Promotion of Diversity
Respect for diversity is a cornerstone of Epson's Management Philosophy, and our personnel policies reflect it.
Diversity is the inclusion of individuals of different genders, national origins, religions, regions, educations, social statuses, and LGBT, regardless of whether these traits are innate or acquired, visible, or invisible.
Epson's true customers are end users the world over. In order to enrich their lives, we have to understand them and meet their needs. To achieve this, our own diversity is important. We believe that only with a diverse workforce of people who have respect for one another and who know and practice what is important can we create customer value. In order to deliver results that surprise and delight our customers, Epson promotes female managerial staff and foreign nationals, fostering a corporate culture that enables diverse personnel to display their abilities to the full.
Director and Executive Officer, General Administrative Manager of the Human Resources Division and Health Management Office
Epson has sites around the world to accurately identify and swiftly and flexibly meet the changing needs of customers at different times and in different regions. The Epson Group currently employs about 76,000 people.
Epson is vertically integrated, which means we have control over the "create, produce, and sell" value chain. A high-performing, diverse workforce is essential for achieving vertical integration, making it vital for our operations divisions in Japan and Epson Group companies overseas to be on the same page in terms of business vision and policies. That is why we have a variety of international programs to promote communication and interaction among people at various levels within our operations divisions, Head Office, and other internal organizations.
Locations of sites outside Japan:
Examples of Our Initiatives
Sending Young Staff Members Overseas
Epson actively sends young staff members from Japan to Epson's overseas sites for professional development as part of its trainee program.
Number of Employees Assigned to Overseas Training Programs
Employees Sent to Japan for Training
Epson actively accepts interns from overseas manufacturing sites to stay in Japan for a period of three months to one year. We provide educational programs that give them an opportunity to learn skills and techniques not available in their home countries and helps them enhance their understanding of business processes. In fiscal 2019, we accepted 34 technical interns and trainees, and since 1988, we have welcomed a total of 1,800 Group employees.
The photo on the right shows technical interns inspecting parts manufactured with dies they made themselves.
Epson also recently introduced a program that is designed to deepen the insights of young employees at Epson sales companies. The program enables them to get a different perspective on projects they are working on through interaction with people from the operations divisions and Head Office supervisory departments in Japan. It also enhances their appreciation of Epson and Epson values.
Epson holds a variety of meetings and seminars for representatives from our global sites.
Some are function specific, for areas such as legal affairs, finance and accounting, safety, and the environment. Others are for global projects involving matters such as IT systems and the adoption of IFRS. Still others, such as sales meetings, are held to discuss a range of topics and to share information and opinions globally.
Advancement of Women in the Workplace
An early advocate of equal opportunity employment for men and women, Seiko Epson has sought to eliminate the gender gap and enable employees to enjoy a good work-life balance by providing leaves of absence, shorter workdays for women with young children, and financial assistance to help cover babysitter expenses. These and other actions have met with some success, as women stay with the company longer than men, on average. However, there is still a gender gap when it comes to promotion to management and other leadership positions in Japan. Seiko Epson recognizes this as an issue and is taking additional action to support the advancement of more women in the workplace.
Examples of Actions Taken
Plans for promoting women's participation and advancement in the workplace
- We are aiming to have female employees account for 5% (40 people) of management positions and 7% (350 people) of leadership roles (equivalent to assistant manager) by FY2022.
- We are increasing the pool of candidates to increase the number of women in management positions in the future.
- We will recruit new graduates, with a goal of securing a hiring class composed of at least 25% women.
- We will expand and enhance a variety of policies and measures to enable women to shape their long-term careers at Epson. (For example, we will host dialog with management, and encourage women to participate in management and career development training seminars.)
- We will explore and expand telecommuting and other more flexible ways of working.
Female Empowerment Project
Seiko Epson launched a dedicated project to promote the empowerment of women in the workplace in order to create a climate of support for both male and female employees who want to advance their careers. The members of the project team are knowledgeable internal professionals who are exploring seven topics. They are also working to achieve an action plan as required by the Act on the Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace.
The Seven Topics
Career design, career counseling, work-life balance support (childrearing), work-life balance (family caregiving), internal networking, hiring and retention, and internal/external PR.
Female Empowerment Project
|Career design||More managers effectively motivate women, help them develop their careers, and give them jobs that allow them to accumulate experience of leading organizations and projects, thereby expanding the pool of female candidates for management in a few years.||- The subcommittee analyzes the causes of gender gaps, explore countermeasures, and report findings.
- Provide training for management.
