Tokyo Century is pursuing a DX strategy under four key themes: improving the value provided to customers, increasing the productivity of internal business processes (field work improvement), Human Resource Development through DX, and system replacement.
Human resource development is a foundational aspect of the DX strategy. What is the roadmap for employees to acquire digital skills and become human resources that can transform themselves to bring about change? For this article, we asked Toshiyuki Otobe, Executive Officer and President of the Personnel Unit, and Shinsaku Takano of the DX Strategy Division, to explain the outline and objectives of the newly launched program Human Resource Development through DX.
The True Purpose of Human Resource Development through DX is to Raise Individual Awareness and Foster a Corporate Culture that Supports Their Challenges.
—First, Mr. Otobe, as the president of the Personnel Unit how do you feel about the need for Human Resource Development through DX?
Otobe: Since the merger in 2009, we have expanded the operating segments that require a high level of expertise, such as automobility, specialty financing, international business, and environmental infrastructure, in addition to our founding business of equipment leasing. While some tasks have continued to expand in developing each operating segment, they have been supported by the dedication and ingenuity of each and every employee.
However, I have a sense of crisis that if we continue at this rate, we’ll reach our limits in the not-too-distant future. Our employees are so busy with immediate tasks that their critical thinking ability may have weakened a little. We have a full spectrum of talented individuals, so if they can fully demonstrate their unique personalities, I believe our organization will become even stronger.
Digital technology is an effective tool for reducing the burden on the field. So, if we can make full use of digital technology to review internal rules and digitize analog operations, we can free up human and time resources to generate new value.
Employees use their spare time to take the initiative in learning and continue to boldly tackle challenges. The organization monitors the learning and challenges of individuals, supports them, and provides specific assistance. We recognize that the development of human resources through DX is essential to further evolve into such an organization.
—Specifically, what do you see as the goal of Human Resource Development through DX?
Otobe: The Medium-Term Management Plan 2027 was formulated in May of this year, and TC Transformation (TCX), which seeks transformation toward sustainable growth, was set as a basic policy. To that end, we launched the program Human Resource Development through DX to Realize TCX, in July.
One goal of the program is to produce human resources who have acquired practical DX skills. However, this isn’t the ultimate goal. As mentioned at the beginning of the new Medium-Term Management Plan, the world is changing so fast.
What is most important is that each and every employee continues to actively create change for themselves, their organizations, or society. Therefore, there is no easy, “good enough” goal in developing DX human resources. Changing individual mindsets and fostering and establishing a corporate culture that supports their challenges are our true goals.
Everyone must understand the direction of human resource development as an organization and the premise of how digital paradigm shifts are occurring in the business world, and then personally feel the need for DX and have a sense of crisis about the current situation. Developing DX human resources is a never-ending journey to transform themselves to bring about change.
The Key Concepts for Human Resource Development Are Self-Transformation Ability, Creativity, and Spirit of Challenge
—What kind of mindset is required to transform oneself to bring about change?
Otobe: Although strong leadership is required for an organization to grow, this is no longer the time for everything to work out on its own. A company doesn’t belong to any one person; it is built on the relationships with various stakeholders, including shareholders, suppliers, partners, and employees.
From this perspective, it is clear that strong human resources serve as the backbone for building a robust organization and a strong workplace. The direction of Tokyo Century’s human resource development, not limited to DX, is based on three main axes: self-transformation ability, creativity, and a spirit of challenge.
—Do you think the organization will change significantly if employees acquire the three elements of self-transformation ability, creativity, and a spirit of challenge?
Otobe: Yes. Going forward, we may form collaborative businesses with totally new partners and expand our operating segments to six or seven. We’re developing our business based on a belief in positive possibilities. We want to create an environment that produces a virtuous cycle, in which our employees can make the most of both successes and failures and stay motivated to think about what to do next, regardless of the situation.
—Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. Finally, what measures are you planning for developing human resources through DX?
Otobe: The program Human Resource Development through DX to Realize TCX has already begun and offers a curriculum divided into three levels: Basic, Practical, and Advanced. The Basic curriculum, which is offered online, is for all employees, including management. This is the first of the many training and e-learning programs offered by Tokyo Century that is open to the participation of all employees.
