“We are pretty much running our Tokyo-based offices as business as usual. We are, however, being very tolerant of the difficulties for employees to get to work or the need to leave early to get home before the rolling blackout occurs in their areas. We have cut back significantly on use of company drivers/vehicles. We are virtually working in low-level lighting to conserve building energy. We remain under a ban that employees can not travel for business outside of Japan and cannot travel to the north of Japan at all. Except for the ban on travel, we are considering that some of our provisions will represent the ‘new’ normal.”

We’ve been having daily conversations with HR Leaders in Japan over the last week, and most are reporting a general normalisation of business conditions, with certain slight alterations.

Almost every HR Leader I’ve spoken to has repeated that they are still dealing with two key issues:

  1. the reality of the situation on the ground as they see it in Japan; and
  2. the international perception of the situation as seen by their company’s global headquarters.

As one of the key bridges between Japan and the outside world, Japan HR Directors need to be careful to treat both issues with the same degree of importance. This has been very difficult. On the one side, international perception has been influenced by some very unbalanced reporting in the world’s media. And on the other side, some corners of the public would like to see international companies prioritise ‘solidarity’ with Japan as a whole rather than just the comfort of their own employees. The extent to which decision-making within companies is being influenced by these external factors depends from company to company, and often hinges on the personalities of the leadership team in place.

In this final emergency survey, we looked at these factors, as well as the other ongoing issues of evacuation planning, business continuity and employee safety. The three sets of questions that we asked were as follows :

1) Perception Management

  • The international media has been accused of unbalanced reporting of the situation in Japan. As a Japan HR Leader, how has this been affecting your ability to make decisions on the ground?
  • On the flip side, some corners of public opinion in Japan would prefer multinational companies to prioritise ‘Solidarity with Japan’ above the comfort of their own employees. How are you managing this without putting employee safety at risk?
  • What are the information sources that you are currently relying on for accurate news to make HR-related decisions on a daily basis?

2) Evacuation Planning

  • Did you create a full evacuation plan of your offices or facilities in Tokyo/Kanto? If so, how far did you go in the implementation of this plan, and what are the possible triggers?
  • If you did implement a full or partial evacuation, are you already planning on bringing these employees back to Tokyo/Kanto? What are the timelines involved, and what are the possible triggers?
  • We are hearing about some non-Japanese (and also some Japanese) employees who have evacuated Tokyo/Kanto without permission, due to pressure from their families. Has this happened to you, and if so are you planning disciplinary measures?

Business Continuity & Employee Safety

  • ​Would you say that you’re currently running ‘business as usual’? How are you dealing with the consequences of the relative instability of fuel, energy, transport, and other resources?
  • What are you and your company doing now to help procure provisions for employees? Are you sourcing bottled drinking water for employees? Are you distributing potassium iodide to employees?
  • What are the other measures that you as an HR Leader have implemented in your organisations? Have you had any surprise successes that you can share?

Methodology

The survey was conducted in the afternoon of Friday March 25th. We followed the same methodology of the previous two surveys. Here is a brief overview :

  • The questionnaires were sent to approximately 400 HR Heads of multinational companies in Japan. This is the same network of Japan HR Leaders that we ordinarily communicate with for the purposes of our specialist HR headhunting business.
  • The respondents represent a diverse mix of company sizes, from under 100 to over 5,000. They are also across all industries, including financial services, professional services, industrial and manufacturing, technology, media, healthcare, retail and FMCG.
  • We stressed that recipients of the questionnaire should only respond if they have time, since the welfare of their own employees was of utmost importance.
  • In all three questionnaires, we stopped collecting information after we had received 100 replies, so that we could immediately publish something useful within a short period of time.Therefore it’s arguably not a statistically representative audience, but we wanted to make sure that we could be of most help to Japan and Regional HR Heads.

The replies that we received do not always paint a uniform picture, but we hope that sharing this information will still be useful to all those people currently involved in the on-going management of employee safety in Japan. We asked respondents to be as open as possible, and we have edited the responses to ensure that there are no potential breaches of company confidentiality. As before, we are also attaching some information about the nature of the respondent, so that this information can be used more suitably on a case-by-case basis.

Overview

Please see the table below for a brief overview of the results of this survey. The table offers a quick overview of the representative answers to the questions above, as well as highlights one particular answer of interest. Given time, however, we would still recommend that readers go through the complete list of answers, as this gives a more accurate picture of the variety of responses received.

