Human Resources Strategy - The Importance of People

HR Strategy

HR Policies for HR Strategy

The Bank has set the following HR policies within its HR strategy to create a workplace where employees can work with high motivation and pride:

  1. Establish a consistent HR system based not on seniority but on capabilities and job responsibilities
  2. Offer opportunities for employees to develop their skills and to establish a career path
  3. Establish a more dynamic organization where diversity is respected

HR Measures

HR System and Career Development

The Bank has introduced an HR system that promotes ‘Pay for Performance’, a departure from the more traditional seniority-based culture.
In July 2020, Aozora changed its previous career course system, which contained "Consolidated Positions" and "Normal Positions", with a new system that classified all career positions into either "Global Consolidated" or "Regional Consolidated". Aozora will continue to focus on improving its HR system in order to create a greater common sense of purpose among its employees and further develop an HR system conducive to their growth and which facilitates working together towards a common goal regardless of career course.
Aozora promotes a combination of employee-driven career development and optimum allocation of human resources through a Career Plan Program, under which employees can submit requests to work in specific divisions and job positions, an internal Job-posting Program, and a Career Challenge Program for senior employees.
In order to provide its employees with a wider breadth of experience both in and outside of Aozora, the Bank also introduced a job support program, under which employees can take on new job responsibilities while staying in their current position, as well as a trainee program, which dispatches young or mid-level employees to work with the Bank's clients as transfer employees or trainees. These programs enable employees to strengthen their job skills and gain wider professional experience inside and outside the Bank in order to support their future career development.
As of April 2020, employees who wish to hold a second part-time job outside of the Bank may do so as long as they obtain prior approval.
Under the HR system, the Bank encourages employees to further their careers and also ensures that remuneration is aligned more with actual job performance.
Under the Bank’s performance evaluation program, an objective-setting session is held with supervisors and their employees at the beginning of the fiscal year. They consider the employee's individual career course, job grade, years of business experience, etc., and set concrete objectives based on expected roles.
These objectives are set according to various factors, including ethics, compliance with regulations, talent development and personal development. Over the course of the fiscal year, supervisors and their employees also have follow-up meetings to review the employee's progress and identify issues in achieving individual objectives.
At the end of the fiscal year, a private meeting with a supervisor is held to provide an opportunity for employees to further their own development. During this meeting, employees discuss areas that need improvement and methods for achieving higher-level objectives with their supervisors. Multiple performance feedback sessions are held each year in order to properly ensure that employees understand and accept their evaluations. These feedback sessions consist of discussions regarding the employee's career development, including overall achievement of personal objectives, an evaluation of demonstrated skills and competencies, issues to solve and expectations for the next fiscal year, as well as individual strengths and weaknesses.

HR Development

Under the two pillars of mind/skills training and practical training, the Bank offers various programs such as those targeting new hires and employees in specific business groups, Aozora University (which is open to all employees), and the Self-development Support Program.
At Aozora University, courses are sponsored by different business groups and lectures are mainly given by employees. There are a variety of courses, including courses on financial knowledge, communication skills and for personal enrichment. In some courses, participants can directly discuss business management with executive officers.
The Self-development support program is offered to encourage employees to proactively acquire business skills and expertise for banking operations based on individual needs.
The Bank has also introduced e-learning program on business skills, specialized skills and expertise to support employees’ effective use of time saved in the process of Aozora Work Style Reform.
The Bank also conducts sensitivity training for all officers and employees to learn more about people with disabilities, LGBT issues, harassment, etc.

Recruitment

The Bank recruits professionals and new graduates to meet the needs of each business group. Professionals are mainly recruited for positions requiring high-level skills and expertise. Temporary staff also have the opportunity to become permanent employees. Multiple career paths are available for new graduates based on their career design.

