Five-year Plan for the Act of Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace
In response to the enforcement of the Act of Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace in April 2016, Yamada Denki assessed the actual status and analyzed the issues again based on the outcome of the female manager training which was the program for developing female managers, and the improvement regarding the ratio of female managers. And we established the five-year action plan ending in 2021.
The targets are to increase the female ratio in the promoted personnel to 15%, and to obtain the certificate called "Eruboshi" which is certified by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. We intend to develop managers who contribute to the company by their performance like reducing cost or increasing sales.
In the first year, we provided training for 17 female managers working at the headquarters to improve their capability. The 17 female managers created business plans for their respective themes on their jobs and reported the progress monthly along the plan. The external directors tracked the progress by checking the reports.
Each achievement of the activity was eventually summarized in a paper and reported to the directors in the presentation session held in the end of the first year. The training successfully resulted in not only cost reduction or improvement of gross margin, but also horizontal connection among the trainees or raising their motivation.
Developing Next Generation Leaders
We started "the Program for Developing Next Generation Leaders" in the second year, based on the first-year program for developing female managers, from the point of view that it is necessary for sustainable growth of the company to develop not only women but all employees.
At the headquarters, the training for female managers in 2016 was expanded as the program for developing next generation leaders. The program started with 30 personnel. 13 personnel who were not managers had been added (six of them were male) while the 17 female managers continued their activities in the second year. They set the theme of improvement on their job and verified the outcome as well as the previous year.
At the stores, the next generation leaders (both male and female) were positioned as trainees in the program. They were either full-time or part-time employees selected from the high performers in sales and highly evaluated on other factors. As the candidates for future managers, they had a team in the respective stores consisting of several personnel who were either full-time employees in training, part-time employees working less than three months or part-time student employees. They analyzed the current status and identified issues mainly on productivity improvement, customer and employee satisfaction or retention rate improvement, which are related to human resource development, while their boss gave on-the-job training using several tools for teaching and leading. They created training plans by themselves consulting with their boss. The next generation leaders themselves were also improved by the continuous activities such as conducting the plans, analyzing the progress and addressing the issues. They were also required to maintain the working conditions so that all employees, no matter what type of employment, were able to perform better by managing the working hours and health condition of the employees in training, attending recruitment interviews of part time employees, providing initial education for new employees and raising the motivation of employees. We evaluate outcomes of the teams, not the individuals.
Outcomes and Ripple Effects of the Next Generation Leaders Program
At the headquarters, the managers who participated in the program in 2016 developed further while they gave on-the-job training to the new members in 2017, and the outcomes such as cost reduction or improvement of gross margin were much better than the first year. The next generation leaders check the progress or performance by themselves every month and report the status of activities in a presentation session regularly. They reported the outcomes with cause analysis, action plans and validations against their respective targets in the regular presentation sessions held once every half a year, where Chairperson Yamada, Vice-chairperson Ichimiya, President Kuwano (at that time) and the external directors participated, accompanied by the boss of next generation leaders and the selected teams from stores.
We also held meetings where we listened to the respective teams at stores to gather case examples of improvement activities and spread them nationwide. We selected the representative teams of the business areas divided into 61, and narrowed the teams through the divisional competition and national competition. Some excellent teams gave presentations at our annual conference at which all the executives and store managers are gathered.
The Yamada Denki Group aims to develop managers and improve business performance in this manner, conducting the next generation leaders program at stores while utilizing the PDCA cycle, and to disseminate the good activities nationwide.
Next Generation Leaders Program: Regular Outcome Presentation Session
Enhance the On-site and Hands-on Policy which is the Strength of Yamada Denki Group
As the manager in charge of the promotion of women’s participation and development of next generation leaders, I have checked the progress and status of the relevant activities and made reports. I also participated in the first-year training for female managers. At the regular presentation sessions, I introduce some contents of the training to the participants and check the targets that were set by the next generation leaders. It is one of the management policies to focus on developing and following the managers, which are not limited to female managers. I always consider how much I can ease the managers’ worries.
One of the strengths of Yamada Denki Group is the on-site and hands-on policy, and it is the key to hear and utilize opinions from the stores. Therefore, I would like to visit our stores and hold meetings to motivate the staff. Some of the meetings may be held with only women to extract problems that are unique to women, and to brush up the developing system for part-time employees or part-time student employees as the next generation leaders program.
As the government promotes working style reforms, it is important to make the working environment better to work in. We will enrich the company benefits and disseminate information for smooth operation so that a better working place is provided and all employees, both male and female, feel like "it is really good to work at Yamada Denki."
Contribute to making our store the best in the area
I joined the Komanyu store in 2003 as a part-time instructor of the personal computer classroom. I was promoted to part-time sales person, contracted full-time employee, and became a permanent employee eventually. After that, I worked as one of the section leaders and transferred to a store that is one of the smallest stores in Yamada Denki, then I returned to the Komanyu store and now I work there as one of the assistant managers.
When I started working at Yamada Denki, it was hard to take days off and there was a tendency that women were only expected to work as cashiers. We were having a frustrating time in that we were not evaluated properly in spite of a lot of efforts or good performance. Then, I decided to become an assistant manager to transform the store while it was quite difficult for a non-manager. I thought I would improve the store. Then, the area manager recognized my efforts and promoted me to assistant manager in April 2017. Now I think there is a system or opportunity for everyone at Yamada Denki, no matter male or female, even part-time employees, to actively participate in and contribute to the company.
Assistant managers are required to be responsible for the business performance of some sections in the store. It is not easy but I know that it gives us a great sense of accomplishment when we achieve the targets. We operate the business with the store staff including part-time student employees in a good atmosphere. I believe we sometimes provide better suggestions closely related to our lives, or improve the selling space from the point of consumers’ view, just because we are women. I would like to make the Komanyu store the best in the area in terms of sales and staff training, and personally I aim to be a store manager or headquarters staff.