Respect for Human Rights
Our stance on human rights
Under the corporate philosophy of “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” the SoftBank Group aims to properly develop and improve the power of information revolution towards happiness for humanity. Accordingly, we recognize the importance that human rights shall be respected in every aspect of our corporate activities, as articulated in our Human Rights Policy. We require all SoftBank Group directors, officers and employees to understand the Policy and will ask external stakeholders, such as investees and business partners to respond in the same way.
Human Rights Policy
The SoftBank Group's “Human Rights Policy” sets out the minimum standards that all directors, officers and employees of the SoftBank Group must follow in order to prohibit discrimination, harassment, forced labor, child labor and so on in order to maintain a healthy work environment. This policy requires all directors, officers and employees of the SoftBank Group to respect the human rights of all stakeholders involved in our Group, to treat them with dignity and respect, and to act in accordance with related laws and regulations at all times and with the utmost respect for international human rights principles.
Human rights promotion structure
The SoftBank Group advocates and respects human rights across the entire Group in accordance with the SoftBank Group Human Rights Policy. Since efforts to protect and respect human rights in our business activities are cross-departmental events, SoftBank Group Corp. strives to ensure that the Human Resources Department, Compliance Department and Sustainability Department work together on a daily basis to take appropriate measures.
Furthermore, the Group Risk and Compliance Committee (GRCC) will discuss a proper system or measures to prevent human rights violations, the results of which shall be reported to the Board of Directors, while identifying any negative effects of business activities on human rights.
The Group companies are also working to develop and improve the system to more actively exchange internal information on human rights within the company in order to identify any industry-specific human rights risks that need to be addressed.
Identification of significant human rights risks
Since one of our key business areas is the information industry, we recognize that respect for the freedom of expression and protection of privacy in telecommunications and the Internet and communications on social media are particularly critical human rights issues. The SoftBank Group therefore strives to evolve technological enhancements on a daily basis to deliver reliable and highly convenient services.
At the same time, each of the Group companies is required to specify human rights issues specific to their industry, to develop diverse services, products and business activities without adhering to specific technologies or business models. In order to properly promote these initiatives, the SoftBank Group will proactively implement and improve measures to identify potential risks and prevent or mitigate human rights violation instances by implementing stakeholder engagement initiatives.
In 2020, SoftBank Corp. held stakeholder dialogues on two themes: the role that telecommunications carriers should play to respect privacy, and human rights problems caused by technology development. These lively discussions drew on expert knowledge and helped the company identify its responsibilities to address human rights issues and the most material issues for its business. Insights from these dialogues will be used to make improvements on human rights issues closely linked to its business, such as respecting privacy. The company will also continue to engage stakeholders in helping it to identify our specific human rights responsibilities as times change.
Human rights risk assessment
The SoftBank Group developed mechanisms to regularly assess and monitor the negative effect of business activities on human rights, targeting relevant suppliers as well as our Group. In February 2022, as part of this effort, SoftBank Group Corp. conducted a survey of all directors, officers, and employees to better understand human rights risks in business activities and consider preventive and remedial measures. From the responses, we confirmed human rights issues that had occurred within the last 12 months and ascertained potential human rights risks that could occur in the future. Responses included references to overwork, harassment, discrimination based on gender or other grounds, and human rights risks associated with AI and other technologies used or developed by our portfolio companies. In principle, we will continue to conduct annual surveys, assessments, and monitoring that is focused on the human rights risks identified in the surveys. Our goal is early detection of any human rights violations, and appropriate corrective and remedial measures. We are also working to reduce human rights risks through education and training. The SoftBank Group is accountable to our stakeholders for such correction and relief measures and will disclose the progress of such measures on a timely basis.
Education and training activities
The SoftBank Group raises awareness of human rights issues among directors, officers and employees by informing them of the “SoftBank Group Code of Conduct” and “Human Rights Policy”.
SoftBank Group Corp. provides training for all directors, officers, and employees on its Human Rights Policy to highlight the impact of human rights violations on the company and reinforce the importance of conducting a human rights risk assessment. In particular, management-level employees and above are instructed on how to respond appropriately to instances of harassment in the workplace by educating them on harassment-related trends in society and key points to consider. In July 2020, we held harassment-related training for line managers that included information on Japan’s revised Labor Measures Comprehensive Promotion Act, which had recently entered into force.
