Is the Johnson & Johnson Approach to Well-Being Set to Shake-Up Asia?

Published 15 November 2018

More organisations than ever, are investing in health and well-being initiatives, but are they having an impact?

Poor well-being is affecting the workplace in the Asia Pacific. In recent research, 56% of the region suffers from elevated stress, and in Singapore, this translates to $3.3 billion a year by 2030 in lost productivity and burnout. Singaporeans, work the longest hours in the world, with the average worker clocking in 2,371 hours per year. South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, are not far behind.

Global Workplace Well-Being

In a recent article, Josh Bersin confirms well-being is a high-priority for HR Departments around the world. With corporate well-being programmes becoming commonplace, he asked the question, “Is employer-provided support of well-being a good thing?” He believes the answer is yes, but that it needs to be expanded to include energy and performance.

The Healthiest Workforce in the World

Johnson & Johnson recently opened the Human Performance Institute (HPI) in Asia, the first outside of the US. The HPI is just one pillar to workplace well-being. Their 2020 vision, set by Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky, is to have the ‘healthiest workforce in the world’.

Along with a new office building, designed to encourage health and movement, their pledge is for 100,000 employees to take the HPI course. With strong top-down vision and leadership, 80,000 employees have participated to date. This year alone, they’ve trained 15,000 employees, putting them well on track for their 2020 target.

A Holistic, Science-Driven Approach

The Human Performance Institute is about maximising energy and improving health and wellbeing, for high performance and purposeful living. Based on sports psychology and working with elite performers, including Olympic athletes, military Special Forces, and Fortune 500 CEO’s, it is backed with more than 30 years of research and results.

“We spend more than half our waking hours at work, and when caught up in busy lives it can be easy to neglect wellbeing,” said Bobby Sheikh, Asia Pacific Leader, Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.

“To perform at our best – at work and at home – the first step is looking after ourselves and staying healthy…[and] holistic well-being programmes can elevate the workforce in the region and contribute to healthier populations”.

Purpose Sits at the Top of the Energy Pyramid

The Johnson & Johnson course looks at how we develop and become extraordinary, and makes a compelling case for personal purpose and meaning. Energy management rests on helping individuals articulate a clear purpose in life and use strategies to manage and improve personal energy in service of that purpose.

There is a robust body of literature suggesting a strong sense of meaning or purpose in life is linked to improved health, well-being, and health-related behaviours. The Energy Management Model includes a four-level pyramid, each level representing a domain of energy.

Spiritual – elements that help guide people through their lives. It includes purpose, commitment, personal values and principles, and passion.

Mental – consists of focus, awareness, mindfulness, and having compelling stories about yourself and your life.

Emotional – elements of personal confidence, interpersonal effectiveness, and high-energy emotions.

Physical – consists of nutrition, fitness, sleep, and recovery, each of which contributes to people’s perceptions of having energy.

Purposeful Leadership Drives Performance

While Johnson & Johnson concedes that company purpose and personal purpose are different, purposeful leaders drive performance. Workplaces with Purposeful Leaders (those who can identify motivations and vision) engage their teams in meaningful activities, innovate products and processes and help transform people. In a survey, companies with Purposeful Leaders saw 22% revenue growth (compared to 9% without), and 44% employee engagement (compared to 5% without).

Proven Impact on Leadership Performance

So has this translated into tangible results for Johnson & Johnson? A study published earlier this year in the American Journey of Health Promotion was the first to demonstrate the well-being courses led to long-term improvements in employee’s energy levels and purpose in life, two important components of well-being, over a period of six months. Additionally, 91% of Johnson & Johnson employees who took part in the training offered to employees anticipated significant gains in productivity, and 75% reported reduced stress levels, even 18 months after the programme.

Offering insights into a more holistic approach, and a focus on energy and performance, it signals a strong need for thoughtful and impactful strategies around health and well-being in Asia.

  1. Willis Towers Watson, 2017/2018 Global Benefits Attitudes Study, May 2018
  2. Mercer & Marsh & McLennan Companies, Cost and Productivity Challenges of Ill Health in Singapore, October 2017
  3. Morgan McKinley: Working Hours Survey
  5. Human Performance Institute, The Life Benefits of Managing Energy
  6. Human Performance Institute, The Life Benefits of Managing Energy
  7. Linkage, “Rethinking Leadership” Matt Norquist Mark Hannum.
  8. Sai Krupa Das, PhD, Shawn T. Mason, PhD, Taylor A. Vail, BA, Effectiveness of an Energy Management Training Course on Employee Well-Being; A Randomized Controlled Trial. May 2018
  9. Self-reported, n-1500
  10. Alec Munc, PhD, Adam Myer, PhD (2016) Energy for Performance: Evaluation of Course Impact with Johnson & Johnson Employees. Finding presented by Jack Groppel, PhD, at Health Enhancement Research Organization annual conference, 2016

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