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Creating a Pleasant Work Environment for Employees

Kobe Steel's human resources programs and human resources development policies respect the personality, individuality and diversity of company employees while creating lively and attractive work environments. Programs include strong support for healthy work-life balances and for successful women in the workplace.

We also cooperate with Group companies in various ways to "support each employee in developing his or her abilities, while respecting mutual cooperation," which is one of the principles of the Kobe Steel Group Corporate Philosophy.

Respect for Human Rights

Kobe Steel strives to maintain sound working environments that are free from discrimination.

Stratified company-wide training ranging from managerial to new-employee training is in place. Training strives to educate employees on appropriate ethics and codes of conduct related to human rights as defined under Kobe Steel's Corporate Code of Ethics, to encourage respect for human rights in the course of business activities and to teach the importance of creating sound working environments that are free from discrimination.

Additionally, we distribute Guidelines for Employee Conduct to all employees, encourage employees to act in accordance with respect for human rights, carry out training at individual sites to raise awareness of human rights and otherwise strive to prevent human rights issues before they occur.

Preventing Harassment

Sexual Harassment Prevention Manual

Sexual Harassment Prevention

Kobe Steel does not condone sexual, power or any other harassment in the workplace. In the event that harassment does occur we respond with swift and firm measures.

Our Corporate Code of Ethics includes clear policies and standards regarding harassment. E-learning and other training on preventing harassment is carried out for managers, and we strive to build workplace environments where it is difficult for harassment to occur.

We use compliance manuals such as our Sexual Harassment Prevention Manual to raise awareness of issues, ensuring that individuals in the workplace have a proper understanding of what constitutes harassment and do not overlook problems when they occur.

We also pursue broad range of measures to prevent harassment and to resolve issues quickly when they occur. For instance, we have established sexual harassment consultation hotlines at all locations with staff trained in appropriate responses.

Corporate Code of Ethics: Standards of Corporate Conduct

3. Respect for human rights and prohibition of discrimination

The Company is committed to maintaining a healthy and productive workplace free from harassment and discrimination based on race, creed, color, gender, religion, nationality, language, physical traits (disability), wealth, origin or any other reasons whatsoever. The company has zero tolerance for any sexual harassment, which is recognized as a social issue these days. Should a violation of this policy be found, the Company will investigate immediately, provide aid to the victim, and take necessary action to prevent reoccurrence.

Promoting Diversity

Female employee exchange meeting

Female employee exchange

In order to adapt flexibly to changes in the business environment and society, and to pursue sustained development and growth, Kobe Steel considers the viewpoint of diversity to be an integral aspect of management. Promoting diversity is one of our most important management tasks.

In order to strengthen diversity initiatives, we established a new Diversity Development Section in October 2014 within our Human Resources Department. We respect the diversity of each employee, and aim to create a thriving workplace and society where workers can demonstrate their talents to the fullest.

In particular, we promote success for women in the workplace, actively pursuing recruitment activities that include numerical targets for female representation among new hires. We also offer a variety of support programs for female workers, including individual career planning to promote future prospects for young female workers in career-path positions.

In addition to promoting diversity and women in the workplace, we are also reexamining companywide working styles for all employees, men and women alike. We are striving to create more pleasant working environments for all employees, including efforts to eliminate excessive working hours, increase use of paid vacation and improve productivity.

Major Programs and Initiatives to Promote Diversity and Women in the Workplace

  • Career sabbatical program (enables career to be resumed later in the case of a a spouse's work transfer, etc.)
  • Reemployment system (reemployment for people who quit for reasons such as marriage, childcare, caregiving or a spouse's work transfer)
  • Support for early return after childcare leave (up to \600,000)
  • Diversity Support Network
  • Support measures for early development of skills (career planning for young female workers)
  • Mentoring program
  • Female employee exchange meetings
  • Diversity training for managers
  • Initiatives to reduce working hours and encourage use of paid vacation

Employee Statistics (As of March 31, 2015)





No. of employees

No. of employees








Career-track employees




Technical workers




Medical staff




Contract ("shokutaku") employees & seconded employees




New hires

New hires




New graduates








Employee turnover

Employee turnover




Retirement/career change












* Numbers hired and turnover are for fiscal 2014.

Work-Life Balance

Kurumin Mark

Kurumin Mark

Handbook on Balancing Work and Childrearing

Handbook on Balancing Work
and Childrearing

Kobe Steel is active in maintaining work environments that are conducive to a healthy work-life balance. Our efforts so far have garnered official praise, twice receiving the government's "Kurumin Mark" certification (in 2012 and 2015), which recognizes companies that offer proactive support for childrearing,

  • Creation and implementation of action plans based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children
  • Establishment and expansion of childcare and caregiving programs that exceed the provisions required by law

Additionally, we publicize and encourage use of our support programs, promoting a fulfilling work-life balance and active childrearing for both female and male employees.

