Diversity is the framework of our workplaces and the culture they create. We spoke with Clare Lee, Head of Human Resources, UK, Ireland & Nordics, Johnson & Johnson specifically about what diversity means to the employees at Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Why does diversity mean so much to the employers and employees alike at Johnson & Johnson?
As the world’s largest, most broadly-based healthcare company with more than 130,000 employees worldwide, we understand the important role we have to play in using our voice and our platform to promote a diverse, inclusive and vibrant society – both inside our business and in broader society.
Going back 132 years ago, when J&J was founded, eight of our original 14 employees were women at a time when attitudes towards women were very different. So it’s fair to say that diversity has really been woven into our DNA since the start.
Of course diversity and inclusion has come on leaps and bounds since then, and we have been on that journey as an organisation too. For us, diversity is about empowering people to bring their true selves to work every day – creating an environment where all backgrounds, beliefs and ranges of human experience can come together to help maximise opportunities and tackle any challenges we face. By promoting inclusion, we create a sense of unity and belonging, where people are valued, ideas are heard, and everyone can perform at their best.
As well as creating an enjoyable working environment for our staff, our culture of diversity benefits Johnson & Johnson hugely as a business. Employing a wide range of people, who each carry their own unique experiences of the world increases the variety and range of ideas, solutions and innovations that we’re able to come up with. I’ve been told by employees that they came to work for Johnson & Johnson because they knew that they’d be welcomed. Hearing this is incredibly rewarding and is exactly the type of culture Johnson & Johnson is determined to uphold.
Can you explain ‘Open & Out’ in more detail?
Open&Out is a global network of LGBTQ+ and Ally individuals who are open-minded and out to make a difference by creating safe and inclusive workspaces, fostering healthier communities and empowering our employees. The group has chapters in J&J offices around the world and is driven by representatives in each country. We have a clear mission to champion the full inclusion of people from the LGBTQ+ community within Johnson & Johnson as well as in the communities we serve, and we encourage individuals to involve themselves as much as possible to show support for their LGBTQ~ colleagues.
How do you ensure that every employee is bringing their entire selves to work?
We don’t want our employees to feel that they can only show specific elements of their personalities in the workplace, and have developed a campaign entitled ‘You Belong’ that encourages our staff to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work. Empowerment is at the core of J&J – creating a deep sense of belonging – where people are valued, ideas are heard, and everyone advances this culture. We would never want our staff to feel stifled in any way, and by encouraging an open and inclusive culture we allow them to approach work related tasks with an open mind.
Please could you explain further about the software you are using during your recruitment process to prevent unconscious bias?
To help us increase the diversity of the candidate pool and remove bias, we have started using technologies, such as artificial intelligence-powered solutions, like Textio. Textio removes gender bias from our job description by detecting words that could influence a specific gender to apply, and altering them to non-gendered words.
How would you advise organisations to prioritise and celebrate diversity within their workforce?
Take a look at your workforce and determine which groups of people could feel under represented and undervalued. Be genuine and show them that you value them, whether that be through developing policies that support them or launching internal campaigns that celebrate them. Internal communications can be hugely valuable here, we’ve found that our ‘You Belong’ campaign has been really effective.
What challenges have you faced in the past or current business climate?
As a global organisation, we are proud to practice a central D&I strategy and message across our entire network of colleagues, offices and partners. However operating a global policy comes with its own challenges, as attitudes towards D&I can differ depending on where you are in the world. I take great pride, however, in our Credo as a global statement that reinforces our commitment to employees and the communities in which we all live.
How would you personally like to see J&J progress in the future?
Our purpose is to change the trajectory of health for humanity so our commitment goes beyond our employees to improving all lives. We’ve done a lot of great work within our organisation but there’s always more to do – inside and outside of our organisation. And it would be incredible to take these learnings and apply them to the communities that we’re serving. We’d like to continue being a role model for other global organisations.