“More and more businesses face complex legal issues in today’s marketplace. Any company will benefit greatly from being represented by diverse legal minds. If businesses fail to recognize this, we impair our ability to innovate and compete in the global workplace. Diversity should be a critical core value of every corporation and its legal staff.”
According to Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO William C. Weldon, “Valuing diversity comes naturally to us. Diversity is naturally woven throughout the framework of our organization. It captures, in one word, the essence of an organization composed of nearly 106,100 individuals in 54 countries, serving customers across every age group around the world, with products covering nearly every facet of human health care.”
In 2002 alone, Johnson & Johnson topped the 6th annual “BusinessWeek 50” ( BusinessWeek’s ranking of the nation’s best-performing, large public corporations), scored the number one ranking overall in a recent evaluation of pharmaceutical company reputations ( Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine), and was ranked the “7th Most Admired Company” in the world, and the third among pharmaceutical companies by Fortune Magazine.
As Mr. Weldon reflects, “diversity is of key importance to us if we want to remain the world’s best comprehensive health care company. We have to have a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of our consumer base. And in order for us to have a diverse workforce, we have to be an employer of choice so that we can attract talented people of all different walks of life.”
From the perspective of executing a diversity strategy in any corporation, Mr. Weldon stresses the importance of a CEO: 1) “creating a global diversity statement and vision,” 2) “communicating this statement and vision to all employees,” and 3) “demonstrating it through leadership.”
At Johnson & Johnson, diversity is a living and breathing principle that is integrated into all business initiatives by clear and consistent leadership from Mr. Weldon. “Whenever possible, I seek opportunities to speak about diversity. It’s a message from the top that diversity is a part of who we are at Johnson & Johnson.”
Not only does Mr. Weldon stress diversity as a competitive advantage for Johnson & Johnson, but he also stresses that companies that do not embrace diversity as a core value will not be able to compete in the global marketplace.
This emphasis on diversity extends to Johnson & Johnson’s legal service providers. “We ask for reports on a quarterly basis from law firms on minority and female attorneys working on our matters. Legal workplaces can be greatly affected by corporate diversity measures, and we make it clear that we want the benefit of diversity reflected in who gets assigned to do our work.”