October 26, 2018
Employees are familia
Emotional salary as the core of innovation in human resources management
Mexico is attracting attention as a vehicle production base, in which major automakers from around the world continue to expand their production. The low labor costs and geographical advantage of having good access to the North American market are highly appealing. In 2017, Mexico became the seventh largest automobile producer in the world after China, the United States, Japan, Germany, India and South Korea.
In growing industries, employing talented employees is essential. Manufacturers of cars and their parts are competing to recruit the best talent, particularly engineers. In an employee's market, attracting and keeping great talent is an important concern. Recruitment cannot be considered successful unless the new recruits stay. In Mexico, the monthly turnover rate is as high as 10% on average. The human resources department of OMRON Mexico share their story on how they have managed to maintain the rate at below 5%.
The sharing of corporate principles rather than a raise of 10 pesos
The high turnover rate in Mexico had been a problem for a long time. Despite the various strategies and initiatives carried out by the OMRON Mexican Human Resources Department, no major results were obtained.
For Adriana and her colleagues at the Human Resources Department, the face-to-face conversation with OMRON Group Chairman Tateishi became a turning point.
At OMRON, occasions are held regularly around the globe for the Chairman and employees to share understanding of the corporate principles. Realizing the corporate values in practice is a project that all OMRON members are involved in.
"Chairman Tateishi came all the way to Mexico and directly exchanged words with us. He showed respect towards us and shared his values and stories of his projects that he was passionate about. During this conversation, we were reminded of how OMRON is supported by the implementation of the corporate principles and by the people who work at OMRON. We decided to take a new approach to reduce turnover, placing 'respect for all,' one of the corporate principles, at its core."
Triggered by the conversation with the Chairman, Adriana and her colleagues implemented two main initiatives founded on "respect for all."
The first was the dissemination of the corporate principles that act as the foundation of OMRON. The second was care for the well-being of the employees by offering skill trainings and events open to families of employees.
"Taking good care of our employees is much more important than raising their salary by 10 pesos," says Adriana. "Instead of a raise in salary, we wished to offer employees something that other companies were not offering. And that something was our unique spirit and philosophy," say the two.
Adriana (left）and Krizia (right) who promoted the various HR initiatives
Employees as family members
People who newly join must be greeted as new family. That is the policy of Adriana and Krizia. Not only do they plan tours for them to familiarize with the company, but they also reserve hotels for those who joined from outside the state, and even write handwritten letters to each of them. The "care taking" that they mention consists of a little effort and genuine concern for each employee. By ensuring to provide a thorough care for each employee, they managed to reduce the turnover rate.
Daniel Gonzalez, on his second week at OMRON, was inspired by its corporate principles
Practical application of OMRON values was visible even for Mr. Daniel Gonzalez, a mold engineer who had only joined the company less than two weeks ago. "In many companies, their corporate philosophies do not influence their day-to-day activities. But at OMRON, it was different. I could feel that their activities were backed by their values, even from day 1 when we had the reception," observes Mr. Gonzalez. Currently he is undergoing training in which he learns about the client products (Ford, GM). He is also given adequate time during the training to learn about the corporate principles, corporate culture and history. He was impressed by how the content of the training programs was strongly bound to the corporate principles.
Karina Hernandez balances work and family through use of various schemes at OMRON
Karina Hernandez, who has been working in the personnel and labor relations department (recruitment) since October 2016, finds that OMRON's schemes show consideration for the families of employees.
Being mother-of-one, she says, "The flexible overtime system in which I can manage my own overtime and the takeaway system for work are very helpful. If families are happy about the company, then employees themselves become happy too. Family, for Mexican people, is very important," she explains.
The human resources department also started hosting events few times a year in which families can also participate. During these events employees can bring their children and draw together and play with them. Notebooks and colored pencils are given as presents at times. Listening to the voices of family members is a chance to find new ideas for taking better care of the employees.
Events open to families of employees are hosted several times a year
Contributing to the local community through social contribution activities
As part of the effort to demonstrate how corporate principles can be put into action, OMRON Mexico places importance on social contribution activities in addition to its corporate activities.
José actively participates in volunteering while working in the Kaizen department
"Planting trees, painting walls of poor dwellings and donating blood. I was able to participate in many service activities once I started working at OMRON. I'm proud that I've had the opportunity to help troubled people," says José, 31, who has been at OMRON for 5 years as an operator involved in the improvement of the production line.
"It's not something that we see very often among Mexican companies. I'd say it's quite a unique characteristic of Japanese companies," he states.
During the OMRON WEEK in which OMRON strengthens its social contribution activities, entire teams from the company take part in a variety of service activities including support for the poor and the disabled, recycling, and animal welfare. Sometimes inter-departmental competitions are carried out, to see which department can offer the best solutions for a given theme. This provides a great team building opportunity during which employees can nurture their relationships with colleagues and enhance their sense of unity.
"I feel blessed to have a good team with whom I can work towards a shared goal. I appreciate that the human resources department takes good care of me and so I hope to work for a long time in this company. OMRON's interests are my own interests," says José.
Departments compete to donate the greatest number of plastic bottle caps which can be used to equip hospitals with wheelchairs
Supporting employees to be successful, happy and fulfilled by their work
In English, there exists a term called "emotional salary." It signifies a salary where job satisfaction, instead of monetary remuneration, is offered. Adriana and Krizia repeatedly referred to emotional salary throughout their interview.
"Even if employees quit, we want them to say that they were glad to have worked at OMRON. That is our goal when we do our job."
Adriana and Krizia have implemented various initiatives based on "respect for all." Their challenge to innovate human resources strategies will continue.