Formulation of "Human Resource Policy" and Introduction of New Human Resource System
In recent years, the environment surrounding employees and organizations has changed dramatically through not only globalization but also shifts in society's values and needs.
To continue manifesting the spirit of "At your side." and being the company chosen by customers, as well as to foster a corporate culture in which employees can achieve their full potential and work with even stronger motivation, Brother Industries, Ltd. (BIL) has shifted to a human resource system that focuses more on people in FY2023.
Under this new human resource system, BIL aims to keep employee engagement at an even higher level by maintaining its strengths in terms of talent and organization, while making changes where necessary.
To ensure the realization of this goal, BIL formulated a "new Human Resource Policy." Based on this policy, BIL defines the "vision for talent and organization" and the "Talent Management Policy," and advances the implementation of the new human resource system, talent development, and various other human resource initiatives.
System reform for "true autonomy and effort" of all employees
Based on the Human Resource Policy, BIL believes that it is important for the organization and its people to work together to achieve sustainable growth, with each of the diverse individuals constantly taking on challenges for many years into the future. To realize this idea, BIL approaches the system reform by classifying employees into four generations from the employee lifecycle point of view, and the reform is carried out to facilitate the measures for each group: younger employees to receive role-based training and early promotion, mid-level employees to receive more flexible positioning and compensation, managers to make role-based contributions and strengthen their abilities, and older employees to achieve results and create value in their new roles.
Under this reform, BIL introduced a new human resource system in FY2023, making changes to the three categories: job grading system, evaluation system, and compensation system, in order to enable all BIL employees to demonstrate their abilities.
Furthermore, once the role-based human resource system described above becomes firmly established, BIL will shift the retirement age to 65 for employees who will turn 60 years old in FY2029. This extension of the retirement age will be incrementally implemented starting in FY2026.
For more information on the promotion of the older workers' success at BIL, please visit the following website.
From a position-based grading system to a role-based grading system
In April 2023, BIL replaced the previous position-based grading system*1 with a role-based grading system*2 and changed the core human resource systems of grading, evaluation, and compensation. The new system promotes "true autonomy and effort" as stated in the Human Resource Policy by assigning roles according to each employee's ability and facilitating the optimal allocation of human resources, such as early promotion of employees who generate remarkable results and contributions, in addition to strengthening talent development. BIL will also base its evaluation system on the job grading system and link it to a fairer compensation system in order to ensure proper rewards for achievements and contributions.
- A system that places importance on years of experience and grades employees based on their individual abilities and capabilities (membership type)
- A system that assigns grades and benefits based on the weight of the role (position) an employee assumes (job-based system)
Evaluation and Compensation System
Based on the results of the employee engagement survey conducted in FY2022, BIL has reaffirmed the importance of "goal setting" as a factor to increase employee engagement. Accordingly, in addition to the introduction of a new evaluation system, BIL has changed to a "goal-setting" system that can further encourage employees to take on new challenges from FY2023.
In addition, BIL has created and published a new Role Definition Chart for each position and role, distributed videos and e-learning programs on the approach to goal setting and personnel evaluation, and conducted training programs for managers, in order to deepen all employees' understanding of the new evaluation system and enable them to set and evaluate goals with a common understanding.
After the evaluation is determined, feedback is provided on the evaluation results to inform employees of their strengths and challenges so that they can set their own goals for the following fiscal year. The results of the evaluation are reflected in salaries and bonuses for a highly transparent compensation system. This transparent system encourages "true autonomy and effort" by enhancing mutual understanding and understanding between supervisors and subordinates.
Details of Education System and Training
As our talent development efforts at BIL, we are providing a career design program for employees at milestone ages to review their experiences and visualize their future visions, extension training that accepts employees who wish to participate to learn necessary skills, an overseas dispatch training program designed for young employees to gain experience overseas early on in their careers. We also provide e-learning options as an opportunity for self-development, and subsidize full or half tuition costs upon completion of a specified course.
