Message from the Director in Charge of Diversity Management and Health Management

Creating Organizations with Diversity to Promote Innovation

Ever since Shimadzu was founded, the company has remained committed to solving challenges in society based on our corporate philosophy “Contributing to Society through Science and Technology.” As specified in our medium-term management plan, Shimadzu is also involved in a wide variety of measures for achieving sustained growth as an “Innovative Company that Solves Social Issues with Global Partners.” Of those measures, diversity management is one of Shimadzu’s most important topics. Shimadzu has a long history of promoting diversity, including prenatal and postnatal maternity leave, child care time, and menstrual leave policies introduced in 1948. Since then, a variety of other policies and working practice reforms for promoting diversity have been introduced as well, such as the WiSH project launched in 2015 and women’s initiatives. In FY 2022, an organization was established for promoting D&I (diversity and inclusion), to which equity (E) has been now added for promoting DE&I.
Recently, many companies have been engaging in diversity measures as a corporate strategy. To achieve growth under current business conditions with great uncertainty, it is essential that companies change highly homogeneous organizations, as commonly found in Japanese companies, into organizations with more diversity. For Shimadzu as well, due to the dizzying pace of changes in science, technology, and business conditions, we need to urgently create organizations with even more diversity. That means we need to recognize the cognitive biases present in highly homogeneous organizations and improve the quality of decision-making by introducing more diverse perspectives and ideas. By promoting DE&I, we intend to not only increase the diversity of employee attributes, but also increase cognitive diversity, generate innovation, increase employee engagement, increase sustained growth, and increase corporate value.

Current DE&I Status and Issues

In terms of diversity (D), we are strengthening measures to utilize a broader diversity of human resources, not only through women’s initiatives but also with policies for delaying retirement and for exchanging personnel with subsidiaries outside Japan, for example. We are also strengthening activities for increasing the diversity of the knowledge and experience available by helping employees obtain specialized expertise or improve their skills. Increasing the ratio of women in management positions has been a challenge, but we are implementing measures to achieve our goals, such as improving hiring practices and training younger employees. In terms of equity (E), while we are making steady progress improving systems for supporting working practices based on individual circumstances, we still have a way to go with respect to understanding and supporting minorities down to the workplace level, which indicates that instilling an understanding of equity is an issue. In particular, in terms of inclusion (I), where each employee feels a sense of contribution from using their particular skills or strengths, a recent survey indicated that we have an issue with employees not feeling free to be themselves (individuality) or feeling that not everyone is free to fully utilize their maximum potential (opportunity fairness).
To achieve equity (E) and inclusion (I), we will strengthen measures for promoting a personal commitment to DE&I policies by each employee, for promoting management practices based on understanding and utilizing differences, and for fostering career ownership by each employee to ensure their skills and strengths are fully utilized.

Using the Power of Individuals to Increase the Power of Organizations through Dialogue and Personal DE&I

To promote DE&I, it is important for employees to have a proper understanding of DE&I and treat it as their own issue. To promote understanding by more employees, the current medium-term management plan specifies a human resources strategy that defines human resources hired by Shimadzu as Shimadzu members, with diversity as a prerequisite for hiring and a DE&I program added to management training and new-employee training. To determine our own standing with respect to diversity, we will begin disclosing data about the diversity in each department starting in FY 2024. By learning where our own department stands with respect to diversity, such as in terms of the percent of available childcare leave actually used by men, hopefully it will help us realize where we should be.
To ensure employees adopt new measures with an open mind, it is also important that the measures are backed by strong messages from company leadership. Therefore, in FY 2023, all corporate officers delivered speeches about DE&I to employees. Before giving those speeches, the officers were also surveyed about DE&I, which provided a new opportunity to think about DE&I. Consequently, we intend to continue communicating information in that way in the future as well.
In addition to such measures, “dialogue” is another thing we want to strengthen. By each employee refining their dialogue skills and using them to break free from high-context styles of communication, we can create more opportunities to generate sympathy and transform the power of individuals into the power of organizations by cultivating mutual understanding of our differences in experiences, values, and ways of thinking.

Fostering Personal Career Ownership by Each Employee

Another issue for women’s initiatives is career ownership. Women often comment that they lack confidence, are not suited to leadership positions, and cannot envision their career path. However, actually that is a challenge for both men and women. In particular, previous surveys have shown that Shimadzu has a general issue with employees having low career aspirations. In response, we have been introducing an internal job-posting system and other new human resource systems to provide a forum for envisioning and implementing different career paths. Linking such systems with education/training systems, such as for acquiring skills and knowledge or career training, could help foster the career ownership necessary for DE&I and generate a positive cycle of each employee improving and utilizing their individual abilities.

