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Society :

Human Resources and Human Rights


We believe that “People make the company,” and actively supports the development of individual abilities and positive action taken without fear of failure. We promote efforts to improve safety and health conditions, and to create a working environment where the company and its employees can live in harmony and individual abilities blossom to their full extent.
We also respect everyone’s human rights in all business activities and aim to establish a company with no discrimination either inside or outside the company due to race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, colour, religion and belief/philosophy.


Development of Human Resources

Concept of Human Resource Development

We aim to develop human resources who become source for us to grow to be a global R&D oriented pharmaceutical enterprise as well as act in an ethical manner with a strong sense of responsibility as a member of a pharmaceutical enterprise involved in pharmaceutical products, which are closely related to the lives of people.

Desired characteristics of ONO Employees are those who:
are motivated, proactive, self-disciplined, independent and make confident choices
  • are innovative, aspirational and persistent
  • can work collaboratively in a global team environment
  • have a strong sense of ownership for, and take pride in their roles
  • always has a positive attitude and seeks opportunities for professional growth
  • act in an ethical, honest and trustworthy manner

Having over 300 years of history since our foundation, we desire human resources who will be the fountainhead for us to continue to make bold efforts for the future.

Our approach to human resource development

There are three key elements of personal growth: “experience in the workplace (experience learning)“, “guidance from supervisors (social learning)”, and “Self-development and training program (self-learning)”. We believe that these three elements are also important to develop individuals with our desired attributes; i.e., those who make bold efforts and act independently based on self-discipline. With regard to “training program,” we have two main types of program. The first is voluntary training program that employees can choose to participate in based on their interests and needs. A variety of training courses are offered to help employees acquire various business skills such as presentation skills and marketing skills. The second is hierarchical training program, such as orientation for newly hired employees, annual training, and training for newly promoted employees. In these training programs, employees reflect on “the experiences in the workplace” and “the feedback from their supervisors”, and share their individual reflections with the other participants. By doing so, learning is not be confined to oneself, but spread across the entire spectrum of employees, like a network. Hierarchical training programs thus provide a great social learning opportunity for all employees. By strategically combining the three elements of growth, we seek to promote the autonomous growth and career development of individual employees.

Experience in the workplace(experiential learning): “Teamwork”

We value "teamwork." This attitude is based on our values such as “ONO aims to be a world-changing team.” When setting annual work goals, our employees set not only personal goals, but also the goals of the team. By encouraging employees to maintain close communication with other members of the team and help each other, we create an environment where employees are motivated and find it easy to challenge higher goals.

Feedback from the supervisor (social learning): “One-on-one communication”

To develop individuals who can demonstrate their abilities in the team, in addition to promoting individual development and self-learning and encouraging employees to accumulate various experiences, whether large or small, by working together with various members in the workplace, it is extremely important to allow employees to have one-on-one communication with their immediate supervisor, with whom they liaise and work closely in their daily work. In one-on-one communication, employees can not only consult about issues they are facing in their work, but also discuss in depth their job satisfaction, strengths and future career aspirations. Such opportunities not only enable employees to learn how to proceed with their work, but also help them maintain a high level of motivation toward their work, improving teamwork throughout the entire company.

Self-development and elective training (self-learning): ”Source of challenge”

In order for patients to continue taking on challenges into the future, it is essential that each individual member thinks, learns, and grows. We seek to develop individuals who embody our vision, “Be passionate challengers” by providing our employees not only with places for team collaboration, but also the opportunity to reflect on themselves and learn.

Provision of Growth Opportunities

We organize a wide range of training programs to provide employees with growth opportunities. For example, collective training is given in each phase of their career growth, we have introduced company-wide joint training for new employees along with all divisions, departmental introductory training, and annual training for young employees. We also organize training programs to cultivate global human resources who can work actively under any circumstances, and send employees to overseas affiliates. For management staff, we provide training focusing on management skills required for their respective roles and managerial positions and for the growth of the organization, and we continuously enhance the training programs. Furthermore, to develop individuals with our desired attributes, i.e., “those who are self-disciplined, independent and make confident choices,” we work to expand voluntary training programs in which employees can choose to participate according to the interests and skills they want to develop. Also, to encourage the self-development of employees, we have introduced “a subsidy program for self-enrichment”.
In addition, to provide growth opportunities for our employees, mainly medical representatives (MRs), we conduct on-site training at medical institutions and patient associations’ lecture meetings. These trainings enable our staff to listen firsthand to the opinions of patients and medical professionals and deeply understand the needs of people working at the medical frontlines. In this way, by offering a wide range of opportunities for learning, we provide opportunities for growth through mutual stimulation.