- Create a list of candidates for promotion and follow-up individually.
|Career counseling||Create a program so that women who are having trouble envisioning their career path or who are otherwise undecided about their future career can speak with a female mentor who can help them think positively about their career at Epson.
The content of counseling is summarized and issues are proposed to other subcommittees.
|- Broaden awareness of career counseling on the company intranet.
-Provide individual counseling.
|Work-life balance support (child-rearing)||Capable and motivated yet time-constrained people are given the option of flexible hours and flexibility of location so that they can make the most of their abilities and help improve financial performance. Women are able to advance further and faster because their growth curve during childrearing years is not stalled.||- Introduced a work-from-home program for employees who are caring for young or elderly family members.
- Expanded the purposes for which wellbeing leave can be taken. (fertility treatment, gradual entry into daycare, temporary school closures)
- Entered into agreements with company-led nursery schools that give placement priority to the children of employees.
|Work-life balance support (family caregiving)||Employees understand the system and the current state of care, and the caregiver's health is maintained and stress and anxiety are eased.
Flexible work arrangements make it possible to continue working and manage risks of sudden nursing care.
|- Conducted a survey of employees aged 40 and above.
- Provide information on the company intranet about long-term care insurance and present examples of employees who are balancing work and long-term care.
- Held a seminar on balancing work and nursing care.
- Introduced group insurance for nursing care costs as part of employee benefits.
- Introduced a work-from-home option for employees caring for young or elderly family members.
|Networking||Young and mid-career women are introduced to a variety of role models to motivate them and give them a vision of what their career path could be. A network has been created of women in management, women one step away from management, and other employees around the age of 30 who are facing similar career concerns, creating an environment where they can consult with each other.||- Arrange for dialog between management and women employees.
- Support expansion of dialog at business units and Epson Group companies.
- Provide news about dialog on the company intranet.
|Hiring & retention||Women are proactively recruited, and women with leadership potential are being hired. A variety of actions have been put in place to retain both young and mid-career women employees.||- Strengthen hiring of women.
- Interview women during their third year with the company.
- Gain a clear picture of the difference in retention rate between men and women.
|Internal/external PR||We provide information to the public on our efforts to promote the advancement of women, and we communicate our stance on the promotion of women in the workplace.
We have fostered a climate Group-wide in which women are encouraged to advance their careers by providing information on the advancement of women internally.
|- Hold events for female students.
- Provide information to investors.
- Disclose information on the company intranet.
- Place feature articles in the company newsletter.
Epson has a Career Design Subcommittee made up of leading internal experts who analyze the factors that hinder the promotion of women and propose measures to assist women who seek promotion in designing their career paths.
The criteria for evaluating employees who work a full day and employees who work shorter hours are identical. This was done to ensure a level playing field when it comes to advancement and promotions. Employees are evaluated based on their achievements with respect to goals that are considered to be achievable within their respective workdays.
To be eligible for promotion exams, employees must write a dissertation and pass a written test in the same year. Since a considerable amount of time is needed to write the dissertation and prepare for the written test, employees who have limited free time faced additional challenges. Another stumbling block was that employees who qualify to take the test must do so (and pass) within a three-year period, after which eligibility expired, so those taking maternity leave could end up losing eligibility. To remove these obstacles and make it easier for time-constrained employees to take tests for promotion, we changed the system, in April 2018. We eliminated the expiration period and made it so that employees could maintain eligibility even if they pass only certain test subjects over a multi-year period.
Assistance to women seeking promotion
Starting in FY2019, we have been holding interviews to assist women who are seeking promotion.
The supervisor and the Human Resources Department follow up individually with these women to go over development plans as so forth.
Support for managers
To deepen understanding of the need for diversity (including the participation and advancement of women) to maximize the power of the organization, every year Seiko Epson invites outside lecturers to talk about why diversity matters. Attendance is mandatory for all members of middle and upper management. Bosses, out of an excess of caution, tend to avoid assigning potentially career-enhancing work to women and other employees whose time availability may be limited. For this reason, we have incorporated content in manager training courses to help ensure that all employees are given equal opportunity and are motivated. To further change the mind-set of management, we introduced diversity management training in the 2018 fiscal year. This training program incorporates content that teaches managers to recognize unconscious bias and effectively motivate their female employees. More than 100 people have taken the course.
As a result of these efforts, women made up 2.8% of management at the end of March 2020, up from 1.8% at the end of FY2015, before the start of actions taken to promote the advancement of women.
Career counseling for women
We have installed a career counseling service for women employees who are having trouble envisioning their career path or who are otherwise undecided about their future career. This service puts them into contact with a female mentor who can help them think positively about their career at Epson.