Overview Table

Please see the following for some of the original answers received by respondents of the survey on the afternoon of Friday 25th March 2011.

A) Perception Management

1) The international media has been accused of unbalanced reporting of the situation in Japan. As a Japan HR Leader, how has this been affecting your ability to make decisions on the ground?

  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: This sensationalised reporting made it very difficult to understand the facts, thereby making it difficult to know how to made the right decisions on employee safety without causing unnecesary panic. Specifically, we struggled with what information to use in order to “pull the trigger” for a forced evacuation or worst case scenario that our business continuity plan incorporated. Fortunately, the situation improved before we had to make such a decision.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: For non-Japanese employees, many were under pressure from families overseas to take evacuation action. Since Japanese employees were following the domestic Japanese media, they were more calm and patient. However they did have some sensitivity about the way foreigners were reacting to the situation, and could understand why some had chosen to leave Tokyo.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Did not affect us. Good internal communication with our Asia-Pac management team ensured we could make well-informed decisions throughout the week.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No noticeable affect.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: I didn’t find this point challenging because I had a close crisis management partner who is a Japanese American, who was able to help me communicate a balanced view internationally. I was lucky having someone like him, but on the other hand, it reminded me this kind of employee is crucial for global firms based in Japan in order that they can always make the right judgment.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: It’s been quite difficult, especially since the head of our organisation is a Western person. But we had aleadership meeting every day to discuss the changing situation, so we could align on what has been reported and come to a consensus on making decisions.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No change. Corporate headquarters gave full authority to the Japan GM to determine what reaction to take to the radiation risks, etc.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Overseas media sometimes put too much emphasis on the risks, especially with radioactive leaks. And actually our HQ in the US put too much concern on our operations in Japan. They sent a strong recommendation to evacuate our corporate function to anywhere in the western part of Japan, but our management team rejected this.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: The information gap between the Japanese and foreign media had made many of us confused, and yes it impacted our decision making at the beginning. For Japanese employees with no access or understanding of foreign news, the decisions made by the management based on the sources coming abroad often were not well understood. However, as the Japanese government’s information disclosure got better, and the situation revealed itself to be worse than many local employees expected, people did begin to understand the precautionarymeasures taken by foreign management.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: This has had no impact. Although the information issued by the official resources is not pin-point, we can judge how we should behave now from various Japanese news sources.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with <100 employees in Japan: From my point of view, the international media is only focusing on radiation, nuclear plants etc. It makes our non-Japanese employees upset, as well as their families. Also our colleagues abroad have been overly anxious. This has made doing our job difficult, but we have successfully proceeded nonetheless.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Some overseas media over-reacted, especially on the Fukushima radiation issues. However, it did not affect on my decision-making.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We didn’t think this was a negative influence, rather we felt it positive. It was good to know that our cautious actions were being taken with reasonable information at hand.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We relied on the facts that we had at the time coming from Japanese authorities, embassies, news sources, other companies and brokers. We fully recognised the facts could change quite quickly and erred on the side of employee safety and business maintenance. For example,when train lines were having considerable trouble, in the middle of the afternoons we would advise employees to go home as a precaution. We also sent eight staff to our contingency sites as a precaution, even though the business wasn’t experiencing any power problems, etc.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: No conflicts. Our decisions are based on the facts and data we collected through our own effort. Media information is just a reference point.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We have some pressure from our US HQ which is influenced by the international media. But we are managing.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Not much affect. We are in constant communication with HQ as well as using on-the-ground resources to make careful decisions.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Non-Japanese employees seem to be over-sensitive about the nuclear plant issue, because the tone of the foreign media is different, and it increases their fear. It does not affect our ability for making decisions, but yes it does make us treat employees differently.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: In the days following the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear incident, we were heavily dependent on theinternational media (primarily due to the number of non-Japanese speaking leaders). Then when the stories turned to pure sensationalism, speculation and varying degrees of truth, we departed from using the international media in our decision making process.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: It caused some
    difficulties. Some expats quickly evacuated without letting their staff or us know, which created a vacuum in the leadership for a while.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Minimal, since our company made the decision internationally to base our position on following Japangovernment guidance.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We received more questions, requests and offers of support from our corporate headquarters due to this situation. However as far as the decision-making ability is concerned, we are pretty much empowered to do what is needed locally.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000employees in Japan: In the initial stages, the messages from the French and German embassies confused the expat community a lot, which impacted our leadership decision-making since our team is comprised of mixed nationalities. Currently we only refer to the UK/US official view, which is much more aligned to the Japanese government view.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: I must say that CNN’s sensational irresponsible reports embittered our Japan management team a lot. Overseas management has been strongly affected by these kinds of reports, without seeing the ‘science’ of the situation. Their suggestions such as evacuation from the Tokyo metropolitan area were very unwelcome.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Although some expatriates were affected by those reports, I was able to gather reliable data and circulated it to all leaders in Tokyo. We also updated the level of radiation early morning every day to the CEO and the leadership members. Therefore, I myself was not affected at all, and all along I was given the responsibility to act autonomously as a Japanese company. My global CEO contacted me personally to thank me for my calm and steady leadership and judgment that helped the Japan CEO’s decision.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: It does not have a significant influence on our decision-making.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Our
    international workforce were very much affected by the reporting by the international
    media. So even though they felt safe, they needed to take the decision to evacuate from Japan or move to west Japan because of pressures from their families and our own headquarters. They also felt that Japanese broadcasting does not disclose the true facts. So these voices did somehow affect our decision.

