Aiming to become an "Ikubosu" who is willing to provide support to subordinates in their career and personal lives and fully enjoys oneself in both work and private life
～Management education that enables each individual to be oneself and shine at work～
At the AISIN Group, we strive to be a company where a diverse range of employees, regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality (LGBT), or disability status, can be respected as individuals, find fulfillment in their work and bring their skills and characteristics to the table. To promote women’s active roles in their work, we have focused our efforts on developing and improving various sytems that enable every female employee to work in her own way and shine at work, promoting the change of employees' mindset, and creating a workplace in which people can work comfortably.
In the 1990s, Aisin has established a support system that allows female employees to balance their work and home lives as part of efforts to create a work environment where women can be confident in their career. Thereafter, the number of women in managerial positions had been steadily growing, although it was still not enough in terms of numbers and active roles in work. To bring about a drastic change in mindset of the employees, in addition to support for women’s awareness raising and career development, in 2015 Ikubosu Academy, a program to foster “Ikubosu,” was launched. "Ikubosu" refers to managers who can improve organizational performance, help their subordinates to achieve a work-life balance, and fully enjoy a balance between career and personal life. In Ikubosu Academy, participants are required to review the issues facing their departments and address those issues over a one-year period, through which they are expected to develop the ability needed for self-management, and engage in activities to increase the number of Ikubosu and those with the same mindset as Ikubosu within the Group.
We had an interview with Ms. Saito, who participated in Ikubosu Academy in 2020 and engaged in activities to solve the issues she identified there.
Resolution of a newly appointed manager ~ Creating a team full of vitality by increasing the members’ motivation ~
Ms. Saito belongs to the physical distribution team of the Aftermarket Dept., responsible for sales of auto spare and replacement parts, where 80% of her team members are women. As a newly appointed manager who has no experience in team management, she says, “Although I didn’t understand what kind of management is required of a manager yet, I thought I’d try my best.”
After participating in Ikubosu Academy, Ms. Saito examined the current conditions of her team to understand the concerns of individual team members. As a result, she identified two issues. One was that there are fewer opportunities to feel a sense of achievement due to the team's engagement in many routine tasks. Another issue was that her team members, including many young women, were anxious about work-life balance.
With the aim of creating a workplace where all team members can feel a sense of fulfillment in their work and pursue their career without worry about a work-life balance, she implemented various measures to build a workplace culture that enhances communication among the members and allows them to take on new challenges. One of the most effective measures was make it each member’s practice to have a “one-minute conversation per day” as part of efforts to foster a trusting relationship among members so that they can freely express their views and ideas. Despite circumstances, such as teleworking, that make it difficult to comprehend other members’ situations, this measure helped members to resolve the difficulties they faced, build a relationship of mutual trust and enhance their sense of fulfillment.
The results of the employee awareness survey conducted after the resolution of the identified challenges show that “job satisfaction” was rated at over 4 (on a 5-point scale), a significant increase from the average of the previous fiscal year. “This is mainly attributable to the efforts to address challenges and increase each member’s job satisfaction under finely tuned management policy,” Ms. Saito says. She also said that her subordinates’ strong desire to improve themselves helped raise her motivation. “In Ikubosu Academy’s training programs, I was able to learn a lot by sharing information on how to approach various issues with managers from other workplaces. I’d like to continue efforts to raise my team’s motivation based on the knowledge and skills I acquired at Ikubosu Academy.”
“Ikubosu” plays an indispensable role in promoting women’s career advancement.
Ikubosu activities have also been seen at production sites as well as in administrative and technical sections. Efforts have been made to increase the number of female team leaders (leader of a production site), for example, by listening to female employees’ anxiety and worries about challenging the position of the team leader at a meeting to exchange views and opinions among team members and solving such problems. An increasing number of workplaces are taking on the challenge of changing employees’ mindset and developing a new style of working or a new approach to work by utilizing the work-from-home system or various tools to enhance work efficiency. As a result, now all departments have Ikubosu, doubling the number of female employees in managerial positions over the five years from 2015. These activities have brought about changes not only to the awareness of managers and their subordinates and their way of working but also to employees’ attitudes toward Ikubosu in a positive manner. The AISIN Group will accelerate its efforts to create a comfortable and rewarding workplace by providing support to subordinates in terms of both career and personal life through Ikubosu Academy, eventually leading to enhancing its competitiveness.