Diversity Is The Byword At J&J

Saturday, March 1, 2008 - 01:00

The Editor interviews JoAnn Heisen, Vice President and Chief Global Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson.

Statement on Diversity from Russ Deyo, Vice President and General Counsel, Johnson & Johnson

At Johnson & Johnson, within our global legal department, as well as across our Family of Companies, diversity fuels innovation and fosters a culture of inclusion. It strengthens our position as the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products and allows us to make decisions that reinforce our commitment to our key stakeholdersour customers and patients, our Associates around the world, the communities in which we operate, and our shareholders.

Diversity is reflected in our values as outlined in Our Credo.

Editor: Please discuss the origin of the Johnson & Johnson Credo and why it is integral to the way the company does business.

Heisen: The Credo was written in 1943 by then Chairman Robert Wood Johnson, the son of one of the founders of Johnson & Johnson. He used the Credo to describe our responsibilities as a corporation to our four key stakeholders - our patients and customers, employees, and the community in which we work and live, and finally the shareholders of the company. The Credo, sacred to all at Johnson & Johnson, is the Company's worldwide value system and therefore integral to the way the company does business. It is really the glue that holds us together and shapes the way we work day-to-day.

Editor: What type of orientation is given all employees about diversity?

Heisen: We have a diversity program - Diversity Fundamentals - which initially trains new employees online followed by courses in a classroom.

Editor: What is the Johnson & Johnson Global Diversity Vision? How is it defined at J&J?

Heisen: Our global diversity vision seeks to maximize the global power of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve superior business results and sustainable competitive advantage. It is defined within a framework of strategic imperatives - diversity of the work force, diversity in the work place, diversity in the market place and diversity among the external stakeholders. Diversity is inherent in all the ways we do business internally and externally.

Editor: Being a global company, you have to have a broad vision for every culture and every ethnic background.

Heisen: Absolutely, and that is why in describing this office as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we added the word "Inclusion." We are no longer just the Office of Diversity, but rather we are the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion. It is important to recognize that we need to empower people to contribute to their fullest and to help them reach their highest potential. That can only be achieved by promoting a policy of inclusion by the company's leadership who listen to every voice, embrace diversity of thought and perspective and respect each employee's unique contribution.

Editor: Does the Diversity Program reflect the "tone at the top" of the organization?

Heisen: Absolutely. Our Chairman and CEO, Bill Weldon, is our strongest advocate and is totally committed. Unlike the reporting relationship at many other corporations, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion reports directly to the CEO. Bill is an active supporter and communicator who recently sent a letter to every employee throughout the global organization stressing the importance of diversity in our work place and in our market place. In addition, Bill and I issued a video that was distributed to all of our operating companies around the world in which we discussed the business case for diversity and the power of diversity in our marketplace. We cited examples of our own employees' opinions and perspectives. In addition, the company's Executive Committee reflects diversity. The Committee is made up of ten members of which four, or 40 percent are women and two are people of color. That sends a positive message of "tone at the top."

Members of the Executive Committee and top-level management act as the executive sponsors for diversity issues and the Affinity Groups. For example, Colleen Goggins, who is Chairman of our Worldwide Consumer Companies GOC, a Caucasian, serves as the Executive Sponsor for the African American Leadership Council. Nick Valleriani serves as the Executive Sponsor for GLOBAL, the gay and lesbian organization for business advancement and leadership. Jose Sarterelli, who was born in South America, is the Executive Sponsor for our Community of Asian Associates.

Senior leaders responsible for diversity across our decentralized organization structure report to the most senior level of their organization, as well as by solid line to me.

Editor: Tell me about your Affinity Groups and how you encourage those.

Heisen: We have nine Affinity Groups, which are inclusive, voluntary and employee-driven groups, organized around shared interests and aligned to our business objectives. They have a formal group structure in that they appoint a management board and define their purpose. The activities include professional development, workplace enhancement, diverse talent recruitment and community initiatives. Their main intent is to create an open forum for the exchange of ideas that will ultimately strengthen the ability of Johnson & Johnson to deliver better health care solutions. All nine Affinity Groups are open to all employees who wish to join them.

Editor: What do you require of your managers?

Heisen: Every manager is responsible for creating a work place that is supportive of employees and allows them to succeed to the full extent of their potential. We hold managers responsible for creating an inclusive work place. Managers both educate themselves about diversity and are trained by the company so that they can combine that knowledge with good management practices to ensure excellence in recruiting, developing, promoting and retaining a diverse work force.

Editor: What do you ask of your associates?

Heisen: We ask them to be fully engaged and to play an important role in the success of diversity. We want our employees to maximize the global power of diversity for we believe it gives us a competitive business advantage, as well as being the right thing to do. We also want our associates to be receptive to the tools and services that we provide and to take advantage of our J&J Diversity University, which provides courses online, a wealth of information about diversity in other countries and cultures, including a tool to enhance their effectiveness as a member of a global team. The e-learning courses include Diversity Fundamentals, Valuing Individual Differences and Diversity and Inclusion.

Editor: Describe the functions of the Global Office of Diversity.

Heisen: We provide structure for the strategic plan for diversity within our businesses. We are a decentralized organization with businesses in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics as well as consumer products. We hold our managers and businesses accountable for a diversity strategic plan and results. We conduct leadership programs and provide counsel, support, and training materials to allow managers to realize their strategic plan as well. We also have a number of other programs such as the Global Diversity Summit, Diversity Recognition and Rewards, Women's Leadership Conferences, and Affinity Group Conferences.

Editor: Can you describe Johnson & Johnson's recruiting techniques in attracting minority employees?

Heisen: We have many ways to attract minority employees. We have targeted schools for recruiting. We participate in many different minority recruiting events that take place throughout the country. We recruit at historically black colleges and universities. We also encourage employees to refer family and friends. We attract many people who want to work at Johnson & Johnson, and we have been very successful in our efforts.

Editor: Do you have ongoing mentoring program for minorities?Heisen: We have several mentoring programs. Through our diversified and decentralized organization we have many different mentoring formats - some programs are informal, some are more formal. But no matter how different, it is generally recognized that mentoring is very beneficial to employees. Therefore, we encourage our managers to reach out and become mentors and we encourage our employees to reach up and request mentoring.

Editor: What purpose does the Supplier Diversity Program serve?

Heisen: That allows us to encourage our operating companies to purchase from qualified diversity suppliers. Our Supplier Diversity Program broadens our commitment to the communities in which we work and live. Having a diverse supplier base strengthens our ability to conduct business across all cultures and geographies and in doing so gives us access to the thoughts, ideas and perspectives of some of the most diverse and forward thinking companies in the industry. Partnering also creates jobs and builds wealth in the communities in which we operate.

Editor: In summary, please state J&J's case for diversity.

Heisen: Johnson & Johnson is fully committed to diversity. We recognize that diversity leads to innovation and innovation leads to business success, which in turn, leads to fulfilling opportunities for our employees.

Please email the interviewee at jheisen@corus.jnj.com with questions about this interview.