Report on the Group DEI Forum 2023

Photo: Group DEI Forum 2023 in progress. Six speakers are seated, including Group CEO Yuki Kusumi and Group CIO Hajime Tamaoki Photo: Group DEI Forum 2023 in progress. Six speakers are seated, including Group CEO Yuki Kusumi and Group CIO Hajime Tamaoki

The Group DEI Forum is an internal event aimed at providing an opportunity for each and every one of us to increase our understanding of and identification with DEI, and to take action. With the slogan, “Dialogue. Discovery. Appreciating Differences.”, we have been holding this event continuously since 2021 with the aim of generating awareness that DEI is something that concerns us all, and that it is something we should all take seriously.

In 2023, we held the third Group DEI Forum online over the course of four sessions. This year’s forum encouraged employees to deepen their understanding of why it is important to make the most of each other’s differences and taking concrete actions through examples from workplaces, while envisaging the Panasonic Group’s vision for an ideal future with a view to understanding different cultures beyond national and regional borders.

All information and persons is accurate to the time of the events.

Sharing the Reality of our Workplaces - for a Better Future.

In this session, employees in charge of manufacturing and sales, as well as those in middle management positions, took to the stage to discuss how to achieve a better work environment from their own perspectives.

In the section dealing with manufacturing sites, they played a video to draw attention to the kinds of confusion in a “typical case” that can be caused by poor communication in the workplace, and then held a dialogue on the content.

The video recreates actual incidents at manufacturing sites that many would be familiar with. For example, it shows a case in which a newcomer was unable to say what they wanted to say, and instead went along with a person who was more vocal in voicing their opinions, resulting in a bad situation for the team, and then went on to showcase an example of good practice that was the complete opposite. The participants discussed the importance of everyone treating each other with a sense of equality, gratitude, respect and empathy.

Photo: Two speakers and the facilitator discussing a case study of a manufacturing site

In the section dealing with sales sites, the participants shared common examples of poor communication in the workplace that many would be familiar with, illustrated by a manga, and then held a dialogue on the content.

The manga showed a story of how miscommunication between a new employee and their supervisor affects the way the new employee goes about their work. The participants exchanged opinions, mentioning how it is necessary to change the way you talk to suit the person, and that it is important to try and understand the other person’s opinion a little bit more. Everyone recognized that mutual consideration and understanding of each other will help to create a better workplace.

Photo: Two speakers and the facilitator discussing a case study of a sales site

At the end of the session, a dialogue was held with members of middle management to discuss the kinds of ideals they have in mind in their daily team management, as well as the challenges they face in the process of trial and error. The discussion included topics such as the “growth of each member,” the importance of “psychological safety,” and “strengths.”

Photo: Three speakers and the facilitator discussing team management

With Another Step, Find a New You

In this session, employees with a diverse range of experiences took to the stage. They talked about their own experiences of stepping forward, and held in-depth discussions on how people can truly be themselves in everything they do.

Photo: Smiling speakers pose for a group photo. One of them is in a wheelchair

Speakers’ Stories

When your actions match your set of values, you can bring out the best version of yourself.

After finding myself on the same team as employees with disabilities, I wondered if I could use my skills to help out others, and so participated in volunteer work at a daycare service for children with disabilities. Through this experience, I realized that when one’s values and own actions come into alignment, it forms the starting point for actions that are uniquely one’s own.

If you decide to “do it when you’re hesitant,” it makes it easier to take the first step.

The name of our in-house club, Engei Club, is a combination of the Japanese word for “gardening” (engei) and “engagement.” The club has been involved in a variety of activities, such as tending to the greenery at the entrance of the company building, planning welcome plants for visitors to the company, and helping to create a community. Our policy is “Do it when you’re hesitant.” In my main job, I am in charge of quality control, and of course in this setting failure is not an option. However, in the activities of the Engei Club, I am not afraid of failure and take on new challenges as a captain.

Supporting Someone Else’s Step Forward Through Business

The Business Design Department of the Laundry Systems and Vacuum Cleaner Business Division of Panasonic Corporation’s Living Appliances and Solutions Company is a department that creates new service-based businesses that help solve social issues. At present, we are working on a project to propose new ways of working for people with disabilities using RULO Biz, a compact robot vacuum cleaner for business use. Until now, cleaning staff with disabilities had been limited to performing single cleaning tasks. However, the use of RULO Biz has increased the number of opportunities to divide roles within the team and for them to make decisions on their own.

How Cross-Cultural Perspectives Strengthen Teams

Panelists and observers from Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Japan participated in this discussion. They shared their own cross-cultural experiences and their experiences as minorities in an effort to discover tips on how to build better teams.