Work-life balance support (child-rearing)
Telecommuting and dependent care
Seiko Epson introduced a system in FY2018 that gives time-constrained employees the opportunity to work from home so that they can provide care to dependents, including children and other sick or ill family members. The telecommuting program can be used flexibly on an hourly, half-day, or per-day basis, up to a set maximum number of hours per month. For example, parents can leave work during regular working hours as needed to participate in school events. Or, when their child gets sick, they can work a certain minimum number of hours while their children are sleeping. Whereas parents previously may have had to take paid leave for these situations, they now can work more flexibly around them.
Telecommuters: 31 (as of June 2020)
Help for employees with children on waiting lists
A growing number of children in recent years have been put on waiting lists for childcare services not only in the Tokyo area but also in Nagano Prefecture, where our main offices are located. Therefore, we are promoting a partnership with company-led nursery schools in the areas where employees live. (There were six schools as of June 2020.)
We have made it possible for employees to take wellbeing leave* for fertility treatment.
Male participation in childcare
For working mothers to fully participate and advance in the workplace, their partners must share the burden for housework and childcare. The number of fathers who are eager to be more actively involved in childcare has grown in recent years, so we have created a childcare leave guidebook for men and posted it on the company intranet. We also promote the participation of men in childcare by holding discussions with male employees who have taken childcare leave and sharing their experiences on the company intranet.
Exploration of work reforms
We have expanded the purposes for which employees may take wellbeing leave. Now parents can take time off to care for their children when schools temporarily close or to help their children get gradually accustomed to daycare.
Furthermore, a labor-management subcommittee on work reform is exploring changes that will give time-constrained employees with young children, for example, more work flexibility.
Work-life balance support (family caregiving)
Seminar to retain employee caregivers
To help employees understand public and private caregiving options and to prepare them for risks associated with the emergence of sudden caregiving responsibilities, we invite experts to give seminars for working caregivers so that they can stay in the workforce. In addition, we have introduced group long-term care insurance as part of the benefits package to help cover caregiving costs. We also hold seminars on caregiving costs to ease the minds of employees facing a caregiving situation.
Dialog between executive management and female employees
Seiko Epson will continue to hold meetings between members of the executive management team and female employees. These meetings are designed to create a mutual support environment and help women network with female managers, with manager candidates, and with other employees who share similar concerns at around age 30. So far, 16 meetings have been held under the aegis of the Female Empowerment Project, with more than 100 people participating. Members of executive management who participate in these meetings learn first-hand about the needs of women in the workplace, such as the ability to telecommute during the childrearing years and availability of a temporary day care space in emergencies. These talks lead to the development of actual trials and the creation of new programs.
The network of female employees is expanding through programs such as dialog sessions among women at the same site or in the same or different business. Now, women who met through dialog sessions are sharing their concerns with one another and communicating about career design and work-life balance support.
Hiring and retention
Strengthening female recruitment
We have posted interviews with women employees who are advancing inside the company on our recruitment website to let potential job-seekers know that we have an environment that allows women and men to continue to work equally when giving birth and raising children.
Interviews with third-year employees
The Human Resources Department interviews young employees who joined the company right out of school and are in their third year with the company to help them quickly improve their effectiveness and to encourage retention. By listening to their concerns about work, the work environment, and their career design, and by following up with them and their workplace, we have seen an increase in retention rate.
Dialog with investors
We provide news about our diversity initiatives as investor relations information.
Supporting female students' career choices
Since 2017, we have been participating in the Science and Technology Challenge program of the Cabinet Office to encourage young women with an interest in science or engineering to choose a career along that path. By showing these young women Epson's latest technology and providing them with hands-on experience in product creation, we are communicating to them the fun of manufacturing and the enjoyment of science.
We put together feature articles on diversity in our company newsletter to help foster a corporate culture in which diverse human resources can maximize their potential, regardless of things such as gender, nationality, educational background, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Seiko Epson will roll out further actions to expand the career advancement possibilities for women and increase diversity.
Employing and Supporting Persons with Disabilities
Epson employs a large number of persons with disabilities. For this reason we accommodate special needs in a variety of ways. For example, we provide easy-access restrooms, parking spaces, and other facilities. We also provide services such as sign language interpretation for in-house training and interviews, and special shortened working hours for dialysis treatment. Two special subsidiaries in Japan, Epson Mizube Corp., and Epson Swan Corp. have made special provisions to accommodate employees with disabilities and allow them to make the most of their talents, and they are now expanding job opportunities for disabled employees.
Epson Mizube Corp.
