Creating a Pleasant Work Environment for Employees

Kobe Steel respects the personality and individuality of its employees. To create a vibrant and attractive work environment, the Company has implemented a variety of personnel policies, including strong support for healthy work-life balance and the success of women in the workplace, as well as human resources development programs.

We also value each employee, and work in cooperation with Group companies in a variety of ways to support employee growth on an individual basis, while creating a cooperative and harmonious environment, as outlined in the Core Values of KOBELCO.

Respect for Human Rights

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

Stratified companywide 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

2.3. 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. Workplace harassment has become a societal problem in recent years. The company has zero tolerance for any sexual, power or other forms of workplace harassment. 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

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 important business challenges.

In October 2014 we established the Diversity Development Section. We respect the diversity of each employee. We strive to create thriving workplaces and a 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 concrete 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.

Chosen for Semi-Nadeshiko Brand Stock Selection

The Nadeshiko Brand Stock Selection identifies listed companies that promote the advancement of women. Previously chosen as a Nadeshiko Brand company in fiscal 2015, Kobe Steel was chosen as a Semi-Nadeshiko Brand company this year. The brand was first announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2012. The Semi-Nadeshiko Brand was newly introduced this year to identify companies for which further growth is anticipated. Kobe Steel was one of 25 companies selected.

Creation and Implementation of Action Plans in Accordance with the Law Promoting Women in the Workplace

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

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

  • Career sabbatical program (enables career to be resumed later in the case of a spouse's work transfer, etc.)
  • Reemployment system (reemployment for people who quit for reasons such as marriage, childcare or caregiving)
  • 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/initiatives to reduce working hours and encourage use of paid vacation
  • Female employee exchange meetings/diversity training for managers
  • Introduction of maternity workclothes
  • Diversity training at all business locations for management/supervisors

Diversity training

Diversity training

Maternity workclothes design

Maternity workclothes design

Employee Statistics (As of March 31, 2017)

    Men Women Total Percentage of women
No. of employees 10,241 793 11.034 7.2%
Managers* 1,717 28 1,745 1.6%
Career-track employees 1,942 143 2,085 6.9%
Core workers (technical) 5,938 70 6,008 1.2%
Core workers (administrative) 361 506 867 58.4%
Medical staff - 15 15 100.0%
Others (contract "shokutaku" employees & seconded employees) 283 31 314 9.9%
New hires 719 125 844 14.8%
New graduates 421 64 485 13.1%
Mid-career 298 61 359 16.9%
Length of employment 16.8 years 16.2 years 16.7 years  

* All employees at Kobe Steel of section chief level or higher are classified as managers.

Trends in Ratio of Women Managers

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Ratio of women managers 1.4% 1.5% 1.6%

Work-Life Balance

Kurumin Mark

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

In the company, we publicize and encourage the 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 a 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 and those with children up to elementary school age who require care)
  • Extension of caregiving leave (up to 3 years)
  • Paid child and family care leave
  • Distribution of Handbook on Balancing Work and Childrearing
  • Childcare/caregiving support services
  • Point award system for childcare plans under employee benefits program

Use of Childcare Leave

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
No. of employees taking leave (of which are men) 21 (1) 20 (5) 36 (6)

* All female employees who gave birth during the time period above took advantage of childcare leave.

Employing People with Disabilities

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities
(Kobe Steel)

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities (Kobe Steel)

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, 2016, people with disabilities accounted for 2.38 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.

Employing Older People

Percentage of Retired Employees Reemployed
(Kobe Steel)

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities (Kobe Steel)

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 know-how 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 people past retirement age is around 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 are 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.

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. In fiscal 2017, continuing on from fiscal 2016, the Kobe Steel Group and its cooperative companies will make a unified effort, in terms of people, equipment and supervision, to further raise their level of safety.

Frequency of Accidents Resulting in Absence from Work

Frequency of Accidents Resulting in Absence from Work

Number of Fatalities and Injuries

Number of Fatalities and Injuries

Health Management

Chosen for Health and Productivity Stock Selection for Third Time Running

Health and Productivity

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 preserve and improve employee health.

The Health and Productivity Stock Selection lists corporations that make strategic efforts to take employee health into consideration from a management point of view. The list recognizes that careful employee health management is a form of investment that helps to increase productivity and corporate value.

Twenty-four companies were selected for the third Health and Productivity Stock Selection, released in February 2017, including Kobe Steel, which was selected for the third year running.

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 2016: Zero new patients suffering from work-related illnesses)

2. Early detection and treatment of illness

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 lifestyle habits, we have introduced the "Health Challenge" program, which 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 vibrant work environments where employees can work in safety and peace of mind.

Human Resource Development

HR Training Policies, Developing Human Resources to Support Manufacturing Capabilities

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 employees to grow through personal diligence and dedication.

We want allemployees 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

Support for Career Development and Technical Skills Development

In order to support employee career development, we have established tiered training systems for managers, career-track employees and technical workers (engineering and administrative levels), and revise the contents of those training modules on a yearly basis. We also support career development by providing opportunities each year from April through May for managers and their employees to discuss business objectives and future career plans.

Managers and Career-Track Employees

Regarding skill development for managers and career-track employees, we also focus on complementing on-the-job training with increased offline training. We are expanding elective training; strengthening basic training for young employees; working to bolster problem-solving skills, specialist knowledge and foreign language skills for mid-career employees; and implementing leadership training for management.

Training System for Managers and Career-Track Employees

Training System for Managers and Career-Track Employees

Core workers (technical )

We take a proactive role in training young technical core workers. In addition to five years of required technical training after entering the company for the technical employees who support our manufacturing sites, we also offer support for trade skill tests and other qualifications, and dispatch employees to the College of Industrial Technology. Managerial appointment training to raise management skills for on-site supervisors is also held at head offices and individual business locations.

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.

Core workers (technical )


Core Workers (administrative)

In order to support skill development for administrative core workers, in addition to on the job training to improve work performance, we also carry out stratified training tailored to specific job roles. Additionally, to support the further growth of specialized skills, in fiscal 2017 we also began expanding our selection of elective offline training for individual career development and job proficiency.

Stratified Training

Stratified Training

Elective Training

Training modules to improve job performance, tailored to the needs of each organization, chosen voluntarily by employees with the consent and understanding of supervisors.

Elective Training

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