Instilling DE&I in Corporate Culture throughout the Shimadzu Group

Currently, we are in the process of deploying DE&I activities throughout the Group, but there are a wide variety of DE&I issues that need to be addressed depending on the country or region. First, we will share our thinking and vision for DE&I within the Shimadzu Group, provide support for specifying DE&I measures and KPI values at respective companies, and then work with Group companies to start implementing those measures. For Group-wide measures, we specified the slogan “Embrace Differences, Include One and All” and defined DE&I for Shimadzu. In the future, we intend to promote implementing DE&I measures more actively by sharing updates on the status of DE&I measures throughout the Group. Group companies in Japan, particular, face challenges such as increasing the ratio of women in management positions and increasing the usage of childcare leave days by men. In FY 2023, Shimadzu offered management training for women for the first time at a Group company in Japan. We remain committed to continue establishing a corporate culture with DE&I firmly rooted throughout the Shimadzu Group.

Developing Health Management that is a Step Ahead

Improving employee health is also an important theme in terms of the Shimadzu management principle “Realizing Our Wishes for the Well-being of Mankind and the Earth.” Employee health is essential for achieving sustained growth. In addition to physical health, there has been a recent increase in mental health disorders. Consequently, maintaining both physical and mental health has resulted in challenges for not only absenteeism but also presenteeism. For example, departments with high stress levels indicated in annual stress checks are provided with direct assistance based on workplace improvement programs or on-site lessons given by clinical psychotherapists or public health nurses. Improvements to stress level values are being achieved by conducting measures that depend on the given circumstances.
Furthermore, relevant Shimadzu healthcare technologies, products, and services are being offered as a dividend to employees and their families. For example, Shimadzu products are being used to offer supplemental breast cancer examinations and mild cognitive impairment examinations. In addition, we established a Health & Productivity Management Alliance in 2023 that companies and other organizations can use to practice health management. That not only helps other companies promote health using Shimadzu products, but also provides an opportunity for Shimadzu Group employees to maintain/improve their health using non-Shimadzu products and services.
To further maintain/improve employee health, in the future we will partner with outside companies to analyze/utilize health data, verify benefits, and deploy medically-based measures. Through such measures, we intend to achieve well-being by deploying uniquely Shimadzu health management measures that are a step ahead.

Each Employee Contributing to Society and Shimadzu by Promoting DE&I

It is essential that each employee takes on the challenge of making full use of their abilities. However, workplace personnel often say they lack the confidence for taking on new challenges. When I was the first woman to be transferred outside Japan, to be appointed president of a subsidiary, or be appointed a corporate officer, each time I initially felt I lacked adequate confidence. However, saying “I’ll give it a try” and taking a step forward has resulted in all sorts of interesting new experiences. Learning from my failures and building on even small successes gave me the courage to proceed even when I lacked confidence about a new career path. For other employees as well, even if you fail to get a perfect result from your challenge, just start by taking one step forward, thinking carefully about what you should do and what you can do yourself, and boldly take on new challenges without fear of failure. My role is to create an open corporate culture that provides fair opportunities for taking on challenges, where anyone is free to express themselves, and that provides psychological safety for developing a mutual understanding of each other through dialogue.
We will continue working as “One Shimadzu” to implement DE&I measures that make each employee feel they are contributing to society and Shimadzu, feel proud to be a member of the Shimadzu Group, and achieve a society overflowing with sympathy. 

Biography of Yoshino Kajitani,
Managing Executive Officer,
in Charge of Legal Affairs, Diversity Management and
Health Management

Apr. 1984   Joined Shimadzu Corporation
Oct. 2007   General Manager, Export Management Department, Shimadzu International, Inc.
Oct. 2013   General Manager, Export Management Department, Shimadzu International, Inc. and concurrently Senior Manager, Business Process Re-engineering Unit, Business Systems Management Department
Jan. 2014   Representative Director, President, Shimadzu International, Inc.
Jun. 2017   Corporate Officer, General Manager, Public Relations Department
Apr. 2019   Corporate Officer, General Manager, Corporate Communication Department
Apr. 2021  

Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Human Resources, Diversity Management, and Health Management

Apr. 2024   Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Legal Affairs, Diversity Management, and Health Management (current)