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The secret sauce to a better workplace

Diversity, equity and inclusion — these three workplace characteristics are key to achieving that goal, says leading multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson



Johnson & Johnson empowers employees to share their journey as LGBTQ+ members. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Johnson & Johnson

Employees who thrive in their professional environment directly contribute to the success of a company, and a work environment where you can be open, proud and out is key to achieving that goal, says leading multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson (Philippines) Inc. (J&J Philippines), which has been consistently recognized for its inclusive workplace philosophy across its commercial and Global Services teams in the country.

When J&J Philippines won HR Asia’s Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and earned a place at the Asia CEO Awards’ Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in 2019, the company’s active role in driving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) was cited as an important driver alongside employee programs to help navigate the pandemic’s effect on the workforce, its strong wellness culture, and efforts to integrate work and family life successfully.

According to J&J Philippines DEI Council head and Asia Pacific head of Total Rewards Mary Grace Gervacio, the key to their consistent success and recognition as an ideal employer is their focus on bringing to life the employee-focused statement in Johnson & Johnson’s Credo, the company’s corporate code that governs the way they work.

“Our Credo is our moral compass to guide us in doing what is right for the people we serve and that includes our own employees. Since my early days in HR at J&J, a clear mandate had been impressed upon me — to bring the Credo to life, engaging emplo yees, and encouraging them to find out what it could mean for them. We follow this purpose as we evolve our employee programs and as we build a strong total health culture within the company, and in sincere efforts to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across the J&J community,” she says.

Related to diversity, equity and inclusion in particular, the Credo states that “we must provide an inclusive work environment where each person must be considered as an individual. We must respect their diversity and dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security, fulfilment and purpose in their jobs.”

Over the last few years, J&J has been proactively developing employee resource groups or ERG such as Women’s Leadership and Inclusion, Generation Now, Alliance for Diverse Abilities, and Open & Out that are advancing the J&J culture of inclusion and innovation, enhancing business performance and reputation, and building a diverse workforce for the future.

Open & Out, in particular, began its story in the Philippines in 2018 in a room full of open-minded people who took a chance to go out and make a difference. They introduced themselves to each other beginning with the words: “I identify as….” And the rest, as they say, is history.

Through a beautiful launch campaign where they used the hashtag #ProudAko (I am proud), J&J empowered employees to share their journey as LGBTQ+ members. In June 2019, a combined headcount of 150 LGBTQ+ people and allies held their first-ever J&J Manila Campus Pride March to celebrate employees with diverse sexual orientation and gender. To cap the colorful celebration, the rainbow flag was raised alongside the Philippine flag for the first time in the company’s 63-year history in the country.

Beyond these ERGs, however, are sustainable employee programs and policies that comprehensively and sustainably incorporate diversity and inclusion into the company’s culture. These include mandatory “managing unconscious bias” training; company-supported employee groups championing women leadership, generational diversity, the LGBTQ+ community, and persons with disabilities; ensuring gender balance in leadership roles (women in at least 50 percent of leadership roles); mentorship programs for female and early-career talents; partnership with universities to expose young talents to J&J careers; gender-neutral restrooms; employee benefits that cover same sex partners; mental health coverage through its health insurance plan and Employee Assistance Program; and programs and policies for the advancement of women in the workplace (e.g. on-site child care center, lactation rooms).

“The DE&I agenda has always been a key priority of the global J&J organization,” says Raghu Krishnan, president and managing director of J&J Philippines. “Through our mission — to allow our employees to be themselves — we are encouraging them to see the workplace as a safe space, where they can be their authentic selves without fear of bias and discrimination.”