2) On the flip side, some corners of public opinion in Japan would prefer multinational companies to prioritise ‘solidarity with Japan’ above the comfort of their own employees. How are you managing this without putting employee Safety at risk?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000employees in Japan: We are trying to support our business continuity plans, but our first priority is always the safety and welfare of our employees. The company is also providing donated goods as well as cash and is running a global matching scheme for employee donations. We do not plan to make any long term business decisions that will impact our operations in Japan due to the recent situation.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: This wasn’t an issue for us. We consider employee and patient safety to be our top priority.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Safety of our employees is first priority for us.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: 95% of our clients are Japanese companies and 95%+ of our employees are Japanese. So most of the people we were dealing with were in alignment.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: This is not a big concern, rather I feel our commitment to Japan is unchanged, very solid.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No change. We are following local customs in our office as per usual.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: In my opinion, over-reaction would affect our future business and cause distrust from our clients who are continuing their business here as a “going concern” and “corporate citizens”.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Since the vast majority of our employees are Japanese, this hasn’t really been an issue.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Both foreign and
    Japanese employees are in solidarity with those who had suffered from the disaster and those in need. At the same time, we, as the management team, are responsible to protect our own employees’ safety and health as our highest priority.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Our employees are almost all Japanese. As native Japanese, so far we do not perceive any pressure that is affecting how we behave with our employees.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Safety of our employees comes fist, as our company policy dictates. We believe that we care for peoplesafety more than the current Japanese government does.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We haven’t compromised employee safety issues. This is paramount to us. Then the second priority is keeping the business running for our customers.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: I don’t understand this question. I do not think the Japanese public is giving such pressure.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We don’t feel any such pressure from the Japanese public. Cooperation is important, but respecting each individual’s decision is also important.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: To my knowledge, we are not experiencing this pressure. We would never put any agenda above the safety of our employees.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Safety of our employees is of the utmost concern and this will be prioritised above everything else.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Our current focus globally is to continue our business and support our customers in Japan. So all of our actions are based around that premise.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000employees in Japan: What the overseas media term as ‘employee safety concerns’, we position as ‘employee comfort factors’. So, we have decided that we would rather follow Japanese companies in thinking about the bigger picture first rather than putting so much emphasis on employee comfort. However it is true that we are dealing with a gap internally.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Some in the Japanese media ironically reported the trend of evacuations of multinational companies. However, it did not become mass public opinion.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We simply relied on the reliable data sources, and judged the situation calmly. We also found that our building is safe for big earthquakes, and it is safer for employees to be in the office than at home. My global CEO also suddenly visited our office on March 23rd to encourage all staff’s dedication to overcome the situation and re-launch our business on the 24th.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: The basic policy of our business continuity plan is that we recognise that the top priority is the safety of our employees and that we maintain normal operations as long as the situation permits. So we are not influenced by anything other than that.

