“We do business with … the top 100 insurance companies in the world,” said Mark McLaughlin (pictured), IBM’s general manager of insurance.
That reality appears to be not widely known.
“The number one complaint I hear from our customers, from our insurtech partners and from our salespeople is ‘I didn’t know IBM did that,’” McLaughlin said during the exact ITC 2022 conference in Las Vegas. “I don’t think we’ve gotten the word out as much as we need to.”
McLaughlin, speaking during the exact ITC 2022 conference in Las Vegas, explained that the company’s insurance industry business is quite substantive, helping insurer clients pull together software, data, AI, security, and services. IBM also offers process consulting, process automation, technical assistance support and hardware capabilities.
IBM’s insurance reach includes personal lines, commercial lines, life insurance, group benefits and reinsurance, McLaughlin noted.
McLaughlin, in his current position for about six months, handled R&D strategies for the insurance industry at IBM before that. Going back further, he’s a 15-year veteran of IBM’s insurance practice.
McLaughlin noted that many insurers still use mainframes and have huge investments in their core operational systems, while others are looking at cloud-based applications and trying to figure out how to customize that technology to their needs. Still others are trying to partner with insurtechs to take advantage of their distribution, digital capabilities, models and newer sources of data. IBM, he said, works in all scenarios.
“We catalyze [products and services] across that,” McLaughlin said. “IBM is really investing a great deal of money to provide the sort of connective glue that helps connect the legacy systems that you might still need, and also modernize the systems that you decide you don’t need.”
The goal, he said is to connect those technology pieces to data in the insurtech “layer.”
IBM also helps insurance companies automate, he said.
“I’ve got automation tools, AI models, I’ve got different AI capabilities, but I have to deploy those across an average of 14 policy administration systems that insurance companies carry,” McLaughlin said.
IBM has long provided business consulting to insurance companies, via its database tools, to help them with challenges such as pricing more efficiently. The emergence of insurtechs has led IBM to expand its focus toward helping clients partner with startups. Insurers have plenty in this area with which they need help, McLaughlin explained.
“People think the insurtechs are trying to displace the insurers … but most of them, honestly, just want to partner with the insurer and build a better mousetrap and do claims faster or market better,” McLaughlin said. “We are about, how do you connect with [them] quickly. The number one thing that insurers complain to us about is speed to market. They know they have to roll-out value added services. They know they have to have a mobile experience that connects with insurers. Doing that and the sprawl of IT that insurers have today –it’s really hard and takes a long time.”
In the insurtech age, some insurers are getting rid of their old legacy systems and replacing them with cloud-based platforms that are easier to adapt and modernize. Insurtechs, in turn, often pronounce those older networks as outdated and unnecessary in today’s market. According to McLaughlin, it’s not as simple as getting rid of an older system and replacing it with something new.
“You have to think about ‘what are the characteristics of your insurance workload’ and ‘where is the best place to run that workload?’ In that world, theirs is going to be a mix of public cloud, private cloud, mainframe and specialized data appliances in … an existing data center,” McLaughlin said. “Most insurers report that as the future.”
At the same time, McLaughlin declined to advocate for a specific must-have technology for insurers in the insurtech age. Instead, he urges insurers to avoid “locking” themselves into a rigid technology option.
“If you are stuck on one core, if you are stuck with one cloud, you are limited in your ability to compete relative to insurance companies,” McLaughlin said.
AI and in-depth data analytics are also particularly useful these days toward helping insurers strengthen their customer base, he added.
“We have to know our customers better [and] we have to know our risks better,” McLaughlin said. “We have to be able to deploy those insights in ways that help insurance and healthcare distributors serve insurance more effectively.”
Ideas are crucial for spurring innovations in products and services. One such innovative leader is Heena Purohit, who plays a major role in providing teams with a framework for maturing their ideas into products for customers.
Analytics India Magazine interacted with Purohit, head of product at IBM. She is the product lead at IBM’s internal incubator program, which enables IBMers to bring innovative ideas and solutions to the real world. Purohit founded ‘AI for Her’ — a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation on a mission to bring more women and gender minorities into AI. By reducing the AI diversity gap, it helps to build AI systems that are fair and unbiased.
“A typical day for me involves working with various venture teams that deal with emerging technologies and advising them on their product strategy and execution. This includes tasks such as designing and helping teams execute experiments to ensure the venture would be a viable business for IBM, coaching teams on product thinking or, if needed, rolling up my sleeves and supporting the teams in building customer collateral, lead customer/user interviews, and support sales execution.”
Transforming ideas into products
Purohit says that no two days are alike at work, especially since each venture team is different and is solving a unique customer problem in a distinct way. “And that’s the most fun part of my job!”
