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 an HR system based upon job responsibilities and performance, not on seniority
  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.
The Under the new HR system, there are career courses and a reward system in line with the expected roles of each course. The Bank also initiated a career course conversion program, offering more career path options based on experience and capabilities, to support employees who want to pursue a new position. The new “Regional AN” career course was established to respond to diversified career development without requiring employees to relocate.
The Bank promotes a combination of proactive career development from employees 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.
The Bank also introduced a job support program, under which employees can take on new job responsibilities while staying in their current position. This program enables employees to strengthen their job skills and gain professional experience in order to support their future career development.
Under the HR system, the Bank encourages employees to further their careers and also ensures that remuneration is aligned 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 meeting 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 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 targetting 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 a business and specialized skills and expertise e-learning program for all employees to support the effective use of time saved thanks to the Work Style Reforms.
The Bank also conducts sensitivity training for all officers and employees to learn more about people with disabilities, LGBT issues, harassment, etc.


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 so that employees from varied backgrounds can play active roles regardless of race, religion, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation or disabilities so that the Bank can improve its performance. The HR Division has a Diversity Promotion Team, which offers information and conducts training programs on diversified work styles.
We have enhanced our paid leave and short time work program for better work–life balance, held seminars to help employees understand 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.

Aozora Work Style Reforms


With commitment from the management, the Bank established the Work Style Reform Conference to promote work style reform in the Aozora Group. The Conference consists of the Business Strategy Division, HR Division, Operations Planning Division and Labor Union, representing a joint effort from both employees and management to promote Work Style Reform.
Aozora conducts a “Work Style Reform Survey” every year as a way of soliciting feedback from its employees. The survey results are shared with all employees of the Bank, and the Work Style Reform Conference deliberates on reform measures to address issues identified through the Survey and follow up on their 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 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 caring for sick or elderly family members, 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 2018” in July 2018 in order to promote Aozora’s telework program.
To aid working from home, mobile PCs and iPhones 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 away from the office. The Bank allows employees to take advantage of this program for up to four days a week to encourage its flexible use.

Flex-time program

We encourage our employees to take advantage of the Bank's flex-time program. About 50 percent of non-managers use the program (as of March 2019) 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.


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 iPhones 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 Documents Approval 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 FY2018, 58% of male employees took advantage of childcare leave.
The Bank established the “Aozora Childcare Square” for pregnant employees and employees on children leave. The Square is designed to create a networking system by holding gatherings to learn from other employees with child-raising experience and providing consultations with HR representatives. The HR Division also provides strong support for employees returning from childcare 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 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.

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 the TOEIC exam. The Bank also endeavors to develop the talents of capable employees with the desire and potential for international business by offering them the opportunity 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. Employees with and without hearing disabilities often have discussions via e-mail and in writing. Due to these initiatives, employees can now more smoothly communicate with each other.

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 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

FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
No. of employees 1,730 1,787 1,878
Male 937 950 982
Female 793 837 896
Average age 42.5 42.6 42.8
Male 43.8 44.0 44.1
Female 40.9 41.2 41.4
Average length of service 14.5 years 14.5 years 14.5 years
Male 14.4 years 14.5 years 14.6 years
Female 14.8 years 14.5 years 14.4 years
No. of new hires 52 54 62
AN 26 26 31
FC 9 13 12
FE 17 15 19
Retention of new hires
3 years after employed
90% 91% 94%
No. of mid-hires 73 86 82
No. of female managers 64 71 74
Female managers ratio 10.1% 10.7% 11.2%
Childcare leave users *1 100.0% 96.3% 100.0%
Childcare leave users'
return-to-work *2
100.0% 87.5% 91.3%
No. of nursing care
leave users
13 15 16
Average used paid leave 14.4 days 14.8 days 15.5 days
Monthly average overtime 11.0 hours 9.0 hours 8.3 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


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 2019, female employees’ average length of service was approximately the same as male employees (14.35 years for females and 14.59 years for males). This is not very common at other companies. 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 11.2% as of April 2019. This ratio is in line with the average of 11.5% (*) for the financial and insurance industries. The Bank also has a female Director and several female executive officers.

  • (*) Ordinance of Ministry of Health and Welfare "Average percentage of female managers by industry"

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.

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 business 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.

ESG Information Index