3) What are the information sources that you are currently relying on for accurate news to make HR-related decisions on a daily basis?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: By utilising the services of a global security & information company we are getting the most realistic information on which to base our decisions. However, even this information is based on that provided by the Japanese government and TEPCO.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Our Risk department provides us with key information, as does our own company given the nature of our industry.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We monitor several sources of information. Sensible updates from the US and British embassies;Japanese government; Assessments from recognised Japanese and Foreign organisations specialised in the field of nuclear energy and so on.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Global Headquarters, ISEA, and the Japanese Government.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Most of all types of media information e.g. Nikkei, NHK, FT, etc.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Yahoo News, Google News.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: NHK news and online sources including BBC. Also, internal discussions.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We used the embassy information from the US and the UK, our corporate safety office, the ACCJ, and a variety of Japan government bodies.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Government officials in Japan.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: News reports from the Japanese media and announcements by the Japanese government.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: In order to make abalanced decision, I relied on both Japanese and foreign news, as well as information disseminated by the Japanese government and foreign embassies in Japan.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Newspaper and Radio/TV news.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with <100 employees in Japan: ISOS, IAEA, Tokyo metropolitan office, Japan Government, etc.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Official government news from NHK.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Local and US/UK news by TV and internet.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: In the financial industry we are fortunate to have brokers conducting daily conference calls where they have global experts on topics like the nuclear industry, earthquakes and their patterns, etc. It helps to join that with the data from the Japanese authorities.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Internal communication and any official announcement by the central/local government.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Local news networks, NHK and other professional groups, HR/Business leaders networks in Japan.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Our primary information source is the government. The measures taken by other companies are also helpful for us to make decisions.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We have partnered with our corporate security function to help develop recommendations for HR-related decisions. This department is relying on information from various embassies, a third-party provider of security information, International SOS, and internal and external experts on nuclear radiation.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Many internet sites including government, Tokyo metropolitan office, media. Of all the outlets, we find the WHO site the most well-balanced and reliable.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We consider all news sources, embassy bulletins, NHK, BBC, TEPCO updates, and try to take a balanced approach.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Japanese government announcements; NHK news; information on customers from our internal sources.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000employees in Japan: Official government announcements, and multiple sources of Japanese media.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are seeking various reliable professional sources through our business channels. We also happily have an employee who is a medical doctor with strong connection with various resources. Two of the most impressive data sources were the Great Britain embassy and Prof. Ben Monreal of UCSB as attached: http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/plecture/bmonreal11/pdf/BMonreal11_PublicLecture_KI TP.pdf.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Nikkei Newspaper, Internet, experts’ opinions through my network.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We relied onJapanese News (NHK) and newspapers. There were so many rumours around, therefore we had to make a specific recommendation to employees that they should not be affected bythe news in the magazines and on the internet.

B) Evacuation Planning

1) Did you create a full evacuation plan of your offices or facilities in Tokyo/Kanto? If so, how far did you go in the implementation of this plan, and what are/were the possible triggers?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We have certain business continuity plans in place. But we did not have full evacuation plans for our head office in Tokyo. It would only be triggered if we could not function from the Head Office, e.g. if the building was declared unsafe to use.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We created/implemented a basic voluntary self-evacuation plan but also prepared planes/buses and hotel reservations in the event of a forced evacuation (which we did not implement). We also relocated business critical team members to 3 locations (Hong Kong, Singapore andOsaka).
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We did it only for critical roles.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No. We
    discussed the possibility but never created any plan. We did not feel it was necessary to do so.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We did have plans for a complete evacuation to Osaka, but we only made a partial evacuation in the end.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We only have a partial evacuation plan which involves key/critical functions such as the customer orders department. The trigger will be the government officials’ announcement.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: During the week of March 14, we operated partially on a work-from-home basis. If the situation deteriorates significantly, we will consider a full evacuation. But so far no action needed.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We set up temporary headquarters in Kansai immediately after the earthquake happened on March 11th. Within a week, we had the same IT and office infrastructure there as we do in Tokyo. We are still not fully back to normal functionality. The main trigger was the risk of nuclear plant meltdown and potential radiation leak which would impact our operation in Tokyo.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with <100 employees in Japan: Not yet, Still monitoring.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We did make a brief BCP but we have not implemented it yet. The criteria will be when the evacuation warning from the radiation becomes 50km.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: No. Though we discussed such options in the worst case scenario, the necessity to move critical functionswas very limited. Also, it was not an option to move from our HQ in Tokyo, as we have a keymanufacturing plant in Kanto.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We do have a full plan. We have a back-up facility on the outskirts of Tokyo and have been able to accommodate staff in Osaka. We have sent a small staff to both locations (four in each location) as a contingency.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No full evacuation plan in place.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We did create a full re-deployment plan to move outside of Kanto for business critical employees. Non-Business critical employees would have been asked to work from home. We did not execute the plan. Triggers took into account substantially increased radiation levels, warnings to evacuate from embassies, structural flaws in our headquarter building, or if rolling blackouts made running business impossible.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We had a partial evacuation plan in place for certain HQ functions. We never implemented it, is was to be triggered by Japan government announcements and would have needed the agreement of our global HQ.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes, we created a plan but did not have to implement it, except for movement of some key personnel for business continuity in the worst case scenario.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: A very rough plan was created. Not implemented yet.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No plan created yet.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: I planned the evacuation plan which had been pushed on us by overseas management. We made hotel reservations and we had very bad experiences with some hotel companies, as many were no longer allowing for cancellations, whereas usually they would allow us to cancel at no extra charge three days before. I really felt that they are losing their business ethics. I set up the contingency plan, but gradually understood the level of the disaster would not reach the ‘Chernobyl’ level. I released the hotel reservations soon after.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We investigated whether our building was safe against big earthquakes, and asked the Building Owner to submit an official report. According to the report, we found that our building was built to cope with big earthquakes up to 6 Japanese seismic intensity level. So, it is most likely to besafe in the building unless a fire occurred. There is a large park near here, and if a fire occurs, this park should be the evacuation place. We again investigated whether this place is safe from a Tsunami or not, and we found that the maximum possible Tsunami which could happen in Tokyo bay is 50cm, so we think it is still safe. We prepared helmets and food/drink provisions for all 1,500 employees. So, we do not think that we needed to evacuate from the current site.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, we did not because at the present time, we don’t think that we at the Tokyo office or at the plant in northern Kanto are in need of evacuation. However, the fact that radiation-tainted tap water has been found in Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures is a crucial business issue for us because we consume a large volume of water in our production. As part of our risk management strategy for production, in the event of higher water contamination, we would have to search production outsoucers and/or external warehouses in western Japan or overseas.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We resumed the business already on Monday 14th even though we had quite a lot of damage to the office. But we closed the Yokohama office on 17th & 18th and moved the call center to our Osaka branch so that the employees can work remotely. The trigger of this decision was the news of the nuclear power plant crisis (explosion possibility) as well as the fact that other multinational companies had made high profile locations.

