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Consideration for employee health and lifestyles

Recognizing that having healthy employees is a prerequisite for the realization of effective Yoki-Monozukuri, for successful business development, and for making a positive contribution to society, Kao implements a range of Health and Productivity Management measures.

2015 activities
To increase the number of “employees with high health literacy,” we have been promoting a health management cycle focused around health checkups, while also implementing activities that help to get employees involved in health promotion activities in their daily lives.
As a result of these measures, the number of employees failing to meet basic health criteria in health checkups has fallen, and so has the number of employees requiring Special Health Guidance.


Dedicated to helping people around the world in the areas of cleanliness, beauty and health, Kao strives to make a major contribution toward enriching people’s lifestyles. Good health is a prerequisite—at both the public and private levels—for living a full and satisfying life, and we believe that helping our employees and their families stay fit and healthy has a vital role to play in ensuring the company’s successful future business development.
The Kao Group Health Declaration was announced in 2008. The Declaration embodies the intention to provide proactive support for individual employees’ health by the company and the Kao Health Insurance Society; besides the Top Message stressing the importance of health-oriented efforts that encompass not only each individual employee but also their colleagues and family members, it also incorporates the Kao Group Health Declaration Five Support Measures.

Kao Group Health Declaration Five Support Measures

1. Prevention of lifestyle-related diseases
  • Provision of health care advice focused on preventing lifestyle-related diseases
  • Specific health guidance coordinated with the Health Insurance Society
  • Provision of support for employees’ attempt to improve their lifestyles
  • Introduction of the Health Mileage Program
  • Implementation of the Spring Walking Challenge
2. Mental health care
  • Establishment of a system to deal with employees with mental health problems early on through the introduction of a mental health check system
  • Implementation of training to deal with mental health issue for managers
  • Implementation of mental self-care training for regular employees
  • Establishment of a counseling system that combines in-house and external counseling
  • Distribution of the monthly Kao Kokoro bulletin
3. Smoking control
  • Implementation of the Kao Group No Smoking Marathon
    In 2015, 15 out of the 61 participating employees succeeded in quitting smoking (representing a 9% increase in the success rate compared to the previous year).
  • Survey on status of anti-smoking measures
  • Formulation of smoking cessation promotion plan

Awareness-raising display installed in a Kao office to encourage employees to quit smoking

4. Cancer control
  • Addition of cancer detection categories to the annual physical check-up designated by the Industrial Safety and Health Act
5. Women’s health
  • Spreading knowledge of women’s health issues and increasing the rate of females receiving gynecological examinations

Seminar (for both female and male employees) on the physical and mental health issues relevant to working women

Display installed in a Kao office to raise awareness about types of cancer that particularly affect women


Fostering employees with high health literacy

With the goal of increasing the number of employees with high health literacy, Kao is working to make its health-promotion activities more visible, engaging in “Health and Productivity Management” that uses a PDCA cycle to increase employee health levels.
Kao considers employees as demonstrating high health literacy if they implement the following:

  1. Review lifestyle habits and improve them on their own, based on health checkup results
  2. Consult with a private doctor in regard to health checkup results as needed (besides consulting occupational physicians)
  3. Remain aware of his/her mental health, and confer with appropriate professionals as needed
Health Promotion Management System

As part of this initiative to increase visibility, since 2009 Kao has provided its 16 health consultation rooms nationwide with a statistical summary of the previous year’s health data (medical interviews, health checkup, occupations, medical costs, diseases, etc.). Based on the health data for their respective regions, each health consultation room then establishes and implements a health services plan. Since 2009, Kao has held Seminar of White Paper on Health to provide opportunities for studying methods of analyzing the various types of health data and formulating measures to address any issues.

Health Promotion Management System
PDCA cycle to realize implementation of the Kao Group Health Declaration
A health maintenance cycle centered on health checkup

To help enhance employees’ health literacy, Kao has been emphasizing the importance of a health maintenance cycle centered on health check-ups.
By implementing a number of different health enhancement programs, Kao is making a serious effort to encourage employees to incorporate health maintenance activities in their daily lives.

