At NIHON CHOUZAI, we consider the people who underpin a company as critical resources for management, and we actively invest in their recruitment, training, evaluation and engagement. Among these initiatives is our effort to strengthen training and organizational strength with an eye toward achieving the dramatic business expansion set forth in our long-term vision for 2030.
Recruiting human resources, starting with pharmacists, is critical. These are the people that offer high-quality pharmacy services and heighten our competitive capabilities, thus leading to the organizations’ expansion. We are striving to strengthen our ability to recruit pharmacists, certified dieticians, medical administrators and administrative department personnel, both as new graduates and mid-career hires, in order to respond to changes in the external environment such as revisions to laws and industry restructuring.
Strengthening Recruitment of Newly Graduated Pharmacists
Person-to-person work is becoming a common part of the duties performed by pharmacists more than ever, whether it is family pharmacists, for at-home medical care, or throughout the range of specialized fields. We believe that securing high-quality human talent is a key issue for enabling us to implement our growth strategy to survive as the industry undergoes reconstruction. Although the number of pharmacists hired decreased from the previous fiscal year due to the raising of our hiring standards, we are hiring close to 400 pharmacists each year. In addition, in the “Mynavi/Nikkei 2021 popularity rankings of Japanese companies
among job-seeking students graduating in 2021” targeted at university and graduate school students scheduled to graduate in March 2021, we came number one in the dispensing pharmacy and drugstore industry for three out of the four categories related to our company.
Conveying Workplace and Career Information
We created a recruitment website for each occupational category and provide abundant information with regard to employee interviews and careers. Also offered is a rich variety of contents, such as movies, that clearly demonstrate the daily routine of employees. We have also created an official LINE (popular social media app) account, in an effort to proactively convey information to pharmacy students.
We offer internships in all of our occupational categories, providing opportunities for interns to experience working and career opportunities at NIHON CHOUZAI. This also provides a venue where interns can interact with employees. A total of approximately 1,500 people participated in this internship program for pharmacist students for the year.
Development of Human Resources
Regardless of what position a person fills, at the heart of NIHON CHOUZAI’s stance on human resources is the “medical professional.” These are individuals that possess a keen awareness of responsibility to provide medical care and a sense of mission, while responding to the growing medical needs that confront an ultra-aging society. We aim to develop human resources that aggressively work to find solutions to social issues, such as keeping medical costs in check, thereby becoming an essential presence for patients, their families and the local community while contributing to healthcare in Japan and to society. Conducted by job type as well as grade seniority, we offer training by individual topic and career planning, and we provide opportunities for each and every employee to acquire necessary knowledge and skills.
Framework of education and training
Enhancing Training of Increasingly Needed Expert pharmacists ⇒Differentiation from Competitors
As the Dispensing Pharmacy Business has already achieved “recruitment of high-quality pharmacists,” we have moved on to the next step, which is the phase for “high-quality education.” We have launched the Pharmacist Stage System in April 2018, recommending acquisition of internal credentials. The Company also provides full support so that employees can step up to acquiring more advanced external credentials. Because hospital training in addition to pharmacy work experience is essential for acquiring external credentials, we conduct hospital training for over 100 pharmacists each year.
Training for New Hires
We endeavor to provide new employees with meaningful training that will form their foundation as members of society and medical professionals. Training programs offer practical content and focus on role playing and discussions, and seek to sharpen the knowledge and skills needed in each occupational category.
Training for Newly Assigned Store Managers
We actively exchange opinions through group work between store managers tasked with the management of their businesses, covering a range of topics including their roles as leaders, guidance of subordinates, and marketing aimed at enhancing business performance. We aim to enhance their awareness and abilities as managers, while also placing an importance on creating horizontal connections within the Company.
This is a program in which third-year employees and their seniors from other departments are paired up for regular mentoring sessions. We have been conducting trials since 2018, and are preparing the system for a full-scale introduction as we expand its scope of coverage.
Since fiscal 2017, we have been conducting a coaching program run by an external specialized organization to promote 1-on-1 communication to selected managers. The results are shared to be utilized in communication with stakeholders and subordinate guidance.
This is a next-generation leader training program, in which we invite well-known instructors from outside the Company to provide advice, while each team considers company issues and offers specific recommendations to management. Through the repeated exchanging of opinions within teams while being aware of the issues, we are promoting their growth as next-generation leaders.