2) If you did implement a full or partial evacuation, are you already planning on bringing these employees back to Tokyo/Kanto? What are the timelines involved, and what are the possible triggers?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Our R&D centre was badly damaged. We have decided on a number of actions including bringing key personnel from there to operate from Tokyo, setting up temporary accommodation near the stricken R&D facility, and utilising other facilities in China.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes, we announced the office was fully operational and “invited” back employees who had been working from home (about 80% of the population) on 3/23 (Wed). As of 3/28 (Mon), we are requiring all employees to be back in the office. Business critical employees who were relocated will be brought back by 4/1 (Fri).
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: All employees currently operating in alternative locations will return to their base location by April 1st.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Not yet, we are still flexible on bringing them back and are relying on the discretion of each manager at this moment.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Next week we will start operations in Tokyo partially.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Our actions are reliant on what takes place at the plant in Fukushima.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are bringing them back next week.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We have not decided to bring the employees back to Tokyo for the time being. We we wait to hear more about the stability of the Fukushima Nuclear plant.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Those who left have returned; all else are still in Tokyo. All employees are ready to return to work and get back to business as usual.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: One of the business lines relocated to Osaka last week, but they are back now as the transportation system has recovered.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We have asked everyone to come back to the office this week.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Our working situation is now back to normal. The instability of fuel, energy and transport is managed by giving greater flexibility to employees, such as off-peak commuting, flexible hours, and working from home.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We have already resumed our normal business practices since 22nd with the only differences beingshorter call center reception and with shorter working hours. From this week we go back to normal working hours. The trigger for this decision is that we have judged that there will be no more drastic change with the nuclear power plant crisis for the time being. Although the crisis is not under Sontrol, we still see no risk of explosion.

3) We are hearing about some non-Japanese (and also some Japanese) employees who have evacuated Tokyo/Kanto without permission, due to pressure from their families. Has this happened to you, and if so are you planning disciplinary measures?

