Johnson and Johnson embeds its EAP in a far-reaching wellbeing strategy

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Image credit: Reuters

To tackle the considerable challenge of catering to the needs of a diverse and widespread workforce, global healthcare organisation Johnson and Johnson adopts a holistic approach, providing benefits and initiatives that support all elements of employee wellbeing, says Clare Lee, head of HR, UK, Ireland and Nordics.

The organisation operates a wellbeing strategy that reaches across 120,000 staff worldwide, 5,000 of which are based in the UK.

“We talk about bringing your whole self to work, and that includes not only having a healthy physical body but a healthy mind and soul,” Lee explains. “So, we’re committed to helping our employees, and importantly, their families and the communities in which they’re based.”

Part of this approach includes the provision of an employee assistance programme (EAP), which Johnson and Johnson implemented approximately 30 years ago. This is available to all employees worldwide, as well as their families.

“It provides confidential and culturally sensitive advice, to help them manage work-related matters, but also personal problems,” adds Lee.

The EAP is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year; it provides access to consultations, referrals and advice, via both the telephone mechanism and through face-to-face sessions if needed. This constant availability, and the fact that the service is confidential, is highly valued, states Lee.

Alongside the EAP, other pillars of Johnson and Johnson’s approach to emotional wellbeing include a mental health hub and advice line, provided by Bupa, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) from Rightsteps. In addition, the organisation rolled out mental health awareness seminars in January 2018; these have been so heavily subscribed as to now have waiting lists.

“We are making people aware and removing some of the stigma around mental health,” says Lee.

Combating this stigma is an integral part of encouraging employees to feel they can discuss their emotional wellbeing, whether through the EAP or via one of the other numerous avenues available to them.

In addition to aiming for a holistic, joined-up approach to mental and physical health, Lee says that Johnson and Johnson aims to link all of its wellbeing initiatives with its goals for diversity and inclusion, creating an open, healthy and supportive environment across the board.

At the forefront of this strategy is the organisation’s Energy for Performance programme, which has been in place for approximately 15 years. This looks at every element of an individual’s wellness and creates a bespoke action plan, covering everything from diet and exercise to mental health.

“It’s enabling us to drive a more inclusive culture and also a more open culture for people to talk about some of their challenges,” says Lee. “We are so passionate [about] health and wellness, and the EAP is just one pillar of it, alongside a lot of other initiatives, but it is still very much an important one.”

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