Diversity Initiatives

To maintain its high level of performance, the Bank actively promotes diversity and inclusion so that employees from diverse backgrounds can play active roles regardless of race, religion, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation or disabilities. The HR Division has a Diversity Promotion Team led by the head of HR, which offers information and conducts training programs on a broad range of work styles.
We have enhanced our paid leave system and Short Time Work Program to achieve a better work–life balance, held seminars to introduce employees to the concept of diversity, provided induction training for mid-career employees to enable them to get off to a smooth start in their new environment, and introduced initiatives to strengthen communication among employees regardless of business group, career course, role, age or gender.
In FY2020, the Bank introduced the Aozora Career Support Leave Program, which grants leave of up to 3 years to eligible employees who are temporarily no longer able to work at the Bank for reasons related to relocation due to a spouse's job transfer or study abroad. This program is also available to employees who themselves wish to study abroad, pursue a secondary or graduate-level education, or gain professional qualifications/credentials.

Aozora Work Style Reforms

Objective

Management is also working together with the Aozora Labor Union to promote the "Aozora Work Style Reform" initiative. Working closely with our union, a “Work Style Reform Survey” is conducted every year as a way of obtaining valuable feedback from our employees. The survey results are shared with all employees, which also studies reform measures to address specific issues identified through the Survey and follows up on subsequent progress.
The Bank offers various options for programs and working patterns so that employees can flexibly respond to personal life events. Aozora also recognizes diversity as a way to improve the business processes and the workplace environment in order to encourage employees to pursue long careers at the Bank. We hope this will result in a positive cycle of employees' job satisfaction, demonstration of their abilities/creativity and creation of high value added businesses in order to benefit Aozora’s customers and promote sustainable growth.

New work style: Work Wherever, Whenever

Work from Home and Mobile Work Program

We introduced the "Work from Home and Mobile Work" program in April 2017 to retain more employees who are busy taking care of small children or sick or elderly family members and to help sales personnel make efficient use of time when they are out of the office or on a business trip. We expect participants in this program to think creatively about producing more added value than they could while they were in the office. The Bank also participated in the nationwide “Telework Days” campaign sponsored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications by holding its own “Aozora Telework Days 2019” in July and August 2019 in order to promote Aozora’s telework program.
To aid working from home, mobile PCs and smartphones for internal and external calls are distributed. The digital document management system was introduced in order to facilitate the approval process without the need of paper documents when employees are working remotely.

Flex-time program

We encourage our employees to take advantage of the Flex-time Program. About 70% of non-managers use the program (as of March 2020) to adjust their work schedule based on changes in monthly workload and life events. The Bank advises employees who are busy raising children or taking care of family members to effectively use the Flex-time Program in tandem with the Work-from-Home program.

Free-address

When the Bank's head office was relocated to Yotsuya in May 2017, a free-address office design was introduced for the sales and business planning units. Thanks to changes in seating arrangements, employees have more opportunities to be inspired by and obtain knowledge from those around them, allowing for more freedom and creativity in coming up with ideas.
In free address offices, there are booths, sofas near the windows, and tables and chairs for impromptu meetings. Employees can decide where to sit based on their thoughts and tasks for the day. Indispensable tools such as mobile PCs and smartphones for internal and external calls are offered to free-address users.

Source: Okamura Corporation

Efficient Work Style by Focusing on Priorities

Starting in January, 2017, the Bank has promoted the principle of no overtime after 19:00 and a more efficient work style by prioritizing tasks in order to promote better work-life balance.

Initiatives for higher productivity

The Bank launched its Business Process Innovation in July 2016 to shorten working hours and maintain/improve work-life balance by enhancing productivity. We promote paperless operations by using the digital document management system, actively use Robotic Process Automation and share findings and suggestions with field offices via Communication Square, a two-way communication platform, to promote more streamlined and efficient operations Bank-wide.

Attendance Management

In line with the “Guidelines concerning measures to be taken by employers for properly monitoring working hours” released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Bank manages attendance based on objective data such as entry and exit logs and PC logs.

