An approach based on on-the-job training
Honda's approach to personnel education is based on on-the-job training: building specialized skills and professional capabilities through direct experience. Honda has established on-the-job training programs for every job description, setting qualitative and quantitative targets for the knowledge and skills to be acquired. These programs provide an opportunity for associates to acquire specialized skills and managerial capabilities, while helping supervisors assess and foster the aptitude of the associates they manage. To supplement these on-the-job training programs, Honda also offers off-the-job training designed to provide associates an opportunity to enhance their careers by developing new specialized skills or management capabilities. To support associates who wish to take the initiative to learn new skills, acquire knowledge, and cultivate themselves in order to fully realize their own potential, Honda offers opportunities for language learning, distance education, and inter-industry exchanges.
Principal off-the-job training programs
At Honda, we match a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training to our associates' aptitudes and aspirations in an effort to help them improve their abilities. Our off-the-job training program is divided into three main areas, with separate training programs for each level:
- Self-improvement training (career development)
- Work performance training (skill development)
- Management leadership training (management training)
In particular, a new leadership training program was launched in 2012 as part of efforts to strengthen development of global leaders who will drive Honda's global operations. From 2013, associates from around the world were chosen to take part in the training alongside participants from Japan.
Respecting associates' opinions and independence
Honda fosters each associate's drive and independence, and has put in place a number of systems designed to harness and direct those attributes towards the ongoing reorganization and growth of the company.
Associate development and evaluation through two-way communication
Honda places emphasis on two-way communication with supervisors in associate development and evaluation, and all associates have at least three interviews with their supervisors each year. During the first interview in April, associates describe their future in their own words (including aspirations, personal objectives, etc.) and come out with a clear vision for the future and their direction going forward through their supervisor's advice. They then work out their individual role based on the organization's business goals for the fiscal year in question.
During interviews in June and December, supervisors evaluate associate performance during the preceding six months, explain the reasoning behind their judgments, and share an assessment of each associate's strengths and weaknesses. By facilitating a discussion of subjects such as future objectives and career directions, the interviews pave the way for associates' skill development.
In NH Circle activities, associates take the initiative to get together and discuss ways to improve their work, their workplace and their company. The abbreviation "NH" stands for "Now, Next and New Honda." The phrase embodies the concept of taking new steps now toward creating the next great Honda improvement.
The activity, rooted in the Fundamental briefs of respect for the individual and valuing independence, fairness and trust, seeks to: create dynamic, forward-looking workplaces where individuality is respected; utilize the potential of each and every associate by encouraging them to make the most of their abilities; and contribute to the overall health of the company and its continued development. Together with Regional Contests that are held in six regions worldwide, a World Convention featuring circles selected from each of the Regional Contests provides a venue for participants to showcase the results of their activities, raise mutual awareness, and exchange views and ideas. The scope of the program's activities has expanded each year since its launch in 1973. During FY2014, a total of 168,140 associates and employees participated in 22,980 circles in 32 countries worldwide, including at suppliers, affiliates, and dealers.
Associates presented the results of their activities in 2013 at a Japan Regional Contest held from October 18 to October 20 at the Kumamoto Factory. A total of 288 associates representing 48 circles that had won their district contests gathered to participate in the event.
Improvement suggestion system
Honda has a system in place to encourage all associates to propose ways in which the company's operations could be improved, whether in large ways or small. Launched in 1953, this initiative is one way Honda seeks to encourage a spirit of independence and innovation, fostering the development and refinement of skills and capabilities. Each year, large number of suggestions are received and implemented.
During FY2014, more than 160,000 improvement suggestions were received from Honda worksites. Of these, 8 proposals chosen to receive the President's Award, 16 proposals similarly chosen to receive the Excellence Award and 8 proposals similarly chosen to receive the Excellence Award for safety were announced and recognized at the Improvement Suggestion No. 1 Convention, which was held at the Hamamatsu Factory.