The SoftBank Group has a confidential helpline for reporting and consulting on suspected human rights violations, including bullying and harassment in the workplace. Directors, officers and employees can use the helpline to report workplace issues or express their concerns over perceived misconduct. In addition to the helpline, SoftBank Group Corp. has prepared multiple consultation points, including the HR department, and provides employees with information on these resources through training and other means.
Respecting human rights in the supply chain
In order to promote business activities that respect human rights throughout the supply chain, the SoftBank Group stipulates items in the “Human Rights Policy” and the “Supplier Code of Conduct” which suppliers are required to comply with, and ask suppliers to take human rights into consideration. The SoftBank Group will proactively undertake relevant human rights-friendly corporate activities through partnership with these stakeholders.
Creating a Supportive Working Environment
The SoftBank Group aims to create working environments in which everyone can exercise self-expression, and emphasize respect for employees’ fundamental human rights and equal opportunity, as well as their safety and health in our workplaces. Aiming to achieve the SoftBank Group's vision of becoming corporate group needed most by people around the world, we have endeavored to build a working environment in which all employees can maximize their abilities.
Human resources strategy
SoftBank Group Corp. aims to achieve sustainable growth through partnership with the best companies in different industries. Thus, we require every person working in SoftBank Group Corp. to become a master of his or her profession. We believe that in any category of work and in any position, our employees must have the capacity to think logically and tackle unprecedented challenges using numbers and reasoning. We also expect our employees to have a high level of expertise in their relevant fields and the communication skills required to engage in business with leading companies around the world. With these expectations, SoftBank Group Corp. is committed to recruit and promote to management positions the most qualified individuals without regard to age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or disability. Once employees join the SoftBank Group, we pledge to provide sufficient opportunities for continued self-development. We support employees with reflecting on their career vision and goals and taking self-directed steps to achieve them.
Career development management
The SoftBank Group promotes effective career development initiatives to help employees reach their full potential.
SoftBank Group Corp. offers every employee the opportunity to receive open feedback from their managers in principle on a monthly basis. This enables us to make any relevant changes in position or assignment, considering aptitude and competency so that the right person fills the right position.
Our basic policy is that each employee is required to develop and improve competency as a professional, using education available to every employee after completing the initial training sessions offered at the beginning of employment. To support this, we offer English conversation lessons and the SoftBank Group-wide training programs. In addition, employees can access external training sessions using the education budget allocated to each department or division.
Employee satisfaction survey
In order to build a stronger organization and enhance motivation, the SoftBank Group regularly conducts employee satisfaction surveys in order to gauge current sentiment and to identify any issues. The FY2021 survey of SoftBank Group Corp. showed balanced results with the organization (job, workplace, superiors) and the company and implies a high degree of employee satisfaction at all levels. Leveraging the analysis of the survey results, we consistently carry out activities that are designed to motivate employees and improve the organization. This leads to better corporate performance and higher retention of talented human resources, which supports the sustainable growth of businesses.
SoftBank Group Corp.
employee satisfaction survey (ES survey)*
Organizational satisfaction (overall satisfaction for surveys before FY18)
Diversity and inclusion
The SoftBank Group believes that diversity and inclusion plays a primary role in building a bright and prosperous, lively society. We aim to have inclusive working environments in place in which every employee shall be treated fairly, and their various rights shall be respected without prejudice and bias.
Success of female employees
The SoftBank Group believes that the entire company benefits from the contribution of every female employee demonstrating their individual abilities. The Group has actively hired women and assigned them to managerial positions. As of end of March 2022, female employees made up 44% of the total employees of SoftBank Group Corp., while accounting for 22% of managers and 52% of newly hired employees. Consequently, SoftBank Group Corp. has been selected for the MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN) , which consists of companies with exceptional gender diversity. In addition, the company has also been accredited as a "Kurumin" company by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, which is an accreditment given to companies actively supports working mothers.