Main Initiatives to Support Childrearing and Nursing

  • Extension of childcare leave (up until child is 3 years old)
  • Expansion of flexible work hours for childcare (through elementary school age)
  • Work-from-home system (4 days/month, expanded to pregnant women/care for children up to elementary school age)
  • Extension of caregiving leave (up to 3 years)
  • Remuneration introduced for child and family care leave
  • Distribution of Handbook on Balancing Work and Childrearing
  • Childcare/caregiving support services
  • Point award system for childcare items under welfare benefits program
  • Bring your family to work days

Use of Childcare Leave

  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014
No. of employees taking leave (of which are men) 14 (1) 24 (0) 21 (1)

All female employees who gave birth during the time period above took advantage of childcare leave. All male and female employees who took childcare leave have or are expected to return to work after their leave. (As of May 2015)

Employing People with Disabilities

The Kobe Steel Group actively promotes the employment of people with disabilities. We also strive to create working environments in which individual employees can work comfortably and make the most of their abilities.

Kobe Steel carries out year-round recruitment. We cooperate with local employment offices and polytechnic schools for persons with disabilities, participate in joint job-placement interview sessions, visit local schools, and otherwise strive to expand employment for people with disabilities.

As of June 1, 2014, people with disabilities accounted for 2.28 percent of Kobe Steel's workforce, exceeding the 2.0 percent required by law. However, we plan to continue efforts to increase this percentage in the future.

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities (Kobe Steel)

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities (Kobe Steel)

Employing Older People

At Kobe Steel, we operate a reemployment scheme for experienced older workers to enable us to rehire employees after they reach retirement age. We also reemploy older workers from group companies and other organizations, so that we can continue to benefit from the techniques and skills possessed by veteran employees. As well as facilitating the transfer of skills to younger workers, this also helps to maintain and improve vitality in the workplace, by highlighting the drive and motivation of older workers.

Currently, the rehiring rate at Kobe Steel for persons past retirement age is over 90 percent. Nearly all employees continue to work even after reaching the set retirement age of 60.

As the workforce continues to grow younger, the skills and technical abilities of these veteran workers is integral to supporting quality manufacturing at Kobe Steel. Transmitting these skills to the next generation of workers will help form the cornerstone for future manufacturing at our company.

Other companies in the Kobe Steel Group have introduced similar systems.

percentage of Retired Employees Reemployed (Kobe Steel)

 percentage of Retired Employees Reemployed (Kobe Steel)

Health and Safety Management

Health and Safety Management Policy

At Kobe Steel, we believe that health and safety are fundamental to business management and take priority over all business activities. In keeping with this principle, we take various steps to create a vital workplace where employees can safely pursue their careers with peace of mind.

Goals of Health and Safety Management Plans

  • Correctly understanding relevant laws, regulations, and company rules, and building a consistently compliant organization and structure.
  • Quickly responding to changes occurring in areas such as production, quality, personnel, company organization, and the environment.
  • Creating a corporate culture in which all employees work to protect not only their own health and safety, but also those of their fellow workers.

Safety Management

As a result of efforts to eliminate occupational accidents over the medium to long term, Kobe Steel has been able to reduce the number of accidents and maintain an overall low frequency of occurrences. Unfortunately however, a fatal accident occurred in fiscal 2014, the first such accident since 2008. We recognize that protecting the lives and health of our employees is of the utmost priority in fulfilling our corporate social responsibilities, and that such an incident must not be allowed to reoccur. As such, in fiscal 2015 the Kobe Steel Group and its partner companies will make a unified effort, in terms of people, equipment and supervision, to further raise the level of safety at our companies.

Frequency of Accidents Resulting in Absence From Work

Frequency of Accidents Resulting in Absence From Work

Number Fatalities and Injuries

Number Fatalities and Injuries

Health Management

Kobe Steel chosen in 1st Health and Productivity Stock Selection

Kobe Steel was included in the "Brand of Companies Enhancing Corporate Value through Health and Productivity Management(Health and Productivity Stock Selection)" created by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The selection, announced on March 25, 2015, is one of the Ministry's efforts to extend the healthy life expectancy of citizens as part of its Japan Revitalization Strategy.

The Health and Productivity Stock Selection is a list of corporations chosen by METI and the TSE that are making strategic efforts to take employee health into consideration from a management point of view. The list introduces companies that are attractive to investors who value the long-term improvement of a corporation's value.

This was the first year the list was published, and 22 companies were selected in total, including Kobe Steel.

Strengthening Preventative Care

Kobe Steel undertakes health management based on a set of basic principles. We recognize the importance of early detection and treatment of illnesses and of improvements to lifestyles (preventive care). We are enhancing our health management system that addresses both physical and mental health. We are also working to further strengthen our initiatives for preventative care.