Summary of common education and training programs for all divisions in FY2019

Activities to disseminate the mission statement

In keeping with our corporate philosophy—Dedicated to the Fight against Disease and Pain—we aim to ensure that each individual employee moves in the right direction, with full understanding of how patients and their families feel about and confront the illness and treatment. And we organize training programs and other activities to ensure that employees always think about patients and perform their duties from the patients’ perspective.

Workshop for deep understanding our mission statement

This workshop aims to ensure that all employees embrace the mission statement and act accordingly. In the workshop, the CEO talks about the background to the establishment of the mission statement and the history of ONO’s bold endeavors which lie behind it, or managers talk to their subordinates about the challenges they have experienced. Such talks evoke empathy and inspire employees to voluntarily put the mission statement into practice.

On-site training at medical institutions

To deliver pharmaceutical products that truly benefit patients, it is necessary to understand the pain of patients and the true needs of medical professionals. To provide our staff with the opportunity to listen firsthand to the opinions of patients and medical professionals, we conduct on-site training at medical institutions. This training gives our staff an opportunity to directly see and feel how medical professionals interact with patients every day, enabling our staff to understand the true needs of the medical frontlines.

Patient associations’ lecture meetings

Having the opportunity to directly contact patients is extremely important, for employees of pharmaceutical companies delivering medicines to patients. At lecture meetings, patients talk about how they coped with their initial diagnosis, what symptoms they are experiencing, what impact those symptoms have on their daily living, their perceptions of efficacy and side effects, and how they live with the illness day-to-day. By hearing the voices of patients directly, our employees  better understand and develop empathy for the patients’ feelings and perform their daily work with the patient’s perspective in mind.

Virtual Reality (VR) patient experience

We conduct experience-based training using VR devices to allow our staff to better understand the patient’s perspective. For example, dementia patients experience anxiety by seeing hallucinations, causing them to be unable to carry out their normal activities. However, even small changes in care practices—for instance, whether a medical worker stands in front of the patient or beside the patient—can make a big difference. In some cases, by just changing the position of the medical worker, the hallucinations disappear and the patient becomes able to move around smoothly. VR enables learning through experience instead of through lectures. With VR, our staff can experience what it is like to have a certain health condition and notice things that they would otherwise not be able to notice. The VR experience helps our staff learn the patient’s perspective.

Training programs for future top management candidates (training program for selected employees)

For the purpose of fostering future top management candidates, we have implemented this program for selected employees in four levels, from general employees to senior managers.
The main purpose of this program is "learning management's perspectives and ideas" which is common to all levels, but the curriculum is set up according to the level, and the training period is also different from 2-4 years. For example, in training for general employees, leadership development is conducted from an early stage before they become managers, and job rotation is conducted after this training. For senior managers, we provide training aimed at fostering their awareness of being a potential top manager, and we also take part in discussion based opinion exchange meetings with executives of other companies that transcend industries.

Global Human Resource Development

Special training program for global business (training program for selected employees)

This program targets employees who are nominated by their department head as potential future global business leaders. This training aims to develop individuals who will influence the entire company while demonstrating strong leadership within the team and cooperating effectively with others, in any workplace, whether it be in Japan or overseas. Trainees acquire the ability to adapt to the specific environment they find themselves in, leadership skills, logical thinking, and global business skills. The training lasts about one year.

Speaking skill of English training program (training program for selected employees)

This is a training program to acquire English skills essential for global business. With the purpose to strengthen the capability of performing English-related work, we have three programs: a one-week camp-style English conversation training program in Japan, a three-month study abroad language training program, and weekly lectures by dispatched English instructors (two-year course). Also, in order to accelerate our organizational globalization, we conduct English conversation training for our managers.