In addition, we offer more than 20 training programs for new managers, including harassment, human rights, and compliance programs, in addition to management training. Besides these programs, we started one-on-one meetings between supervisors and subordinates in FY2017, to encourage the growth of employees, and the meetings are currently being conducted for 80% of the employees.
|Number of Courses
|Approx. 120 courses
|Approx. 110 courses
|Approx. 30 courses
|Approx. 30 courses
|Approx. 10 courses
|One-on-one subordinate development training
|Human rights training
|Face-to-face meeting with the president/chairman
Details of Employee Development Training and Education
|Average amount of money per employee
|Average number of days per employee
|Average amount of time per employee
|position-based education, new manager training, extension training, trainee program.*2, etc.
- The data cover only the training programs conducted by the Human Resources Dept. and the Production Strategy Planning Dept. Recount by adding nursing related seminars.
- The trainee program were suspended after FY2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, but resumed in FY2022 with a reduced scale.
Brother Develops Talent Who Can Tackle Global Business Challenges
Employees develop a broad perspective and high expertise through various experiences
Since FY2008, the Brother Group has conducted the "trainee program," a training program that sends trainees from BIL to the group companies outside Japan and vice versa, aiming to foster talent who have a broad vision, high expertise, and the ability to respond to global business challenges.
This training is designed for young employees selected based on Brother's talent development plan to receive on-the-job training ranging from three months to one year in line with the training plans formulated beforehand by both their dispatchers and receivers. The initial focus of this program was to provide trainees with training associated with their area of expertise. However, in FY2015, it started offering training to help trainees gain new knowledge through experience outside their specialty. Such training, for example, includes giving an opportunity for developers to visit customers with salespersons to directly listen to the needs and usage conditions of the customers.
In FY2018, the program also started short-term training for engineers in their twenties to learn at manufacturing or repair sites outside Japan for one month. This short-term dispatch program has been providing an opportunity for developers and engineers to broaden their perspectives by learning about operations that differ from their usual scope of responsibilities, improving cooperation with overseas manufacturing facilities, and visiting customers to directly learn about their real challenges.
In FY2019, 37 employees were dispatched from BIL to Group companies in Germany, Indonesia, and other countries, and 14 employees from Group companies in the Philippines and China to BIL. For example, one BIL engineer was sent to Brother Machinery Xian Co., Ltd.(BMX), a manufacturing facility for the Machinery Business in Xian, China. By working with local workers and carefully checking each operation, the engineer was able to review and reduce the measured values and overall process time, and to experience on-site events that could not be simulated in Japan.
The above two programs were suspended after FY2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, but resumed in FY2022 with a reduced scale, and are fully resumed in FY2023.
The Brother Group will remain committed to fostering globally-minded human resources who can deliver superior value.
Comment from an employee who participated in the trainee program:
Becoming global talent that can contribute to business overall
Production Department, Machinery Business Division,
Brother Industries, Ltd.
I spent three months working as a team member with the local employees at the manufacturing facility in BMX carrying out improvement activities. My goal was to reduce the number of processes at the manufacturing facility in Xi'an. Naturally, I was proactive in offering up my own comments but I also made it a point to use data and easy-to-understand words to communicate smoothly with local employees and ensure we were on the same page. It was due to the nature of the local facility that I was able to cooperate with local employees to confirm the differences between manufacturing facilities in Japan and China, achieve visualization of manufacturing processes and manage tasks, and realize a training program by preparing a training manual.
Going forward, I aim to undertake improvement activities and talent development for local staff to deliver products that are safe, secure, and satisfying for customers while remaining conscious of the need to strengthen collaborations between departments and facilities.
Development of DX Talent
The Brother Group is promoting the use of digital technology to "transform business models in each business" and "build resilient and sustainable supply chains" as part of "management foundation transformation for a sustainable future," a key theme in its medium-term business strategy, CS B2024. Furthermore, in order to "encourage employees to take on challenges," the Brother Group is also strengthening the development of human resources who can lead DX*1.
The Brother Group's DX strategy consists of three pillars: 1) Business DX (business model transformation in each business), 2) Operational DX (building a robust and sustainable supply chain), and 3) Building DX infrastructure (thorough use of digital technology and human resource development). To build the foundation, we are promoting the continuous development of DX human resources throughout the Group. The development of DX talent is divided into three levels: "DX Core Human Resources," "Leader of Digital Utilization Promotions," and "All employees."