  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We didn’t have this situation. However, there were a few employees who resigned and moved back to theirhome country or their husband’s home country.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We have no employees who have done so without permission to my knowledge.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: This was not an issue since we allowed and subsequentely encouraged voluntary self-evacuation from the Monday immediately following the earthquake.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Did not happen to us.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, all employees consulted with HR first.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We haven’t had such cases so far, but we’ve already announced that we will accept remote working conditions as long as employees can maintain the required communication with the company. And if not, it will be considered as paid leave.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No. Everyone followed company instructions.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: One of our expatriates did not come back to Japan when summoned. But we will not take any disciplinary actions.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: No.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We had none who left without seeking approval.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: There were some such cases last week. The company instructed employees to stay at home or work remotely, but some non-Japanese employees evacuated without our knowledge. We realised this soon afterwards. No disciplinary measures will be taken.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We did have both Japanese and non-Japanese employees leave. We considered this a personal decision and expected employees to be able to work from home. No-disciplinary action will be taken at this time.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Yes it happened. Nodisciplinary action will be taken, but we are treating them as on personal leave.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, we have not had any of this case.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No. We did not have such a case.

C) Business Continuity & Employee Safety

1) Would you say that you’re currently running ‘business as usual’? How are you dealing with the consequences of the relative instability of fuel, energy, transport, and other resources?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are trying to now run as ‘business as usual’. The biggest issue for us is sourcing some of the ingredients that allow us to produce some of our products.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes – we never had a disruption to our business during this time that people were voluntarily self-evacuating and working from home.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are still in the recovery stage.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Yes we are. Transport (to bring employees to work) has been somewhat of a challenge, but right now it isnot problematic. Many lines/trains are close to 100% operational. We continue to be flexible on working hours. Shipping (of our goods) has been challenging, but we are getting close to normal again.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes. We have not been so much affected.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: While it is not fully resumed to normal operation levels in terms of infrastructure, we are changing our gear to ‘business as usual’ mode.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Business operations are at 70% I would say. Other issues are not smooth, but manageable.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Yes.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Yes, we are working as usual, except in the disaster area. Though we have delays of delivery, we’ve already informed this to our clients and our communications have been well received and accepted.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: People are coming to the office as usual, although the impact of the earthquake / tsunami has affected our customers. Employees are making efforts to conserve electricity. Lack of gasoline is a concern, since the sales staff use cars. However, we have enough to last a couple of weeks, and by then expect the gasoline situation to have improved.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Back office operations are restricted, while front office business are running almost back to normal levels, except in Tohoku and some Kanto areas.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Train services, fuel supplies etc are getting back to normal. Our operation has been fully resumed recently. We are running business as usual.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with <100 employees in Japan: I can say we arerunning business as usual. The only thing that’s different is that some employees are suffering due to transportation issues or other complications.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We are almost running at normal operations, and we have not taken any special actions against the various instabilities.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are running as normal but allowing generously for individuals to have special accommodations like working from home, leaving early to get in front of a rolling blackouts, etc.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: Yes and no. Our attitude is ‘business as usual’, but the reality is not usual. We just need to accept the current situation, and that it might persist. We think the rules of the game have changed. We are in the process of reviewing how we should adjust our workflow/patterns including IT system configuration.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes, we are running business as usual. The only difference is that we are trying to save power as much as possible. That’s it.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Not business as usual just yet. We are reducing electrical usage, reducing lighting (exterior and interior), giving a little more flexible time for commuting, as well as reducing business hours.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: So far, yes. We don’t necessarily feel any shortages of resources.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Yes, we are pretty much running our Tokyo-based offices as business as usual. We are, however, being very tolerant of the difficulties for employees to get to work or the need to leave early to get home before the rolling blackout occurs in their areas. We have cut back significantly on use of company drivers/vehicles. We are virtually working in low-level lighting to conserve building energy. We remain under a ban that employees can not travel for business outside of Japan and cannot travel to the north of Japan at all. Except for the ban on travel, we are considering that some of our provisions will represent the “new” normal.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No, we are running beyond capacity in our efforts to meet the requirements from our customers and from evacuees. To help with the squeeze, we are mobilising global resources from within the company group.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes, as much as possible.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: The business is almost back to usual for now. However, we anticipate that our ongoing business might get impacted due to parts, materials and chemicals shortages in the near future.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We try to drive our business forward. However, as mentioned above, radiation-tainted tap water makes it difficult to run business as usual.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We are almost back to normal. We prohibited business trips to the area of 80km around the plant forservice/sales people up till 25th, but from this week (28th) we will deal with those request from the area concerned with the judgment of the respective business leader. For trips to Ibaraki and Tochigi, we also refrained from sending service/sales people up till 25th, but this is now back to normal. And business trips using company cars are now also accepted — least week we prohibited this due to gasoline shortages.

2) What are you and your company doing now to help procure provisions for employees? Are you sourcing bottled drinking water for employees? Are you distributing potassium iodide to employees?

