SUSTAINABILITY Human Capital Management

The Air Water Group will advance its human resource strategy, which is inseparable from its business strategy, in order to “create new corporate value by solving social issues,” and will move toward our 2030 target named “terrAWell30.”

Message from the Head of HR Strategy Office

Kikue Inoue

Executive Officer,
Head of the HR Strategy Office

Our Group aims to “create new corporate value by solving social issues” through synergies generated by leveraging our diverse businesses, human resources, and technologies in a creative manner. Among these, “human resources” plays the most important role. Our human capital investment is always based on “management that makes the most of human resources.” We are emphasizing in particular the four initiatives for the human resource strategy; “developing next-generation management,” “respecting diversity (DE&I),” “recurrent education,” and “promoting health management.” At the same time, our basic personnel policy encourages “independence and self-reliance,” “respect for the individual,” and “fostering a climate in which people can grow.”

We are working to address diversifying social issues such as global climate change and an aging society through activities in our two business domains of “Global Environment” and “Wellness”. To face and respond to increasingly complex social issues, diverse human resources must continue to improve and refine themselves. In other words, we must provide opportunities for each employee to think independently about their career and gain experience to realize the career of their choice. Under these circumstances, we have introduced an internal recruitment system starting in FY2023 to expand opportunities for employees to make their own career choices by raising their hands, in addition to transfers carried out from an organizational perspective. We are working on to grasp information on human resources in the whole Group, promote personnel exchanges, and boost the mobility of our Group’s human resources. Also we, as one group, promote the hiring, selection, transfer, and training of management personnel who will drive future growth, such as by revamping our personnel system so that “employees who take on challenges” can grow and play active roles with a sense of fulfillment. At the same time, well-being of our employees will be enhanced by more benefit programs such as childcare and nursing care support.

These investments in human capital from various angles encourage the growth of human resources throughout the Group. We will further accelerate the growth of our human resources as a group by creating an environment where every employee, regardless of age or gender, is able to take on challenges on their own initiative and based on mutual respect.

Our HR Strategy Office will accelerate our business strategy through the promotion of human resource strategy and realize our Purpose, “Meeting society’s needs with nature’s blessings.”

To empower employees to choose their career
and grow the next generation management

Aiming to develop management personnel who will be responsible for the future of our group, our efforts are centered on the three axes of “experience” to encourage growth through work, “evaluation” to foster a culture in which people can grow, and “training” to expand opportunities to learn on their own. By providing a wide variety of measures as below and allowing employees to seize opportunities for growth on their own initiative, we will cultivate the “founder’s spirit” that is the foundation of our management philosophy.

Initiative #1:
Mission Grade System for managerial position

This system, launched in June 2023, aims to facilitate the selection and development of management talent to drive growth. Regardless of age or company history, the system determines their treatment based on job size, importance, impact in the individual’s mission, and so forth, whereby encouraging employees’ independent career development.

Initiative #2:
Challenge Grade System for general workers

From April 2024, the personnel system for general workers will also be renewed. It will encourage more challenges based on their motivation and abilities and decide their treatment according to individual career choice and growing speed. We encourage the growth of each employee by providing more opportunities and rewarding those who proactively take on challenges.

Initiative #3:
Internal recruiting system

In FY2023, the internal recruiting system began in earnest. It indicates important positions to employees with certain abilities and qualifications, expands opportunities for proactive challenges, and encourages employees to try on their own initiatives. The target for FY2023 is to transfer 50 positions. In FY2024, we plan to expand the scope of internal recruitment to include our group companies.

Initiative #4:
Establishment of management personnel requirements and renewal of training system

We have defined the image of management personnel and their requirements that our group aims to achieve in order to solve social issues. It is a person who possesses the following three elements: the “conceptual ability” to create a vision, the “achievement ability” to reliably achieve goals, and the “human ability” to show sincerity in everything they do, which is the foundation of all of our business activities. In order to develop future management talents, we revamped our conventional training system into more consistent program focusing on these three requirements.

Voice from an employee who used the internal recruitment

I am motivated and growing every day
in the career I chose myself.

I had been interested in the North American business, our priority region, but it made me feel difficulties such as the time difference and language, and I had my own barriers. After hearing stories of senior employees working abroad, however, I strongly felt there would be chances of my personal growth. I could be involved in expanding the industrial gas business in overseas markets with abundant business opportunities. That made me to apply to AIR WATER AMERICA. Once posted overseas, I was able to work face to face with members of the North American group companies, and the barriers that I had built up on my own soon disappeared. There are many colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and I have much to learn from them about how they work, in their different cultures, and how they interact with people and organizations. That also keeps me motivated and growing.

Reiko Nakagaki

Dept. of Industrial Gas
Director, Business Development

To promote DE&I

Creating a workplace where women can work vigorously and with a sense of fulfillment is the first step of our Group’s D&I (Diversity & Inclusion). This concept launched Women’s Participation and Advancement Promotion Project at Air Water in 2016. Over the next five years, we took various initiatives in place, such as improving workplace culture, supporting continued employment, and promoting career support, hiring, and training. They brought higher percentages of women in managerial positions as well as leadership positions, both are one of our KPIs.

Based on these results, three more regional operating companies joined this project in FY2022, and we began full-scale D&I activities. There we have identified five priority issues based on an employees survey: (1) promoting women’s participation and advancement, (2) encouraging men to take childcare leave, (3) support for balancing work and nursing care, (4) reforming awareness and culture for demonstrating initiative, and (5) promoting employment of persons with disabilities. These aim to enhance the work-life balance of each and every employee.

In particular, in order to achieve the goal of 40% or more male employees taking childcare leave, we facilitated communication between employees who have taken childcare leave and those who wish to take it. In FY2022, we held a “roundtable discussion of male employees on childcare leave” and a “roundtable discussion of female employees on maternity leave and returning to work.” We also held “Diversity Seminars” for managers.

From FY2023, we started promoting DE&I activities that added “Equity (fairness)” to conventional D&I that respects and realizes diversity of human resources in an organized manner. This is to fulfill our mission to provide fair work opportunities to each individual with diverse backgrounds and to utilize the vitality of human resources generated through such opportunities.

Launching a specialized organization to promote DE&I

Until FY2022, the “D&I Promotion Project” was promoted by members of Air Water and three regional operating companies. The project has achieved some success, but our Group as a whole still has work to do. So we have established a specialized department within the HR Strategy Office, replacing the previous project-based approach. Recognizing that respect for diversity is essential for corporate development, we have established a system that promotes DE&I activities even more vigorously.

Going forward, the HR Strategy Office, each business unit, and group companies will work together to implement DE&I activities from multiple perspectives.

To be a place where women can continue their careers

Our Group aims to increase the percentage of female managers to at least 10% by FY2024 (5.1% in FY2022), and is actively promoting the appointment of women in five steps: recruitment, continued employment, development, promotion, and realization of diversity.

We are strengthening our recruitment efforts with the goal of continuously increasing the ratio of women to new graduate hires to 40% or more. We operate various systems to support women’s continued employment, and are currently focusing on “development” by providing career building support through a mentor system and strengthening our female leader development program.

Employee engagement surveys

We began conducting engagement surveys in FY2023 in order to build a working environment where each employee feels fulfilled, works energetically, and can maximize their abilities. The survey measures employees’ willingness to actively contribute to their organization as well as their own work with enthusiasm and provides a base indicator for our future business and human resource strategies. Based on the survey results, we will implement measures to improve the organizational climate and work environment as well as the willingness of employees to make voluntary contributions to the company, with the aim of increasing employee engagement.