  • 1. Extensive preventative care activities to prevent work-related illnesses
    (Fiscal 2014: Zero new patients suffering from work-related illnesses)
  • 2. Early detection and treatment of illness


    • (1) One-day full medical checkups, completely covered by the company ("Kobelco Medical Check 50")

      • ・One-day full medical checkups are carried out for all employees upon reaching age 50, in order to promote understanding of one's health status and to increase health management awareness.

      • ・Financial support is also offered for optional screenings (for tumor markers, cerebrovascular disease, etc.) at age 50 under the Spouse Health Check 50 medical checkup program, which aims to raise health awareness for married couples.

      (2) Early treatment of high-risk obesity (metabolic syndrome) (early treatment of high-risk obesity, which is considered to be a strong contributing factor for illnesses such as brain disease, heart disease and cancer)

      • ・The blood test portion of medical checkups required by law for employees 35 and older are also carried out for employees at ages 20, 25 and 30, to promote early detection and attention to treatment.

      • ・More complete health counseling from occupational physicians and public health nurses for employees with problematic checkup results.

      (3) More complete cancer screenings (expenses fully covered by health insurance)

      • ・Endoscopic stomach and colorectal cancer screenings for employees 35 years and older.

      • ・Uterine and breast cancer screenings for female employees.

      (4) More thorough counseling services (preventative psychological care)

      • ・Counselors are present at all locations to offer counseling during work-related changes such as transfers and promotion. Care is available for those with disorders, and stratified training is actively carried out on these issues.

  • 3. Initiatives geared toward improving lifestyles (preventative measures, promotion of greater health consciousness)


    • ・Lifestyle factors that contribute to high-risk obesity (metabolic syndrome), such as eating, drinking and exercise habits, differ by person. As it can be difficult for individuals to independently improve and maintain good lifestyle habits, the following support program has been implemented:
    • ・The "Health Challenge" program offers regular support for issues such as exercise, smoking cessation and weight loss. Prizes are offered for individuals who meet their goals.

Kobe Steel engages in health and safety initiatives to ensure thriving work environments where employees can work in safety and peace of mind.

Human Resource Development

Developing Human Resources and Transferring Skills to Support Manufacturing Capabilities, Quality Control Circle Activities

Human Resource Development Policies

Human resource development at Kobe Steel aims to instill in employees a sense of pride and satisfaction in their work. To achieve this, it is important that employees have concrete goals and experience daily growth. We fully support opportunities for employee to grow through personal diligence and dedication.

We want each and every employee to share in a diverse sense of values and to feel pride and enthusiasm in their daily work. To this end we have established the following Vision for Human Resources at Kobe Steel.

"As employees, we will continually strive to establish trust in KOBELCO on a global scale."

  • Sincerity
    People who seriously accept reality and act in good faith
  • Cooperation
    People who express their own views while accepting the opinions of others and also working in partnership with others
  • Innovation
    People who are never satisfied, but constantly challenge and strive to innovate

Developing Human Resources in Support of Manufacturing Capabilities at Production Sites

We take a proactive role in training young engineers. In addition to five years of required technical training after entering the company for technical employees, we also offer support for trade skill tests and other qualifications, and dispatch employees to the College of Industrial Technology.

Additionally, we carry out training at headquarters and other locations to improve management skills for those appointed as on-site foremen.

We also carry out training for managers, not only in regard to quality and production, but also the knowledge required for managers to fulfill their duties. This includes knowledge on safety, the environment, compliance and human rights.

Training System for Technical Workers

Training System for Technical Workers

Promoting Skill Succession

Our aim is raise the skill level of younger workers at each plant in the Kobe Steel Group through both on-the-job training (OJT) and off-the-job training (OFF-JT) at skill training centers. To help make training more systematic, we also utilize skill maps that show who has mastered which skills and to what level. Activities such as these are in place to ensure skill succession at each plant. Companywide training is in place to help raise the skills and technical abilities of young technical workers.

Quality Control Circle Activities

KOBELCO QC Circle Conference


The Kobe Steel Group carries out improvement activities (quality control circle activities) on the shop floor, believing that manufacturing capability is the wellspring behind global competitiveness.

Once a year, we hold a KOBELCO QC Circle Conference to share information across the Kobe Steel Group as well as educate, in an aim to raise the activity level throughout the organization.

Support for Career Development and Technical Skills Development

In order to assist employee career development, we create opportunities for managers and their employees to discuss business objectives and future career plans. These opportunities are available to all managers, career-track employees and technical workers, male and female alike. Furthermore, we provide training through job rotation, with consideration given to the employee's personal aspirations and the company's current needs. We also operate a personnel recruitment system that is designed to encourage independent career development.

Regarding skill development, we are also focusing on expansion of offline training to compliment on-the-job training. We are expanding elective training, strengthening basic training for young employees, and working to bolster problem-solving skills, specialist knowledge and foreign language skills of mid-career employees.

Training System

Training System