  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Yes, we are sourcing bottled water for employees, especially with small children, both domestically and internationally. And with potassium iodide, yes we ordered a supply from our UK office and should receive next week. However, we do not plan to distribute to employees at this time.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We stocked bottled water in our HQ. We have no specific supply for iodide.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, we do not see any need for that.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, we are not distributing anything other than emergency kits.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Yes we are sourcing bottled water since yesterday to families with small children. We are also creating back-up plans for the entire organisation.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We already provided an emergency kit including bottled drinking water for all employees. We do not distribute potassium iodide.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Yes, we sent huge cases of water/instant noodles/rice/ other foods as well as sanitation goods to our employees in the disaster area. But we are not distributing these to other employees around Japan, and we are not sending any iodide tablets.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: At present, we are not taking any action such as sourcing bottled water or distributing potassium iodide.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We had procured all necessary goods immediately after the disaster. Now due to the shortage, and due toinstructions by the Japanese government, we have stopped buying bottled water and any other goods that are short in supply.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: No, we do not provide any materials, and have no plan to procure provisions for employees at this moment.
  • North America HQ’ed Technology company with <100 employees in Japan: You can’t have iodine without a prescription. Water is available for employees.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We do have some stocks of bottled water, but we have decided not to distribute it to our employees. Also,nobody has asked for it.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We have a supply of bottled water that we have made available to those with infants or small children. Our industrial doctor has a supply of potassium iodide if the situation requires.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: None. It is fully upto the individuals, not to the business.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We are stocking bottled drinking water, but do not distribute to our employees.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We have increased our regular water delivery service, encouraged employees to hydrate during working hours, and are allowing them to fill bottles for their return home. No pills at this time.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: No, not for the moment.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Outside of our company’s donation to the communities in need, we are now planning to provide bottled water to associates. We are sourcing potassium iodide for employees, but will only distribute upon direction of the Japanese govt and in consultation with the US government (since we are a US firm). We would use our company doctor to distribute the KI. Expats have been notified that they can pick up potassium iodide at their embassies.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We had food and water provisions at the time of earthquake, which were distributed to employees. Since then, no.We are preparing to distribute more cartons of water to the evacuees in Tohoku region, but no other measures are being taken.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: No, we are not providing any extra provisions to our employees, other than the water coolers that have always been in place.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We are not taking any action at company level.
  • Europe HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We are providing bottled water to employees with infants. We are also delivering bottled water to employees’ houses, not due to health hazards of tap water but just in case they need to prepare for the longer term affects of the disaster. No potassium iodide – it is insane and just creates panic at this stage in my view.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Not for employees. We are starting to match employee donations for this disaster, and we are providing information services with free for universities affected in East Japan etc.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Emergency kits (helmet, bottled water, etc.) are placed under the desks of each employee. Stockpiling of necessities is is in progress in our Tokyo office and our plant in northern Kanto. Our Asia Pacific team is shipping us bottles of mineral water, batteries, and battery/solar-powered lights for employees at work.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We have already given them emergency packs. We will not do anything special for their famiies. As for potassium iodide, we should be careful about this treatment. We have no idea about it,and I do not think that we should do it.

3) What are the other measures that you as an HR Leader have implemented in your organisations? Have you had any surprise successes that you can share?

