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Johnson & Johnson Merges Health, Wellness, and Safety—and Likes the Results
Every so often it’s important to check in with corporate leaders to learn their thinking about the latest trends in creating and maintaining a healthy workforce. One such call to Johnson & Johnson, which is consistently ranked as one of the best companies in which to work, shows how much the discussion about employee health has evolved over the last five years. For Johnson & Johnson, the conversation about employee health now includes health, wellness, and safety.
Integration Wins Out
In January 2004, Johnson & Johnson merged its Health & Wellness Program into its Worldwide Health & Safety Division. Johnson & Johnson’s Health & Wellness Program had already integrated disability management, occupational health, employee assistance, work-life programs, and wellness and fitness with positive results. The company saved on average $8.5 million annually from 1995 to 1999 after integrating the health and wellness programs and estimated it was able to reduce medical costs for each employee of the Johnson & Johnson operating companies by about $224 each year.
“Excellent collaboration among our high performing teams guaranteed that this integration was executed in order to maintain our vision and commitment to employee health and safety both on and off the job,” said Ather Williams Jr., Vice President of Worldwide Health & Safety, Johnson & Johnson. “We are excited about future opportunities to leverage our resources to continuously improve the health and safety of our employees.
Johnson & Johnson’s Employee Assistance Program
Janice Lenehan, Worldwide Director of Employee Assistance, spoke about the advantages of being part of the Worldwide Health & Safety team. “This reorganization affords us the opportunity to utilize a broad spectrum of professional disciplines to address behavioral issues that significantly impact the health, productivity, and well-being of employees, their families, the communities in which we work, and the Corporation,” she said.
In looking at the American workforce it has been noted that depression costs industry $43 billion annually (it’s also an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease); anxiety runs $42 billion annually; alcohol costs $185 billion annually (harmful drinking is involved in one-third of suicides, one-half of homicides, and one-third of child abuse); medical claims dollars total $3.8 million annually, and the lost-time burden is $6.6 million annually.
The Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, offered at the Johnson & Johnson operating companies is in line with the company’s approach that the health of the individual cannot be separated from the health of the corporation.
What is an EAP? “Employee Assistance is the work organization’s resource that utilizes specific core technologies to enhance employee and workplace effectiveness through prevention, identification, and resolution of personal and productivity issues.” For a list of EAP core technologies, code of ethics, and professional standards, visit the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) website – EAPA, July 2003.
Deborah Owens, a member of the on-site EAP team at Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare & Specialty Pharmaceuticals Company and Janssen Pharmaceutica, emphasized that EAPs do not treat individuals, a point occasionally misunderstood by the public. She called attention to the guidelines established by the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
Here’s a rundown of recent EAP activities at Johnson & Johnson.
Stress Management/Resilience Program
Johnson & Johnson is in the process of developing a global stress management/resilience program for its employees. This program will include mental health screening tools, resilience training, healthy eating programs, fitness and wellness promotion, disease management, and stress management techniques that are sustainable over time through cultural reinforcement.
Interactive Screening Tool
Johnson & Johnson implemented WorkplaceResponse™, a mental health interactive screening tool developed by Screening for Mental Health, in 2003 for its domestic employees and family members. Screening for Mental Health, Inc., first introduced the concept of large-scale mental health screenings with National Depression Screening Day in 1991. Its programs now include both in-person and online programs for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, alcohol problems, and suicide prevention.
The Johnson & Johnson WorkplaceResponse™ program screens for depression, alcohol problems, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. Recently, Johnson & Johnson funded the translation of this tool into Portuguese to allow for broader use at its units in Latin America.
According to Ms. Lenehan, Johnson & Johnson undertook the screening program because it fit with the mission and vision of the health and safety programs and seemed timely given recent world events and an increased need for creating multiple access points for employees and household members.
“Johnson & Johnson has a culture that supports its employees using the EAP,” said Ms. Owens. “Managers and Human Resource professionals receive training in how to encourage members to seek assistance before serious performance or health issues develop.”
Productivity Outcome Study
In addition to providing its own EAP service, Johnson & Johnson partners with ValueOptions as its external U.S. EAP provider. Founded in 1983, ValueOptions develops and implements managed behavioral health and EAP services for Fortune 500 companies, national and regional health plans, as well as federal, state, and local governments.
Since November 2003, ValueOptions has been conducting a study on the effect of behavioral health /EAP interventions on absenteeism, productivity, and the mental health status of employees.
In late March of this year, ValueOptions released a report looking at their “book of business” for 146 of its commercial EAP clients. In addition to being asked about absenteeism and lost productivity attributable to behavioral health, participants were asked to rate their mental health on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is excellent and 1 is poor.
Significant Improvements in Well-being
Analysis revealed a significant shift in scores from intake to follow-up for EAP participants.
The good news, borne out by the study, is that EAP interventions not only improve a member’s emotional well-being but also produce rapid improvement in work performance, which translates into significant reductions in lost productivity, absenteeism, and healthcare costs.
Johnson & Johnson recognized long ago that the health of individuals does not stop when employees leave the workplace and go home. Johnson & Johnson has factored in the employee’s health away from the job and the health of the employee’s family when it talks about employee health.
Humpty Dumpty aside, Johnson & Johnson is putting all the health and wellness and safety pieces back together again. With management support, scientifically based resources, and a business plan that promotes multidisciplinary collaboration, a sustainable roadmap that leads to employee and corporate health is possible.
About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson, through its operating companies, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of healthcare products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical, and medical devices and diagnostics markets. The more than 200 Johnson & Johnson operating companies employ approximately 111,000 men and women in 57 countries and sell products throughout the world.
Last Updated: January 2005
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