Becoming the Healthiest Workforce: Learning from Johnson & Johnson's Experience

Good health is the foundation for productive employees. Johnson & Johnson, a Global Distinction award- winning company, has an exemplary global well-being program that it continually tracks and tweaks. 


January 11, 2020


Johnson & Johnson (J&J) believes good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based health care company, J&J is committed to using its reach and size for good. That’s why for more than 130 years, the company has aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. The company strives to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities and provide tools to build a healthy mind, body and environment for its employees. In turn, their employees across the world are working to change the trajectory of health for humanity.

Johnson & Johnson: A Company Snapshot

Number of Employees Worldwide: 134,000

Number of countries with employees: 60

The Global Business Group on Health spoke to Roya Bartlett, Global Health Services (GHS) Employee Well-being and Health Innovation Center of Excellence Lead for Europe, the Middle East and Africa to learn more about J&J’s global well-being program and how the company tracks its progress to become the healthiest workforce.

Tell us about J&J's well-being program?

Johnson & Johnson is a company guided by Our Credo, whose employees are the heart, mind and soul of the Company. Our Credo aligns responsibilities far beyond the requirements of our stockholders and with its recent changes, now specifically includes the words 'health and well-being.' It now reads: "We must support the health and well-being of our employees and help them fulfill their family and other personal responsibilities." For us, having a healthy workforce is not simply about reducing costs; it's about doing the right thing for our employees. Our commitment to helping employees, families and communities live well across their whole lives- spiritually, mentally, physically and financially- enables an engaged, purpose-driven workforce and it is now etched in stone Credos across our sites.

Our dedication to employee health has been part of our legacy as a health care company since we were founded. Our leaders had and continue to have the foresight to recognize that our employees are our most valued resource. We believe that health and well-being can ignite full engagement in all facets of our employee's lives. That's why we're committed to fostering work-life balance with a health and well-being culture built around providing resources to promote healthy habits and healthy choices to achieve their personal best at work, at home and in their communities. Our leaders model this behavior in their actions: voicing their support and building awareness of our efforts in business meetings, hosting walking meetings, or sharing personal stories of their wellness journeys.

We've set company goals to achieve by 2020 and share and publicly report on these goals, to provide healthy spaces and enable healthy choices to help every employee create the habits to achieve their personal best. We link science-based training to every individual's unique purpose and mission through energy management training; support and sustain healthy habits with customizable, scalable digital health tools that encourage healthy behavior- with fun and incentives along the way; and create an environment and culture that actively supports employees, so the healthy choice is the easy choice.

What made J&J want to have the healthiest workforce?

In 2015, our aggregate Global Health Risk Assessment (HRA) results identified our top three global employee health risks as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and stress. We focused on these risks and created our 2020 goals to help mitigate them and support our mission to become the healthiest workforce.

What steps did you take in approaching your mission of having the healthiest workforce?

We took several steps which included:

  • 1 | Defining the meaning of the "healthiest workforce." We defined healthy employees as those who actively invest in their health and well-being to achieve their personal best at work in an environment that fosters and supports healthy choices and achieves balance in body, mind and spirit. Therefore, encouraging full engagement at work, at home and in their communities.
  • 2 | Focusing on risk-based programs. We moved to a risk -based approach by targeting well-being interventions that focus on employee health risks on an enterprise- and country -leveI.
  • 3 | Introducing enterprise-wide ownership. GHS transitioned from collecting and housing site-based data and metrics to enterprise data ownership within Human Resources. We developed our 2020 goals with enterprise-wide clear and defined accountability.
  • 4 | Financial investment to develop well-being programs and initiatives that address each health risk -factor.
  • 5 | Partnership and collaboration across all business units to drive changes to new and existing well- being programs. One example is implementing our Healthy Eating Policy; we collaborated closely with our Enterprise Facilities Management partners which ensured governance across all aspects of the policy implementation e.g. cost implications, d1anges to food service contracts and to manage any changes required at a local level.
  • 6 | Track progress. The 2020 goals are reported externally through J&J's Health for Humanity Report and internally as part of our engagement and inclusion dashboard for Executive Management Committee members.

Can you describe the methods used to track the progress of your goals?

GHS maintains a global online dashboard to track progress. The tool enables results to be consistently updated and communicated to J&J employees and business leaders. The dashboard links to our global Healthy Enterprise Assessment Reporting Tool (HEARl),which is updated at site level by our GHS Operations Teams. The HEART tool tracks and reports the implementation of our Cutture of Health Policies (Healthy Eating, Healthy Movement and Healthy Mind) through a series of yes/no questions and allows sites to upload and share best practices in these areas.

In addition, a dedicated GHS Portal provides online access to information and resources for all our Culture of Health programs.

What has J&J done to promote employee engagement in their personal health and well-being?

A key strategy for driving our culture of health is to engage our employees with their personal health and well-being. We use several strategies including marketing, communication and leadership commitment. One example of this was through our successful marketing campaign, Make it Count!, that encouraged employee participation in our annual HRA. The campaign helped us exceed our 2015 goal of 80% participation. Through active leadership engagement, marketing, communication and providing employee incentives (where appropriate) we achieved 91% HRA participation across our global population.