In addition, SoftBank Corp. is offering an internal mentoring program starting in 2018 for female team leaders and section managers in order to increase the number of women who are active in even higher positions. Through mentoring over a period of three months, this program aims to raise the self-esteem of female managers and show them the process of stepping up, which will lead to behavioral changes in the mentees themselves as to what they can do to aim for a higher role. Furthermore, the company has set targets of roughly doubling women’s representation in management from 7.1% in fiscal 2021 to 15% in fiscal 2030 and to have roughly tripled the ratio to 20% by fiscal 2035. Toward achieving these targets, the Advancement of Women Promotion Committee, which comprises executives and outside experts, was established in July 2021, and the company is promoting women empowerment.
Expanded employment of people with disabilities
The SoftBank Group promotes the employment of people with disabilities. Our desire is for all employees to make the most of the abilities they have. As a general rule, we make no distinction between people with and without impairments. We apply the same standards in the candidate selection process and provide the same wages and benefits after hiring. Employees with disabilities have the exact same work scope and responsibilities, opportunities for promotions, and undergo the same evaluation process, except with special considerations made depending on their type of disability. We strive to create a fulfilling work environment for everyone, whether they have an impairment or not.
Support for LGBTQ Employees
The SoftBank Group promotes LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace. Since October 2016, the SoftBank Group Corp. and SoftBank Corp. have defined a spouse in their internal regulations to include same-sex partners, and have provided the same benefits to those employees' spouses, such as special leave and congratulatory and condolence payments.
In addition, SoftBank Corp. has established a consultation desk for LGBTQ employees, their coworkers and superiors, and provides LGBTQ-related training for employees, and supports the activities of the “Colorful Project,” an internal community launched jointly by employee volunteers and the human resources department. Through these activities, the company is working toward the creation of a more accepting working environment for everyone.
SoftBank Corp. has received the gold award from ‘work with Pride’, a Japan-based organization that promotes LGBTQ friendly human resource practices, for five consecutive years starting in 2017.
Reemployment system (continuous employment system)
SoftBank Group Corp. has a "continuous employment system" for employees who have worked as full-time employees until the retirement age of 60. Employees who meet certain standards are continually employed as part-time employees until the age of 65 at the maximum.
Education program to identify and foster successors
On July 28, 2010, Masayoshi Son published SoftBank’s Next 30-Year Vision and concurrently declared the establishment of the SoftBank Academia in order to identify and foster potential successors.
In addition to special lectures by Son and other well-known leaders, the SoftBank Academia has carried out a number of programs, including:
· Presentation programs on the SoftBank Group business strategies
· Management simulation game
· Unique projects
· Creation of businesses
Since June 2011, the Academia has opened its doors to people outside the Group. Individuals of various backgrounds with high aspirations have been enrolled as students in the Academia, where students “strive together and learn together.” Our aim is to produce talented people who will pioneer the next era.
The SoftBank Group strives to realize flexible working conditions and provide an environment where all employees can work comfortably. These efforts are shared with all Group directors, officers and employees through the SoftBank Group Code of Conduct.
There is no labor union at SoftBank Group Corp. However, the company provides a venue for constructive dialogue in which the Human Resources Department meets several employees and employee representatives semi-annually to exchange views and opinions on working conditions, including revisions to the personnel system, working hours, use of absences, and workplace safety and health.
Response to labor issues
When a labor-related compliance violation is detected, the violation is handled appropriately based on internal rules and disclosed in a timely manner to ensure accountability to stakeholders. To prevent compliance violations, the company holds training sessions for employees every year.
Fair and industry-competitive treatment
For better quality of life and employee motivation, the SoftBank Group endeavors to pay industry-competitive wages and benefits above living wages without being bound by compliance with the requirements of legal minimum wages. While the SoftBank Group determines wages, salaries and bonuses in compliance with local laws and regulations, appropriate amounts commensurate with performance in consideration of survey results of leading companies and competitors. In FY2021, wages paid to SoftBank Group Corp. employees far exceeded Japan’s national weighted average of regional minimum wages*.
As of 2021, 226% higher than the average annual income of approximately￥5,849,000 on Basic Survey on Wage Structure:Tokyo
SoftBank Group Corp. has established systems to support the creation of a better work environment so that employees can work with peace of mind.
