<Fiscal 2012> Human Rights and Labour Practices Initiatives and Expectations of KDDI
Human Rights and Labour Practices Initiatives and Expectations of KDDI
We invited two experts in the fields of human rights and labour practices to discuss these topics in a lively dialogue with KDDI representatives.
The invited experts
Mr. Masao Seki
ISO 26000 Working Group expert
Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.
Ms. Jun Shibayama
Diversity & Career Advisor
Part1: Encouraging Diversity and Other Initiatives While Looking Ahead to Societal Issues
Empowerment of Female Employees-The First Step Toward Realizing Improved Diversity
Shibayama: I understand KDDI is positioning promoting diversity initiatives as important opportunities so that you are providing a wide variety of supporting programs such as child and nursing care system and training programs. In order to aim to have more employees fully contribute in their organizations, however, I would like to ask you what will be necessary for them to sufficiently use these programs as a next step.
KDDI: One task faced by KDDI is encouraging employees to develop the skills necessary to effectively combine and utilize a number of systems, such as the teleworking system, to perform to the best of their ability. In addition, we recognize that companies which have been successful in empowering their female employees also tend to realize diversity benefits in other areas. Accordingly, we are promoting the empowerment of female employees as one of our main management strategies for FY2013.
Shibayama: I hear that a difficulty for corporations aiming to support female employees is that even if they provide useful programs and systems, while some employees with the potential to achieve managerial positions can use them well and advance their careers, most general employees are not like that. The majority of female employees tend to think the words "leadership" and "career up" are irrelevant to them. However, if we listen to them through career counseling, we learn that they have firm ideas which can clearly link their work to "leadership" and "career up". Therefore, it is essential to have a support system enabling them to realize that by themselves. KDDI is now reaching a mature stage of promoting diversity, so I think it may be the time for you to start implementing a support system to satisfy the needs of this majority group of female employees as a next step.
KDDI: In KDDI, the support systems are in place, and while there are still some differences among the departments, we can say that our effort of leveraging female employees' power is progressing. However, it is true that some employees tend to spend more time for their work if we considered their work-life balance situation. On the other hand, there is a female employee quickly returning to work from one's child-care leave to fulfill her position as a line manager. If this kind of employees increased, we think the understanding toward having a good work-life balance will penetrate in to the organization. Therefore, we want employees with strong will to contribute to the Company throughout their future careers start to using our supporting systems more effectively and positively.
Shibayama: If you made the same approach to the majority of female employees as to the employees with potential to achieve management positions, it will be difficult to make a change. First, providing the employees some opportunities to have them design their careers and having them integrate their "work" and "life" by themselves, they can make the deep understanding on "what work indeed means for their life". And that can change their approaching style toward their work and they can fulfill their thinking toward their careers from now on. I believe you will be able to further leverage diversity hereafter by providing various support with various approaches meeting the needs of each group.
Seki: One problem that often occurs with childcare and nursing care support systems is a low level of understanding by managers of the systems provided. Regarding this, at Sompo Japan we are, on a trial basis, implementing systems-related training which is attended by both managers and staff at the same time, though to be honest there is still a long way to go.
KDDI: We are very impressed by the extremely interesting initiative of putting managers and staff together to increase understanding. In KDDI, we tell our employees at the seminar for those who will return from one's childcare leave to return to their work not only for working just as before but also for enhancing their performance level. We are now only focusing on those who take a leave so that there is still an opportunity to make sure that the manager and the subordinate frankly discuss on how the subordinate will work after returning to their work. Since the number of female employees who return to their work with high motivation are increasing, it is essential for us to think how those employees can play an active role. In this fiscal year, we started to focus on appointing female line managers among other initiatives supporting female employees. Because we believe the Company can change with the placement of female employees at some decision making points. After listening to your comments today, we realized that it is necessary for us to leverage our female support initiatives not only in terms of their careers but also in terms of their life.
Treatment of Non-Regular Employees
Moderator: Could you talk about how KDDI treats non-regular employees?
Seki: Some non-regular employees are extremely talented. It is important to create a system for promoting them to regular employee status and ensure that this system performs well.
KDDI: In Europe, equal pay for equal work by regular and non-regular employees is becoming an issue, but I do not think it is possible to assess this when duties and careers are different. In KDDI's case, we do not have any cases where regular and non-regular employees are working in the same jobs. I believe this is true for most Japanese corporations.
