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Sony Corporation wins Ikumen Award 2017 Grand Prize

Sony Corporation wins Ikumen Award 2017 Grand Prize

Sony Corporation has won the Grand Prize in the Ikumen Award 2017, which is backed by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW). As part of the Ikumen Project to encourage men to take childcare leave, the MHLW supports the Ikumen Enterprise Award forthe companies which engaged in balancing work and child-rearing..

  • *Ikumen means fathers who are actively engaged in rearing their children.

Evaluation points

  • Over 50% of fathers eligible for childcare leave take it, and the company environment helps them maintain an appropriate balance between childcare and work
  • Fathers actively endeavor to make Sony's unique working style a reality, while its measures to ensure operational efficiency are part of innovative policies that go beyond simply reducing working hours
  • The company is committed to a corporate culture that values the family as a matter of tradition, as symbolized by the school bag presentation ceremony for first graders. Various other initiatives were also taken into consideration.

Award ceremony

Kenichi Mochizuki, Head of Corporate Human Resource Division, took the stage at the ceremony for the Ikumen Enterprise Award 2017 and Ikumen Boss Award 2017 held as part of the Ikumen Project for supporting male employees who engage in both work and childcare.

Companies receiving Ikumen Enterprise Awards in 2017

Grand Prize (two companies)

Sony Corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo) / Hulic Co., Ltd. (Chuo-ku, Tokyo)

Special Incentive Award (2 companies)

AXA Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (Minato-ku, Tokyo) / K.K. Awashimado, Yawatahama City, Ehime Prefecture

Introduction to examples of initiatives adopted by Sony to encourage male employees to take childcare leave, etc., and promote proactive child rearing

Fostering a workplace environment where it is considered ordinary for male employees to both work and take care of their children

Sony holds 'Working Fathers' Meetings' for male employees who are involved in childcare、 and their bosses, and introduces 'Ikumen Role Models' on its websites. The company's president and directors in charge of personnel give speeches on the importance of diversity and the use of human resources to support the childcare/work concept, and hold town hall meetings where male employees who have taken childcare leave participate in panel discussions.

Workshop for working fathers with their bosses
Group Session

Introduce training on 'unconscious bias'

Education and upbringing frequently encourage fixed male and female roles in work distribution. In response to the changing times, Sony has adopted a program that enables employees to work towards mitigating their unconscious bias in daily management and decision-making by becoming aware of their own gender bias through participation in child rearing and similar measures.

Uniform 20 days of paid childcare leave, and provision of childcare subsidies

Sony has established a uniform 20-day paid vacation scheme that can be used in tandem with childcare leave. It also pays a monthly childcare subsidy of \50,000 yen to provide economic support during childcare leave.

School bag presentation ceremony

The company has been presenting school bags to the children of employees when they enter primary school under an initiative launched by Sony founder Masaru Ibuka in 1959. Children of Sony employees who visit the company for the school bag presentation ceremony are able to see where their parents work and eat together with them in the staff canteen.

Family Day

One of Sony's largest events is Family Day, in which over 5,000 employees and their families participate. In addition to helping raise children with a sense of what work and occupation mean, Family Day provides an opportunity for deepening mutual understanding through interchanges between families and the workplace as part of the promotion of an appropriate work/life balance.

Introduction of telecommuting scheme expands range of employees working from home (from fiscal 2016)

The scheme aims to raise individual employee productivity and output by enhancing the organization's operational efficiency and fostering an organizational climate that encourages the generation of ideas. Making use of communication tools enables employees to participate in meetings from home and helps create an environment where operations can be carried out irrespective of location. Establishing department-specific rules and other measures allows each workplace to create conditions where individual members can function easily without any loss of efficiency.

'Time Project' ushers in work style reforms throughout the company

'Time Project' activities aim to restructure and optimize operations to create unique, Sony-style working methods that go beyond simply reducing working hours to ensure ongoing innovation by enabling individual workplaces to take the lead in initiatives that suit their specific needs and circumstances instead of creating a 'one-size fits all' solution. The project got underway on a trial basis in certain workplaces under the ownership of the top management of individual group companies from fiscal 2016. From the current fiscal year, the group has started adopting those work style initiatives that yielded good results during the last fiscal year on a wider basis, as well as instituting overtime-free days and encouraging anew the adoption of 'flex holidays' (planned acquisition of 10 days of annual vacation).

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