21 June 2021
Town Meeting with Sales Staff
On June 4, we held a town meeting*¹ with sales staff members. In the Sales Group, the number of female employees and working parents has been increasing in recent years. In addition, the novel coronavirus pandemic has changed our work styles drastically. Against this background, we are required to respond promptly to the new and diverse work styles. To this end, at this meeting, with the participation of twelve young sales staff members (ten female members and two male members) who have a high level of interest in sales career development as well as in striking a balance between parenting and sales activities, I had a frank dialogue with the participants about difficulties and rewarding moments in their daily sales work. Though I often have a dialogue with the members of management, including General Managers, it was the first time to have a dialogue with young employees since I became President. Therefore, I had looked forward to this meeting.
The participating employees told me that they felt it was rewarding when they could contribute to innovation for customers through sales of technological value-added products and when they could provide customers with solutions through their proposals and negotiations utilizing the knowledge and know-how that the Company had cultivated over the years. Hearing that, I realized that the young employees were making a persistent effort even under a difficult situation and carrying out sales activities with a strong sense of responsibility and fulfillment. As President, I was truly happy while placing great trust in them.
As for difficulties, they mentioned that continuing to work in sales would be difficult under time pressure caused by life events such as childbirth and child-rearing. The reasons for this are under the current person-in-charge system, the person in charge must deal with urgent problems and requests of the customer in a rapid and meticulous manner, and it requires time to coordinate with people concerned within and outside the Company. On the other hand, some of the female participants expressed their hope to keep working in sales in the future while raising children. I increased my awareness of the need to further tackle this issue by, for example, reviewing the work procedures and backup systems for sales staff.
Regarding balancing sales work and life events, a team of five female sales staff members of the Company participated in the Eijyo College*² last year and was selected as one of the finalists (six out of 18 teams) by carrying out a demonstration experiment of implementing buddy/team systems assuming schedule restrictions due to child-rearing under the theme of next-generation sales activity models amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Though they missed the Grand Prize in the final selection, their presentation was highly evaluated by the judges, who said that shifting from the person-in-charge system to the team system was also of great importance in terms of business continuity. Prompted by the proposal they made at the Eijyo College, we started considering how we could create an environment where female and other sales staff members can play an active role to enhance customer satisfaction while balancing work and life events, including measures to increase productivity and capability and reduce waste, and making efforts to realize them by assigning dedicated personnel within the Sales Unit.
This town meeting was a rare and valuable opportunity for me to hear opinions directly from employees. I would like to have such an opportunity for dialogue regularly to promote the creation of an open corporate culture.
*1 Town meetings are held every year in each region to provide employees with an opportunity to directly exchange opinions with management by job type or position.
*2 Eijyo College is a cross-industrial project hosted by ChangeWAVE Inc. aiming at innovation in sales activities and the development of female sales employees (eijyo), where eijyo carry out a demonstration experiment to solve issues in their daily work and present a proposal to people in managerial positions based on its results.