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 sexual orientations, 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 CSR 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.
Employees Sent to Japan for Training
Epson actively accepts interns from overseas 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 2017, we accepted 39 technical interns and trainees, and since 1988, we have welcomed a total of 1,700 Group employees.
The photo on the right shows technical interns inspecting parts manufactured with dies they made themselves.
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
Seiko Epson has had some success in empowering women-who actually stay with the company longer than men, on average-by creating conditions that allow them to better balance family with work. These conditions include, for example, the ability to take leaves of absence or to work a shorter day, as well as financial assistance to help cover babysitter expenses. 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 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 help build an internal network of female employees and encourage them to participate in management and leadership training seminars.)
- We will explore telecommuting and other more flexible ways of working.
Seiko Epson has earned the highest (Grade 3) Eruboshi certification* from the Japanese government in recognition of our excellence in promoting the advancement of women in the workplace.
* To be eligible to receive Grade 3 certification a company must satisfy all the criteria in five areas: recruitment, continued employment, working hours, percentage of women in managerial positions, and diversity of career courses
The Platinum Kurumin
Seiko Epson is creating conditions that allow employees to balance their careers with their personal lives. In recognition of our efforts to implement policies that will benefit the next generation, the Japanese government awarded Seiko Epson Platinum Kurumin certification.
In 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, working in collaboration with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, selected Seiko Epson for inclusion to the list of Nadeshiko Brands, an honor bestowed on companies that demonstrate excellence in encouraging the empowerment of women in the workplace. Seiko Epson was recognized for implementing higher quality initiatives to empower women in order to produce greater business success.
Seiko Epson conducts family tours every August. Children of employees visit the company, see our products, make fans using paper printed from an Epson printer, assemble watches, use the employee cafeteria, and participate in other events that show them what Epson is like.
Childcare space and babysitter
A childcare space was set up in company housing adjacent to an Epson site. Employees can hire a babysitter to look after their children at company expense.
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.
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.
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. 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 the development of actual trials and the creation of new programs.
Telecommuting and dependent care
Seiko Epson has introduced a system that gives time-constrained employees the opportunity to work from home so that they can provide care to 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: 38 for childcare and 1 for family care (as of April 2018)
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 will introduce diversity management training on a trial basis in the 2018 fiscal year. This training program will incorporate content that teaches managers to recognize unconscious bias and effectively use female employees.
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. In addition, 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.
Seiko Epson will roll out further actions to expand the career advancement possibilities for women in the future.
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, Ltd., 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; printing, copying, and bookbinding; catalog mailing; document digitization; dust suit cleaning; building cleaning; and sorting and dismantling used ink cartridges. The company employs 129 persons with disabilities at nine sites (as of the end of March 2018).
Facilities cleaning services were launched in 2008, and have since grown to a crew of 44 employees who provide services to 7 sites (as of March 31, 2018). 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.
Awarded Director's Prize for Effort - Excellence by a Worker with Disability
In recognition for this long-term service as an exemplary worker, Masashi Mukaiyama of Epson Mizube Corporation received the Director's Prize for Effort by a Person with Disability. Mukaiyama is a shining example for all employees. "I want to thank my colleagues and my family for this award was made possible through their support. This award encourages me to further polish my skills, challenge myself to more advanced work, and broaden the scope of my work horizons," stated Mukaiyama. Mukaiyama also earned Gold Prize in the electronic circuit assembly competition at the 2012 Japan National Abilympics.
Taking part in the Abilympics
Many of Epson's employees with disabilities have amazing skills that are invaluable to the company. The FY2017 Japan National Abilympics featured the most Epson representatives ever (4 employees: product packing - Masaya Hirabayashi; facility cleaning - Mizuho Yosoi; electronic device assembly - Shoichi Yokouchi; office assistant - Misaki Kamijo). Masaya Hirabayashi and Mizuho Yosoi earned silver and Shoichi Yokouchi earned bronze. Through their efforts, these employees serve as positive examples for workers with disabilities.
Epson Swan, Ltd
Epson Swan Ltd. 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, 20 people with disabilities (as of April 1, 2018) 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 FY2017, we won the Prize for Effort in the facilities cleaning category at the Japan National Abilympics
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 34 issues have been released, counting the most recent published in March 2017.
Selecting Senior Executives
Epson identifies the roles and requirements for key posts within the Group, prepares succession plans, and selects the best people for these positions, without regard to consideration such as age, gender, and nationality. A system is in place to select the best people for key posts that open up.
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 identify the top talent among these candidates, gathers information about their management and other capabilities via 360-degree evaluations, and explores future career paths and development plans for them.
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.