◆Holiday and vacation:5-day workweek system (Weekends off)/Holidays/New Year holidays
・Paid leave (Same day grant. First Year: The number of days will be granted based on the starting month of employment. (5~20 days) Next fiscal year and onwards: When attendance rate in the previous year is 80% or more, 25 days will be granted.)
* Up to 60 days of unused annual paid leave can be accumulated and used for long-term sickness or special unpaid leave.
・Special paid leave (marriage leave, spousal childbirth leave, children’s marriage leave, refresh leave, bereavement leave, transfer leave, public duty leave, disaster leave, public transport shutdown leave, jury duty leave, donor leave, and occupational injury or illness leave (up to three days)
・Transportation expenses (Payment in accordance with company regulations)
・Full social insurance (health insurance, welfare pension insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and employment insurance)
・Corporate pension plans (Defined-contribution pension plan (corporate/personal defined contribution), Defined- benefit pension plan (personal defined contribution)
・Asset-building savings (general, pension, housing / Incentives provided)
・Employee stock ownership plan
・Group insurance, "Benefit Station" services, Gift programs (Unique to our group) etc.
◆ Human resource development
・1-on-1 meetings, 360-degree feedback
・Support for education and training and maintenance of qualifications
・Providing English conversation training services
・Internal training program (Common in our group)
Work style reform
SoftBank Group Corp. has established various systems to realize the appropriate balance between work and quality of life, placing importance on work life balance. We have also undertaken various measures to reduce long working hours.
Promotion of the realization of work life balance and reducing long working hours
· Paid annual leave (25 days annually)
· Substantial grant of special paid leave (including marriage leave, refreshment leave and others)
· Introduction of tele-work
· Introduction of super flextime system across the company (flextime system without core time)
· Regular reminders concerning attendances and absences by robotic process automation (promotion of input, alert to long-time working, encouragement to take annual leave)
· Promotion of “Premium Friday”
Encourage the best mix of office work and remote work
SoftBank Group Corp. had already implemented remote work on a trial basis prior to the spread of COVID-19 and it allowed all employees to work from home in March 2020, when COVID-19 began to show signs of spreading in Japan.
Since the lifting of the emergency declaration, the company is aiming for an optimal mix of workstyles, with a focus on in-office work while also making effective use of remote work and superflextime system.
Further, SoftBank Group Corp. has distributed two PCs to each employee, one for office use and the other for home use, to reduce a burden for employees to carry their PCs around when working from home.
Support for childcare, nursing care etc.
◆Enhancement of support for return to work
· Shortened working hours (up to sixth grade in elementary school)
· Welcome Back System (re-employment system for former employees who left the company due to spouse’s transfer)
· Interview with HR Department (a month after reinstatement to former position)
· Substantial improvement to various leave systems (kids leave, nursing leave and others)
◆Enhancement of support for childbirth and childcare
· Orientation by HR Department concerning pre-and post-childbirth
· Celebration of childbirth (1,000,000 yen for three children, 3,000,000 yen for four children, and 5,000,000 yen for 5 or more children)
· Substantial improvement to leave for male employees (paternity leave, childcare leave [limited to paid leave], childcare absences [long-term])
· Childcare leave (until the day before the child’s third birthday)
· Substantial improvement to leave system (hospital visit leave during gestation, safe motherhood leave, and maternity leave)
· Provision of childcare, babysitting, and housekeeping services through the introduction of "Benefit Station," a welfare service.
◆Support system for the nursing care
· Nursing care leave (10 working days annually, either consecutively or in total)
· Absences for nursing care (up to one year)
· Shortened working hours
New Office Aiming to Transform Work-styles
With the aim of further transforming work-styles and strengthening our business continuity plan (BCP), the SoftBank Group Corp. and some of its Group companies relocated their headquarters to the “Tokyo PortcityTakeshiba Office Tower,” in 2020.
The new office was designed by the Group company, WeWork, and employees working there are able to freely choose a location where they can work efficiently according to their objectives at the time, such as when they want to concentrate on their work or have discussions with multiple people. In this new office, we aim to create open innovation across departments and practice a more innovative and creative workstyle that is not bound by location, space, or community.