  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We’ve been amazed at the global teamwork, as well as the involvement of our most senior U.S. management in terms of the support for the Tokyo office during this crisis. Among other things, this led to the quick development of tools to quickly capture the physical location and dependentsinformation of our employees on the system. Response to the crisis also led to the display of leadership which may not have been recognised in certain individuals previously.
  • North America HQ’ed Healthcare company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: We set up donation programmes, which have been very successful. We have many inspirational stories from our employees and patients.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: We closed our offices from last Wednesday to Friday. We stayed in close contact with all our employees when we were closed. We called everyone every day, to check on their situation (food, blackouts, schools, other) and sense of safety. We were able to make well-informed decisions because we talked to everybody the whole time. We took the feelings and opinions of all our employees into account. I think good internal communication and quick decision-making based on facts and what everybody wanted (not fear, or one-sided approach) is what helped us manage the situation successfully.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 100-200 employees in Japan: Our strategy in providing a great deal of flexibility in working conditions since the tragedy was very well appreciated by the employees. The challenge was to keep the morale and fairness perspective amongst those who have different mindsets. Often this depended on the nature of the job (e.g. client-facing or not), and stress tolerance level on an individual level. No significant surprises though.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 100-200 employees in Japan: The biggest key to our success was having flexible working during the entire 2 week period.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: As a cleanliness and sanitation solutions company, we are providing our products directly/indirectly to the area, and we will also be sending supporting staff there too.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 100-200 employees in Japan: The Managing Director has personally held mini town hall meetings with staff to explain the company stance and allay concerns.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We set up a back-up headquarter organisation structure, as well as crisis management teams both in Tokyo and in Kansai. For future emergency situations, we have created a crisis organisation which would enable us to make sure business continuity while maintain employee safety measures, no matter where a disaster strikes in Japan.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Internal
    communication needs to be considered as a very high priority in order to avoid unnecessary worries and confusion. As we will not evacuate, and so-called “risks” may still exist in the minds of some of our employees, the declaration of the company’s intention in a timely manner is what we have to pay attention to.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We have coordinated with other group companies to raise donations, which was very successful.
  • North America HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: The
    communications aspect was key. We needed to keep employees connected with
    multiple communication channels to assure them and to circulate emergency notices in case they are out of the office.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Financial Services company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Any non-essential, non-critical work like technology projects were given expanded deadlines. This allowed us to free up people and reduce stress. Overall the general attitude of our employees in Japan has been terrific. I think it’s because we were open to personal considerations which employees would not typically bring to our attention. We also were able to discover ways to use our other offices globally for contingency purposes.
  • Asia Pacific HQ’ed Industrial company with 200-500 employees in Japan: We set up a successful relief fund programme, which the company matched.
  • North America HQ’ed Financial Services company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Our management made a point to visit several offices to keep our employees informed.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: We have extended our EAP services to cover all employees, including our part timers, and have communicated all along with our employees via SMS, email blasts, and Twitter to make sure they feel comforted and part of the corporate communication circle during the crisis. We continued to pay our employees for the regular scheduled shifts.
  • North America HQ’ed FMCG company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: I had just
    prepared a list of measures we implemented for our global HR team. Some of the items mentioned in that list are as follows: There have been live daily updates just about every day since the Monday following the quake. We have gathered employees in our central reception and have consistently covered the categories of People, Infrastructure, Supply Chain, Relief Support, Customer and Miscellaneous information. Every employee (including contractors) has received the meeting script post the daily meetings. We closed the office last Friday (paid) to give employees a longer holiday weekend in recognition of the struggles they had undertaken during the first week to get to and from work with rolling blackouts, and public transportation challenges. Per an employee request, we removed all of the lock door mechanisms so employees can freely move about the building. We are operating under a more relaxed dress code. Our global CEO flew in and met with employees. They provided words of thanks for enduring the disasters, encouragement to continue onward, financial support, etc. Senior Leaders are making a point to be very ‘visible’, walking around the offices, eating in the cafeteria and meeting with their teams on a very frequent basis to stay close.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industial company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: Large monetary donation from the global HQ.
  • North America HQ’ed Retail company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Daily “crisis
    management” meetings have been very effective.
  • Europe HQ’ed Media company with 500-1000 employees in Japan: In terms of lessons learned, we have redeveloped our communication network among employees through the gathering of private contact information of all staff, including contractors and temp staff. We now have everyone’s private e-mail and mobile number. As for the ongoing situation, our current conclusion is that the situation at Fukushima is far different from Chernobyl. The Fukushima plant ceased operation just after the earthquake, while Chernobyl exploded in its operation without any protection barrier. The distance between Fukushima and the metropolitan area (200Km+) is enough not to directly fear air pollution. The deaths caused by Chernobyl were mainly derived from radioactive ingredients being ingested through the mouth for a long time following the accident. With all these considerations, we know that these risks are limited in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
  • North America HQ’ed Media company with 1000+ employees in Japan: Leaders who used to come to the office by car are now commuting by train. We also now use 2/3 of lights in the office. We are still doing frequent communications with employees via SMS mail and internet boards to inform them about company decisions, and also to let people communicate with HR when they or their family have problems.
  • Europe HQ’ed Industrial company with 1000+ employees in Japan: One-off cash payment to affected employees at Fukushima/Tohoku area to support their emergency purchasing, evacuation cost or family care on March 16. Money is the king when after the disaster. In addition, the company announced 100% salarypay out to all employees/temp staff who can’t be back to their office atFukushima/Tohoku area until end of March, subject to the business being readyto restart at that time