Comfortable Working Environment



Basic Policy on Employment and Compensation

Building systems and environments in which diverse human resources can demonstrate their abilities

The foundation for achieving this is laid out in the Basic Policies of the Brother Group Global Charter (Global Charter), which stipulate that "the Brother Group respects diversity and provides a working environment that enables our associates to utilize their talents and abilities to the fullest, and also gives them great opportunity through challenging work assignments and provides them with fair, attractive financial rewards." The Codes of Practice in the Global Charter set forth that "we must always honor individuals and diversity, and act with trust and respect." According to these principles, the Brother Group companies aim to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on race, nationality, religion, belief, gender, educational background, age, disability, or anything else, in hiring, evaluation and promotion and also prohibit child or forced labor. As for employment, the Brother Group guarantees pay higher than local minimum wages. In addition, the group respects employees' rights to form and join, or not join, a union (the rights to organize) as a means to conduct negotiations between labor and management about working conditions and environments, pay levels, and so forth. It also upholds employees' collective bargaining rights and engages in sincere negotiations and dialogues with them. In addition to the signing of labor agreements between labor and management with Brother Industries Labor Union, regular information exchange is also carried out—such as through labor-management gatherings and the Working Environment Improvement Committee—to build good labor-management relations.

Furthermore, in response to the recent increase in work style diversity, Brother Industries, Ltd. (BIL) allows its employees to have side jobs or to work concurrently under certain conditions. BIL offers its employees more work style options so that employees can acquire skills and experience beyond the confines of the company through new challenges.

The management and employees of the Brother Group will make constant concerted efforts to comply with related regulations and rules, respect different cultures and customs, evolve the group's personnel system in line with the Global Charter, and continue to create a better working environment.

Introducing a Target Management System to Provide Fair Evaluation and Compensation

The Brother Group has a system that fairly and impartially evaluates employees based on their motivation, abilities and achievements and reflects the evaluation results to their compensation. BIL, for example, assesses its general employees in a way that highly satisfies them, using a target management system with clear criteria. Each employee receives the results of the evaluation of his/her performance and is subsequently informed of the reasons in a meeting with the supervisor. This approach, which helps employees review their own performance and raise their motivation to advance toward new challenges, has been contributing to talent development. BIL uses the annual salary system for its employees in management positions.

Supporting Work-Life Balance

Enhancing systems and creating an atmosphere that encourages the utilization of them

BIL has established various systems to provide a work environment where employees can perform to the best of their abilities while balancing work with their lives, including childcare, nursing care, and medical treatment.
Since FY2011, BIL has been holding seminars to consider how to strike a balance between work and family care. Managers, in particular, are required to participate in these seminars to gain information that helps them prepare for the risks associated with their subordinates' family-care. In FY2015, BIL started adopting telecommuting for employees engaging in childcare or family care, thereby allowing them to more flexibly choose the way they work.
Meanwhile, based on opinions from employees, BIL has been focusing on making those systems much easier to use and creating an atmosphere that promotes the understanding of them within the company.
In FY2016, BIL held a cancer seminar for women in order to help female employees have accurate cancer knowledge and continue to work vigorously for long years, and also launched the "Career Community," composed of theme-based round-table talks by BIL's senior employees. These were held during work hours to allow employees to attend easily. From FY2019, BIL has promoted the use of the work-from-home system as a countermeasure against COVID-19, and has established a structure to improve the internal network and to introduce an online meeting system.

Efforts to encourage male employees to take childcare leave

BIL has set a goal of increasing the percentage of male employees taking two or more weeks of childcare leave to at least 60% by 2025 and the percentage of male employees taking a total of four or more weeks of childcare leave to at least 30% by FY2025. To achieve this goal and support diverse work styles, BIL has organized career communities for male employees on the subject of balancing work and childcare since FY2018, in which a total of 61 employees have participated. This career community is for male employees who have returned from childcare leave and those who are considering taking childcare leave to discuss their careers and work styles before and after taking the leave. Not only male employees who are planning to take childcare leave, but also their superiors and female employees are welcome to participate, providing an opportunity for the entire company to deepen their understanding of male employees taking childcare leave.
In FY2021, the event was held online, where male employees who took childcare leave shared advice on what they should do to prepare for the leave, both privately and at work, and also shared the lessons they learned from the leave, such as the importance of taking the initiative in childcare as a father rather than as a support to his wife. The event also provided an opportunity to share information and consultation on childcare, such as how to spend time with the child and how to divide household chores between husband and wife during childcare leave.

Employees who participated in the event commented that they were inspired to take long-term childcare leave, that their concerns about childcare leave were resolved, and that they felt the experience of childcare leave would ultimately lead to a positive cycle that would benefit their work.

BIL will continue to encourage employees to take childcare leave and create a work environment where employees can work with a sense of reassurance.

Data Regarding Users of Systems for Supporting Work-Life Balance (BIL)*1

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Childcare leave*2 61 (19) 73 (35) 74 (41) 98 (62) 99 (70)
Family-care leave*2 3 (1) 5 (1) 3 (2) 2 (1) 2 (2)
Short-time working for childcare 166 (6) 177 (9) 176 (7) 184 (10) 184 (8)
Short-time working for family-care 2 (1) 3 (0) 6 (1) 5 (2) 5 (1)
Nursing care leave 31 (9) 33 (7) 28 (7) 13 (3) 16 (6)
Homeworking 57 (6) 78 (7) 1,375 (969) 2,171 (1,805) 3,372 (2,692)
  1. The numbers in the parentheses indicate those of male employees
  2. The number of those who started using the system in each fiscal year

Sales & Marketing Dept., Personal & Home Business Division, Brother Industries, Ltd. Jimbo Kamada

Voice of an employee who utilized the childcare leave system:
Appreciation and growth experienced through childcare leave

Sales & Marketing Dept., Personal & Home Business Division,
Brother Industries, Ltd.
Jimbo Kamada

With the birth of my second child, I took a month of childcare leave. Before the leave, my superior was very understanding and told me, "Leave it to me to support you during your absence," and my colleagues were also very supportive, which helped ease my worries about taking the leave. The childcare leave period coincided with my oldest son's summer vacation, so it was a very valuable time for the whole family to try various activities and grow together.

