Johnson and Johnson places health at the heart of benefits strategy

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Global healthcare organisation Johnson and Johnson has an aspiration to change the trajectory of health for humanity; for 2020 and beyond, its goal is to create the world’s healthiest workforce.

To do this, the organisation looks at ways in which its benefits boost the health and wellbeing of its employees and their families.

Clare Sicklen, HR lead for health and wellness in the UK at Johnson and Johnson, says: “We think about health and wellness in terms of prevention, support and treatment, and then education and resources.

“We know that prevention is really the key, but there are, of course, times when our employees do need fast, rapid access to support and treatment, and having all of the right programmes and benefits in place is obviously key to enabling that.”

Healthy focus

To this end, the UK arm of the organisation has made some important changes to its health and wellbeing offering in the last 12 months, specifically within its healthcare trust, which is available to all UK employees and their families.

Through this scheme, Johnson and Johnson aims to provide for a diverse workforce; for example, one of the support structures in place to help a multigenerational employee base is the provision of help with tests and consultations related to assisted fertility. To ensure that all employees’ needs are catered for, the organisation has also removed outpatient limits on health cover and support, including the cover of pre-existing medical conditions.

“We believe that [an employee] needs as much treatment as they need in order to get fit and healthy, and putting a cap on, say, how much physiotherapy they need, may actually not be the right strategy,” explains Sicklen.

Furthermore, the organisation has introduced gender dysphoria support, including specialist psychiatric, nursing and psychological support.

“Adapting our private healthcare [benefits] to mould to the 21st century workplace, address aspects of work-life [balance], and ensure that everything we’re doing in terms of our healthcare is also linked to other strategies that we have in the [organisation], such as diversity and inclusion, is really important,” says Sicklen.

Mental wellbeing support

Johnson and Johnson also places great importance on the mental health of its employees. Within its healthcare trust, all recognised mental health conditions are covered, excluding dementia and learning and behavioural difficulties, and cover does not stop after three years, instead continuing for as long as the person is employed by the organisation, so staff do not have to worry if a condition returns.

In addition to unlimited cover, staff also have access to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and an employee assistance programme (EAP), providing discreet support 24 hours a day.

“We know that, when employees require support and treatment, often they don’t want to confide in their line managers, or indeed in HR. They want to be able to access treatment as and when they need it,” says Sicklen. “So, where we’ve introduced [CBT], employees can now self-refer themselves. That support is delivered through a team of psychologists who are best able to determine whether CBT is going to be the right intervention, and if that is not the case, then the psychologist can refer the employee or family member back to a different benefit within Johnson and Johnson.”

An inclusive approach

Johnson and Johnson has a global diversity and inclusion strategy, which is embraced at each local operation, and driven by employee networks, including the organisation’s LGBT and women in leadership goups. The strategy, You Belong, seeks to create a culture in which employees feel valued and included; holistic, inclusive healthcare, for example encompassing support in areas such as gender dysphoria, is just one aspect of this wider approach.

“Diversity and inclusion is really important,” says Sicklen. “But we also believe that for a strategy to really live in the organisation, there needs to be proof points in other aspects of organisational life.”

Part of this commitment to fostering difference and diversity throughout the organisation also includes the structure of work itself, and employees’ ability to maintain work-life balance. To this end, Johnson and Johnson offers flexible-working opportunities, the ability to buy and sell holiday days, and provides employees with five volunteering days per year, to spend helping their local communities.

Benefits communication

Johnson and Johnson takes a multimedia approach to communicating to employees about their benefits packages. Its workforce comprises both office staff and field-based employees, so a multi-pronged strategy is necessary in order to not only reach, but also actively engage employees with diverse working patterns and needs.

The organisation runs benefits roadshows, email campaigns and talking head videos; the latter featuring employees sharing personal stories about the benefits that they have found useful, helping others to link back to their own experiences, and understand options they might not have considered previously.

Johnson and Johnson also provides an app, Healthy and Me, which gives employees access to information about the benefits available to them, as well as relevant programmes and training, such as its Energy For Performance resilience training initiative. It also issues employees with a Little book of wellness, which is sent to their home address and contains all the information about the health and wellbeing benefits available to them.

Employee feedback

In order to have a business that is focused around creating and supporting a healthy consumer population, it is embedded in Johnson and Johnson’s values to support its staff in maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing, and that of their families, as well as their happiness and engagement at work.

“It’s very much the focus of our [organisation] and is wrapped up in our credo values,” explains Sicklen. “For us, as a healthcare company wanting to have the world’s healthiest workforce, this is what really drives our work.”

To create an offering that caters holistically to its employees, and ensure it is used as effectively as possible, feedback and dialogue are particularly important.

Sicklen concludes: “For me, the most important thing is getting out and about, being in meetings where our employees are and talking to them about the benefits, when they can use them, and how they could use them. Hearing from employees is the most powerful reinforcement that we’re focusing on the right thing.”

At a glance

Johnson and Johnson is a healthcare organisation that has 130,000 employees operating in 60 countries around the world, 5,000 of whom work across 11 sites in the UK and Ireland. The business develops medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.

Job roles at Johnson and Johnson vary greatly; employees across the world work in positions ranging from frontline health staff in vulnerable communities to consumer marketing specialists, and scientists working at the cutting edge of treatment innovation.

Globally, the gender split within Johnson and Johnson’s workforce is 47.1% women and 52.9% men. 83.6% of employees globally are under 30 years old.

Business objectives that impact on employee benefits

  • Johnson and Johnson’s overarching organisational purpose, which is reflected in both its benefits and culture, is to blend heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity’.

Career history

Clare Sicklen, HR lead for health and wellness in the UK, joined Johnson and Johnson in 1999. She currently supports the pharmaceutical sector, but has also worked in the consumer branch of the organisation.

Looking back at her career so far, Sicklen is most proud of her role in introducing health assessments to the organisation 15 years ago, a benefit that is still offered to employees today. “Being able to give something to employees which enables them to really focus and take care of themselves and then take other preventative steps, I think is a really important benefit,” Sicklen says.

“That’s the thing that makes me feel most proud, because people really see the value of it. The other benefit is we are then able to use the anonymised data to really consider how we may want to target other benefits, policies, strategies, around health and wellness.”