Open meeting space
Industrial safety and health
Under the jurisdiction of the executive officer in charge, the SoftBank Group holds Health Committee meetings chaired by the general manager of the Human Resources Department, conducts various health checkups, and provides counseling by industrial physicians to maintain workplace environments where all employees can work in a healthy manner both physically and mentally. We also specify industrial safety and health risks in the course of business activities of each of the Group companies and promote initiatives to reduce related risks.
Assessment of risks at workplaces
SoftBank Group Corp. works to identify and mitigate risks related to occupational safety and health. We carry out a number of occupational risk assessments to prevent occupational accidents and comply with labor practices. These assessments include regular employee stress checks, monitoring and forecasting of long working hours, and employee satisfaction surveys, which include harassment monitoring. To comply with the legally mandated Article 36 Agreement, which stipulates limits and requirements for overtime work, SoftBank Corp. conducts assessments and takes corrective actions for risks stemming from overwork. The company uses an attendance tracking system to monitor and forecast monthly and annual working hours for individual employees and make adjustments as needed. For employees expected to work long hours, appropriate conditions are discussed and a report made to the executive team. SoftBank Corp. also conducts a regular “off-the-clock overtime” survey of all employees and raises awareness of off-the-clock work through a separate survey. By periodically reporting these activities and the status of overwork to executive meetings and the Safety and Health Committee, the company tracks the effectiveness of its risk reduction efforts and identifies potential improvements. SoftBank Corp. also conducts occupational risk assessments and develops organizational capacities for immediately addressing such risks when starting new businesses. For new subsidiaries especially, the company takes care to ensure that the organization functions properly for achieving its targets and protects employees from damaging their health, such as by appointing a human resources expert to oversee personnel management.
Safety measures in the event of emergency
The SoftBank Group has appropriate systems in place to ensure the safety of employees whenever any natural disaster (earthquakes, typhoons and others) or other emergency occurs. In the event of emergency, an emergency task force will be established as appropriate and each group of companies shall implement appropriate measures in line with the rules to address emergency cases. In addition, SoftBank Group Corp. offers emergency trainings to employees and maintains the safety of equipment and facilities from time to time.
Supply Chain Management
Supplier Code of Conduct
The SoftBank Group conducts business in various areas and sectors across the globe and has built a diverse supply chain. The SoftBank Group places importance on sustainability in these supply chains, and believes that it is essential not only to comply with laws, but also to conduct business based on high ethical standards. Therefore, the SoftBank Group has formulated the ”Supplier Code of Conduct,” which sets forth the items that we expect our suppliers to comply with, and requires them to work in accordance with the ethical standards in each field of Environment, Labor, Health and safety, and Fair business. At the same time, SoftBank Group Corp. clearly states in its contracts that it will require suppliers to comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct when starting new transactions.
Communication with suppliers
The cooperation of all suppliers is indispensable for the SoftBank Group to become a corporate group needed most by people around the world. The SoftBank Group will strive to promote understanding of the ”Supplier Code of Conduct” through communication with the suppliers and will work together with them to foster business activities based on high ethical standards.
Sustainable Supply Chain Strategy
The SoftBank Group aims to build a supply chain that incorporates the perspective of sustainability in order to address issues such as protection of natural resources, reduction of environmental impact, safety of workers, and respect for human rights.
SoftBank Corp., which deals with many suppliers, has established the Procurement Policy to maintain fair and good business relations with suppliers, and the Environmental Action Guidelines and the Green Procurement Guidelines to actively engage in environmental maintenance and preservation activities. In addition, when starting a new transaction with a supplier, SoftBank Corp. evaluates and selects the supplier in accordance with its purchasing rules, and concludes a basic transaction agreement that includes the supplier's compliance with its Supplier Ethics and Rules of Conduct. Moreover, in order to identify potential sustainability risks in the supply chain and appropriately respond to them, SoftBank Corp. conducts a sustainability procurement survey for major suppliers every year, and when there is a need for improvement, they promote the improvement of efforts together with suppliers and monitor the situation.
Participation in Our Community
Under the corporate philosophy “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” the SoftBank Group lays out the sustainability vision “Help shape the next 300 years for our future generations and the planet.” Based on one of the activity themes “Maximize our potential as a group by joining forces with people around the world to make a positive impact on society,” the SoftBank Group cooperates with the Group companies to promote social contribution activities including supporting the development of the next generation.