Based on the philosophy of Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka of creating workplaces that do not offer charity, but rather create an environment that makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to manufacture products that exceed those manufactured by individuals without disabilities, the Sony Group strives to realize an environment in which individuals do not feel held back by their disability and disabilities do not create barriers. To achieve this goal, Sony has initiated a wide range of programs.
In the action plan adopted in fiscal 2014 for promoting greater employment of people with disabilities through the year 2020, Sony seeks to create a workplace environment in which employees with disabilities can pursue rewarding careers by ensuring career development regardless of physical limitations, creating work environments that offer reasonable accommodation, and meeting social expectations.
At Sony Corporation, there is no differentiation based on level of ability in recruitment or job assignment of employees. Sony believes that all employees should be able to exercise their full potential regardless of level of ability. Sony facilitates this by building consensus regarding necessary considerations from the selection stage, while opening up career fields in line with individual attributes and capabilities. There is no differentiation in either posting or treatment of employees.
At Sony Group companies in Japan, employment know-how and experience related to past cases are integrated in a dedicated department within the Human Resources Division. This particularly leverages knowledge gained through the special-purpose subsidiaries Sony Taiyo Corporation,*1 which has over 35 years of experience in this field, and Sony Kibou/Hikari Corporation, which specializes in providing employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. These programs support individuals with disabilities and undertake programs that leverage the advantages of the Sony Group. Specifically, at joint recruiting events (now in their eighth year) where about 20 Sony Group companies take part, guidance is given to workplaces that are striving to improve their work environments to accommodate new employees with disabilities. Training programs are also implemented to provide the perspective of employees with disabilities to their supervisors and colleagues and vice versa.
Even before the enforcement of Japan's Act on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, Sony has long taken reasonable accommodation measures and has also created Group Guidelines. In addition, Sony has set up a consultation system and holds study meetings to promote the employment of persons with disabilities in a unique way.
Sony also seeks to encourage students with disabilities and their supporters by communicating about its philosophy and programs for the employment of people with disabilities. The aim is to enhance social awareness of diversity and inclusion issues. For example, Sony Taiyo Corporation holds inclusion workshops aimed at providing opportunities for elementary and junior high school students to experience together the fun of science firsthand, regardless of their level of ability.
Sony's commitment in this area extends beyond legal compliance, by making workplaces accessible and actively encouraging greater awareness of diversity and inclusion issues. In fiscal 2015, employees with disabilities accounted for 2.68% of Sony Corporation's workforce, while the average for Sony Group companies in Japan (with over 201 employees) was 2.1% as of June 2015, both well above the 2.0% mandated by Japanese law for companies over a certain size.