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4 tips for understanding company culture

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You hear a lot about company culture these days. It “seems to be on every organization’s radar,” according to a recent study from Deloitte. And among job seekers, too, it appears to matter now more than ever, with nearly half of candidates identifying culture as their main motivator in one recent survey.

Of course, “culture” isn’t something you can actually touch, so it’s an elusive concept to grasp. What, exactly, does company culture mean? What goes into it, and how does it shape—and get shaped by—the people who experience it every day?

These are tough questions, so we sat down with two experts at Johnson & Johnson to help sort them out. Here are four tips to help candidates think about and understand company culture.

What does company culture feel like?

In thinking about culture, Jamil Price, HR Leader, University Relations & Events at Johnson & Johnson, emphasizes that it’s a lived experience. In that way, company culture amounts to a mindset. And as such, the way that it’s expressed can be subtle, indirect, informal—not necessarily the kind of thing that shows up in press releases or quarterly reports.

As an example, he said, “We do a great job with diversity and inclusion at Johnson & Johnson, and that’s a major reason why candidates choose to work here. It’s not because of something they read somewhere; it’s something they feel—I’ve heard this again and again when talking to candidates at various recruiting events.”

Krystal Brindley, HR Leader, University Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, agreed that culture is something you can feel right away. “The key thing,” she said, “is that you want to feel like you belong. This is a place where you’re immediately accepted and where you’re going to be supported.”

What has the biggest influence on company culture?

While culture isn’t any one thing, there is one thing that definitely influences it, according to both Jamil and Krystal: work/life balance. It’s something Krystal said she’s personally felt ever since she joined Johnson & Johnson.

Before I came here, I was working for a company that had a strict no-working-from-home policy. So when I joined Johnson & Johnson, it made a world of difference. It felt like, this is a company that really supports their employees and cares for you individually.
Krystal Brindley
HR Leader, University Recruiting

But what’s the connection between work/life balance and company culture, exactly?

Jamil captured it succinctly: “Culture is about the people you work with—and what they bring to work every day. Work/life balance is a big part of that. It means people can bring the best of themselves every day, and enrich everyone around them, too.”

How do leaders impact company culture?

Leaders play a key role in company culture, according to Jamil and Krystal. For starters, they should lead by example, modeling behaviors and expectations for everyone. And in order to be trusted, that means trusting others in return.

“At Johnson & Johnson,” Krystal explained, “you’ll notice right away that managers trust their employees to be autonomous—they’re not checking up on you every step of the way, micromanaging you. We let you own and manage your work, and your own personal and professional development, too.”

And she said that the flexible work options Johnson & Johnson offers employees are a natural extension of that trust, too. “You can always work from home if you need to. Or you can work in the office, and do so from a standing desk!”

Indeed, a focus on the health and wellbeing of our employees is an integral part of our culture at Johnson & Johnson. We want you to be, feel and do your best every day.

“That’s why there are fitness centers on many of our campuses. That’s why there are energy rooms, healthy eating options and more,” Jamil said.

How do shared commitments shape company culture?

Two shared commitments—first, to Our Credo, and second, to improving the trajectory of human health—are woven into the fabric of our culture at Johnson & Johnson, knitting together all 130,000 of us around the world.

“We’re passionate about culture, but culture happens organically—there’s no prescription for it,” Jamil explained. “The cool thing about culture at Johnson & Johnson is that no matter where you go, we’re all committed to a single standard with Our Credo. We all have these values that we share.”

Krystal agreed. “Look, we’re this large, complex, diverse, global company, which means that every single day you’re working with tons of people cross-functionally all over the world,” she said. “Being friendly, being open with colleagues in everything we do—those are important aspects of our culture, too. They also help us get the job done.”

And “friendly” also means “fun.”

Ours is a culture where we work very hard, but we have a good time doing it.
Jamil Price
HR Leader, University Relations & Events

Join us today!

Company culture isn’t any one thing, as our talent experts explained. But there are things to look for, chief among them work/life balance, that offer clues to the type of culture you’re likely to encounter at a prospective employer. And if you’re among the 33% of employees who regard work/life balance as the single most important thing in an employer, you’re sure to feel right at home when you join the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. As Jamil said, “We’re the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies—emphasis on family!”

Looking for a culture where you belong? Check out all of the opportunities to innovate, explore your interests and make a real-world impact in the lives of people around the world with us today.

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