Sarah Scanlon, Janssen UK, Business Unit Director, Oncology, Haematology and Cardiopulmonary

How important is it to have a genuinely inclusive culture in pharma?

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in pharma is vital. As part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, Janssen is committed to building a workforce that reflects the diverse communities in which we live and work. By creating an inclusive and equitable environment where every employee is empowered to bring their authentic selves to work each day, we surround ourselves with a variety of unique perspectives that help create solutions to better serve our patients and customers.

How does Janssen ensure that inclusion and diversity are central to operations?

For more than 135 years, the Johnson & Johnson Credo has guided our decision-making and provided a moral compass for our employees. Woven into the cultural fabric of our organisation, the Credo prioritises Johnson & Johnson’s DE&I values. However, it is not the Credo alone that drives change – it is how our people embrace the Credo’s principles that creates a true paradigm shift.

Ensuring DE&I is genuinely applied is not always simple. I have experienced the challenges involved when implementing business-wide reforms, and for me – the key to overcoming these barriers is to empower individuals to be the drivers of change and authentic inclusion across the organisation. Sparked by the power of our Credo and our people, we have retrained all employees involved in recruitment, established structured mentoring programmes and recruited apprentices from disadvantaged communities via our ‘Bridge to Employment’ programme. These actions are just the tip of the iceberg, as we continually evolve and improve our practices to create the permanence of transformation.

Much of pharma has embraced the ethos of diversity, but how much of that commitment has become a reality?

It is easy to say what to do, but it is another to actually do it. We must ensure the ethos of DE&I is a reality instead of an empty sentiment. The examples described above are some of the ways Janssen is proactively creating change so that diversity and inclusion is not just a tick-box exercise, but engrained in our daily operations. While it may not always be easy, we each have an individual responsibility to be the change that we want to see – both in and out of the workplace.

What further strides must pharma make in the arena of diversity, equity and inclusion?

There will always be more to do, and we recognise the significant scale of change required to reach a completely inclusive society. One way pharma can continue to make strides in this area is to ensure we are continually evaluating our progress and critically measuring the effectiveness of our programmes to determine the long-term sustainability and success of our diversity efforts.

At Janssen, we recognise we won’t always get it right first time, but we are committed to listening, learning and adapting our processes to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive within a diverse organisation. Beyond the business, pharma also has a role to play in influencing equality in healthcare as a whole. Collectively, we have the power to create significant transformation, and I am personally committed to doing everything within my power to model the change that I want to see – both in our industry and beyond.