'My interest in HR has largely been spurred by a true love of psychology and working with people'
HRD caught up with Peter Fasolo for a chat about what drives him in his role as CHRO at Johnson & Johnson and about the underlying values and thinking behind the company’s impressive people strategy.
What sparked your interest in the HR profession?
My interest in HR has largely been spurred by a true love of psychology and working with people. After completing my PhD in the field, I began consulting for small- and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs and CEOs. It was in this role that I started to see the impact that the make-up of top teams could have on optimising performance both within a specific function and also more broadly across an organisation.
Throughout my more than 25 years working in the healthcare industry and within HR, this continues to be a driving force for me. Being able to do this work at a company like Johnson & Johnson, which is so deeply rooted in its purpose and mission, makes it that much more impactful. As a function, our work is not only geared towards creating maximum impact for the organisation but also to fostering a culture in which our employees feel inspired to change the world for the better, and that is something I hold deeply.
Tell me more about the progress of your people analytics team
When I became CHRO in 2010, I made it a priority to invest in people and data analytics because I knew it would be a key differentiator to put the organisation on a path towards making evidence-based workforce decisions. Our people analytics team, which was established a few years ago, first focused on using operational and descriptive analytics to understand the impact of changes on our organisation. Since then, we’ve challenged ourselves to continue to look for new and innovative ways to deepen and broaden the insights we’re able to draw. For example, we’re now leveraging predictive analytics to optimise the workplace and drive decisions.
The outputs from this work span a range of areas, from measuring worker productivity to understanding how we can better retain university hires. It’s also been key to developing differentiated talent strategies for emerging markets. In China, for example, we began to notice a trend of high attrition rates over a 12-month period. Through data and insights, we were able to identify key factors driving the attrition – from lateral moves to receiving a bonus below target or having a lower performance rating – and put strategies in place to alleviate those factors and put us on track to reverse the trend.
As CHRO, it is my job to ensure that we’re developing and retaining talent, while also anticipating future needs, and our people analytics team continues to play an important role in our HR and recruitment strategy.
How would you describe J&J’s credo?
At Johnson & Johnson, ‘Our Credo’ is at the root of everything that we do. It was created by General Robert Wood Johnson in 1943 in order to help us, in his words, “define better answers for the problems of the day”. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Our Credo, and it is just as relevant today as when it was written.
Within the HR function and across the company, the credo serves as a set of values to guide all decision-making. Each paragraph of the credo reminds us of a different set of stakeholders that we serve, and this includes our employees who are the heart, mind and soul of the company.
How is that a driver of your culture of health and your Healthforce 2020 goals?
Rooted in the values outlined in Our Credo, we have made a commitment to helping employees, families and communities live well across their whole lives – spiritual, mental, physical and financial. We believe that when our employees are fulfilled in all aspects of their life, they bring their best selves to work, enabling us to deliver products that improve the health of consumers around the globe.
A few years ago, we set a goal to have the world’s healthiest workforce by 2020 by empowering and engaging at least 100,000 employees towards a “personal best” in health and wellbeing via the principles of Energy for Performance®, innovative digital health tools, and advancing a culture of healthy eating and physical activity.
To date, we’ve seen strong employee engagement around these initiatives. For example, we’ve trained close to 67,000 employees in the principles of Energy for Performance®, a program developed by the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute that teaches people how to be more spiritually nourished and physically focused, and how to direct their energy towards what is purposeful in life.
At Johnson & Johnson, our culture of health is woven into the fabric of our company, and while we are thrilled with these results, we are proud to say that our investment in health and wellness has a rich history and will continue to be a focus over the long term.
How has AI impacted your people strategy?
The talent acquisition landscape is evolving quickly, and we’ve made it a priority to explore emerging platforms and technologies, including artificial intelligence, that will allow us to continue to attract the world’s most exceptional, diverse talent. One of the ways we are implementing AI from a talent acquisition perspective is through key partnerships.
Working with Textio, we’re using AI to enhance the quality, diversity and efficiency of our job postings. Based on a 2016 pilot, this has led to an increase in both qualified applications and gender diversity. We’re also leveraging Google API to optimise candidate search on our careers site. This has resulted in a 41% increase in high-quality job applicants per search.
This approach allows us to experiment before we scale. For us, it’s about much more than jumping on the digital bandwagon – we have a duty to our customers and patients to continually innovate and improve.