Our Goal Is To Invest In And Grow Leaders From India: Emrana Sheikh

As a part of a purpose-driven organization, she with her team is able to champion people's strategies by unleashing their true potential. Emrana Sheikh, Enterprise HR Head – India & South Asia at Johnson & Johnson talks to BW People’s Resham Suhail about the employment perspective in the sector.


How has been your experience in J&J with people having different skill sets and in different job roles?

I strongly feel that I ‘belong’ at this organization. Here, I have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented teams in the industry, comprised of people from a broad range of professional backgrounds, which has made this organization into a vibrant melting pot of success. Our Credo—the intrinsic principles that guide Johnson & Johnson for more than 75 years — reminds us that every perspective is important, and we should make every employee feel that they belong. Our endeavor is to make every individual with their diverse perspectives and experiences, across all our business sectors, come together with the focus on making life-changing, long-term differences in human health.

As compared to men, is HR Job Role any easier or tough for you to manage? What would you say as a woman HR professional?

I truly believe the success and impact you create in any role, including HR roles, doesn’t vary with gender. It depends purely on your skills, competencies, experiences and personal passion – all of which collectively add value to that role. As a HR Leader of Johnson & Johnson India, I am able to realize my career purpose of being a catalyst in nurturing the most important asset of the organization, our people. As an organization, Johnson & Johnson believes that when we fearlessly take care of our patients, people, communities, and the planet, business success will follow. As part of this purpose-driven organization with strong value-based business leaders and a passionately driven HR team, we are able to champion people-strategies and experiences to unleash their true potential that creates business impact.

What is your take on the emerging changes in the HR industry in the contemporary scenario? How would you be looking at these changes and accepting them?

One trend that stands out is that of creating customized, emotionally intelligent digital experiences based on individuals’ behaviors, preferences, and emotions using an integrated array of Artificial Intelligence capabilities. The second trend is of leveraging data science and analytics for rich insights to add value to organizational processes and outcomes. The third is to unlock the potential of these disruptive forces in data and digital, to amplify the organization’s capabilities to respond to and shift leadership mindsets.

We as an organization and within our HR functions are trying to harness the potential of these disruptive forces to generate more value for our stakeholders through better decision-making and higher productivity. HR Analytics is deeply embedded in our function, which has helped us tap into rich talent insights. Our employees are just like our consumers – they want to have a frictionless experience with technology in their day-to-day lives, and so we’re focusing on improving their digital experience wherever we can. We’re simplifying workflows, making processes less complicated, and shifting to modern user-centric designs powered by data science and intelligent automation.

What are the major Goals of J&J HR for 2020?

The first is to provide simple, connected friction-less experiences by capitalizing on all available digital resources and delivery platforms. This is important to ensure that we are fulfilling the said and unsaid needs of our employees, who are truly our brand ambassadors. Second, is to invest in and grow leaders from India into larger roles across the global enterprise. It is a strong leadership talent pipeline for the future which guarantees sustainable business growth. Third, is to build future-ready capabilities like data science, digital, functional including market access, e-commerce, etc., and ensure that our employees are more agile, responsive and efficient in dealing with the ebbs and flows of a dynamic market.

What have been the best practices that J&J followed till now that you want to share?

 Our strongest differentiator is our Corporate Culture – ever since the inception of Johnson & Johnson around 134 years ago – which has been underlined by a relentless commitment to the health and wellbeing of its consumers, stakeholders and employees.

Couple of our best practices that we take pride in are;

1. Our Diversity and Inclusion philosophy is enabled through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These are voluntary, employee-led groups that focus on sharing identities/affinities and experiences, to apply these perspectives to initiatives and create value for all employees. We have 12 ERGs globally, like Gen Now – for creating the next wave of leaders, Open & Out – for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, ADA – Alliance of Diverse Abilities for employees and many more.

2. Our Health and Wellness agenda is driven with the vision to have the healthiest workforce on the planet – enabling longer, healthier, happier lives! Our Integrated, Holistic & Strategic Pillars include Occupational Health & Disease Management, Energy Management, Healthy Lifestyle Programs, Personal Healthcare Services, and unique work-life integration policies. We provide Breast Milk Shipping for new mothers and Gym Reimbursement for all employees.

How satisfied and justified you find yourself in your role for keeping your employees happy and well engaged?

I take great pride in being a part of an organization that touches one billion lives across the world each day. It is very meaningful to acknowledge that your contribution is directly or indirectly leaning towards a larger purpose. This purpose, passion and pride makes me feel engaged every moment of my association with the organization. It energizes me to see the organization’s commitment in paragraph two of Our Credo, which reiterates our responsibility towards creating a thriving, open and inclusive workplace where our employees can achieve their maximum potential, enable their health and wellbeing. In my role of leading the India HR function, I get the opportunity to fulfill this responsibility as a catalyst and be a custodian of our Credo values.

Talent/Skills or job credentials/job profiles? What do you think, what would be more valued in two of them?

It’s an amalgamation of credentials, new and differentiating skills, relevant experience and a passion for the profession that makes an individual an asset to the organization. Culture fit with the organization is also very essential. 

As J&J is a giant brand, many young people would aspire to be working with you. What is your particular approach for selecting candidates? What particularly do you look at while selecting young talents?

We are an equal opportunity employer and meritocracy is at the center of our selection process. Our investments in hiring are done keeping in mind the short and long-term needs of our businesses. We respect experience and career aspirations, and we want to understand how they align to the requirements that are carefully considered for each role. Our evaluation process helps us understand the power of each candidate, their professional backgrounds as well as their ideas for achieving success as a member of Johnson & Johnson.

How welcoming you are in selecting young people? What is the ratio at your organization between experienced professionals and young people?

Majority of Johnson & Johnson India’s workforce comprise of millennials, and this number is growing each year. We are always on the lookout for new talent who are aligned with our culture and have leadership potential for future. We do have a strong campus hiring strategy. We also recognize that diversity of age and thinking helps build an innovative organization. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like our GEN Now focusses on creating the next generation of leaders and their future ready capabilities.

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Emrana Sheikh HR- Head Johnson & Johnson


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