As head of the Personnel Division, I will continue to do my utmost to raise the awareness of each employee to take on creative challenges and to instill a corporate culture that appreciates and supports such efforts.
Human Resource Development through DX Is Making a Habit of Continuous Learning
—What is the basic structure of the program Human Resource Development through DX to Realize TCX?
Takano: The theme of this program is “making a habit of continuous learning.” While our company’s motto is “creating change on our own,” we believe that in this rapidly changing VUCA era, it will be difficult to keep up with change unless we continue to learn. Thus, we designed this program to encourage continuous learning.
First, all employees are required to take the Basic DX-Standard course to gain a proper understanding of DX. At this stage, a total of ten themes are prepared, and 6 hours and 39 minutes of online participation is required. After that, while selecting personnel, the program will move on to Practical DX-Leader and Advanced DX-Professional to develop DX-related skills and foster business technologists skilled in data analysis and business innovators who can create new businesses. We have drawn a roadmap for this.
—How are these programs different from other training programs?
Takano: Major features of the program are that it’s required for all employees, including management, and that the basic curriculum incorporates original content created by the members of the IT Promotion Division as well as external content. For example, the tailor-made content by IT specialists on themes such as data-driven management and cyber security is in line with our company’s status quo, and I think the content is very easy to understand and reflects a quality that simply captures the essence.
—Can we learn the basics of DX from these online lectures alone, which take about six hours?
We believe these six hours of lectures are sufficient to gain the fundamental knowledge before acquiring practical skills. As I mentioned earlier, we emphasize the importance of having all employees understand that we’re facing a rapidly changing external environment and that it is important to keep learning to keep up with the changes, and that they should acquire IT literacy as the foundation for DX.
—How is the selection process for practical and advanced programs candidates after the basic program?
Takano: Our main focus is on selection from the field perspective. The DX Task Force, established to promote DX, has four working groups under key themes: field work improvement, value provided to customers, system replacement, and human resource development through DX. The members of each working group select DX-Leader candidates for the identified issues.
These candidates will learn the necessary skills in line with on-the-ground issues and goals and take charge of promoting DX in their respective operating segments as DX-Leaders. In addition, DX-Professionals selected from among them will eventually belong to the DX Strategy Division or the IT Promotion Division, where they will work as business innovators or business technologists across the entire company, beyond the boundaries of operating segments.
Creating Future Business Innovators through a Practical Program on Human Resource Development through DX
—As program staff, what do you feel is the significance of developing human resources through DX?
Takano: As an organization, there’s no doubt that the development of human resources through DX is a way to create new value that we can offer to our customers and the market. In addition, we want to provide new career options for everyone who works for us. Digital-related skills and qualifications can lead to careers as, for example, business architects who introduce digital technology into business settings, data scientists who utilize AI and big data, and UI/UX designers who realize the functionality and design quality that users demand.
—How do you envision the future of Tokyo Century by developing human resources through DX?
Takano: I’m currently a member of the DX Strategy Division and manage the program Human Resource Development through DX to Realize TCX. As a participant myself, I want to learn from the program and eventually pursue a career as a business innovator who will create or co-create and produce new projects.
The means for developing DX human resources are only intended to be put into practice. I would be even happier if just one more person could take advantage of this program to improve the efficiency and performance of their current operations, or to demonstrate their capabilities beyond the framework of their operating segment. As successful examples accumulate, we can expect to see the emergence of in-house consultants who can offer advice on how to apply DX skills to career development, thereby promoting the mobility of human resources and realizing more diverse work styles. I will continue to help everyone, young and experienced alike, to make it a habit to keep learning.
Executive Officer, President of the Personnel Unit and General Affairs Unit of Tokyo Century
Joined the former Tokyo Leasing Co., Ltd. in 1987. He was involved in system development, corporate planning, and human resources. In 2012, he was appointed general manager of the Personnel Division, and in 2019, appointed executive officer. He has been in his current position since 2021.
DX Strategy Division
Joined the company in 2022 as a mid-career employee. In the DX Strategy Division of the Corporate Planning Unit, he is in charge of the secretariat of the DX Task Force in cooperation with related divisions of the IT and other units. He is engaged in a wide range of work including open innovation-related work such as startup collaboration.
*The contents of the article and the position titles are current as of the date posted.