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J&J Philippines remains to be a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community

As an institution that makes care available to all, the best way to give solutions to healthcare challenges happens when people feel that they can bring their authentic selves to work and truly be heard. Recognizing this, Johnson & Johnson (Philippines), Inc. (J&J Philippines) ensures that inclusion within their community is all about creating a deep sense of purpose and belonging where people are valued, ideas are heard, and the culture is advanced for everyone.

“We at J&J Philippines are proud to have taken concrete, purposeful actions that create a safe space for our employees regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion – by institutionalizing relevant programs and policies for the long term.” says J&J Head of Total Rewards for Asia Pacific, and concurrently the Philippines’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Lead, Grace Gervacio.

“Some of these programs and policies are mandatory DE&I goals and objectives for all people leaders, employee benefits that recognize same sex partners, on-site facilities that cater to the differing needs of individuals (e.g. child care center, gender neutral restrooms, lactation rooms, gym), and company-supported employee resource groups (ERG) championing women leadership, generational diversity, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with diverse abilities,” Gervacio added.

Stories of LGBTQIA+ community members in J&J Philippines
Creating a more inclusive culture for the LGBTQIA+ community comes with its own unique challenges, which J&J Philippines has faced head on. With the recent celebration of Pride Month, the company spoke to members of the LGBTQIA+ community among its workforce, and they had these to say:

“Before joining J&J Philippines, I felt discriminated and thought less of myself especially when I was once denied of a job simply because they think that I am not ‘manly enough’ for the position,” says Kevin Pentinio, J&J Philippines’ Supply Chain officer, who identifies as gay.

He added: “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, working at J&J Philippines makes me feel that the company can really be our second home where we can be the truest version of ourselves; being able to freely express yourself at work somehow helps improve productivity, alleviate stress, and create broader networks at the community without fear of judgement or making you feel less confident.”

The company believes that to be able to understand and meet the needs of its diverse patients and consumers, the workforce needs to be truly represented and appreciated. One of the most appreciated programs of the company that empowers the LGBTQIA+ community is Open & Out, the ERG that aims to advance its culture of inclusion and innovation and build a diverse workforce for the future.

“Open & Out not only helps to improve visibility and inclusivity, but also enables our LGBTQIA+ individuals and straight allies to take part in activities that are meaningful and relevant on a deeply personal level. It also allows employees to expand their professional networks, find coaches and mentors, and gain opportunities for leadership development,” says Dee Jover, J&J Philippines’ Human Resource leader who identifies as bisexual.

She added: “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community that belongs to the team tasked to create policies and programs for the company, I take pride and comfort in knowing that through our DE&I programs and policies, individuals are held accountable for fostering and maintaning a work environment that is safe for and inclusive of everyone.”

“The Open & Out ERG is a testament of the company’s commitment in celebrating our community that is not just lip service or just for Pride Month’s sake. It shows that there is room for the LGBTQIA+ community to not just be heard, recognized, and involved, but we are given a space to thrive,” says Regie Lagao, J&J Philippines’ Digital Marketing head, who identifies as gay.

It is Johnson & Johnson’s vision that every person in its workforce will be able to use their unique experiences and backgrounds together to spark solutions that create a better and healthier world by making Diversity, Equity & Inclusion their way of business.

Says Regie Lagao: “The only way we can keep up and stay ahead of the rapidly changing reality is to have in our arsenal, a community of ‘human doings’ as diverse, inclusive and equitable as possible, in gender, skills, and personalities.”

“As an HR practitioner, I am aware that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion not only serve the LGBTQIA+ community or other minorities; they benefit the company as a whole and help the organization flourish and become future-proof,” says Dee Jover.

Kevin Pentinio also stated: “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion play a vital role in maintaining balance in the workplace. From my perspective, it breaks the monotony of the workforce and it amplifies creativity amongst the team.”

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