Initiatives for Diversified Work Styles (Better Work-Life Balance)

The Bank offers the following programs and welfare system in order to foster a working environment that provides incentives for employees to pursue long careers at Aozora.

Support for Balancing Work and Parenting

The Bank offers several programs to support employees in balancing work and parenting: childcare leave that employees can use up until their child turns 2 years and 1 month old, child nursing care leave that employees can use for 5 days when they have one child and for 10 days when they have two or more children, a shifting-start-and-end-time program that employees can use from their pregnancy period up until the end of their child's third grade of elementary school, and a shorter working hours program and exemption from/limitation on overtime work. The Bank also supports male employees by offering paid leave for the initial 5 business days when they take childcare leave within 8 weeks after childbirth. In FY2019, 46.7% of male employees took advantage of childcare leave.
The Bank has established “Aozora Childcare Square” for employees on childcare leave or in pregnancy. The Square facilitates networking among them and those with child-rearing experience by holding gatherings and sessions. The HR Division also provide strong support for employees after using child care leave.

Support for Balancing Work and Nursing Care

The Bank offers several programs to support employees in balancing work and nursing care: 365-calendar-day nursing care leave that employees can separate into up to 12 parts, 10 days of paid-leave for nursing care, as well as a shorter working hours program, a shifting-start-and-end-time program, and an exemption from overtime work for employees providing nursing care for family members.

Program and leave Outline
Nursing care "Kyugyo" leave 365 days in total. Possible to divide this leave into up to 12 parts if necessary.
Nursing care "Kyuka" leave 10 days a year. It is possible to take a half-day leave.
Short time work program Possible to use this program when eligible family members need nursing care
Shifting-start-and-end-time program Possible to use this program when eligible family members need nursing care
Exemption of overtime work Possible to use this program when eligible family members need nursing care
Medical leave
(for nursing care)
Possible to use up to 50 days (of unused paid leave that had become invalid)

Aozora Job Return Program

The Bank has introduced the “Aozora Job Return Program“ for employees who leave Aozora for reasons such as childbirth, raising children, a spouse's job transfer, and providing nursing care to family members. This program provides women with an opportunity to play an active role at Aozora once again.

Aozora Career Support Leave Program

The Bank's Career Support Leave Program grants leave of up to 3 years to eligible employees who are temporarily no longer able to work at the Bank for reasons related to relocation due to a spouse's job transfer or study abroad. This program is also available to employees who themselves wish to study abroad, pursue a secondary or graduate-level education, or gain professional qualifications/credentials.

Talent Development for Global Business

In order to acquire talent for our diversified and global banking business and strengthen our human capital in growth areas, the Bank consistently tries to improve the language skills of all its employees and encourages them to take TOEIC. The Bank also endeavors to develop the talents of capable employees with the desire and potential for international business by offering them the opportunities to participate in language study programs, on-the-job training, trainee programs at overseas branch offices, and the “Challenge Program for International Business”.

Initiatives for Employees with Disabilities

Aozora Bank has improved its working environment for employees with disabilities. We have introduced "Live Talk" software, which translates speech into text, and "COMUOON®", a hearing assistance tool for hearing-impaired employees.

Healthcare Management

The Bank has a Health Management Office in the Yotsuya Head Office where doctors, dentists and other medical staff work to manage employees’ health care, implement measures to keep employees fit, and offer other medical services.
The Health Management Office conducts annual regular health checkups Bank-wide, and almost 100% of eligible employees have their checkup every year. The Office offers follow-up care and specific health guidance based on results of these checkups.
In cooperation with the Aozora Bank Health Insurance Society, the Bank provides financial support for employees to have complete medical checkups as well as an allowance for medical checkups for employees’ spouses, regular health checkups for employees’ family members, and gynecological checkups.
The Health Management Office conducts the Stress Check Program for employees every year. It offers mental health counseling at the office and introduces employees to outside mental health professionals when necessary.
The Health Management Office strives to create a healthier and better workplace environment by sharing information about seasonal diseases, offering a flu vaccination program at the office and designated medical institutions, and providing an allowance for medical smoking cessation services to successful ex-smokers.

