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Human Resource Development that Supports Monozukuri

At YKK AP, one of the key points of the Fifth Mid-Term Management Plan is human resource development. When Tadao Yoshida, founder of YKK, spoke of the vision he had for the company, he likened the company to a forest that is made up of all kinds of trees, from old and venerable trees, rich and knowledge, to young, scarcely more than saplings. In the same way, YKK AP strives to be a company in which all employees draw on and express their unique characteristics and talents. In recent years society has grown more diverse, and we are working to create environments in which a diverse workforce can actively participate in the company.


A further commitment to performancebased meritocracy, based on fairness, job (role), and autonomy

 Based on the twin ideas of autonomy and coexistence, the YKK Group creates systems and environments in which each and every employee can demonstrate their full potential, regardless of age, gender, educational background, and so on. The goal is to create a "Forest Organization," a company in which every employee feels that he or she is a manager, and in which everyone grows strong together as a group, like a forest that is made up of independent trees. To create value as such an organization, we work to develop human resources and realize truly fair personnel systems.
As well, since FY 2012, the YKK Group (Japan) has been engaging in the Work Style transformation project. To date, we have been running a re-hiring system for employees over the age of 60. From FY 2013 to FY 2025, we will be gradually raising the mandatory retirement age to 65, in anticipation of abolishing it altogether.
 In Japan, in terms of reforming our personnel systems, we are further focusing on results and merit in terms of roles, based on fairness, job (role), and independence, while aiming for equality of roles, results, and treatment regardless of age, gender, educational background, or nationality. The company supports independent working styles by clarifying the expected working methods and the abilities and experience needed to perform roles, and provides opportunities for employees to forge their own careers and put forth their own intentions.

3-Year Professional Program

Developing professional human resources with training focused on hands-on installation

 YKK AP (Japan) runs a "3-Year Professional Program" for new employees to turn them into fully professional personnel within three years. The first year of this program consists of production line work training, installation management training, and classroom study (technical courses and installation estimations studies). As manufacturing employees, trainees are taught monozukuri fundamentals and core product knowledge. In the second year, trainees receive on-the-job training and offthe-job training at their place of posting to further extend their product knowledge and business skills as they work to becoming full-fledged engineers and sales persons.
 The Architectural Product Training (Beginner) Course and Follow-up Training for technical personnel and Architectural Products Installation Practice for sales personnel impart basic knowledge about building materials and construction. Trainees attend lectures about window types and performance, building structures and window installations, materials, reading drawings, and more. Furthermore, they also take part in hands-on training in the disassembly and assembly of sashes, the installation of residential and commercial sashes, adjustments, maintenance, and remodeling products. The curriculum combines classroom and practical training to deepen understanding and impart the required basic knowledge and skills.

Fourth-year employees from across the country who have completed the 3-Year Professional Program attend the Mitose no Kai (Three-year Meeting).

Promoting diversity

Creating new value with comprehensive systems to encourage the advancement of women in the workplace

 Our company promotes diversity in order to create new value. We face challenges in Japan, such as a small number of female managers compared to the number of female workers, and a lack of women aiming for managerial positions. In response, we are working to develop environments that encourage the active participation of women. In the YKK AP (Japan) Action Plan of 2016, we set a target of 30% more female hired workers by FY 2020 and having 130 women managers or higher and 460 women assistant managers by the end of FY 2020.
 In concrete terms, we have put into place such measures as hourly annual leave and sick/injured child care leave, and raising the maximum age of children for childcare leave. As well, across the entire company we are working to take on board proposals and reforms from a female point of view, in all sectors including sales, manufacturing, and engineering. In terms of fostering female leaders, we run the Career Development Support Program that sets out medium-term training and development plans between worksite supervisors and female employees, as well as introducing OJT and mentoring systems to provide advice from various range of viewpoints. We run group training for employees aiming to become leaders and managers, helping to foster leadership awareness, deepen understanding of the role of manager, and provide opportunities to plot future careers.
 At the same time, we actively encourage male employees to take childcare leave. In FY 2019, 49.2% of eligible employees did so, a high level by Japanese national standards. We are building work environments and systems, such as flextime and telework, which we believe make work easier for employees, and thus boost productivity while creating new value.