Epson Mizube Corporation was founded in 1983 as a special subsidiary of Seiko Epson. It began with a workforce of 15 people, 11 of whom had disabilities, and has expanded steadily since then.
Epson Mizube's wide range of services include assembly, inspection, cleaning, and packaging of various electronic and precision devices; paper recycling; printing, copying, and bookbinding; document digitization; dust suit cleaning; building cleaning; and sorting and dismantling used ink cartridges. The company employs 141 persons with disabilities at seven sites (as of the end of March 2020).
Facilities cleaning services were launched in 2008, and have since grown to a crew of 47 employees who provide services to 5 sites (as of March 31, 2020). The cleaning crews contribute to maintaining pleasant working environments. In 2017, we installed an upcycling model line in the PaperLab. This has expanded employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and promotes environmental impact reduction by using the PaperLab and DFP to turn used paper into business cards and notebook paper.
Certification as an Employer of Persons with Disabilities
The Japan Association of Employers of Persons with Disabilities, which works on a commission from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, certifies companies that demonstrate excellence in matching disabled employees with the right jobs and working conditions, employ multiple persons with disabilities, and meet certain other criteria for the advancement of persons with disabilities. Epson Mizube earned certification as an employer of persons with disabilities in recognition of its efforts to expand hiring of individuals with mental disabilities and for company-wide initiatives to engage and support people with disabilities as they seek to gain independence.（January 1, 2020）
Taking part in the Abilympics
Many of Epson’s employees with disabilities have amazing skills that are invaluable to the company. At the National Abilympics competition in Aichi, Japan in FY2019, Shoichi Yokouchi earned silver in the electronic device assembly event and Katsunori Nakajima competed in the building cleaning event. Yokouchi, an Abilympics veteran who has won six medals over the years, including a gold in electronic circuit assembly, is also helping to train his younger coworkers. His mere presence is a source of encouragement for other employees with disabilities and helps to invigorate the workplace.
Epson Swan Corp.
Epson Swan Corporation started operating in March 2002, when it was established as a special subsidiary of Tohoku Epson Corporation in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture. It was the first certified special subsidiary in Yamagata Prefecture. It is presently a special subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation. Located in the grounds of Tohoku Epson, 22 people with disabilities (as of April 1, 2020) clean dust suits and provide building cleaning services within the company.
In addition to employee and leisure support, we also focus on professional development. In FY2019, we entered the facilities cleaning category at the Japan National Abilympics in Yamagata.
In addition, Epson Swan communicates both internally and externally by publishing its magazine Smile via its intranet and as hardcopy four times a year. A total of 43 issues have been released, counting the most recent published in May, 2020.
Selecting Senior Executives
Epson seeks to put itself in the best position to achieve the goals of Epson 25 by reviewing organizations, roles, and human resources from a global perspective and making adaptations that best serve our business strategies and the ever-changing business environment. The company specifies the roles and requirements for key positions in the global Epson Group. It establishes succession plans and has systems in place to ensure that the best people for these positions are selected without regard to consideration such as age, gender, and nationality.
In Japan, personnel reviews that focus primarily on middle managers in each business and function are conducted to identify candidates for future executive management positions. Succession plans are drawn up, and training, both internal and external, is provided to put them in a position to succeed. Epson also has in place a Group-wide training and rotation program to prepare employees for promotion to entry-level management positions.
Epson Group companies outside Japan identify certain ranks at which they look for candidates to fill future top-level management positions. They then compile basic information about everyone at those ranks. Seiko Epson consults with Epson Group companies to grade these individuals based on common global criteria and identify the top talent. Information about their skills and capabilities is gathered by various means, including 360-degree evaluations, and future career path and development plans are explored.
As a result of these initiatives, Epson now has home-grown talent in leadership positions at its overseas affiliates. The CEO of Epson's regional head office in the US is an American who has responsibility for all administrative and business operations at Epson companies in North, Central, and South America. In Europe, all local affiliates controlled by the regional head office are headed by locals. In addition, a number of Epson sales and manufacturing affiliates around the globe have recruited or promoted locals to run their operations.
Workforce Composition and Service Period
|Male/Female Ratio||Mgmt. Diversity*1||Junior Mgmt. Ratio*2|
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation employees as of March 20, 2020.
*1 Section manager and higher
*2 Team leader
Length of Employment
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation employees as of March 20, 2020.
|Total turnover ratio||3.2%||3.6%||3.6%||4.5%||4.1%|
|Voluntary turnover ratio||1.6%||1.6%||1.5%||1.8%||1.5%|
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation and domestic major affiliated companies as of March 20, 2020.