Data on Aozora Bank employees

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
No. of employees 1,787 1,878 1,928
Male 950 982 1,024
Female 837 896 904
Average age 42.6 42.8 43.1
Male 44.0 44.1 44.1
Female 41.2 41.4 41.9
Average length of service 14.5 years 14.5 years 14.6 years
Male 14.5 years 14.6 years 14.5 years
Female 14.5 years 14.4 years 14.8 years
No. of new hires 54 62 61
AN 26 31 43
FC 13 12 10
FE 15 19 8
Retention of new hires
3 years after employed
91% 94% 87%
No. of mid-hires 86 82 63
No. of female managers 71 74 83
Female managers ratio 10.7% 11.2% 11.9%
Childcare leave users *1 96.3% 100.0% 100.0%
Childcare leave users'
return-to-work *2
87.5% 91.3% 100.0%
No. of nursing care
leave users
15 16 15
Average used paid leave *3 14.8 days 15.5 days 15.6 days
Monthly average overtime 9.0 hours 8.3 hours 8.9 hours
  • *1:Female childcare leave users out of workers who gave birth in a fiscal year
  • *2:Those who return to work out of employees whose childcare leave ends in a fiscal year
  • *3:Average of taken paid leave including Annual Leave, consecutive 5-business-day leave and Spot Leave (2 days granted per year)

Creating Opportunities for Women

Policy

Under the leadership of Aozora's Executive Officer for Human Resources, Aozora actively promotes diversity and the participation of women in its workforce. The Bank's intention is to create a workplace environment that supports employees from diverse backgrounds, regardless of gender, in making active contributions to the Bank's overall performance. (For further information, please refer to Aozora Bank's "Act to Advance Women's Success in Working Life" Action Plan (PDF:353KB).)

Female Employees at Aozora

Years of service

As of the end of March 2020, the average length of service for female employees and male employees are almost the same (14.78 years for females and 14.51 years for males). This is not very common at other companies in Japan. We provide a working environment that supports employees in pursuing a long career at Aozora regardless of their gender. We will work to further improve our working environment while striving to keep the difference in length of service between men and women at one year or less.

Female recruits

Each year the Bank recruits highly qualified recent university graduates and mid-career professionals without regards to their gender. Over the past few years, female recruits have accounted for 30 to 50 percent of new hires.

Percentage of female employees

Approximately 50 percent of employees are female, and they play active roles regardless of job assignment, age or experience.

Note: Excluding those dispatched to outside institutions and temporary staff

Female managers

The Bank promotes talented employees into managerial positions irrespective of gender. The percentage of female managers has steadily increased and was over 11.9% as of April 2020. The Bank also has a female Director and female executive officers.

Aozora newly selected for "MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN)"
In June 2018, Aozora was selected for the "MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN)". This index is designed to represent the performance of Japanese companies that exhibit a commitment towards promoting and maintaining gender diversity and is employed as an index in the passive management of ESG investments by Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund. Government Pension Investment Fund.

Aozora certified as an “Eruboshi” company
In March 2019, Aozora was granted an “Eruboshi” certification. The “Eruboshi” certification system was established by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare in accordance with the Act of Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace in order to recognize businesses that excel at encouraging female employees to assume meaningful roles in the workplace.

Measures to Promote Female Employees' Participation

"Shinayaka" seminar

Aozora conducts the "Shinayaka" seminar for female employees each year to ensure that women can enjoy a long career at the Bank. The seminar gives participants an opportunity to have discussions with colleagues from various divisions throughout the Bank, as well as time for self-reflection.

Work from Home Program and Flextime Program

The Bank introduced the "Work from Home Program" for all the employees in April 2017. Those who have children or family members in need of nursing care are encouraged to use this program along with the Flextime Program.

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