Bold, brave and ambitious - that's CHRO 4.0 for you! In this series, we will take you on a journey across Asia, as we interview some of the most progressive HR leaders on their big people-centric plans, proven crisis management strategies, and how their job description is evolving with the times. 

To kickstart the series, we speak exclusively to Lisa Tay, Head of Human Resources, Johnson & Johnson Asia Pacific, who affirms that expectations for job seekers and hiring managers have been reshaped by the rise of entrepreneurship and the gig economy, and how J&J is rising to this challenge in the form of an opportunity.

Q As the workforce becomes increasingly younger, what is J&J doing to future-proof its hiring practices to stay relevant for fresh graduates and young employees?

We recognise that expectations for job seekers and hiring managers have been reshaped by the rise of entrepreneurship and the gig economy, as well as other cultural factors and demographic shifts.

At Johnson & Johnson, we have always had a workforce across all different stages of life. The challenge and opportunity for us is: how do we ensure the company’s value proposition is compelling and relevant to everyone?

It is important that we hire based on our purpose and values, focusing on their learning agility and a growth mindset. We look for people who aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves and are motivated to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge needed for their jobs.

The work we do changes lives for the better. Talented individuals who want to make a positive impact on people’s lives, and solve today’s complex health challenges, will be able to do so at Johnson & Johnson. It is anchored in our purpose to blend heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity.

It is also grounded in our Credo values, which challenges us to put the needs and wellbeing of the people we serve first, and articulates our obligations to our employees. We believe that our purpose and Credo will continue to remain relevant in the future as it did for over 130 years.

Q How has COVID-19 changed the way J&J approaches wellbeing at work? Has J&J amended its benefits scheme to suit the ‘new normal’ of working from home?

Our workforce was able to adapt swiftly to the new norm of working from home thanks to the digitisation at the core of every business. With the diverse range of digital skills our employees have, we were able to operate ‘business as usual’ to ensure there were no major disruptions to our patients and doctors, consumers, and customers.

We support our employees holistically – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – so we have made our hallmark programme, Energy for Performance (E4P) from the Human Performance Institute, virtual and encouraged every employee to attend. E4P uses a multi-disciplinary approach built on the sciences of performance psychology, exercise physiology, and nutrition to create lifelong behavior change, powered by personal purpose.

As a company, we want to ensure that our employees’ physical health is safeguarded when working outside the office by providing reimbursements on IT peripherals and office furniture (i.e. an office desk and ergonomic chair) to help them work from home safely. We also want our employees to keep exercising at home through our Global Health Reimbursement Programme, which encourages them to subscribe to virtual fitness programmes, guided meditations apps, or buy home gym equipment.

Mental wellness is also at the top of minds as we understand that COVID-19 could bring about another dimension of stress and anxiety for our employees.

The Employee Assistance Programme provides employees and their family members up to six pro-bono sessions with a mental health therapist. The programme also offers live health coaching and tips for any work or personal challenges. This service is confidential and is available 24/7. We also have ongoing webinars where employees can take a mental break from work to focus on their own mental health.

Providing the tools, trainings, programmes, and assistance is just one part of how we support our employees. We also leverage our rich history of a supportive work environment that respects our employees’ need for flexibility – when, where, and how they work – to give our employees the ability to manage their workload, especially during this pandemic.

We strongly believe in the importance of flexibility, whether it is to care for a loved one or the need to work more efficiently. We understand that all of us are most effective when we are able to balance work with other aspects of our lives.

Q Will the remote workplace replace the physical one? How should organisations pivot and what are the implications of this shift to hybrid working?

What we need to remember, regardless of work arrangement, is the importance of trust and confidence; connection & communities; celebration and innovation. Then we need to understand how we can achieve these outcomes while providing a culture that supports and drive employees’ choice and empowers them.

While we experienced the benefits of being able to work remotely during the pandemic, we also remember how good it was to work in a physical environment together: more opportunities to come together, serendipitous meetings, deepening of emotional connections and clear boundaries between home and work.

We saw this most of all when Johnson & Johnson Asia Pacific Headquarters opened at Science Park in 2018. We brought together over 1,000 employees into one single location to spearhead new ideas and frameworks for ‘healthcare of the future’. We created over 2,000 care packs for Singapore’s frontline healthcare workers while we were there.

During the Circuit Breaker (in Singapore), as we worked remotely, it challenged many of our employees to reimagine what new possibilities we could have with the future of work and workplaces. It compelled many to rethink and transform the ways of work.

In order to still give back to our communities, our employees contributed to virtual giving to help vulnerable groups of people – storytelling sessions to children from low-income families, purchasing and distributing online seasonal gifts from differently-abled artists, and donating in-kind food vouchers to help families tide through this challenging period.

Q Given that dollars spent today all have to show ROI, where should organisations be investing their HR dollars - building the employer brand, generating analytics, redesigning the employee experience, or something else?

We have had the privilege to shape health and wellbeing for more than 130 years. We care about the wellbeing of our employees, as they are the ones who will make an impact, drive innovation, and help us fulfill our purpose.

We care that everyone who comes through the doors of Johnson & Johnson is able to live to their fullest potential and be their best selves every day, be it at work or home. They have the power and freedom to express, voice, and shape the agenda.

So everything we invest in, we invest towards ensuring we can achieve these outcomes. And when we invest in human resources, we want to ensure impact.

For example we are improving the way we uncover more insights through data analytics to be even more precise in our interventions; creating frictionless people experiences to provide more efficient, effective and timely employee responses; driving diversity and inclusion across the world to drive convergence of opinions, skill sets, and life experiences, which ultimately drives creativity and innovations; having strong talent management practices to build our employees as leaders to shape health for future generations and develop the next breakthrough that impacts lives; making health and well-being our priority with training, digital tools and setting the tone for the organisation.

Q Whether working from home or office, what are the most useful things that you can't manage your day without? Share your time management tips!

My personal tips for managing the day-to-day are:

  1. Start the day with a time of quiet and reflection. This helps the mind to focus and be intentional on the impact you want to create that day.
  2. Always make room for people, NOT tasks. Remember, at the end of every task, is a person. Genuinely understand and care the person for who they are, not just for the work they do.
  3. Make space in your calendar so you can have the time, energy and emotion for people, thinking, and imagining.

Photo / Provided

Excerpts of this interview have been published exclusively in the Jul-Aug 2020 issue of Human Resources. Read this edition of Human Resources, Singapore:

hrsg jul aug20

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