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Four Principles to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion

Four Principles to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion


“Strength lies in difference, not in similarities,” wrote Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Johnson & Johnson has embraced this principle ever since its inception in 1886, when women made up more than half of the company’s initial 14 employees.

And 130 years later, an inclusive workforce underpinned by diverse perspectives remains critical to the success of our business and the wellbeing of our employees.

In Japan — one of the most important markets globally for the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson — inclusion and diversity fit perfectly with “Abenomics,” where government policies are encouraging greater fluidity in the labor market and supporting young families, especially women and working mothers.

Diversity covers a whole range of areas, including gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, background and values. However, a diverse workforce must not come at the expense of workforce inclusion. Appreciating and rewarding people who have been in the job for decades is as important as creating policies and opportunities for new hires and future leaders. Here in Japan, we have shown that the two can coexist and complement each other. Above all, we seek to keep our people motivated and productive as their work environment evolves.

While forging a diverse and inclusive workplace is clearly desirable, it is no easy undertaking. The journey is unique to every company and every country. Janssen Japan has embraced four principles that underpin our efforts to enhance workforce inclusion and diversity.

1. Define a focus

While diversity can cover a range of areas, as mentioned above, the requirements for greater diversity vary across countries and even within companies and leadership teams. At Janssen Japan, we have worked hard to define and articulate a global view of workforce diversity, recognizing the nuances inherent in local markets and cultures.

In Japan, our diversity efforts focus on gender equity, including at leadership levels; the balance of life-long staff with younger employees; and a more open recognition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

2. Embed an inclusive mindset

While defining goals for workforce diversity is a crucial first step, we have found that an inclusive mindset — starting with senior leaders — acts as the real driver of change.

At Janssen Japan, an inclusive mindset is about making all employees aware of the opportunities available to them and helping them feel that they can and should contribute to change, rather than having new ways of working forced upon them.

To build an inclusive mindset and reduce the risk of unconscious bias, we have introduced several programs and behaviors.

All team members undergo training to ensure they understand the appropriate tone and behaviors for internal collaboration and can navigate changing workforce dynamics and demographics.

We promote an inclusive leadership style through events, coaching and mentoring. This includes the recently-launched Advanced Management Academy in Japan, which acts to ensure managers are aligned with our philosophy of inclusion. We also train managers on how to create inclusive development plans for their teams.

Our leaders actively encourage best-practice sharing and recognize the progress we are making towards our goals in one-to-one conversations, company-wide meetings and informal gatherings.

3. Remember the fundamentals

While working towards a workforce that is both diverse and inclusive, we have made a concerted effort to keep compensation reviews, career mapping and job security high on the agenda.

With inclusion front of mind, we introduced a company-wide strategy named HAYABUSA — the Japanese name for the peregrine falcon and a term synonymous with speed and agility — as a way to further unite our employees and engage them with our overall business strategy.

Our Management Committee meets regularly with employees to understand their priorities and concerns. This led to the implementation of career mapping tools, an enhanced culture of job security and transparent communications for all internal vacancies and staff moves/promotions.

4. Align with business strategy

By 2020, Janssen Japan aims to increase the number of women in management positions to 30 percent. To achieve this, we have introduced policies that incentivize women to join and remain with our company. We have also initiated interview training to upgrade our recruitment skills and broaden hiring practices.

I’m pleased to report that our efforts are paying off — the number of female managers employed by Janssen Japan has increased by more than 25 percent over the past three years.

We have also introduced systems that allow both men and women to balance work with family priorities through flextime and flexplace work options. We encourage our male employees to take their earned paternity leave. In 2017, 21 percent of new fathers working for Janssen Japan have taken paternity leave so far, well above the national average of 2.3 percent.

To further enhance work-life balance, we introduced a wellbeing program called Switch in 2016. The program aims to ensure employees are working efficiently, getting enough rest and looking after their health through initiatives including a ban on email after 10:00 p.m., encouraging annual leave and switching the office lights off at 8:00 p.m. The program is already showing results: in the first quarter of 2017, the number of employees who took annual leave increased to 11 percent from eight percent in the first quarter of 2016, while the number of employees working excess overtime fell by more than 60 percent over the same period.

Meanwhile, we support the Japanese Government’s bill to Enhance the Understanding of the LGBT Community and are proud that Japan was the first country outside North America to launch an active chapter of Johnson & Johnson’s Open & Out Employee Resource Group.

Another arm to our strategy has been the introduction of mechanisms that support whistleblowing whenever discrimination or harassment is experienced or observed.

These four principles have helped cultivate a more inclusive and diverse workforce in Japan and forge the foundations for increased competitiveness and ongoing success.

Posted August 14, 2017