‘Human resources sharing’ eyed to motivate employees

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Major Japanese trading companies have started to use “human resources sharing” programs to motivate employees by allowing them to extend their unique knowledge and skills beyond industry boundaries, for a sense of fulfillment in their work.

Such programs are not intended for profits in the short term, but to support local businesses and create future business opportunities.

Under such a program at Marubeni Corp., teams of midcareer employees from different sections provide consultation services to clients of regional banks, while cooperating with Marubeni employees dispatched to these banks.

Since last summer, such teams have helped a manufacturer in the Chubu region expand its sales network and an accessory shop launch online sales targeting overseas customers.

“It was a good opportunity for me to think about ways to solve problems from the perspective of manufacturers,” said Takashi Koga, 33, who took part in supporting the Chubu manufacturer. “I’ll be able to use this experience for my career.”

The consultation services are free of charge, and Marubeni’s sales channels are not used.

“We want to add energy to local communities by helping local companies solve problems, which will hopefully lead to the strengthening of Marubeni’s domestic businesses,” one of the employees who devised the motivation program said.

Meanwhile, Sojitz Corp. established a new company with a job-based personnel system last year, allowing employees aged between 35 and 55 to move to the new company.

Employees who transferred to the new company are basically required to do the same job as they had engaged in before for about three days per week and allowed to freely use the remaining time, such as taking on side businesses and running start-ups.

Sojitz now plans to create a system to match its employees with other companies.