Tell us about your global HRA.

Our marketing campaign, Make it Count!, was integral in engaging employee participation in the HRA. The campaign focused on promoting the benefits of employees knowing their numbers. Our senior business leaders and employees participated by sharing positive experiences from taking part in the HRA, including sharing images and testimonials. Hearing business leaders share the importance of 'knowing their numbers' was extremely powerful for employees and inspired them to take control of their own health.

In most countries, our global HRA is available online for employees to complete. However, in certain EMEA countries we adapted the process to reflect local requirements (privacy legislation and workers councils in France and Germany) by utilizing an anonymous paper questionnaire. ln certain Asia­ Pacific countries, we integrated the HRA option within the employee annual medical assessment, preventing duplication and creating efficiency.

How does J&J leverage technology to engage employees with their well-being?

In 2016 we launched Healthy & MeTM; a dynamic digital platform unique to J&J that conveniently connects employees to their everyday health and well-being.

Healthy & MeTM is a confidential and customizable way to engage with a range of health and well-being programs from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. This easy-to-use platform also includes team challenges, social sharing and valuable points programs that allow employees and spouses, where eligible, to enter quarterly sweepstakes. Access is available via a free app download or via the web, allowing participants to take another step toward achieving their personal best on whichever mobile platform they feel most comfortable.

We engage employees with our Healthy & Me TM platform through activation stations; members of our GHS team are available with marketing and campaign materials to answer questions and to provide personal assistance in getting connected. The activation stations are set up in strategic locations depending on the type of facility (e.g. outside of canteens in manufacturing sites or in a reception area in an office location) or at various J&J events such as sales meetings or conferences.

What policies has J&J instituted to align with its goal of becoming the healthiest workforce?

J&J has a long-standing history of building this culture of health. In recognition of building a culture of health, particularly in cancer prevention and risk reduction, J&J was among the first companies to implement a Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy and continues to receive global and U.S. accreditation by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and earn the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™. This policy prohibits tobacco at all J&J locations, including property, buildings, leased buildings, company vehicles, and company-sponsored functions. It also promotes education/ awareness and access to tobacco cessation programs.

In support of creating an environment and culture that actively supports employee health, making the healthy choice the easy choice, we introduced global Healthy Eating, Healthy Movement and Healthy Mind Policies as part of our HealthForce 2020 campaign. Policy requirements include regular communication of progress to employees e.g. sharing updates outside the cafeteria or the cafe. Policy elements include: free fruit and vegetables offered on site, prevalence, preparation and placement of healthy-only options, limited soda or energy drinks, indoor/ outdoor walking trails, sit/stand desks, inviting stairwells, access to fitness centers, access to mental well-being resources, assess and address mental well-being risks and raise awareness and reduce the stigma related to mental illness.

In addition to these, we offer several policies to support a healthy work environment for our employees, such as: Alcohol and Drug­ Free Workplace, Employee Health Records and Confidentiality, HIV/AIDs, Medical Surveillance, Travel Health and Wellness & Health Promotion.

What is the process for getting new hires acclimated to your digital platform and tracking their health?

New employees are provided with a comprehensive online onboarding experience via our HR system. As part of the HR organization, GHS Culture of Health Programs are embedded in this process. During onboarding, new employees are introduced to the Healthy & MeTM platform and additional resources and programs (e.g. energy management training), so that they may begin to consider which programs may best support their personal journey to health.

How has J&J adapted its well-being programs to meet the geographical and cultural needs of your workforce?

All J&J policies and programs are designed to allow for local legal and cultural requirements. To support this, guidance and definitions are provided on specific elements as appropriate.

What's next for J&J's well-being program?

We are taking an active role in looking ahead at innovation and digital health offerings. Healthy & Me TM currently serves as our blueprint for this and we believe digitizing health will bring another set of milestones and challenges. This is especially true when it comes to data privacy, which continues to be a priority when designing and implementing global programs to fit with country-specific legal and cultural requirements.

What recommendations do you have for other large corporations who want to roll out a similar well-being initiative?

  • Engage with your leaders. Leadership engagement at all levels helps connect employees' value proposition. This type of engagement should be done from the top down. Our CEO, Alex Gorsky, is an outstanding health champion. Once leaders are on board everything falls into place much easier.
  • Take a broader view on connecting health to all aspects of well-being and the workplace experience, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial.
  • Leverage technology. Technology can assist in personalizing messages and allow for multiple communication channels to reach employees, their spouses and dependents. At J&J, we emphasize the health of our employees, but we realize that other people influence our employees and their health.
  • Set short and long-term goals. We recommend focusing on the risk factors. This approach will help narrow the problem. However, just because the problem is narrowed doesn't mean the solution should also be narrowed.
  • Measure. We recommend taking a phased approach in measuring the outcomes and progress made by your well­ being initiatives, rather than measuring the effort.
  • Pilot your activities. Piloting and testing what works are critical to the success of any well-being initiative. The right interventions are needed for the right people. If you pilot, you can learn and adjust. It also allows for certain elements to be tested and configured to accommodate country-specific legal and cultural requirements.
  • Integrate service delivery with innovative solutions that focus on prevention, behavior modification and linkage to the benefits design that include an employee's family and community.

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