How Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Are Driving Panasonic Forward under New DEI Policy

Oct 06, 2022

Event and Exhibition Key Points / Feature Story

Company

How Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Are Driving Panasonic Forward under New DEI Policy

  • Management Policy
  • DEI(Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
  • Company and Management
  • Founder and Philosophy
  • Executive Message
  • Basic Business Philosophy
  • Konosuke Matsushita

Key Summary

  • Since its founding, Panasonic has valued diversity of thought and today welcomes employees with diverse backgrounds, outlooks and opinions.

  • Based on insights provided by a global employee survey conducted in 2021, the Group has devised its own Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy. 

  • Representatives from five countries & regions shared their DEI best practices at a Global DEI Meeting. 

What makes a company “global?”

By any measure, Panasonic’s operations are global. The company has employees, business operations, customers and partners around the world; 60% of its some 240,000 employees work outside Japan and almost two-thirds of its overall revenues are earned in overseas countries.

But at Panasonic, being a truly “global” company is more about just our business footprint. It means welcoming people into our workplaces who have diverse backgrounds, outlooks and opinions, and ensuring they can both thrive and contribute. Because with that diversity of background comes diversity of thought. 

Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, believed that diversity of thought allows companies to approach business challenges from multiple angles, resulting in a wider range of potential solutions and products that can contribute to people’s well-being. In short, diversity and inclusion were deeply ingrained in the founding philosophy of Panasonic and this is what drives us to achieve the company’s mission of contributing to society.

Adding “equity” to the mix

Based on the principle of “diversity of thought,” in 2021, Panasonic conducted a global internal survey to find out what its employees thought and what they saw as important to further advance the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

More than 6,000 employees from around the world responded. One of the key findings was that, in addition to supporting diversity and inclusion, many of them wanted the company to ensure “equity;” they wanted our internal processes and programs to be fair and impartial and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual.

As a result of these insights, Panasonic decided to incorporate the concept of “equity” into its programs, and the resulting Group policy was given the title “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

Sharing best practices at DEI Global Meeting

To maintain the momentum generated by the employee survey and the publication of its findings, employee representatives from five countries and regions around the world came together at an internal Global DEI Meeting held in July 2022.

Illustration: DEI Global Meeting

Europe

The representatives of Panasonic Europe highlighted the size and underlying cultural diversity of the region—770 million people living in 52 countries speaking 24 languages. They referred to women in business as “the majority minority,” and outlined initiatives the company is taking in Europe to achieve a workplace environment where all people can develop to the maximum of their potential, irrespective of gender or personal characteristics. 

One of these initiatives was a new development program called “Women In Leadership,” launched in 2019. Its goal is to provide a platform that will provide greater visibility of the company’s female talent, a forum for the discussion of women-specific leadership challenges, and a sounding & brainstorming board. 

In 2021, a new “Women Connect Network” consisting of female and male volunteers was organized to enhance gender equality, attract talent—of diverse types—and inspire and empower the female talent the company already has across the continent. 

Image: DEI Global Meeting

North America

The company’s representative from North America explained some of the demographic trends in the United States that are shaping the discussion there around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It’s estimated that by 2060, minority groups will make up 50% of the U.S. population, and immigrants will account for 90% of future population growth.

In 2021, the company set up a DEI Executive Council comprising business leaders from across the U.S. Their role is to sustain management focus on DEI and articulate to employees why, considering the country’s demographics, a culture of inclusion and belonging is so important. To ensure employees’ voices are heard and their opinions reflected in all DEI initiatives and programs, an Employee Committee was subsequently formed with representatives from different functions and locations.

One of the early requests from the Employee Committee was for a system of mentoring. Accordingly, Panasonic in the U.S. is establishing a one-on-one mentoring program that will help employees expand their networks, gain new knowledge, and acquire new skills. If the program is successful, the company will consider implementing it globally.

Image: DEI Global Meeting

Brazil

PANABRAS, Panasonic’s subsidiary in Brazil, has focused much of its DEI effort on offering formal employment to people with disabilities, to help them lead more secure and fulfilling lives. The country’s representative at the global DEI forum explained how PANABRAS plans to set up a Disability Committee with responsibility for formulating policies that will help achieve these goals. 

Understanding that successful implementation of these policies will rely on the awareness and cooperation of others in the workforce, PANABRAS is also working on establishing “Affinity Groups.” These will aim to influence opinion across the company, facilitating frank discussion of employees’ feelings and, as importantly, canvassing their ideas for improving the working environment of those with disabilities. 

Image: DEI Global Meeting

Vietnam

In Vietnam, they are starting to introduce the concept of DEI among employees. As for the first step, they will launch unconscious bias awareness training series to help employees understand how to mitigate unconscious bias in order to create a workplace where diversity, inclusion and equity are embraced.

The future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Panasonic

Panasonic intends to build on the strong foundations the company has made. This means continuing to listen to employees in all of the countries in which we operate and promoting DEI initiatives at a global level, while reflecting issues, concerns and priorities that are specific to those countries.

Shigeki Mishima, Executive Officer in charge of DEI promotion at the Panasonic Group, sums up the company’s approach. “We are taking a country-by-country approach, considering the diverse socio-cultural background in each country and region. Under our new DEI policy, employees from around the world are sharing best practices and supporting one another as they each progress their local initiatives.”

Panasonic is looking forward to an increasingly diverse future!

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Please note therefore that these documents may not always contain the most up-to-date information.

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