Responding to Employee Feedback
— Exploring Career Advancement in a Group Setting

Women's Empowerment at the Toray Group Enters New Phase after Three-Year Initiative, Career Advancement Seminars for Women

The Toray Group embraces diversity in order to build workplaces in which each individual can realize their full potential and thrive. The Group has empowered women to develop and implement initiatives to address the issues they face from juggling career and personal life, and develop strategies to alleviate the burdens on them.

In 2015, women serving as general managers at the Toray Group developed and initiated a career advancement seminar for women in management or professional roles. The seminar was designed to allow the participants to explore diverse career options as well as to provide leadership training and encourage networking, in recognition of the importance of mutual growth and development. More than 80 women in management or professional roles participated in the first seminar, drawing inspiration from their diverse situations and various role models.
These participants played a central role in conducting discussion meetings for women at Toray's business locations in 2016. The discussion meetings brought together women at different stages in their careers and from diverse workplaces and family situations, while also including people of both genders in some sessions. The meetings were used to collect feedback from women, who discussed aspects that impeded or facilitated their work and issues that they faced as parents or family caregivers.

A third seminar program was implemented incorporating the feedback that was obtained from the discussion meetings. The manager of the labor affairs section participated in the discussions and offered suggestions.
Based on the outcomes of these initiatives, in fiscal 2017 the Group will foster a work culture in which all employees can further thrive.

 

Career Advancement Seminars for Women in Management or Professional Roles

First Seminar

Dates:

February 13 – 14, 2015

Purpose:

Build networks among participants, and share their diverse situations. Help participants to recognize what they need to do in order to further advance their careers, and foster a perspective that develops leaders who will manage organizations. In addition, discuss the direction of future seminars.

  • Group discussionGroup discussion
  • Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokohama City, was the keynote speakerFumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokohama City, was the keynote speaker

Second Seminar

Dates:

January 29 – 30, 2016

Purpose:

Enable participants to examine their career plans integrating career and personal life, by studying the experiences of accessible role models. Encourage each participant to draft a statement of intent about what she needs to do now and in the future to realize her career plan and help her organization achieve its medium-term goals.

  • Group discussionGroup discussion
  • Various themes were explored in the discussionsVarious themes were explored in the discussions

Discussion Meetings for Women

Dates:

From August through December 2016

Purpose:

As a result of the first two seminars, it was realized that broader input was needed from women in non-management positions and younger staff. The discussion meetings were held at different business locations and sought to directly canvass women about their work situations and the issues they face.

  • Five meetings were conducted at three different workplaces at the Shiga PlantFive meetings were conducted at three different workplaces at the Shiga Plant
  • The panel discussion at the Seta Plant was open to both gendersThe panel discussion at the Seta Plant was open to both genders

Discussion Meetings for Women Held at All Toray Business Locations

At the second seminar, many participants expressed the thought that a broader spectrum of women would benefit from sharing information and building networks. This was the impetus behind the discussion meetings. These meetings are open to all women at Toray, and 31 sessions have been conducted at all 15 of its business locations in Japan. Approximately 1,000 women (comprising roughly 60% of women in the workplace) have attended the meetings, together with another 300 male colleagues. The meetings served as a useful platform for employees to mutually and frankly discuss the issues they face, including balancing work and family life, in order to establish common ground and learn from one another.

VOICEFrom a Male Participant

Yutaka Kutsuzawa Manager, Labor Affairs Section, Administration Department, Mishima Plant, Toray Industries, Inc.
Yutaka Kutsuzawa
Manager, Labor
Affairs Section,
Administration
Department,
Mishima Plant,
Toray Industries,
Inc.
Note:Job title
is as of February
2017.

Seminars Encourage Women to Expand Their Networks to Share Information and Ask Others for Input

I worked with the women in management who organized the seminars to split the participants into discussion teams in order to create an environment that would lead to meaningful discussions. We asked many male managers to attend the meetings, which made a particular difference in fostering mutual understanding with the female participants.

I am confident that it is worthwhile to continue with the meetings, after hearing so much positive feedback from the women who attended. I hope that women will continue to expand their networks in their business locations, so that they can easily share information and ask others for input.

Third Seminar

Dates:

February 28 – March 1, 2017

Purpose:

Analyze the feedback obtained from the discussion meetings and the issues identified in the workplaces, and come up with suggested solutions. Employ this chain of action to strengthen the problem-solving skills that are needed by managers and professionals. The execution of the statement of intent made in second seminar will be checked to follow-up on the level of execution.

  • Plenty of data and materials were collected to spark further discussion Plenty of data and materials were collected to spark further discussion
  • General Manager of Personnel & Industrial Relations Division addresses the participantsGeneral Manager of Personnel & Industrial Relations Division addresses the participants

Feedback from Employees Who Led the Discussion Groups at the Third Seminar

  • "Although there are issues and obstacles that we face today, through the discussions I realized that I needed to have future career goals."
  • "It was valuable to be able to work out solutions, while hearing opinions from different perspectives."
  • "There are many employees who can help when you run into a problem. Don't isolate yourself, but reach out and ask others for input."

VOICEFrom Toray President Akihiro Nikkaku

The women serving as general managers who took the initiative to organize the seminars, with President Akihiro Nikkaku
The women serving as general managers
who took the initiative to organize the seminars,
with President Akihiro Nikkaku

Solutions are Always Found in the Workplace— Significant Efforts Developed by Women

Toray fully embraces diversity and equal career opportunities for women. We must remember that attitudes and individual circumstances differ for everyone, and that it is women who best understand the issues they face. It is very significant that the women serving as general managers took the initiative to plan these seminars.

The three seminars and the discussion meetings for women helped to crystallize what needs to be done. I hope it will serve as a springboard for women to develop career plans and further build their careers.