Image: Online session in progress. The faces of the speakers are lined up on the screen

It Is Important to Look at Things from Others’ Perspectives When Your Opinion Differs.

The first topic of discussion concerned the biggest challenge employees had faced when working in a multicultural environment with diverse team members.

An employee from Japan shared their experience of working in Belgium in a team of people with different languages, ways of thinking, social and cultural backgrounds, and working styles. When discussing something with team members, they mentioned that they tried to explain things carefully from the point of view of each member of the team.

An employee from Europe described how they had encountered difficulties in working with members of different nationalities on projects because they worked in the exact opposite way to what they were used to. This experience taught them that different people approach things in different ways, giving them new perspectives by considering why their counterparts work in the way they do.

Respecting Differences Leads to Growth.

The second topic for discussion regarded what important lessons or insights employees had learned from their past cross-cultural experiences or from being in the position of a minority.

An employee from North America, based on their childhood experience of being a minority, emphasized the importance of people finding common ground. However, they also said that it is equally important not to underestimate differences, and that an organization will grow if it creates an environment where differences can be respected. An employee from Brazil spoke about the situation surrounding LGBTQ+ persons in Brazil, saying that they would like to aim at encouraging dialogue and action based on respect for others.

A Stronger Leader Will Make the Most of Members’ Individuality.

The third topic for discussion involved how cross-cultural experiences have helped the employees work with others, and how they think they can apply the lessons learned from these experiences to become better leaders.

An employee from Europe said that having different types of people in a team provides opportunities for everyone to interact with each other and grow, and that the role of the leader is to facilitate these opportunities.

An employee from North America mentioned that a good coach in any sport understands the environment in which the players can exercise their abilities, and that the same should hold true at work. They also said that a leader who thinks they know everything will never grow, and that the best leaders are those who can pool “the collective wisdom” of others and make the best use of their members’ individuality.

DEI is Not for ‘Someone Else,’ but for Ourselves.

A diverse group of employees joined Group CEO Yuki Kusumi on stage for this session. Facilitated by Group CIO Hajime Tamaoki, they discussed their own experiences as minorities and ways for employees to make the best use of their diverse personalities.

Photo: Five smiling speakers with Group CEO Yuki Kusumi and Group CIO Hajime Tamaoki. One of the speakers is holding a guitar

In the second half of the session, the participants delved further into the subject of diversity by answering questions fielded from the audience.


When I feel like I’m a minority, how do I go about finding others who feel the same way as me in the company?

I didn’t come out explicitly as a transgender woman, but one day I went to work looking as you see me today. To my surprise, everyone around me accepted me as I was without question, showing just how much the company and my colleagues had changed without me even noticing. I am not afraid to stand out, so I tend to find my friends naturally.


When opinions clash, what should both sides do to maintain respect for each other?

I would like to encourage people to be aware that having a clash of opinions is not the same as disliking each other as individuals. It is important to maintain a relationship where constructive conversation can take place without having to resort to painting things in black and white.


Although I understand in my head that DEI is very important, I don’t see anyone else like me around. What first step can I take to try and change this?

We tend to prefer uniformity. However, companies are more likely to innovate and become stronger if they incorporate diversity and wield it to their advantage. When it comes to DEI and diversity, I think we as an organization need to work out more to “get into shape.”

Message from Group CEO Yuki Kusumi on the Future of the Panasonic Group

Once again, we need to ask ourselves the question, “What is the aim of the Panasonic Group’s commitment to DEI?” In short, it is to do all we can to contribute to society by fully demonstrating awareness that comes from people’s individuality. In other words, it is to create “an ideal society offering material and spiritual affluence.” To this end, the Panasonic Group will utilize DEI in its management from the following three perspectives:

  1. Enable a diverse range of people to perform at their best
  2. Utilize individuality to create new products and services that are useful to society
  3. Take steps to ensure that decision-making is based on “the collective wisdom” and insights of a diverse range of people

We, the Panasonic Group, aim to live up to our brand slogan, “Live Your Best,” by bringing happiness to each of our employees through our DEI activities, as well as to our many customers and partners through our contributions to society. DEI is not for someone else, but for ourselves. Let’s work together to create an ideal society by putting this idea into practice!

Feedback from the Audience

  • I’ve only just joined the company, but I was able to learn about the concerns of those above me and think about how I will deal with them when I myself have junior colleagues working under me in the future. I was able to learn perspectives that were totally new to me.
  • Another important role is to be a supporter of those looking to take the next step.
  • Sowing seeds in the hearts of the people. I would like to aim for us to be an organization where such communication is possible!
  • I liked the idea that opinions should be put on the table in front of everyone’s eyes, rather than fought over in a battle of who is right or wrong.