DX Core Human Resources: Driving business DX for each business as experts in digital technology
BIL is training "DX Core Human Resources" who will lead DX in their respective businesses as experts in digital technology. Under this initiative, the sought after human resources are divided into five categories: "business planners," "data analysts," "data architects," "cloud engineers," and "AI engineers," and education is provided based on the curriculum for each category.
For the three years from FY2022, Brother plans to train 200 "DX core human resources." In FY2022, 161 employees were selected from each business and each division at the head office for training. This training is being continued in FY2023 following FY2022.
Leader of Digital Utilization Promotions: Driving the digitization and streamlining of operations in each department
BIL selects and trains one "Leader of Digital Utilization Promotion" from each division of BIL to drive the streamlining and digitization of operations. Twenty eight employees participated in the training on "Problem Detection Skills" in FY2022.
All employees: Having basic knowledge of DX and using it to digitize and streamline operations
Developing human resources to utilize digital technology
BIL is supporting its employees to become human resources capable of creating value through the use of digital technology by promoting "Digital Technology Utilization Human Resource Development" as the foundation for DX talent development.
In the "Digital Technology Utilization Human Resource Development" in FY2022, an e-learning program was conducted for all BIL employees except those who already have basic knowledge of digital technology. The videos in the e-learning introduced many tools and programs that are useful for "automating operations" and "considering and implementing data use," and approximately 3,000 employees took the course.
AI utilization project to foster AI-led human resources development
BIL launched operational efficiency projects in 2018 under the direct management of the company president. They are aimed at groupwide promotion of automation and greater efficiency in routine tasks by utilizing RPA*2 and artificial intelligence (AI). One such example is the AI utilization project led by a software development department under the slogan "AI Everywhere." to enable AI application voluntarily by each employee. Under the project, Brother is undertaking a wide range of efforts, such as organizing internal AI training with a curriculum developed independently by BIL, sharing the latest AI technologies and AI best practices within the company through a dedicated intra-site system and AI utilization support to resolve issues at work sites.
The internal AI training program aims to assign at least one AI-savvy employee to each business division and offers programming courses for beginners to encourage employee participation regardless of affiliation or level of basic knowledge. The program has been received very favorably among the participants, who said that "it was a great opportunity to learn how to make use of AI, which I knew nothing about" and "actually experiencing programming in the workshop helped create an image of what I will be doing." In fact, AI application by employees who have completed the course is growing steadily in various work sites.
Examples of AI application in manufacturing are automation and improved inspection accuracy for the shape of inkjet printer head nozzles and automation of pre-shipment inspection of industrial sewing machines. With project members working together with inspection personnel in each business division on identification of issues, massive data collection and data learning to utilize the AI system and trial system operation, inspection personnel were able to gain deeper knowledge about AI, leading to AI application in manufacturing.
In FY2021, information on the "AI Lean Canvas" was shared at a meeting attended by executive officers to promote the use of AI to the executives. The "AI Lean Canvas" is a practical framework that enables a quick, objective evaluation of whether or not a potential solution to a current problem is suitable for the use of AI, on a single sheet of A4-size paper and within an hour, so that even non-experts in the AI field can easily complete the form. With the use of "AI Lean Canvas," it is now possible to quickly determine whether a project is suitable for AI, regardless of the expertise of the person in charge of the project in terms of AI, and to quickly move on to verification testing and implementation.
Released a video material "Toward the First-Time Use of AI and Machine Learning" for all employees
As part of its AI-savvy talent development activities, BIL has released a video entitled "Toward the First-time Use of AI and Machine Learning" for all employees, which has been viewed by 1,760 employees.
This video is an original educational material created by BIL's software development department to unify the views of "AI/machine learning," "DX," and "data utilization" within the company. The video also explains "what skills are required for data utilization/machine learning" and "how to proceed with specific projects," and provides basic knowledge for AI/machine learning utilization.
Employees who watched the video commented, "I could understand the difference between 'DX,' 'digitalization,' and 'AI/machine learning,'" and "The specific successes and failures of the project gave me a concrete image of how to conduct data utilization/machine learning."
- Abbreviation for digital transformation. Transformation of business and life through information technology (IT) such as high-speed Internet, cloud services, and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Acronym for Robotic Process Automation, referring to automation of business operations with the robots (replacement of people with robots for multiple routine application operations).