Next Forum is a company meeting for employees and management to directly discuss, exchange opinions, and make proposals on company-wide issues with the aim of cocreating a better company. Meetings are held twice a year, and forum members (a total of 110 persons from all 57 departments) selected from each department gather opinions from the workplace and directly communicate with management. In 2020, meetings were held online in March and September as a precaution against COVID-19.
Going forward, by continuing to hold dialogues at the Next Forum, we will reflect and roll out employee voices in company-wide activities, enabling all employees to achieve growth and self-actualization through work at the Company and maintain a consistent feeling of engagement and pride.
We conduct an employee engagement survey once a year to quantitatively and continuously analyze employees’ engagement, mutual trust, and unity. The results of the survey are fed back to management and all employees. Then they are analyzed in detail, and specific action plans are formulated and implemented based on it. The results of these analyses and plans are then confirmed in the next year’s survey. This is the PDCA cycle.
Company-wide management issues identified in the surveys are discussed by management and employees at the Next Forum. This was the motivation for launching the following company-wide projects: the DTK Project and the reform of workstyles at manufacturing sites. In addition, regarding departmental management issues, in each department, the general manager and other managers formulate action plans to address these issues, reflect them in the next fiscal year’s policies, and promote and monitor the plans in daily tasks, thereby conducting the PDCA cycles.
We expanded the space for direct communication between management and employees by holding townhall meetings* and dialogue with Board members. Therefore, the top management category of the survey rose 9% year on year, and there was a 7% year-on-year improvement in positive responses to the statement: “Top management explains the background and reasons for major agenda items to employees in an easy-to-understand way.”
Operational efficiency improved and operations were streamlined due to the DTK Project, decision making was sped up due to the construction of a flat organization, and each specific measure related to reforming workstyles was promoted company-wide. As a result, we achieved a 3% increase in positive responses year on year to the item: “work content and method: operational efficiency.” We also achieved a 6% increase for a working environment item (IT equipment). In addition, there was a huge improvement in the form of a 20% year-on-year increase in the response to the statement: “The company is trying to achieve a digital transformation.”
By taking measures to support work-life balance and achieve new workstyles and by holding Teams lunch subcommittees for employees raising children, the positive responses from female employees rose in all categories.
Because young employees indicated a relatively low level of engagement in the previous fiscal year, we implemented career-related measures, strengthened subordinate management and communication through 360-degree management evaluations, and promoted workstyle reforms at manufacturing sites and, as a result, registered major improvements in almost all categories in terms of absolute values.
We achieved 70% positive responses to the introduction of new workstyles (promoting working from home, using online meetings, etc.)
On July 19, 2019, the Second Next Forum was held. This was the first Forum since the Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell managerial integration. 78 Forum Members from 55 bases nationwide and 14 senior managers, including President Kito, participated in the meeting.
On March 19, 2020, we held the 3rd Next Forum. To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, we quickly changed venues from Daiba Office to an online meeting through Microsoft Teams. A total of 143 people participated, including President Shunichi Kito, Executive Officer Tomonori Okada, and Corporate Sustainability Department General Manager Michiyo Terakami as well as 97 forum committee members and executive officers from 54 departments nationwide. This was Idemitsu’s first attempt at such a large Teams meeting. Over half of the participants joined from home, giving many people an opportunity to see firsthand the usefulness of implementing new work style reforms.
After receiving the results of the job satisfaction survey conducted in summer 2019, we uncovered a total of 129 companywide issues from each workplace among 55 departments by December. We thoroughly discussed these issues between late January and mid-February through seven committee member pre-meetings joined by a running total of 112 forum committee members. As a result, we sorted the issues into six categories; organized them into background information, ideals, and wants; and presented the list to the management team in advance of their meeting. On that day, President Shunichi Kito directly provided answers, and so did each department, including the Human Resources Department and Manufacturing & Technology Department. In addition, the forum committee members, department general managers, and management-level employees in charge of human resources worked together to begin solving the issues in their respective departments. The Advanced Technology Research Laboratories formulated a 10-year vision and introduced case studies of Kansai Branch and other branches as well as their COMPATH activities* they routinely undertake to implement PDCA cycles for reforming the workplace culture and training personnel.