Nissan, the Japanese automaker has a very simple management thinking known as the ‘The Nissan Way’. According to the Nissan way, the customer is prime focus, value creation provides the impetus and success is measured in terms of profit.

Nissan conducts various Nissan Way workshops where its business leaders share knowledge and educate fellow employees. The Nissan Way is different from the Nissan Production Way (NPW), it introduced in 1994. A document detailing ‘The Nissan Way’ is available in eight languages for its employees worldwide.

Five enablers to the Nissan way

Five elements of the Nissan Way

Nissan’s respect for Diversity

In 2004, Nissan formed the Diversity Development Office (DDO) and established a diversity steering committee to foster diversity. The DDO was especially useful given the cross-cultural nature of its alliance with Renault in 1999. With the DDO, Nissan could make full use of the women talent in the company (focusing on two key areas – women’s career development & work-life balance for employees) and create higher value. Nissan holds diversity workshops and provides training to women as part of its managerial training program. Nissan was recognized it’s Women in the Driver’s Seat initiative in 2008. By 2010, Nissan had doubled its percentage of female car-life advisors and technical advisors as compared to 2003.

Career Design support

Employees design their own career in consultation with their supervisors whom they meet twice a year. Supervisors evaluate their performance and discuss aspirations & goals. Japanese employees have two options to take new roles – Shift Career System (to apply for positions in their own department and work practice) and the Open Entry System (to apply for openly advertised positions). Nissan also developed the Expert Leader System to develop specific skills in a wide range of technical and nontechnical domains. The expert leaders in turn, train other employees by sharing knowledge during seminars and using other communication channels available within the company.

Culture of learning

Nissan recognizes the importance of learning for its employees. Its initiatives like the Learning Navigation system on its intranet and its Nissan Learning Center Management Institute provide many opportunities for learning.

Stronger Internal Communication

To promote communication and information sharing, Nissan has in place tools like the corporate intranet system called WIN (Workforce Integration @ Nissan). The company also conducts various surveys to get employee feedback. Newsletters, opinion-exchange meetings and in-house video broadcasts help information sharing across various production facilities. In 2009, Nissan began N-Square, an internal social networking service in Japanese (English in 2010) for employees.

Building safe workplaces

Nissan values human resources as its most valuable assets and employs a single unified set of safety standards globally. Nissan engages in human-friendly production and uses practices like ‘strike zone’ approach. In 2005, the company introduced Advantage EAP (Employee Assistance Program), a mental healthcare program, to take care of the mental health of its employees.