Training by hierarchy

Orientation for newly hired employees, follow-up training for newly hired employees, third-year employee training, and fifth-year employee training

The orientation for newly hired employees is a two-week course provided for all newly hired employees to get together, learn basic business manners and rules, along with roles, responsibilities, and cooperation in a team, and learn about the mission statements (corporate philosophy, our vision, and our values), information security, the personnel system, mental healthcare, the Act on the Protection of Personal Information, regulations on insider trading, and CSR activities to acquire consciousness as members of society. We also incorporate global training and diversity training in order to broaden the vision of employees, after which they undergo education specialized for the divisions they are separately assigned to. In addition, after 10 months of being employees, follow-up training for newly hired employees is provided for them to take time to review events in the first year as members of society, to refresh their minds for the second year.
The third-year employee training is designed to help third-year employees realize the necessity of changing their mentality―more specifically, moving one step forward from being independent to being autonomous― and to promote their voluntary actions and proposals as well as more active involvement in training junior colleagues. This training focuses on improving communication skills and other abilities necessary to perform their assigned job functions. The goal of the five-year employee training is to further raise motivation for work by having employees view their work in a multifaceted manner and review it from creative perspectives. The training includes experiential learning cycles for them to grow themselves while achieving outcomes, and contents that help the participants digest tacit knowledge to establish their cherished opinions, leading to effective practices and outward development.
In the training for the newly hired employees of the sales department, which takes half a year after they enter the company, they acquire knowledge of medicine, pharmacology, and the medical system and knowledge on diseases that have to do with our products, all of which are necessary for MRs (persons in charge of medical information), and take practical output-focused training. In addition, we allocate a certain time period for on-the-job training, during which newly-hired MRs accompany senior MRs on their hospital visits to learn about the work of MRs and rules at the medical frontlines. Also, to develop competent MRs who are highly sought after by frontline medical workers, we provide the opportunity to listen directly to doctors and wholesalers. As for the MR accreditation test, aiming to have all our examinees pass, we support them with a carefully operated backup system not only during the training period but also after assignment to a specific post, which allows us to keep a top-class pass rate for the industry.

Training for promoted employees

The highest level individual contributors training makes participants understand the roles required for a manager, and develop awareness and attitudes concerning proactive team management. In addition, the training helps participants acquire the skills to identify problems and understand what is necessary to become an influencer. The training for new management staff is provided to understand the personnel evaluation system, and to acquire the management skills required for being the next candidates for managers, which improves their abilities to build relationships of trust with others and to get things done.
In the training for new managers who are appointed from among core employees, participants review the personnel evaluation system, deepen their understanding of labor management, and learn the roles that managers are expected to play, as well as team building, and team management. After the training program, newly promoted employees implement their action plans with the support of their supervisors. Also, to examine the effects of the training, we survey trainees’ immediate supervisors. In FY2019, 79.3% of surveyed supervisors said that their subordinate’s behavior had changed after the training according to Kirk Patrick level 3 .

Manager training

The manager training provides a program that incorporates understanding and practicing the mission statement and human resource development. Various kinds of training are held every year. For example, management skill training at which managers from all departments get together for the purpose of intensifying interactions between departments, training for evaluators aiming to effectively use a goal-setting interview system and evaluate employees in a fair and accurate manner, and training regarding compliance and efforts for mental health care conducted by managers for employees, aiming to establish a working environment where it is easier to work.

Self-development training

Self-development learning (Correspondence courses/Online foreign language conversation/ support for qualification tests)

We provide employees who desire to proactively learn with opportunities for self-development learning. Through correspondence education, we have over 500 courses such as leadership and management, accounting, finance, and English conversation, and we arrange an environment on a steady basis for those proactive learners with wide range of fields. In addition, we promote self-development learning by aiding online foreign Language conversation classes and qualification tests.

Elective and Voluntary training

We provide voluntary training for employees who desire to proactively learn and can make their own choices of the training that they need. This includes training to develop managers’ perspectives in the early stages of their careers, using tools such as management simulation games that allow participants to learn accounting and finance, we also provide training for leadership and team building that prepares employees to lead others. These training programs gather employees across rank and departmental boundaries, constituting those who work at different departments, and training to also help participants raise awareness on cooperation between departments.


Diversity management training

We are always pursuing innovation to continuously create the innovative pharmaceuticals. As a source of ideas leading to creation of innovation, broad diversity regardless of specialized fields, gender, and nationality is increasingly required in the future. In this seminar, we not only understand the significance of diversity, but also improve the skills of interviewing to make better use of it, and acquire management capabilities. For this purpose, the training is conducted for all of our management positions.