NIHON CHOUZAI created the internal Pharmacist Stage System JP-STAR to evaluate and promote the specialized expertise of pharmacists with regard to their knowledge and skills. As requirements to advance to the next higher stage, the pharmacist should acquire disease-specific in-house credentials for the five major diseases the Japanese government targets for priority measures, as well as eight fields including palliative care, at-home medical care and dementia. In addition, it will also be mandatory for the pharmacist to obtain certification for the higher stage with external pharmacist credentials, demonstrating a high level of specialized expertise. Evaluation of the pharmacist’s advanced level of knowledge, skills and attitude facilitates an increased degree of motivation and enhanced skills.
Customer Satisfaction (CS) Award
More than just a high level of expertise to provide outstanding pharmacy services, we believe it vital to offer outstanding care and to communicate with skill. Through the use of customer satisfaction surveys, we select those pharmacies and staff that excel at providing services, and after evaluating their care and service we recognize them with the JP-CS Award (store award and individual award), and we provide the JP-CS Role Play Award to those who have demonstrated role playing service to patients. We offer a variety of programs to individual recipients of awards, such as experience to learn hospitality, which provides an opportunity for them to further enhance their skills.
Best pharmacy of branch Award for pharmacies that provide superior service Every year we select and recognize those pharmacies that have provided superior services. This selection is based on our customer satisfaction survey of patient-supplied questionnaires, followed by recommendations by supervisors and a final check from the person in charge of customer satisfaction.
Best staff of hospitality Award for staff who provide superior service Every year we select and honor staff who have provided superior services. Selected pharmacy staff are primarily those who have been highly rated according to patient questionnaires. The supervisor then performs a “blind” check.
Role-play awards Award staff who have superior care capabilities The Role Play Award selection process consists of a first-round comprised of 100 participants, which is narrowed down to 20 in the main selection. Performances of care giving to patients are judged. Recipients are selected for the Grand Prize, Outstanding Performance Award in the Pharmacist Category, Outstanding Performance in the Operator Category, the Empathy Award, and Proposal Ability Award.
Diversity & Inclusion
Promoting women’s advancement in our workplaces
At least 30 women in Area Manager positions and Chief positions or higher in administrative departments
Supporting work-life balance and childbirth/childrearing
We provide support to help employees who have experienced a life event continue on with their jobs. This support is provided through a variety of systems and initiatives that facilitate the balance between an employee’s work and personal life. NIHON CHOUZAI has many employees that balance both “work” and “child-rearing,” creating an atmosphere in which they can cover one another.
1 Various systems
● Prenatal/Postnatal leave
● Childcare leave: 1 year (available until the child is 2 years old if the child cannot be admitted to a nursery)
● Childbirth congratulatory money
● Working time reduction for childcare (finishing time can be shortened in 30-minute increments, up to 2 hours per day, until the child enters elementary school)
● Nursing leave system (leave may be taken for nursing when a child becomes ill, receiving vaccinations or medical examinations)
● Maternity leave system for spouses (in order to encourage male employees to participate in childcare, a leave system is provided separately from paid leave)
Take a look at this! “Maternity trousers”
We make “maternity trousers” available for expectant pharmacists who are working while protecting their babies until they go on prenatal leave. Since the white garment has a rubber part on the abdomen with less tightening, they can work comfortably, and it also helps prevent cold and swelling in the abdomen and feet.
2 Support for work-life balance
With the membership-based health and welfare benefits service, a wide variety of menu items that are useful for daily life and holidays are available at a reasonable price. Services such as monthly childcare facility subsidies and childcare facility vouchers are included in the menu, in addition to corporate contracts with babysitter service companies and securing priority admission slots through cooperation with various childcare facilities. We are working to enhance systems that support employees who want to balance their work and raising children.
Cooperation with various childcare facilities
Priority admission for the children of NIHON CHOUZAI employees
Admission free-of-charge, other costs subsidized
Corporate contracts with babysitter services
No initial fee or annual fees
Subsidy program for employees
Payment of various subsidies
Childcare facility vouchers
Monthly childcare facility subsidies
3 Work-life balance support project for female employees raising children
In February 2020, we held the second career design training session as the final round of the work-life balance support project for female employees working at headquarters and the Yokohama Branch who are currently raising children. The goal of this training was to have participants clarify the direction of their careers by promoting a more forward-looking vision in the current “child-rearing” stage of their lives, and also to build a network of female employees who are raising children. We hope that the participants will demonstrate their presence in their respective departments and further grow as role models by making the most of the networks cultivated through the year-long efforts.
