Epson develops and trains its human resources in line with a Human Resources Development Policy established in 1996 that designates talented people as a precious management resource. We assist employees so that they can achieve their dreams of self-fulfillment, and we develop people who connect and support all the companies in the Epson Group. We provide training so that our people understand their roles and what is expected of them as members of the Epson team. Training enables them to work and communicate effectively, solve problems and achieve goals, and experience personal and professional growth.
Seiko Epson requires that employees complete a course in management practices before being appointed to a management position. This course prepares them to meet the requirements as a manager by ensuring that they understand their role in terms of both business and actions. On the business end, they learn the skills they need to understand strategic business objectives and respond rapidly and nimbly to internal and external changes in the business environment. On the action end, they learn the skills they need to support the growth and development of the people who report to them by putting organizations and individuals in a position to succeed.
In addition, we provide training for new employees, group training for each grade, and various open-type training to develop people who will fulfill roles as future middle managers step-by-step.
Practicing Off-the-Job Training on the Job
A feature of human resource development at Epson is that we provide level-based group training at every juncture along the career path, from entry level jobs through management, and give employees a chance to put into practice on the job the knowledge they acquire.
After completing group training, new hires undergo a one-year practicum. Other employees who complete other group trainings undergo a three-month practicum. During the practicum, employees prepare action plans based on what they learned and put these plans into action on the job under the supervision of their supervisors, thus enhancing their ability to use the knowledge and skills they learned during training, in their actual jobs.
Epson has used a management by objectives systems for more than 30 years. All employees of every grade are subject to the systems, and managers and their subordinates work together to set objectives that they can both agree on. Progress toward the objectives is periodically reviewed, end results are evaluated, and new, higher objectives are set. The management by objectives system is itself an on-the-job human resource training system. It is a win-win development cycle in which individual growth leads to the growth of the organization and the company.
Global Leadership Training
In addition to a course in management practices for managers and employees who will be transferred overseas, Epson provides training (F1, F2, and F3 course) to selected employees. In the F1 course, director candidates learn the skills needed to be a top executive. The F2 course is used to prepare middle managers to take the reins of a business or division. In the F3 course participants learn the basics of business through simulated exercises. Through these courses, Epson develops future leaders across the group.
The Global Incubation Seminar (GIS)
The Global Incubation Seminar (GIS) is a program for developing global leaders who will be a driving force in the Epson Group. At the seminar, we share Epson's vision and values with up-and-coming leaders from around the world, and empower them to put these into practice in their own organizations. Since 1999, the first year of the program, more than 350 people have participated in GIS training, and nearly all the chief executives of Epson's overseas companies are graduates of the program.
The fiscal 2017 GIS was held at the Seiko Epson Head Office for five days, from February 26, 2018. A total of 25 individuals took part, including personnel from 19 overseas affiliates. Participants develop a deeper understanding of the business vision and strategies by directly hearing from and speaking to members of the executive management team. They also discuss issues among themselves to help them think through what they can do as leaders to make Epson an indispensable company. They then draft and commit to executing concrete plans.
By offering this training on a continuing basis, we hope to develop diverse global talent who will drive Epson to new heights in the future.
One participant's impressions of GIS 2017
My biggest takeaway is networking and learning from our executive team and those from our sister companies. To make Epson a stronger company, we need to bear in mind everything we learned, committed to, and communicated at GIS 2017 no matter how busy we are in our daily responsibilities. I would like to communicate Epson expectations and the Epson Vision to my team.
Director, Prod. Control & Materials
Epson Portland Inc.
I was impressed with the presentations from executive management and discussions with other participants. I think that it is incumbent on the GIS participants to take the initiative to share Epson values and the lessons about value that we learned about to align everyone across the Epson Group, and especially members of management, in the same direction.
Senior Manager, Market Support Department
Epson (China) Co., Ltd.
The Global Executive Seminar (GES)
In the 2017 fiscal year, Epson held the inaugural Global Executive Seminar (GES). The GES, which we plan to make an annual event, seeks to further strengthen executive management at overseas affiliates. The seminar is designed to develop leaders who are capable of developing strategies and considering issues, such as how to achieve Epson's long-term goals, what role they and their companies should play, and what changes to make, in a business environment with limited future visibility. The seminar starts with a three-day group training session (session 1) and is followed by a year-long period during which participants apply lessons in actual practice, after which they gather to report the results over two days (session 2).
Seven people, five of whom are from overseas affiliates, participated in session 1, which was held at the Seiko Epson Head Office from May 24. These same seven people are scheduled to return for session 2, in 2018.
Training for New Employees in Japan
Epson considers the first year of employment to be a training period during which new employees learn about the Epson approach to work. For the first three weeks, new employees in Epson Group companies in Japan gather at the Head Office for group training, where they learn the following:
- Conduct expected of them as Epson employees
- The mindset and attitude necessary for practicing "monozukuri" or the art and science of manufacturing, which is the foundation of Epson's efficient, compact and precision technologies
- The importance of working cooperatively as a team
Training ranges from lectures on the Epson Code of Conduct to hands-on training in manufacturing. New employees learn the importance and enjoyment of working in teams, through group activities that take place throughout the training period.
After they complete group training, new employees are sent to the department where they have been assigned. There they learn their job through on-the-job training under a mentor. Mentors are usually selected from among young employees with three to five years of experience. They produce training plans tailored to the individuals they will be mentoring and, for a full year, provide them with the support they will need to stand on their own. Mentors themselves are expected to grow through this experience.