After returning to work, I am very grateful to the office that made my return to work a smooth one, as they took over all my duties during my absence.

In the future, I would like to actively share my experience of childcare leave with those around me and provide support to other members who are considering taking childcare leave, so that more people at my workplace will take childcare leave.

Reduction of Long Working Hours

Under its policy of reducing long working hours, BIL has put systems in place and promoted operational efficiency.

Revision of systems

Morning-type flextime system

The core time of BIL's flextime system was initially from 10:30 to 15:00. However, in July 2016, it was changed to between 9:30 and 14:00, starting one hour earlier to make the system more morning-type.

Overtime application system

In July 2016, BIL introduced an overtime application system, which requires overtime work after 20:00 to be approved in advance, and basically prohibited overtime work after 22:00. In this way, the company has been striving to reduce long working hours.

Gradual lowering of the upper limit of non-statutory working hours in non-product sections

Based on an agreement with the Brother Industries Labor Union, BIL gradually reduced the non-statutory working hours by FY2020, and they have been maintained.

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Monthly target 80 hours 75 hours 70 hours 65 hours 65 hours
Annual target 550 hours 520 hours 480 hours 450 hours 450 hours

Operational efficiency

BIL is promoting operational efficiency improvements, such as launching operational efficiency projects in 2018, reviewing its operational processes, and utilizing digital tools.

Review of operational processes and utilization of digital tools

BIL shares concrete measures or departmental efforts taken to resolve challenges in internal meeting management, meeting material preparation, and e-mail correspondence with employees on the intranet. In addition, BIL promotes the automation and efficiency of routine work by means of IT across the company.
For internal training regarding AI, a newly recruited employee who specialized in AI at graduate school (as of 2018) was selected as the leader. Targeting all employees, curricula was developed in-house according to the needs of different job types—such as newly recruited employees, software developers, and the management—and the leader acts as lecturer and operates the training. As of FY2021 in internal training regarding AI, a total of 449 employees have attended lessons by a lecturer while 4,208 employees have attended online lessons using textbooks. Partly due to the internal promotion of automation and efficiency improvement using IT, every employee has a strong desire to learn about AI, and optional lessons always receive more applications than the number of slots available.

BIL also promotes the use of BPMN*1, an international standard for business process charting method. It is a method to visualize business processes in an easy-to-understand manner, including how work starts, role assignments, job descriptions of each person in charge, and interactions with related parties, etc. By visualizing business processes using BPMN, all related parties can review the business processes to efficiently grasp the current status and identify issues. BIL provides e-learning, instructional videos, and practical guidance on BPMN creation in order to foster human resources who can utilize BPMN, which is highly effective for business improvement. With employees with different job types, such as sales and development, acquiring the skills to handle BPMN, they are able to examine the business processes from various perspectives, leading to efficiency improvement.
Also, BIL provides an extensive environment for learning RPA*2, which automates and streamlines routine tasks using robotics technology of AI-powered software. BIL holds a number of its own in-house training sessions on RPA, and in some cases, employees who have attended in-house training sessions voluntarily become lecturers. Furthermore, a question-and-answer section on RPA technology has been set up in the chat tool, where employees can actively exchange opinions with each other. In addition to making it easier to ask and answer questions, the chat tool has also provided an opportunity to interact with employees in other departments, thereby expanding the circle of RPA utilization.

As another example of work efficiency improvement, a daily business report tool developed by an employee has had a significant impact on reducing work hours. The daily business report tool allows employees to easily send work reports to a chat tool at the press of a button and report to relevant parties, things such as "I will start work," "I will finish work," and "I did XXX today," which were previously done via e-mail. With the increased amount of work reporting due to more employees working from home, the introduction of the tool has successfully reduced the number of work hours by approximately 12,000 hours per year (total for the entire company).

Work Efficiency Tool Content held

As an initiative to promote business efficiency, the Brother Group has been holding Work Efficiency Tool Contest utilizing the online environment since FY2020. The contest is an opportunity for employees to present the automation tools they have created using RPA and other technologies and their achievements. The contest winners are selected and awarded from first to third place based on the number of "likes" received from employees after their presentations, and the President himself selects the President's Award recipient. In parallel with the contest, related seminars and events are also held.
In FY2021, 41 groups, including those from facilities outside of Japan, participated in the contest, and the development facility in China that created a tool that reduced annual work hours by 7,000 hours was awarded the President's Award. In a conversation with the President, held as part of the event, the President shared his thoughts on "improving work efficiency and employee growth." A total of 2,000 employees participated and voted in this contest, more than double the number from the contest in FY2020.

The employees who presented at the contest commented that they would like to continue to create work efficiency tools that can be useful to others. The attendees expressed that they wanted to be the one to create automation, and that it would improve themselves if they could automate things. The event provided a meaningful opportunity for the entire Brother Group to improve their awareness and skills in work efficiency.

  • Business Process Model and Notation
  • Robotic Process Automation

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