The Diversity & Inclusion and
Women窶冱 Empowerment OMRON aims at

Kobayashi: During the years of Japan窶冱 high-growth period, organizations with staff members who basically thought and acted in the same way were needed. But today, technological breakthroughs such as the digital transformation are fast accelerating along with society becomingly increasingly diverse. And at the same time, we face issues market globalization brings about and new crises such as cyberattacks. In times like this, a company must transform itself to encompass disparate thinking and values and use them effectively.
Tomita:: The essence of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is to encourage diversity in opinions and views rather than just increasing diversity in gender, national origins, age groups, and other attributes. And I know Japan is falling behind other countries with respect to empowering women. At OMRON too, the percentage of women in key positions at work are still low. But I certainly don窶冲 want to make the empowerment of women as the sole issue we窶囘 still be dealing with ten years from now. What we have to do really is tackle the issues right in front of us one by one. With this in mind, we have set 窶彳mpowerment of women窶 as our target.
Tomita: The first benefit D&I can bring about is in generating innovations. The chemical reaction imposed by D&I uncovers new perspectives that in turn give birth to new ideas. Second, it enhances personal creativity and allows us to draw out the potential ability of individuals to the fullest. Third, it can improve resilience. It窶冱 obvious that a heterogeneous organization is more flexible and resilient to change than a homogeneous one. While working on D&I, various issues can arise, but when we overcome them, we can enjoy its real benefits and generate the massive power of a united team. Put simply, we don窶冲 work on D&I just because it is what today窶冱 society demands. We do it because it is essential if our company is to grow sustainably.
Kobayashi: From all the experience I窶况e had working with people from different national origins, I realized that an answer I consider to be right may not be the only answer that everybody thinks is correct. My takeaway from that experience was that we need to configure the correct answer for our organizational goal all together through discussion. Doing things this way produced an answer that was better than what I had thought might be the best or ideas I窶况e never imagined.

Challenge is not something that removes all that one has built up,
but rather provides an opportunity to move up

Kobayashi: In my last job, there was a rule on employee promotions and new position assignments. It stipulated that a minimum of 30% of the candidates had to be women. Of course, final decisions on those due promotions or new positions depend on the talent and abilities they have. But what was good about this initiative is that people work hard to discover women with potential. It provides an opportunity to discover competent women both inside and outside of the organization, so I think it窶冱 effective.
Tomita: We窶决e feeling positive about this idea at OMRON, but once this initiative gets rolling, I窶冦 sure we窶冤l be seeing various pro and con opinions. But I welcome different opinions because we can expect new ideas or discoveries to be generated. Another point I want to add is that issues to face when putting D&I into practice vary slightly from region to region. Issues may relate to ethnicity in some regions and age-related in other regions. So, one or two issues requiring urgent solutions should be identified in each region and addressed first. As opinions are expressed openly, we will see knowledge and insights from around the world coming together. That窶冱 my expectation from promoting D&I globally and that should be the direction to head in.
Kobayashi: I窶囘 like to also point out that a root cause for a life event like childbirth being considered a big issue when promoting women reflects thinking that child raising need to be the mother窶冱 task. Another factor is career timeline. Everybody has a timeline for their career, like moving up to a higher position within the company around a certain age. But today, lifespans have extended so that people can work to 70 and beyond if so desired. In a situation like this, meeting a timeline is not so significant. I don窶冲 want to generalize gender-wise, but I feel women tend to be relatively more afraid of failure. But they should understand that failure doesn窶冲 mean that everything they have built is lost. It窶冱 important for a manager or senior member to clearly show that taking on a new challenge and if it fails actually presents a new opportunity to move up. It窶冱 not a crisis that spells the end of all they have built up to date.

窶サArticle content: partially reconstructed excerpts from discussion

Masahiko Tomita
Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer, CHRO and Senior General Manager, Global Human Resources and Administration HQ, OMRON Corporation

Masahiko Tomita joined OMRON Tateisi Electronics Co. (now OMRON Corporation) in 1989. After positions as business strategy division manager and strategy planning division manager for the Electronic Components Business, he was appointed General Manager of the Corporate Planning Department at the Global Strategy HQ in 2012, followed by Senior General Manager of the Global Human Resources and Administration HQ in 2017. In 2019, he assumed the position of Managing Executive Officer and Senior General Manager of the Global Human Resources and Administration HQ. In 2023, Mr. Tomita became Senior Managing Executive Officer and CHRO and was appointed Director the same year.

Izumi Kobayashi
Outside Director

After working at Mitsubishi Chemical Industries Limited (now Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation) and assuming the position of President and Representative Director of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd. (now BofA Securities Japan Co., Ltd.), Izumi Kobayashi was appointed Executive Vice President of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group in 2008. From then on, Ms. Kobayashi has held executive positions at various organizations before her appointment as Outside Director of OMRON Corporation in June 2020.