EMPOWERMENT AT JANSSEN LEADERSHIP LAB

By the Editorial staff

Over the past year, the pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, in both the private and work spheres, and companies have also faced multiple challenges. The current situation has revealed the need for an evolution in the way we work. Not only have we witnessed the large-scale adoption of smart working and a strong acceleration in digital transformation, but the need for companies” human capital to acquire new skills to be able to cope with an increasingly complex and rapidly changing working environment has also become clearer than ever. For Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson group pharmaceutical company, the priority is that everyone in the organisation be enabled to unleash their full potential, so that they can achieve not only their business goals, but also their personal growth objectives. 

This is why, in October last year, the company launched the Janssen Leadership Lab, a training programme open to all its employees and aimed at providing them with the transversal skills needed to understand the complexity of the times we are living in and to face the challenges of a fast-moving world: this is a true three-year empowerment programme for employees, created by Janssen in close collaboration with the SDA Bocconi School of Management, the MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business, and Open Sky, a consultancy that specialises in projects for the development of people and organisations. It comes in addition to the training that J&J normally organises for all group employees to acquire technical skills in areas such as privacy, security and compliance.  The Janssen Leadership Lab involves the 750+ Janssen employees at the Cologno (MI) headquarters and the pharmaceutical sales representatives in Italy in a series of courses that enhance their soft skills: from Innovation to Strategic Thinking, from Project & Time Management to Process Planning, from Negotiation to Set Goals & Objectives and Competitive Mindset. These courses conclude with Grounding sessions, in order to put the lessons learned into practice.  Specifically, the online courses of the Janssen Leadership Lab, designed based on areas of competence, are divided by job experience levels and seniority. The course is made up of five blocks: one dedicated to senior management, one for executives, another area for people leaders, and the others are dedicated to autonomous employees at headquarters or in the field. The decision to adopt a multi-year training programme is due precisely to the fact that soft skills need time to be learned, acquired and put into practice, so that people can actually feel empowered. 

The idea of the Janssen Leadership Lab dates back to 2018, when the company’s management asked what skills would be needed in the future for people working in the pharmaceutical sector, not knowing what would happen in 2020. If the world of work is changing, this is particularly obvious in pharmaceutical companies, where there has been great acceleration regarding research methodologies, development and drug approval – while maintaining the same level of quality and safety – and in the adoption of new ways of interacting with clinicians, patients and institutional representatives. One of the Janssen Leadership Lab’s partners is also the SDA Bocconi School of Management. According to Prof. Laura Baruffaldi, professor and researcher at Bocconi, in order to succeed in this context characterized by profound uncertainty, organisations must be able to demonstrate not only great resilience to change, but also the ability to generate and manage discontinuity. An “inquiry-driven” leadership model is particularly important, i.e. one based on the ability to question one’s own principles, promote new perspectives and ask oneself questions that can reformulate the problem and ignite the imagination.  It is with this in mind that Janssen has launched its own training project to provide employees with the tools they need to embrace and encourage change, and promote a creative approach to the challenges they face, turning potential obstacles into opportunities, mistakes into insights for improvement, and different opinions and perspectives into creativity and innovation.

“Investment in people and enhanced skills have always been a priority for Janssen,” said Massimo Scaccabarozzi, President and CEO of Janssen Italy. “In the current context, it is more important than ever to be ready to face the challenges and opportunities we encounter. And this is precisely why we have decided to invest heavily in our people, to provide them with all the necessary soft skills – such as strategic vision, adaptability and resilience – to create a future-proof Janssen Italia.”

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