Career planning training

We provide opportunities for employees to review their individual careers and think positively about career afterwards as a form of training. They learn various career theories and participate in a group work format for them to develop their future career plans, leading to better results by discovering their unnoticed qualities and strengths, along with values that personally feels rewarding to them.

Coaching training

We offer coaching training to managers. Managers receive one-on-one coaching training from a professional trainer twice a month in addition to group training through online classes. Coaching training lasts about eight months. In parallel with the training they receive, managers also practice coaching their team members. These activities lead to improved communication in the workplace.

Implementation status of common education and training programs for all divisions in FY 2019
Training Name Participants×hours Participants
Workshop for deep understanding our mission statement 317 54
On-site training at medical institutions 822 105
Patient associations’ lecture meetings/ Virtual Reality (VR) patient experience 2,743 1,704
Special training program for global buisiness (training program for selected employees) 3,634 61
Speaking skill of English training program (training program for selected employees) 15,912 216
Orientation for newly hired employees
Follow-up training for newly hired employees
6,253 70
Third-year employee training
Fifth-year employee training
2,148 173
Training for individual contributors promoted to the highest level
Training for new core employees
Training for new managers
Manager training
4,400 357
Self-development learining
(Correspondence courses / Online foreign language conversation /support for qualification tests)
- 532
Elective and Voluntary training 5,963 681
Diversity management training 32 48
Career planning training 345 115
Coaching training 858 32

In addition to these training programs, training sessions to acquire specialized skills required by each division have been provided separately. In FY2019, the annual training hours per employee were 30.7 hours.
As employees of pharmaceutical companies, we have also provided basic e-learning training programs on matters such as phytotoxicity education, which is essential for employees of pharmaceutical companies, collecting safety information, handling personal information, and the prevention of bribery.

Activities for the development of future human resources (Internship program)

We offer an internship program for undergraduate and graduate students looking to gain work experience. In addition to providing an introduction to the pharmaceutical industry, our internship program provides students with various opportunities such as simulating the activities of a medical representative (MR) and interacting with employees, to allow them to gain firsthand experience working at a pharmaceutical company. We hope that by participating in the internship program, students will understand the mission that pharmaceutical companies should fulfill and feel the significance and value of working at a pharmaceutical company. We also hope that the internship experience will help interns shape their future career decisions.


Respect for Human Rights

Our approach to human rights

In every area of our business activities, we understand and respect the human rights of each individual in terms of the diversity of values, personalities, and characteristics and will act accordingly.
Upholding these principles, we internally and externally prohibit discrimination and bullying of any type on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, colour, religion, or belief/philosophy, and establish and administer the personnel system. We also prohibit any form of harassment and conduct compliance training.
Furthermore, as a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, We support its ten principles of UNGC. In addition, we also support and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We pursue human rights initiatives in compliance with these international standards. For details, see ONO Pharmaceutical Human Rights Global Policy.

Human rights due diligence

In accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we have established and is continuously implementing a human rights due diligence system, to prevent and mitigate any adverse human rights impacts it may have on society.
We utilize a third-party EcoVadis's CSR Assessment System (EcoVadis) to objectively and continually monitor the CSR management status of key suppliers in our supply chain. The use of EcoVadis enables us to obtain highly reliable information regarding suppliers’ CSR management at least once a year, and thereby propose appropriate corrective actions to our suppliers.In the FY2020 evaluation, none of our suppliers were classified as having a high risk in terms of CSR. In addition, we began developing advanced and comprehensive human rights diligence from FY2020.


Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion

We believe that it is important to deepen our understanding of the diversity of the attributes, values, and behavioral characteristics of the members of our organization and to recognize their personalities in order to respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the environment and to improve our corporate value. Thus, we promote various initiatives. We provide "Diversity Management Training" to all managers to help them to understand the significance of diversity and to utilize it for management of various human resources. We also promote internal understanding by incorporating the content for the promotion of diversity & inclusion (diversity, inclusion, and social integrity) into the training by year of employment and rank-based training. In addition to our own activities, we also participate in study sessions and seminars that transcend the boundaries of companies, and strive to collect information on know-how and initiatives for improving diversity.

