2018 J&J Employees Dirk Tuchbreiter (left) and Dimitri Bois (right), worked together from two different locations in Africa to support the development of a more efficient supply chain for NGO North Star Alliance’s 50+ Blue Box Clinics across 13 countries.
Five Years, Five Lessons
1. Create professional development opportunities that empower employees to make the most of their experiences. As our J&J employees (Secondees) grow into even more socially responsible leaders, we enable them to set an example for their peers, educate their readers about the front lines of care, and share their experiences through regular blogs. Every Secondee is assigned a retired J&J senior leader who advises them regularly and helps them deliver the greatest impact possible to our NGO partners. They are also paired with an alumni buddy, a former Secondee, who can answer questions and guide them. Moving to a new country and embarking on a new experience in a different sector or field can be daunting for our Secondees, but we make sure they have the support system to thrive. For many of our Secondees, the experience is life-changing and changes the trajectory of their personal and professional development significantly.
2. Build and create buy-in from the business. At J&J, giving back to society is truly at the heart of our Company and our Credo, and is the reason our team, Global Community Impact, exists. In fact, the Johnson & Johnson Secondment Program collaborates with the business side of our Company to create an infrastructure for the program that enables J&J employees to be supported with salaries and benefits throughout their six-month Secondments. Before this happened, we had to demonstrate how Secondees would return from their assignments as more seasoned, experienced and resilient professionals. The result is a program that is not just “nice to have,” but essential to how we perform as a business, deliver on the values that drive our Company, and give back to underserved communities across the EMEA region.
3. Measure rigorously and evaluate regularly. Health trends have changed significantly over the last five years and so have the needs of our partners. Every year we ask ourselves: are our Secondees’ skills still relevant to our partners’ needs? Are we still helping our NGO partners meet their goals and amplify their impact? The answers to these questions are crucially important because they chart the course of the Secondment Program’s future. We constantly evolve to adapt to our partner’s needs and ensure that our strategy remains a triple win for the employee, the NGO partner, and our Company. Our NGO partners, who have seen and experienced the tremendous potential of our employees, have responded accordingly by requesting support for even more complex and challenging assignments. Through a more robust selection criteria, we are able to send the best qualified J&J employees to meet our partners’ biggest needs.
4. Innovate to survive — and thrive. Together with my team, I’m constantly looking for new ways to expand the reach of our Secondment Program. Here are a couple of examples of what will be new in 2019:
- To start, a J&J employee from outside of the EMEA region will be joining our program for the first time.
- Long-time J&J partners CCBRT, mothers2mothers, and the White Ribbon Alliance will also become hosts to our J&J Secondees for the first time, joining existing Secondment partners Aga Khan Development Network, North Star Alliance, Save the Children, Hand in Hand International and SOS Children’s Villages International, and growing our list of Secondment partners to eight.
- And for the first time, Johnson & Johnson executives will be able to participate by taking on remote, strategic and advisory part-time assignments with two of our NGOs through the new “Lion Secondments” offering. I feel especially fortunate that we were able to develop this offering to enable our senior leaders to give back to our partners while allowing them to continue their management responsibilities with the Company.
And looking ahead, we will continue to diversify the types of Secondments offered to best meet the needs of our partners and play to the strengths of our Company and its employees. We will continue our “Reverse Secondments,” which we rolled out last year, to enable employees from our NGO partners to be seconded to J&J and develop business skills they can then bring back to their organization.