Sharing one’s talents for good is not new to Johnson & Johnson (J&J)—it’s part of their DNA. J&J’s employee engagement program, Talent for Good, is built on the principle that people want to engage and help their communities in different ways. In doing so, employees also have an opportunity to develop themselves. Through this program, J&J offers their employees a variety of opportunities to help, from field or hands-on volunteering to a multi-month secondment program, and now, remote skills-based volunteering too.
We recently spoke with Emelie Dorlin, Senior Manager Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson Switzerland, about their latest initiative to enable more of their employees to share their skills with local nonprofit organisations for shorter missions through skills-based volunteering.
Did you do any skills-based volunteering before launching the latest projects with Alaya? And how did you do it?
As part of our annual Swiss-wide employee volunteering initiative, Community Week, I have taken part in skills-based volunteering projects such as CV coaching and interview training for people with a migrant background. I have also engaged in various hands-on volunteering activities, for example with our partner, Special Olympics Switzerland. In my professional role, I lead our partnerships with different NGOs in Switzerland and as such, I always try to think of ways how we can better collaborate and help strengthen their organizations, promote their great work and engage our employees while at the same time having a local impact.
Why did you decide to implement skills-based volunteering at Johnson & Johnson? Was there a particular challenge you were looking to address?
We already have some skills-based volunteering programs available through our Global Community Impact team, for example our Secondment Program which gives employees the chance to work for an NGO on a specific assignment for 4-6 months. However, the existing programs require a high level of time and commitment and have limited spaces, meaning only quite a limited group of employees can participate.
In Switzerland, we already have quite a broad offering of hands-on or field volunteering. In order to bridge the gap and give more employees the chance to also share their skills and professional expertise for good, we decided to launch skills-based volunteering here in Switzerland. And by doing this, it’s not just our partners who benefit, our employees have the unique possibility to develop new perspectives and stretch their skills, while taking something back to their daily lives and professional roles – so it’s a big benefit for both sides.
What kinds of opportunities have you put in place?
To begin, we have launched eight missions with four different NGOs, all based in Switzerland with a local impact. The missions range from website translations to developing a social media plan, working out a new supply chain process and developing a full business plan covering various aspects including market research, marketing, finance, etc. So, it’s quite a broad range of missions, tapping into different skills which suits us perfectly as we have a very diverse workforce covering a broad area of knowledge and expertise.
How does skills-based volunteering fit into your community impact program, Talent for Good?
Talent for Good is our employee engagement strategy, which gives employees at all stages of their career the opportunity to give back and make a meaningful impact on society, while enhancing their skills and expertise. As such, it is an integral part of our Community Impact strategy and a way to live our Credo, which is the foundation of everything we do.
What are some of the results you’re getting so far?
From the moment we launched, we have seen a great interest among our employees. We’ve received a constant stream of applications and very positive feedback. Two projects have already been matched and kicked-off and others are about to start. Since all the projects can be done virtually, I think the timing of the launch has been perfect. Since most of us are working remotely right now, the opportunity to engage in a new project and support an NGO from home offers a feeling of fulfilment and a fresh perspective.
Contributing to communities from anywhere
For J&J, skills-based volunteering was a natural extension to their existing community impact initiatives. It offers a different way for their employees to contribute to their local communities, empowering them with choice. And with remote work growing over the past months, it’s a powerful way to have an impact from anywhere.