Career Development Support Program group training

Work style reform

We are building healthy and flexible environments that enable employees to maintain work-life balance

 In FY 2018, YKK AP (Japan) established the Work Style Reform Committee, chaired by Executive Vice President Kosuke Iwabuchi.
 Work style reform involves three major themes: (1) Use of satellite offices and promotion of remote working; (2) Standardization to reduce processes requiring personal effort; and (3) Reassessment of operations to reduce wasteful work.
 By building on these themes we hope to promote nonlocation-specific working styles, make it easier to take paid leave, reduce mistakes in operations, strengthen governance, improve operations efficiency, and reduce overtime.
 In April 2019, we established telework duty regulations, and in the same year organized Telework Days 2019*. This initiative helped us to smoothly roll out telework in response to the 2020 Declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease.
 As well, in order to improve implementation, we had all departments provide "targets declarations for employees," which were promoted and managed by the Work Style Reform Committee.

*Work Style Reform is a national campaign sponsored by Japanese the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Cabinet Office, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and related organizations, using the opportunity offered by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Starting in 2018, our company has participated for two years running.

Business leaders development - Graduate school dispatching and MOT/MBA overseas studies -

With the goal of creating new value and strengthening our businesses, we select young employees through open recruitment and dispatch them to graduate schools and research institutes in Japan and overseas, and provide support for the acquisition of doctoral degrees, MOTs, and MBAs. This effort is aimed at developing the next generation of YKK AP leaders, through specialized knowledge acquisition and research into windows-related advanced technology, management, history, and design, and by leveraging skills cultivated in competitive overseas environments. As of June 2020, 23 employees have been sent to undertake such studies.

Health management

Considering employee and family heath as a management issue, and promoting prevention measures

 Our company considers employee heath to be a management issue. In order to implement and also clarify our health management initiatives inside and outside the company, we issued a Health Declaration that further promotes better health management for our employees. In Japan's Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organizations Recognition Program we were recognized, for the second year in a row, as a particularly outstanding enterprise engaging in efforts to advance health management, and were certified as one of the "White 500" organizations in the large enterprises category.

Promoting employee health maintenance

We run employee health maintenance programs in collaboration with external organizations

 YKK AP (Japan) runs several initiatives to promote the maintenance of employee physical and mental health. One of these is our health consultation service, both inside and outside the company, where employees can get advice, either in person or by phone or email. Inside the company, employees can consult with industrial physicians at business locations or with physicians, public health nurses, and nurses at health management centers. We also cooperate with external organizations to provide mental health care for employees. As well, we provide face-to-face, email, and phone counseling not only to employees, but also their cohabitant families as well. This program promotes employee health maintenance by enabling employees to consult with counselors about workplace relationships that tend to cause stress, as well as concerns about their own future and career.

Activities to reinforce the Management Principle

We take advantage of various opportunities to penetrate the Management Principle amongst employees

 The YKK Group undertakes activities to reinforce the Management Principle so as to strengthen the foundations of the YKK Philosophy, Management Principle, and Core Values (value which each and every employee respect and practice, and also daily action standards), so that they are implemented and disseminated, and that all employees move toward the same vector.
 As a concrete example, "talking sessions" are held at our various locations between supervisors and staff in which participants share actual cases, and employees consult with supervisors to review their own cases using the "Core Values implementation check sheet." In this way, it is hoped that all employees can experience the YKK AP way and thus foster a sense of unity that enhance corporate value.

Core values

Improving employee management participation awareness

We promote employee management participation awareness with shared profits

 YKK's Founder, Tadao Yoshida, stated that "employees should participate in company management and share in its prosperity," and also that "stock is a certificate for participating in business." Based on his management philosophy, the YKK Group (Japan) established the Employee Stockholding Association, with the goal of encouraging management participation by employees and building their wealth. Approximately 80% of YKK's qualifying employees participate in the association, and they are the company's largest shareholder. Approximately 2,500 people attend meetings held twice a year in over 30 locations around Japan. By providing the opportunity for members to talk directly to executives, the meetings help raise management participation awareness.