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Bringing Your Whole Self to Work


At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (JLABS), bringing your “whole self” to work isn’t an option, it’s a mandate!  And that’s why I love working in this environment.  I have worked in the communications business for years, and remember well when diversity and inclusion weren’t discussed and most certainly not encouraged in the workplace.  Working in that kind of environment is not only detrimental to an individual who may feel marginalized and unappreciated, it also has adverse effects on the entire organization. 

Allowing people to bring their whole selves to work means they are free to be who they are (regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity), which leads to a more productive individual. When people feel comfortable, accepted and valued in their work environment, they become more productive, which in turn creates a more productive overall workplace, where ideas can flow freely, and creativity at solving business challenges helps move a business forward in ways you couldn’t imagine. 

The possibilities are truly limitless when individuals aren’t constrained, and they feel their views are considered equally in the eyes of their peers and management.  At JLABS, it starts at the top!  We are all encouraged to bring our whole selves, our true selves to the table, to take risks, with no idea being too small or too big to be considered. This commitment empowers our team and the positive work environment directly correlates to why we’ve grown exponentially across the US and Canada in five short years. We’re continuously encouraged to ask “why not?”  instead of “why,” which gives us a different perspective and freedom to solve challenges in creative ways. We’re given the space to think outside the box, find the best way to attack complex problems and encouraged to be the best we can be and to build the organization to be the best it can be.

It sounds like pretty simple, straight-forward stuff, and something that every organization should do. Unfortunately, not all companies and industries support this same open, encouraging environment. In the healthcare industry, we don’t have the luxury of time when it comes to bringing solutions to patients in need, so it becomes even more critical to find new, innovative ways of bringing creative healthcare ideas from concept to consumer to address the most significant health challenges we face today.

For me, LGBTQ Pride month is a time for reflection on how far we’ve come as a society and in the workplace in accepting and embracing our differences as human beings. It’s always heartening to know that there are so many people who appreciate and accept those differences. We can’t let prejudice interfere with the important work at hand -- In our case, delivering on what patients demand from the largest healthcare company in the world.

The opportunity I have been given –to make a difference every day—doesn’t exist everywhere, but hopefully, someday it will.  For now, I consider myself lucky to be part of such an accepting organization and to participate, in some small way, in making a difference in people’s lives by helping to build something truly special at JLABS.

By: Christopher Lalli – Communications, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS