in 2015 and 2016 and No. 3 overall in 2017 in the "100 Best Companies Where Women Play Active Parts," sponsored by Nikkei WOMAN magazine and the Nikkei Womanomics Project.
Since September 2012, Seven & i Holdings has held quarterly diversity promotion liaison meetings with diversity managers at the Group's eight core operating companies (including Seven & i Holdings) to rapidly develop horizontally initiatives proposed for the Diversity Promotion Project at the operating companies. Participation was expanded in 2015 to 12 companies and through the meetings Group synergies continue to be generated.
In addition, dedicated diversity teams have been launched at each Group company since September 2013. To achieve the Group's targets, individual targets have now also been set in line with operating company characteristics and initiatives are under way. For example, at SEJ, the training and hiring of women in the sales division has been identified as an issue, and the company is reviewing its hiring practices, improving working conditions, and promoting systematic hiring of women. In addition, IY has identified as an issue the promotion of women to managerial positions and has been working to train female managerial candidates, raise the awareness of managers by holding lectures on diversity management at store manager meetings, for example, and promote greater participation by men in childcare. Sogo & Seibu are having women actively participate in management training for further development and promotion. York Mart is taking steps to improve individual skill and motivation by conducting orientation for employees who have returned to work from childcare leave and exchanging opinions on common issues related to balancing work and family life.
Seven & i Holdings acquired third rank – the highest – in the “L-Boshi” Designation for gender-advanced companies based on the Act on the Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. We achieved the designation standard in all five evaluation categories: recruitment, career continuation, work style factors such as working hours, management ratio, and diversity of career paths. Similarly, IY, Seven Bank, Seven Card Services, Nissen, and Nissen Life have also obtained third rank, and Seven & i Food Systems has obtained second rank. (As of June 30, 2017)
“L-boshi” certification mark
Seven & i Holdings is assisting people with disabilities to demonstrate their abilities at their workplaces based on its commitment to providing an environment where everyone can play an active role. To this end, all operating companies consult with employees with disabilities to determine the workplaces, jobs and working hours that are suitable in consideration of the level and details of their disability and their own preferences. In this way, people with disabilities work in various divisions.
In recruitment, we coordinate with special-needs schools to provide onsite training in stores and participate in job interviews organized by local employment agencies and partner with vocational schools. Furthermore, all Group companies are provided with the Seven & i Holdings Normalization Support Guide, which contains basic knowledge and practical recruitment methods when employing people with disabilities, to ensure that all people who are responsible for recruitment and education at Group companies are aware of considerations regarding disabilities and that they implement them.
Furthermore, Terube, Ltd.*1, which is a special subsidiary established to foster the employment of people with severe disabilities, employs 20 people with disabilities as of June 1, 2017. As a result, the Group's employment rate of people with disabilities*2, including those employed by Terube, came to 2.51%. (As of June 1, 2017)
Seven & i Group companies have a system for rehiring employees after mandatory retirement, providing an opportunity for veteran employees to use their skills and abilities. At IY, for example, a re-employment system that allows people to continue working until age 65 was introduced in 1995 in response to employees who said they wanted to continue working after the mandatory retirement age. Employees can select from three options of working days and hours to suit their wishes, enabling them to work in diverse ways. From April 2006, the Senior Partner System was implemented to allow part-time employees to work until age 65 as well. As of February 2017, 6,095 senior partners are active in the company. The system was also expanded in 2017 to enable people to continue working up to the age of 70.
With the birthrate declining, society aging, and the working-age population decreasing, SEJ is creating employment opportunities for seniors who want to work. The company actively participates in joint company presentations on senior employment held by municipalities and promotes the hiring of seniors. For people concerned about working at a convenience store, SEJ strives to provide detailed information and maintain conditions that are conducive to working with confidence. The company also provides training for seniors and non-Japanese people to give them support.