Report on the Group DEI Forum 2021

Photo: Group DEI Forum 2021. The moderator and five speakers are seated in the studio, with many faces of employees participating online on a large screen in the background. Photo: Group DEI Forum 2021. The moderator and five speakers are seated in the studio, with many faces of employees participating online on a large screen in the background.

The Panasonic Group held the D&I Forum, an internal event, every year as an occasion to promote diversity. In FY2022, in conjunction with the establishment of the Panasonic Group DEI Policy, the event was expanded as the Group DEI Forum.

In 2021, we held the Group DEI Forum under the slogan, "Dialogue. Discovery. Appreciating Differences." This event was held online over two days in October using the Panasonic Center Tokyo as its main venue with the aim of providing an opportunity for each and every one of us to increase our understanding of and identification with DEI, and to take action. Approximately 6,700 employees participated in the event via a live webcast. After the event, archived videos were distributed to each region of the global group.

*Definition of terms used on this section:
- Fiscal year: from April 1 to March 31 of the following year (e.g. Fiscal 2021: April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021)

Main session and panel discussions

Through speeches by executives, screening of DEI Policy videos, and panel discussions, the event provided an opportunity to enhance each person's understanding and empathy.

Messages from top management on their commitment to DEI

Photo: Group CEO Yuki Kusumi speaks at the Group DEI Forum 2021

Group CEO Kusumi and Executive Officer in charge of DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) Promotion Mishima took the stage. Kusumi touched on various decisions in his message, including workplace policy. "Have you ever thought, 'It doesn't feel right,' 'Why don't we look at it from another perspective?"' he asked the audience. "To contribute to a diverse society, it is fundamental that a company must have a corporate culture of open discussion. I recognize DEI as one of the activities that we can carry out in order to achieve this," he continued.

Panel discussions with senior female leaders and top management

Photo: Speakers at the Group DEI Forum 2021

Based on their own experiences, senior female leaders pointed out the state of Panasonic's DEI, which is still lagging behind other leading companies. In response, the top management reiterated their recognition of the need for change and their determination to make a difference. In addition, each participant expressed their own approach to further promoting DEI.

Sub-sessions

Employees with diverse personalities presented talks from their own perspectives.

Sub-session 1: Understand Equity

What is equity? With the goal of understanding the environment of people in different situations, in this sub-session, the participants deepened their understanding of equity by sharing experiences of people in various situations, and discussed what it means to realize equity.

Photo: Speakers at the Group DEI Forum 2021

Sub-session 2: Actions to Create an Inclusive Work Environment

Members of business divisions that have taken the lead in efforts to enhance organizational capacity took the stage for this sub-session. They introduced the process of trial-and-error and other important points needed to discover invisible issues in the organization through dialogue, share an ideal vision of inclusivity, and take action to close the gap between the current situation and an ideal future.

Photo: Speakers at the Group DEI Forum 2021

Sub-session 3: Speak up and Take Action

In this sub-session, employees who launched a project to provide support for understanding one's own unique sexuality and employees who spearheaded a company-wide application to support those who are deaf or hard of hearing as a way to solve their own issues discussed their activities. They talked about the importance of first speaking up and then understanding the voices of those speaking up.

Photo: Speakers at the Group DEI Forum 2021

Sub-session 4: Moving DEI Forward Globally in Panasonic with Generation Y and Z

Young employees from Japan, North America, Europe, and Latin America participated in this sub-session, sharing their social and personal backgrounds in each region from the perspective of DEI, and exchanging opinions on why DEI should be increasingly emphasized in future corporate activities, as well as their perceptions of the challenges we face.

Photo: Global employees from Generation Y and Z exchange ideas online during a sub-session of the Group DEI Forum 2021

Feedback from employees

The results of questionnaire surveys conducted among employees before and after the forum show that the level of understanding of DEI and willingness to take action increased significantly. On the other hand, we also found that there were some issues in convincing employees as to why DEI initiatives are necessary, as well as in terms of making DEI a matter that affects employees personally and raising motivation. We plan to listen to the feedback from the employees and further enhance the content of future activities.

Q. Do you understand DEI?

Figure: Results of the pre- and post-forum surveys to the question, "Do you understand DEI?" There were 5,600 respondents to the pre-forum survey. 25% answered that they understand DEI, 47% that they partially understand it, 20% that they are only familiar with the term, and 8% that they do not know about it. The number of respondents to the post-forum survey was 2,030. 12% answered that already understood DEI, 75% that they were able to understand it, 12% that they were able to partially understand it, and 1% that they did not understand it well.

In the pre-forum survey, about 25% of respondents answered that they understood DEI, whereas in the post-forum survey, 87% of respondents answered that they were able to understand or already understood DEI.

Q. Are you taking any actions to promote DEI?

Figure: Results of the pre- and post-forum surveys to the question, "Are you taking any actions to promote DEI?" There were 5,600 respondents to the pre-forum survey. 24% answered that they are taking actions to promote DEI, 27% that they plan to take actions to promote it, and 49% that they are not taking actions to promote it. The number of respondents to the post-forum survey was 2,030. 31% answered that they are already taking actions to promote DEI, 54% that they plan to take actions to promote it, and 15% that they do not plan to take actions to promote it.

In the pre-forum survey, about 24% of respondents said they were taking action to promote DEI and about 27% said they were planning to take action, while in the post-forum survey, those who said they were already taking action to promote DEI increased to about 31%, and those who said they were planning to take action increased significantly to about 54%.

Q. How motivated are you in your efforts to promote DEI?

Figure: Results of the pre- and post-forum surveys to the question, "How motivated are you in your efforts to promote DEI?" There were 5,600 respondents to the pre-forum survey. 10% answered that they are extremely motivated in their efforts to promote DEI, 52% that they are highly motivated in their efforts to promote it, 35% that they are not very motivated in their efforts to promote it, and 3% that they are barely motivated in their efforts to promote it. The number of respondents to the post-forum survey was 2,030. 14% answered that they are extremely motivated in their efforts to promote DEI, 59% that they are highly motivated in their efforts to promote it, 25% that they are not very motivated in their efforts to promote it, and 2% that they are barely motivated in their efforts to promote it.

The number of respondents who answered that they were extremely or highly motivated to take action to promote DEI increased by only about 10%, suggesting that further efforts to motivate each and every employee are needed to further promote DEI.

Feedback from employees

I was impressed by the fact that internal initiatives are progressing at a completely different level from my perception of DEI, and that there are employees who are connecting their efforts to self-realization and social contribution through these initiatives. It was an opportunity for me to think about how I would work on my own initiatives.

I was glad to see commitment from the top levels of the Panasonic Group. I sensed their strong leadership as top management and felt that I would like to take action myself.

Although I understand the importance of DEI, it is difficult to put it into practice. In order to avoid creating a double standard, I believe that continuous communication from top management and visible results are necessary.

We will continue to develop the Group DEI Forum and various other initiatives in the future while utilizing the various employee feedback obtained from this survey.