At the end of the first year, the new employees gather again for follow-up group training, where they can observe how they and others have grown and developed. To further solidify the foundation they have built as a business professional, they review the previous year and consider action plans for the next year and beyond to achieve further growth and expand their contributions to the company.
Lifetime Career Support
Epson continuously implements initiatives aimed at being an organization that promotes personnel development. We provide support towards building motivating and challenging careers that encourage growth. To help our employees set their own medium- and long-term career goals and take actions toward achieving them, we have been offering Lifetime Career Support (LTCS) since FY2016. The LTCS provides age- and grade-specific training, which gives employees an opportunity to independently plan their own career path.
FY2017 training results
LTCS50 training (for all employees age 50) - 460 people
LTCS40 training (for all employees age 40) - 256 people
Creating Value That Exceeds Customer Expectations and the Monozukuri Juku
Epson's Monozukuri Juku, or Manufacturing School, aims to enhance the customer value we create. To this end, we teach our personnel basic technology and skills and have them experience monozukuri (the art and science of manufacturing) by performing specific manufacturing tasks step by step. This helps them tackle jobs from different angles. To give a specific example, employees learn the basics of component processing technology (molding and pressing). Once they learn these, employees have the skills to make the various parts that go into a product. Employees also learn by mastering essential skills for making production lines more efficient (e.g., automating lines or operating them with fewer staff).
In addition, we contribute to the community and society by giving practical training for new employees of local businesses, offering corporate experiences to junior and senior high school students, and providing instruction for technical skill trainings. We also send experts abroad to take part in official development assistance for building technical skill evaluation systems at the request of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Mechatronics Training for Building, Maintaining, and Enhancing Automated Lines
Factory productivity improvement initiatives are nothing new at Epson. Earlier examples included the introduction of simple and systematic tools to production processes. More recently, however, we are facing great changes in the manufacturing environment. As wages have risen rapidly and workers prefer non-manufacturing jobs, it is not always easy to recruit the necessary labor. Earlier improvements were based on the assumption there would be plenty of inexpensive labor. Our business is not likely to survive if we just try to repeat such improvements. Therefore, we are making a strong push to build production lines that rely on human labor as little as possible but are still capable of stable production.
Monozukuri Juku holds about 100 trainings of various types each year to develop the engineers who keep production lines running. Trainings impart machining skills like mechanical drafting and measuring required to build equipment. The organization prepares such curricula as mechatronics basic technologies, where engineers who promote manpower-saving and automation technology get training in basic technologies like compressed air and electrical control as well as assembling and adjusting simple devices. Other courses include FA robot training, image processing training, and mechatronics practical training, which are designed to teach practical technologies and skills. Thus, we are offering employees an opportunity and place to learn.
Monozukuri Juku trains machine tool and maintenance engineers in Japan but also sends staff to teach at overseas affiliates that serve as our major manufacturing sites. There, we develop leaders in production and machine tool maintenance at overseas affiliates, by giving courses based on our training program in Japan.
Developing Young Technicians through National Skills Competition
As a manufacturing company, Epson uses training for WorldSkills competitions to develop "groundbreaker technicians"*1 who have acquired essential manufacturing knowledge and skills at an early age. As a rule, individuals are allowed to take part in WorldSkills trainings just once. The purpose of the short-term intensive trainings is to help participants learn technical skills at the all-Japan level. Every year we send 10-15 individuals to the National Skills Competition associated with WorldSkills to compete in seven selected occupational categories that are applicable to our employees' work: Instrument making, Press tool making, Mechatronics, Industrial electronics, Web design, IT network systems administration, and Watch repair.
New employees sent to Monozukuri Juku as WorldSkills trainees experience monozukuri (the art and science of manufacturing) in such forms as filing and sawing. They also learn basic knowledge about machinery, electricity, and other general topics in each occupational category. In conjunction with everyday occupation-specific training, there are training camps three times a year. Participants lodge together, run a 40-km road race, join group discussions, set targets, and the like. All of this helps to build a sense of solidarity as a team.
To recreate the feel of the national competition, we also hold joint training events with other companies that take part in WorldSkills. Additionally, our employees actively pursue such national qualifications as machining technician, electronic device assembly technician, web design technician, and watch repair technician. After participants finish WorldSkills trainings, they get practical training to help them build the basic skills learned there into skills they can use to make products. Each participant then joins an operations division. The units they join often praise these employees for performing beyond expectations.
*1 Technicians with the ability to break from precedent to create innovative technologies and systems.
Epson Employees Win Awards at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017
Epson employees won awards, in Plastic Die Engineering and Web Design and Development at the 44th WorldSkills Competition held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, from October 14-19, 2017. This marked the first time since the 2009 Calgary, Canada, competition that Epson was represented at the event, and the first time since 2007 that an Epson employee won an award (an employee won a gold medal in Polymechanics and Automation at the event in Shizuoka, Japan).
Epson has participated in the National Skills Competition since 1971 to train the next generation. Young technicians train intensely under the guidance of veteran employees to acquire top-level skills in Japan in a short period of time. They hone their skills in friendly competition toward a common goal, building teamwork and the ability to act independently in the process.
After completing WorldSkills training, they contribute to Epson's operations with their newly acquired skills, mental toughness, and attitude toward work. They are often praised for performing beyond expectations by their organizations.
Epson will continue to use competitive events like WorldSkills to pass down skills, provide motivation, and develop people with world-class skills.
Plastic Die Engineering
- Bronze Hayato Miyasaka (right)
Web Design and Development
- Medallion for Excellence Azusa Sano