Message from the Director in Charge of Human Resources

Increasing the Value of Human Resources by Drawing Out the Best from Each Employee

I joined Shimadzu in 1991. While gaining experience from working in corporate strategy planning, in sales, and in subsidiaries, I spent the most time involved in personnel work. During the second half of the time I was assigned to the human resources development, I was engaged in implementing a variety of measures, such as launching a general manager training program, resuming selective training, and other human resource development system reforms, and introducing new health management tools as part of Shimadzu health management practices.
My new appointment as the director in charge of human resources does not change my belief that “increasing the value of human resources is essential for sustaining company growth.” My mission is to prepare work environments and implement organization cultural reforms that draw out the best from each employee. I will remain committed to that mission in an effort to increase the value of human resources and contribute to Shimadzu growth.

Issues and Measures Revealed by the Engagement Survey

Shimadzu’s employee engagement score is slightly higher than average for manufacturers in Japan. Specifically, employees tend to be proud of their company but have a somewhat low sense of accomplishment and desire to contribute. Nevertheless, the survey confirmed that individual employees have high motivation levels. These results suggest circumstances where employees cannot achieve goals even though they want to do so, or cannot do things as envisioned despite wanting to contribute. That indicates room for improvement in organizational cultures and systems. Therefore, the medium-term management plan includes initiatives for fully utilizing employee strengths by reforming human resource systems and for reforming organizational cultures by providing support for organizational development and Group personnel/human resources management functions. Over 50 % of Shimadzu Group sales are generated outside Japan and 6,000 Shimadzu Group employees (about 40 %) live outside Japan. However, the human resource management systems for supporting the implementation and growth of businesses, including those outside Japan, are still in the process of being established. Therefore, we intend to address that issue by globalizing human resource systems in cooperation with respective regions.

Human Resource Systems and Organizational Reforms

Currently, we are implementing human resource system reforms that promote a spirit of taking on challenges. In addition to introducing new human resource systems, I also believe it is essential to provide an environment, opportunities, and education for ensuring employees can fully utilize their abilities. Given that humans have emotions, it is difficult to motivate them to take action by simply providing systems and procedures. Therefore, we will synchronize management strategies with human resource strategies to implement reforms that ensure employees can work enthusiastically and plan out their own career path. At the same time, we will proactively provide environments and opportunities that promote autonomous growth. The optimal team size is said to be 4 to 6 members. More or fewer than that is said to decrease performance. Currently, due to the large size of organizations, business processes are sometimes divided into specialized functions with limited discretion of individual employee, which can potentially inhibit innovation. Therefore, I intend to review the current state of organizations and other factors and implement measures for developing environments that further promote innovation.

Four Measures for Human Resources Development

Four measures will be implemented to develop human resources. First, we will deploy a program for systematically and continuously developing the next generation of Shimadzu managers and leaders. Next, to respond to the rapid changes in business conditions, we will provide reskilling and relearning opportunities for increasing the employee skill and expertise levels needed by Shimadzu, such as for digital transformation (DX) or green innovation measures. We will also develop advanced experts. Third, to improve executive management’s ability to manage organizations, we will increase awareness about utilizing diverse human resources through the acquisition of listening, coaching, feedback, and other skills. Lastly, in consideration of Shimadzu’s corporate philosophy, management principle, and Group Sustainability Charter, we will conduct training (Leadership & Diversity Training) to develop an understanding of the type of human resources required by the Shimadzu Group.
Training will be limited to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and expertise directly applicable to business processes, but is not limited to an employee’s area of specialization. By acquiring a broad range of knowledge, we hope more employees will develop a richer sense of humanity, a broader capacity as a human and for work, cultivate a stronger sense of ethics, and a greater interest in societal challenges. By establishing such environments, we hope to offer these opportunities.

Becoming a Company that Generates Human Resources with Diversity and that Influence Others around Them

Though I am aware there are differences in the types of people working in technical and sales departments, I believe that basically most of us share the traits of being sincere and diligently achieving things through steady efforts. However, it is also essential that a company have diversity. For example, organizations comprising human resources with a variety of personalities and abilities, such as people who are good at envisioning large strategies, people who accomplish things through an accumulation of small steady steps, and people who excel at following up, are more resilient due to a greater capacity for responding to crises.
Therefore, we will use a diversity of hiring methods to acquire human resources with a diversity of specializations and experience, such as offering more extensive internship opportunities, hiring employees in cooperation with academic institutions, and so on. We will expand the program already started in cooperation with Osaka University to hire students who have finished their master’s degree in order to sponsor their continuing post-doctoral research. We will expand training opportunities for younger employees, such as onsite training at Group companies outside Japan, in order to develop more employees with the ability to change organizational cultures based on experience working in other countries. There have already been successful cases of employees with new perspectives cultivated in a different department or outside Japan inspiring new cultural changes at their subsequent job locations. Thus, the aim is to not only acquire knowledge and experience, but also foster human resources that can use that knowledge and experience to influence others around them.

Count on Shimadzu, a Company that Generates Innovation-Leading Human Resources

The current medium-term management plan specifies deploying businesses for generating societal value in 4 areas. That means crossing conventional business division boundaries to deploy new businesses. The division-based organization often results in a sense of vertical organization barriers that can impede innovation. However, simply changing the organizational structure will not solve the problem. Reforming that culture will require reforming our human resources systems and our attitudes about taking on new challenges, but those reforms must be based on a respect for diversity. Only when we achieve all of those reforms will innovation start to accelerate.
Therefore, in the future as well, we will continue to cooperate with a diversity of partners, execute human resource strategies for developing human resources who can lead innovation for solving challenges in society, and strive to increase corporate value. Expect great results.

Biography of Shigenori Aoyama,
Managing Executive Officer,
in Charge of Human Resources, General Administration, and Internal Control
Deputy in Charge of Risk Management

Apr. 1991   Joined Shimadzu Corporation
Oct. 2012   Senior Manager, Human Resources Department
Jan. 2013   General Manager, Human Resources Development Department, Human Resources Department
Oct. 2016   Deputy General Manager, Human Resources Department
Apr. 2017   General Manager, Human Resources Department
Apr. 2020   Corporate Officer, General Manager, General Administration Department
Apr. 2022   Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Legal Affairs, General Administration, and Internal Control, and Deputy in Charge of Risk Management
Apr. 2024   Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Human Resources, General Administration, and Internal Control, and Deputy in Charge of Risk Management (current)