As the world’s largest, most broadly-based healthcare company with more than 130,000 employees worldwide, at Johnson & Johnson, we understand the important role we have to play in using our voice and platform to promote a diverse and inclusive society.
Johnson & Johnson ranks #1 in the DiversityInc top 50 most diverse companies, and this commitment to D&I starts with the everyday workplace culture that we create for our employees.
We became conscious that although we were offering initiatives celebrating various D&I groups, these principally catered to employees who were already assured with their identities. We wanted to create a campaign that would empower less confident employees to feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace, and so developed ‘You Belong’ – encouraging staff to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work. Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work. It, therefore, stands to reason that if people do not feel they can be themselves during this time, it will have a negative impact on their mental health.
At Johnson & Johnson, we felt that having an official company commitment or policy which encouraged inclusivity was an important way of actively demonstrating our position. Of course, many employees are naturally self-confident and don’t need ‘permission’ to showcase their full selves, but there are others that are more reserved and appreciate that we’ve given them a friendly nod to remind them that this is a safe space that they are free to be themselves.
>See also: Diversity tips for leaders
An inclusive safe space
To put it into context – an example would be an LGBT employee feeling comfortable sharing their orientation at work, or somebody with mental health issues speaking openly about their experiences without fear of being judged. Disability inclusion is also a huge part of this – in the wider working world, many invisible disabilities and illnesses go unreported due to fears of judgement. Again, at Johnson & Johnson, we want everybody to feel comfortable disclosing as much (or as little) as they please, knowing that we will fully support them.
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. Employees have told me 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 that all organisations should aim to uphold.
My advice to fellow HR professionals would be this; take a look at your workforce and determine which groups of people could feel underrepresented and undervalued. Be genuine and show them that you cherish them, whether that be through developing policies that support them or launching internal campaigns that celebrate them. Internal communications are hugely valuable here, and we’ve found that our ‘You Belong’ campaign has been immeasurably effective.