  1. (1) Using Web-QUPiO* to record daily lifestyle habits (7,768 participants)
  2. (2) Implementation of the Kao Health Mileage system, whereby employees earn points for their health promotion achievements (9,327 participants)
    • *The Kao Health Mileage system was terminated at the end of September 2015, being incorporated into the Web-QUPiO system from October 2015 onwards.
  3. (3) Implementation of the Spring Walking Challenge health promotion program (3,370 participants)
  4. (4) Promotion of cancer screening (covering breast cancer, cervical cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer)
  5. (5) Provision of Specific Health Guidance to 71.8% of employees aged 35 or over
  • * QUPiO
    This is a program aimed at providing support for health promotion and preventive lifestyle improvement measures, based on knowledge obtained from joint research undertaken with the University of Tokyo using a database of health checkup data for one million people covering an extended period of time.


Strengthening the utilization of employment management standards based on health checkup results

As part of Kao’s efforts to provide support to help employees maintain a good state of health, so that they can maximize their potential in their work, starting from 2014 new employment management standards have been introduced that take the result of employee health checkup into account. Following the health checkup, an industrial physician makes a determination as to what categories of work an employee is engaged in (on the basis of the new standards), thereby making it possible for employees to take suitable measures appropriate to their state of health. Employees are encouraged to improve their state of health as quickly as possible in line with the measures taken. By taking the occupational physician’s views into account in its employment management, Kao is fulfilling its responsibility to maintain the safety of its employees.

As a result of the introduction of this new scheme, the percentage of employees failing to meet the basic health criteria in Kao’s employee health examinations fell by 27% in 2015 compared to 2014.


Realizing a reduction in the number of employees requiring Specific Health Guidance

In 2008, the Japanese government introduced the Special Health Checkup and Specific Health Guidance system, with the aim of realizing early diagnosis of metabolic syndrome; companies’ Health Insurance Societies were put in charge of implementing the new system. To enhance the efficiency of implementation, Kao accepted a request from the Kao Health Insurance Society to have Specific Health Guidance implemented on a collaborative basis by Kao and the Society.
Kao’s occupational health staff work together with specialists from Healthcare Committee Inc. (HCC) to provide Specific Health Guidance for Kao employees. Kao’s nursing staff members also provide Specific Health Guidance to employees who are considered vulnerable to metabolic syndrome, so as to reduce the number of employees who require full-scale Specific Health Guidance.

As a result of the new steps that have been taken, the percentage of Kao employees requiring Specific Health Guidance fell from 28.5% of male employees and 8.3% of female employees in 2008 to 18.1% of male employees and 5.9% of female employees in 2015.


Promotion of mental health measures

As advocated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Kao promotes mental health through four types of care: self-provided care, care provided by one’s supervisors (“line care”), care through onsite industrial health care staff, and care through outside resources (external specialist facilities and specialists). Kao has also introduced a system of Mental Health Checkups that are incorporated into regular employee health examinations, to encourage employees to be alert for any possible mental health issues and facilitate early preventive measures.

In 2015, in the area of “line care,” Kao held seven mental health training courses for managers (basic course); topics covered included the importance of corporate mental health measures and the role that managerial personnel are expected to play in relation to these measures, as well as the current state of workers’ mental health and the key trends in this area. Kao also held eight mental health training sessions for managers (advanced course), at which participants used role play exercises to learn how to communicate effectively with subordinates and how to help employees who are returning to the workplace after an extended absence.
With regard to self-provided care, in addition to regular self-provided care training, Kao also implements training that makes use of the Assertion*1 and Egogram*2 techniques.
In addition, a mental health measures conference was also held, at which HR staff, nursing staff and counselors met together to consult with one another regarding mental health issues.

  • *1 Assertion
    A communication skill that involves expressing one’s feelings and thoughts directly to the other party in a manner appropriate to the situation while respecting the other party’s thoughts and feelings
  • *2 Egogram
    A self-analysis chart (using the personality analysis method) developed by the U.S. psychologist J.M. Dusay. The Egogram helps people to gain a better understanding of their personality traits, which in turn can help them to recognize patterns in the problems they may be experiencing in their inter-personal relationships, thereby helping them to function better in society.
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