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Digital tech boosts Johnson & Johnson's new-age HR drive

By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-23 10:42
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With China at the forefront of digital technologies and social media, Johnson & Johnson, the US-based healthcare giant, has adapted these trends to its new recruitment methodology to compete for talent and drive its growth in the country.

Many global companies such as J&J are no longer focusing on just sourcing top professional talent from outside their companies. They are also diversifying the skills of their employees via multi-job training, overseas mobility, incentive programs and talent cultivation.

Alexandros Kopitsas, head of human resources at J&J China, said hiring with the help of digital technology could mean imaginative use of video resumes and AI-enabled interviews.

The company has already seen increasing use of WeChat, Weibo and other third-party tools as talent acquisition platforms, because potential social media benefits include shorter recruitment lead time, lower recruitment cost, wider coverage of candidates. Ease of access to talent could also grow the number of companies in China. Many companies have established WeChat accounts for recruitment, observers said.

On J&J's WeChat account, jobseekers can access information on vacancies, submit their job applications and take part in an online assessment of how candidates resonate with the company's credo, which is a set of values that guide the company's decision-making.

"The wave of digital transformation is changing the way people communicate with each other and interact with the world. When leveraged properly, this trend can bring enormous opportunities for companies who respond fast and act smart," said Kopitsas. A right job can transform an individual's life and bring innovative breakthroughs, he said.

J&J's businesses in China cover consumer health, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The company saw double-digit growth in China last year, marking the country as one of the fastest-growing and most critical markets for its global business growth.

As the job market in China is fairly dynamic and competitive, Kopitsas said J&J China creates 4,500 job opportunities every year and about 80 percent of its employees today are millennials, including fresh graduates and young professionals. Many of them have overseas education or international work experience, bringing diversity, dynamism and innovation to the company.

"Our talent attraction and development strategies will also need to adapt to the new environment and market trends, so as to better address employees' needs," said the Greek executive, adding the company is also leveraging data analytics to identify and develop the next generation of leaders for both China and the world.

J&J China launched the Golden Pig Plan, a flexible benefit program, this year. It provides employees with more choices that better meet their personal and family needs as they move through various stages of life, by offering an enhanced medical coverage, a long-term retirement plan and a new savings solution for more immediate needs such as housing, education and healthcare expenses.

"In addition to our long-term investment in our employees, we also make significant investments in the training of China's healthcare professionals, especially the young professionals," said Kopitsas, who joined the company in 2000 and previously worked in Greece, the Middle East, Africa and the US for 18 years.

Leveraging cutting-edge technology to build medical education programs, the New Jersey-headquartered group launched its first Johnson & Johnson Institute with virtual reality technology for the Asia-Pacific region in Beijing last year.

It serves as the company's flagship facility in the Asia-Pacific region, and one of the company's five institutes worldwide equipped with VR technology to train Chinese healthcare professionals with the world's leading surgical solutions.

With China moving away from being an export-driven economy and stimulating domestic consumption, anything relating to digitalization means lucrative markets, including e-commerce, artificial intelligence, data science and data analytics. To support all of that, technology skills and programmers are in huge demand, said Li Jin, chief researcher at the China Enterprise Research Institute in Beijing.

Apart from fast-growing high-end manufacturing, automotive and high-tech service businesses, life sciences will have more space to grow from a long-term perspective, Li stressed. That's because China's success in driving reform within the healthcare industry will deliver a higher quality of life to its residents and lead to an explosion of growth opportunities in associated industries.

"There is huge demand for new treatments, new drugs and new medical devices. Companies in this sector are looking for talent with the skills to develop drugs and to further clinical operations, especially those with research and development experience overseas," he said.

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