Special Feature

Employees put policy into practice:
This is the KOBELCO Way Work Style

Prior to our work style reform, the Kobe Steel Group had already established the Diversity Development Section, which aims to support vibrant working styles for a diverse range of employees.

Below we introduce the working styles of some of our employees, who are putting into practice KOBELCO Way work style reform. Examples include childcare leave for male employees, the promotion of women’s participation in the workplace, and more efficient meetings.

I want to be someone whom both family and company can rely on.

Muneaki Ikeda

Muneaki Ikeda
Sheet Products Development
Research & Development
Iron & Steel Business

In September 2016, when our third child was born, I utilized the one month of childcare leave available for men. Our two older children were two and three years old and still required a lot of daily care, so taking leave allowed me to help out with general housework such as cooking and laundry, as well as to take them to and from daycare and be there to play with them.

Since taking childcare leave required arrangements such as allotting work duties and sourcing manpower, I let my boss know about my intentions five months in advance. Afterward, due to a change in duties, I was put in charge of a very important project. I hesitated over whether taking leave was the right thing to do, but my boss reminded me that "family has to come first," so I took the plunge and utilized my leave.

One thing I realized while taking care of our children is that raising children and development work are actually similar. Just as children don’t always do what their parents tell them, sometimes even when things go perfect in the laboratory they don’t turn out as expected on the factory floor. But if you are patient and persevere, whether in childrearing or in the factory, you can always trust that issues will be resolved. I’m still in the process of balancing work and childcare, but I’m determined that someday I will become someone who can be relied on in both areas of life.

Taking childcare leave taught me better time management at work.

Sadamu Sasaki

Sadamu Sasaki
Sales & Marketing Department
Energy & Nuclear Equipment
Business Unit
Machinery Business

The first reason I chose to take childcare leave is that after seeing the way my boss always managed to balance both work and childcare despite limited time, even if it was sometimes difficult, I had resolved that if I ever had children I would do the same. The second reason is that my wife and I had frequently discussed the fact that we would both like to keep our careers.

When our child was born in December 2015, I decided to take two months of childcare leave from February to the end of March, up until the point when our child entered daycare in April. Right before my leave was scheduled to begin, the market I was in charge of grew brisk and I hesitated once more. But then I heard a discussion about how men can learn a lot from the experience of childcare leave and I made my decision to take it.

I still remain involved with childcare and housework. I use the flextime system to begin work early so that I can pick up our child from daycare in the evening. Time management and multitasking are essential to balancing childcare and home chores with work. Taking childcare leave taught me how to be more efficient in the way I do my job.

The important thing is to be open to the values and ways of thinking of many kinds of people.

Noriko Kimura

Noriko Kimura
Diversity Development Section
Human Resources Department

My job is to teach employees about diversity. I find my work very rewarding as it involves promoting diversity at Kobe Steel in a variety of ways, for instance by planning a range of training sessions and exchange meetings, publishing welfare and benefits related news, contributing articles to the Group newsletter, and updating the diversity promotion website.

In order to ensure that a diverse range of employees can work in a vibrant environment, I believe it is important to be open to the values and ways of thinking of many kinds of people. In other words, when encountering a way of thinking that is different from your own, it is important to imagine the other person’s circumstances and feeling and to try to put yourself in their shoes. I also believe that remembering to spend time outside of work, with friends and family, helps us to be more emotionally accepting and thus more open to values that differ from our own. I suspect that if overtime is reduced through efforts such as work style reform initiatives and employees can spend more time outside of work, this will help to speed up the creation of better workplaces.

I write meeting minutes in realtime.

Yuki Tokunaga

Yuki Tokunaga
Planning & Administration
Machinery Business

I am in charge of writing the minutes for meetings, which helps to make meetings more efficient. I first send out meeting notices to participants via email, with timetables and topics for discussion. Once the meeting starts, I insert details directly into that email. After the meeting ends, I resend the email to all participants within 10 minutes. This becomes the official minutes of the meeting.

There are tricks to creating speedy, easy-to-understand minutes. For instance, I load up documents related to the topics to be discussed in advance. The minutes are also displayed on monitor as I create them in realtime, so that all members can share in the meeting’s proceedings, with entries color-coded for easy understanding—comments in blue, decisions in red and so forth. At first I wasn’t able to keep up and organize the minutes on time, and would often have to apologize and tell participants I would send them later, but I have since improved my skills, which helps contribute to shorter meetings.

Kobe Steel Group’s work style reform initiatives have also garnered strong praise from outside the company.

Chosen for Health and Productivity Stock Selection for Third Time Running

Chosen for Health and Productivity Stock Selection for Third Time Running

The "Brand of Companies Enhancing Corporate Value through Health and Productivity Management (the Health and Productivity Stock Selection)" lists companies, chosen by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), which promote strong initiatives to maintain and improve employee health. Kobe Steel was selected for the third year in a row. Twenty-four companies, including Kobe Steel, were selected in fiscal 2016 nationwide, out of 726 applicants.

Also Awarded Health and Productivity Enterprises (White 500) Certification

Also Awarded Health and Productivity Enterprises (White 500) Certification

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) introduced the Health and Productivity Enterprises Certification System in fiscal 2017. Having fulfilled the necessary criteria, Kobe Steel was certified as a Health and Productivity Enterprise in 2017. Kobe Steel was recognized for its visualization of health management initiatives, incorporation of employee health management into economic considerations, strategic approach, and measures related to working environment.

Chosen as a Nadeshiko Brand and Semi-Nadeshiko Brand

Chosen as a Nadeshiko Brand and Semi-Nadeshiko Brand

The Nadeshiko Brand stock selection was introduced by The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in fiscal 2012, to identify and publish corporations that promote the advancement of women. Kobe Steel was first selected in fiscal 2015, as one of 45 companies chosen from a total of around 3,500 contenders. In fiscal 2016 Kobe Steel was also selected as a Semi-Nadeshiko Brand.

Twice Awarded the Kurumin Mark for Childrearing Support

Kurumin Mark

Kobe Steel has been recognized for its efforts to maintain work environments that are conducive to a healthy work-life balance, having twice received the government's "Kurumin Mark" certification (in 2012 and 2015), which recognizes companies that offer proactive support for childrearing.

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