Activities to promote female employee participation in the workplace

We have focused on creating a system in which women can work actively. As a result of proactive recruitment of women and measures to prevent turnover associated with life events, the number of female employees has steadily increased, and the employment rate of female employees as of March 2021 had increased by 4.9% compared to March 2013. Furthermore, we are creating an environment in which women can work more actively, in ways such as including contents aimed at promoting diversity inclusion in managerial training, training by year of employment, and rank-based training. In addition, in order to support the balance between work and childcare, we hold "work-life balance support seminars" that transcend the boundaries of companies, and strive to collect information on know-how and initiatives for improving diversity. By providing opportunities for women and the entire company to think about childcare participation and work-life balance, we are creating a friendly working environment.
We established a new action plan (for 2 years from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2023), following our original action plan (for 5 years from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2021), which is based on the Act on Promotion of Women's Participation in the Workplace enacted in FY2016. In accordance with these plans, we continue to build a system to increase the number of female employees and potential managers and to support career development for women.

The male-to-female ratio of new employees

ONO’s mascot promoting diversity initiatives
Features in ONO’s booklet on systems for balancing work and child-raising. Promotes initiatives to improve diversity.

Retention rate of female※1

  • Retention rate=100-(Turnover rate of each years)
Overview of Action Plan Based on the Act of Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (Goals, Action plan)
Goals Acction plan Annual Results
Have women account for 40% of newly hired university graduates in career-track positions starting in FY2017
  1. Improve systems and strengthen training aimed at developing human resources
  2. Introduce a recruiter system
  3. Provide wide range of information to job applicants
  4. Create an environment in which young employees can more easily plan their careers
  • FY2020: 40%
  • FY2019: 34%
    (70 employees, 24 of whom are women)
  • FY2018: 49%
  • FY2017: 34%
Have the retention rate of women in career-track positions who joined ONO in the last five years be at least 90% that of men
  1. Ensure employees can continue working at ONO after various life events
    Create an environment where employees can balance work, childcare, and nursing care
  2. Create a corporate climate where women utilize their talents
    Promote career-building support measures
  3. Assist employees in achieving work-life balance
    Expand support systems for women taking maternity leave and employees raising children
  4. Help employees return to work at the earliest possible date
    Introduce childcare support services of external service providers
  • FY2020: 96.7%
  • FY2019: 98.9%
  • FY2018: 95.6%
  • FY2017: 95.1%
Goals and action plans for FYs 2021 to 2023
Goal Action plan
Increase the ratio of women in the section chief level to 15% or more
  1. Provide opportunities to consider careers, regardless of gender, so that future careers, including management, can be envisioned
  2. Provide systems to support the careers of subordinates in order to foster a culture for training the next generation of managers
Increase the rate of male employees taking child-care leave to at least 75%
  1. Implementation of an approach to encourage male employees and their superiors to take childcare-related leave and a support system for work-life balance after the birth of a child
  2. Disseminate childcare-related leave and programs to support systems for balancing work and family life

Effort made for promoting active participations of persons with disabilities and employing mid-career persons

We actively promote the employment of people with disabilities as part of our efforts to increase diversity. As of March 31, 2021, the percentage of employees with disabilities has reached 2.17% due to the sudden retirement of employees with disabilities. In FY2021, we continued to actively implement hiring activities in order to secure employment at or above the legally mandated level, which was revised in March 2021. Approximately 50 employees are actively involved in each department.
In addition, we are also focusing on career recruitment, which employs human resources with the skills, knowledge, and experience that we need as an immediate force. Especially since FY2014, when we started to actively promote mid-career employment in view of changes in the business environment, the number of mid-career employees has increased substantially in a broad range of jobs, including MR, development, safety information management, and managing section . In FY2020, about 30 midcareer recruits joined our company. Many mid-career employees are playing their respective roles by applying their experience and expertise.

Employment rate of persons with disabilities


Number of employees hired by Mid-career recruitment


Use of UD Talk

We introduced UD Talk※2 for business in 2016, and use it in almost all departments where hearing-impaired employees belong. Currently, subtitles are displayed in real time on the screen of the Web conferencing system, and we will support an environment where people with hearing impairments can work lively without any inconvenience through in-house communication even in a telework environment.

  • UD Talk is an application used for communication with the mainly hearing-impaired people using a smartphone. It enables us to convert voice into text using automatic speech recognition.