4 Flexibility of career plans
We have introduced a system that affords employees flexibility in changing their employment contracts so that they can easily shift from a full-time employee status to a contracted or part-time employee status in accordance with life events and changes in their living environments. In addition, we have created a system which will enable employees to preferentially return to the Company after they have retired on account of compelling personal reasons, such as marriage, childbirth, child rearing, caregiving, or the work transfer of a spouse.
Results of Efforts to Promote Women’s Advancement in the Workplace
Traditionally, the pharmacist profession has a high ratio of females, and of the pharmacists employed at NIHON CHOUZAI 64% are female. For that reason, we endeavor to support the careers of female employees and raise awareness among management, and take Company-wide efforts to promote their active participation. The roles female employees play has become an important management issue. We are moving forward on providing opportunities for education, regardless of gender, and nurturing women who will be store managers and supervisors.
Acquisition of the highest level of “Eruboshi” certification
As a result of continuing our efforts to create opportunities for both men and women to play a role in the Company, and with the development of an easy-to-work-in environment for females, in 2018 we obtained Grade 3, the highest level, of “Eruboshi,” * a certification, recognizing excellent companies for the active participation of women, that is based on the Act of Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace.
* Eruboshi, or “L Star” (the L represents Lady, Labour and Laudable), is a certification under the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare (delegated to the Labour Bureau head) grants Eruboshi certification to corporations with an outstanding implementation of their action plan for initiatives to promote the active participation of women. There are five evaluation criteria, namely, recruitment, employee retention, working hours and other work conditions, rate of women in management, and diversity of career progression, with three levels of certification based on the number of criteria met. At NIHON CHOUZAI we have fulfilled all criteria and have received Grade 3, the highest level of certification.
Planned paid leave system
We have introduced a system whereby employees can take paid leave in a planned manner. This system works to support the taking of paid leave based on an employee’s preferences, and it facilitates the creation of an environment in which paid leave can be taken.
Work-Style Reform Committee
We have established a Work-Style Reform Committee so as to address changes in the law and further enhance workplace productivity. This committee follows up with employees who work long hours and responds to issues of work safety and health.
Proactive dissemination of personnel rules to worksites
From the perspective of reducing overtime work and strengthening our efforts to promote the acquisition of paid leave, we are regularly providing opportunities for Area Managers and Store Managers to receive explanations from HR staff, aiming to change mindsets such as the thorough enforcement of attendance rules at worksites.
Influenza immunization subsidy
From fiscal 2018 we have strengthened measures with regard to disease prevention. In addition to the health insurance association providing subsidies to those employees who have received their influenza immunization, NIHON CHOUZAI also grants a subsidy.
Prohibition of smoking and installation of disinfectant at all sites
Smoking is prohibited at all locations, including headquarters, branches, and pharmacies. In addition, from the perspective of disease prevention, disinfectants are installed at the entrances and exits of all pharmacies, headquarters, and branches.
Promoting Hiring of the Disabled
We employ approximately 100 workers with disabilities. By achieving the rate of 2.29% (as of June 2020), we have surpassed the statutory employment rate. We are expanding relevant occupational areas while promoting active employment.
Expansion of occupational categories In addition to the traditional occupational categories of pharmacist, medical administrator and office worker, we are expanding occupational categories, such as employees who are tasked with being the driver when a pharmacist is making a home visit.
Using sign language to provide care and medication guidance Pharmacists who are deaf provide service at their pharmacies using sign language. In addition, we provide e-learning contents within the Company so that pharmacists can learn the sign language required for providing the pharmacy services needed to assist deaf people.
Mid-career Recruitment (career recruitment)
In addition to hiring new graduates, we are strengthening the career recruitment of human resources required by each department. By acquiring highly specialized human resources from outside, we are not only fulfilling the positions in need of human resource, but also strengthening the expertise of the entire organization and creating new value which is different to existing employees.