KDDI: We can understand the situation for the Company, but for local staff at overseas sites it is honestly very difficult to know their situation.
For that reason, from last fiscal year we have started conducting awareness surveys for employees at overseas subsidiaries just as we do for the Company to gain further understanding. We have also made some progress with efforts to unify work structures and regulations at Group companies in Japan, but as the circumstances at each company vary it is difficult to unify them all.
Until now, awareness of the role of corporate divisions in the Group as a whole, including CSR activities, has been lacking. To grasp the situation for the entire KDDI Group, we will exchange opinions and ensure everyone has the same understanding.
Seki: Situations may vary from company to company, but take European corporations for example. Some European corporations adopt a method where they take the lead in advancing group-wide human rights promotion. As such, it is possible to take an approach in which everything is promoted not only by the individual company but by a whole group based on their common human rights policy
.Also, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drawn up based on the concept that the handicap is not in the persons with disabilities, but it is in the society that can not accept them. Accordingly,for example it is necessary to provide an environment where children with disabilities can study at ordinary schools, rather than at schools exclusively prepared for the challenged. From this perspective, it is not the best way to have special subsidiaries or factories dedicated for people with disabilities. Now that this U.N. rights convention has come into force, I think it is a good time for Japan to adopt this way of thinking.
Part 2: Understanding Future Global Development, and Issues to Consider with Regard to Human Rights Problems
The Importance of Human Rights Due Diligence
Moderator: At this time, when Japanese corporations are seeking to rapidly globalize, what human rights problems should they consider?
Seki: For Japanese corporations, the important human rights issues have been limited on such themes as discrimination, sexual harassment, and power harassment.From a global perspective, as stated in the Ruggie report , due diligence is needed with more comprehensive and systematic way. In other word, it is necessary for corporations to establish a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle, by assessing the risk of human-rights abuse, drawing up and implementing policies, disclosing information, and performing reviews.
People , culture and values are diverse in Asia and sometimes different from Europe or the United States . It is crucial to accept universally agreed human rights principle, but at the same time, it is necessary to respect such diversity especially in Asia.
- Report to Human Rights Council by Professor John Ruggie, who worked for the United Nations
Human Rights Initiatives in the Whole Value Chain
Moderator: What systems and structures does KDDI have in place to prevent these human rights problems arising or to react effectively if they do arise?
KDDI: In Japan, we have implemented a whistle-blowing system, a Business Ethics Helpline for declaring information, and sexual harassment and abuse of authority hotlines. We carefully handle any incidents that occur.
As one of our global initiatives, we have expanded the range of the Business Ethics Helpline to cover overseas Group companies. So far, no problems serious enough as to majorly influence operations have occurred. However, we have heard that as KDDI is increasing recruitment of foreign employees, human rights problems are more likely to occur than we assume to be the case.
Seki: It is necessary to think about human rights issues affecting not only employees but also wide variety of stakeholders for example consumers. KDDI has overseas customers and consideration of the issues related to these customers is important.
Also ISO 26000 states that it is essential for companies to broaden their horizons beyond their own operations to their supply chain and value chain, on which they exert an influence despite sometimes having no directformal relationship. This point will also be more important in the future.
KDDI: Listening to what you have said so far, although we have implemented a PDCA management system in our Business Ethics Committee, we have not tackled human rights risks in a broad sense. We feel the need to broaden our horizons in the future. We aim to identify the level required to grow and develop our business and to prepare appropriate policies and plans.
Seki: I look forward to KDDI initiatives that take a further step forward. I would like you to set an advanced example as a company leveraging a new way of working as strength. Ultimately, I think that would raise the level of CSR activities for all Japanese corporations.
Regarding human rights, I would like you to pursue wider initiatives that value creation in the whole value chain, rather than only reducing risks.
KDDI: From what you say, we feel that it is important to clarify again how far our role extends from a global perspective. Also, we would like to create a new way of working, leveraging our strength in IT, and make it useful in everyday life to contribute to work-life balance in a more genuine sense.
In many ways, our ideal is for KDDI to become a corporation that has a value for society. There is a need for fulfilling CSR in our operations themselves, and we will work to reflect our responsibility in future activities.
Thank you very much for speaking to us today.
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