Author: Michael Bzdak, Executive Director, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson
As someone whose life’s work has revolved around community impact, Giving Tuesday always causes me to pause and reflect about the progress we’ve made, the impact we’ve had and how far we have yet to go when it comes to corporate social responsibility.
This year, my social impact world was marked by two major events—the first being the Business Roundtable’s revised statement on the purpose of corporations. It was amazing to see so many companies line up to broaden the definition of business to include meeting the needs of many stakeholders, not just shareholders, and I’m especially proud that the effort was chaired by our own CEO Alex Gorsky.
We have known that consumers, employees, communities and, yes, even shareholders, prefer companies that have a strong social purpose. One study indicates that 72% of people agree that public companies should be “mission driven” as well as focused on shareholders and customers. When it comes to employees, Millennials are not only opting to work for companies that demonstrate a social purpose, they also intend to stay at those companies longer, according to Deloitte.
The second event of marked importance happened Sept. 24, when Johnson & Johnson celebrated 75 years as a publicly traded company. This anniversary served as an opportunity to reflect upon our heritage and as an important reminder of the power of Our Credo, which was introduced the year before our IPO as a mandate to our employees to continue putting people over profit.
When people join our company, we create opportunities for them to engage with Our Credo as soon as they start—to use it as a living document and not a static corporate manifesto. We also believe in the power of purpose, and help employees find ways to connect their passions to the greater purpose of J&J.
Enter Talent for Good, a skills-based volunteer program that empowers our nearly 140,000 employees to grow personally and professionally by giving back to communities around the world. From donating to a cause to fully immersive partnerships with NGOs, we encourage employees at every stage of their career to sign up for an opportunity that best suits their unique availability, skills and passions. Our Global Pro Bono program, for example, pairs talented Johnson & Johnson employees with non-profit organizations that will specifically benefit from their skill sets. The result is a triple win—we are supporting stronger and healthier communities, more fulfilling and enriching careers for people, and we’re sharing more of our heart with the people we serve around the world.
This isn’t just an innovative CSR practice, but part of our DNA. In 1907, employees in the Laurel Club applied monthly dues to support community work, including providing warm clothing and holiday meals for underserved children, buying hospital beds, and organizing clinics with doctors for mothers and babies. The Laurel Club gave these employees a chance to develop leadership skills through philanthropy.
In both the Business Roundtable statement and the anniversary of our IPO, I see a common theme of the importance of employees as a key stakeholder group. Not only do employees increasingly seek out companies who demonstrate their value to society but now, more than ever, they expect their companies to provide opportunities to contribute to a company’s social impact.
On this Giving Tuesday, I continue to marvel at our company’s rich history and social purpose. Every day, our employees at Johnson & Johnson are using their time, skills and resources to do good for those we serve—enhancing their own skills while creating a positive and enduring impact on society. I look forward to inspiring more employees to enhance their own competencies while advancing the health of others.