She says, “My program is open for IBMers around the world, providing an opportunity to surface and test the best ideas across IBM. This helps in facilitating a culture of innovation and intrapreneurship within the company, while helping IBM build and launch the next generation of products, faster.” She adds that for many teams submissions are ideas and technologies they’ve been working on for years. Being selected in the program finally gives them the opportunity to put their experiments to work and see if they’re actually viable.
Implementing AI in product management
In her initial years at IBM, Purohit built AI solutions for industrial customers driving the strategy, product management and design to help manufacturing clients. She holds an undergraduate degree in telecommunications engineering from the University of Mumbai, where she built solutions involving IoT data/sensors. She also holds a double-major MBA from the University of Notre Dame. “So during my MBA, I came across a brand-new business that IBM was launching (Watson IoT), I applied and was selected for a product management internship role in the unit.”
Purohit says, like many others, she fell into AI following her interests. “While IoT sensors were a disruptive way to get more data than ever, I felt gravitated towards the part where you analyse the data – from IoT sensors, or other structured and unstructured data – to unlock new insights. I was fascinated by how AI/ML technologies enabled us to do that in new ways.”
She said her AI journey began during this period, where she had the opportunity to launch and scale vertical AI solutions for industrial customers. The experience gave insights into having a firsthand look at the opportunities and challenges that customers are facing in adopting AI across the company. Having worked with some of the most brilliant AI minds at the company, Purohit says that her passion for emerging AI technologies and solving key business problems only grew.
‘You don’t have to be a data scientist to understand or benefit from AI’
Having worked with several customers and mentees to help them adopt AI or get into AI roles, Purohit shares one of her biggest learnings, “You don’t have to be a data scientist to understand or benefit from AI. This is also freeing because as AI technologies get more and more accessible, it helps bring more diverse voices in AI discussions, getting them to help build an AI-powered future.”
More specifically to her experience working on emerging technologies, Heena says that this is a great time to build a product. “To get started, think about all the tasks you do in your personal and professional life. Identify the manual/repetitive/mundane tasks and think if AI can help you Strengthen that experience. If the answer is yes, try it out. It’s very likely that there’s a no-code AI tool out there for you to prototype this. This way, you’re not only dipping your toes in AI but also gaining the experience in using AI tools, so that you can then move on to solving bigger and better problems with AI.”
Purohit has been on a mission to make AI more accessible and help bring more people into the AI industry. She adds that this has manifested into the decisions made around which products to lead. Outside her current role at IBM, Purohit has spoken at over 20 events on the topic, and been published in over 15 books and articles. The tech leader has actively judged AI solutions at 6 hackathons. “The ‘AI for Her’ content on getting into AI and AI literacy has impacted over 12,000 students. And this feels like just the beginning.”
Find your tribe of cheerleaders and supporters
Purohit shares that across all channels, the biggest takeaways have come from the questions since they provide insight into the pain points that people are facing today. “These challenges often don’t pertain to the technical skills gap but around the mindset shift. And that’s why in most of the sessions I’ve delivered, we end up touching upon syllabus such as imposter syndrome, knowing your worth, and finding your tribe of cheerleaders and supporters,” she said.
She credits IBM for providing an incredible network of mentors that inspired and gave her opportunities to grow. “Perfect segway from the mindset shift because I faced that as I moved up in my career trajectory, too. It’s important to acknowledge that one doesn’t get to where they are without the help of others. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received, and it’s also why I feel passionately about paying it forward.”
Purohit was recognised as one of the Top 11 ‘Women AI Leaders’ at RISE 2020 and Datatech Vibe’s 2021 ‘Top Women Leaders In AI To Watch’. She was awarded the University’s Alumni Award in 2019 for her impact on women in technology initiatives. “I feel incredibly thankful for both recognitions and am honoured to be mentioned alongside many of the women I admire. I want to talk about how this happened. At the start of the pandemic, when everyone was in strict lockdown, I missed my break room conversations where I’d catch up with my colleagues and geek out on AI. I raised this on one of my favourite Women in Tech Facebook groups and turns out, many other women missed this, too.”
Purohit says that this led to the establishment of ‘AI for Her’. “This gave me the confidence to take this further and we’re now a 501c3 nonprofit on a mission to reduce the gender gap in the AI industry today and amplify the message that everyone can get into AI. We’ve been brewing some even more exciting things this year and looking forward to the launch!”
1. Favourite thing in the ML/AI industry today & why? I’m incredibly excited about foundation models. Having tested various foundation models, I can attest that not only are they better than anything else I’ve used, but also they’re equally flawed. So, while I know we have a way to go before foundation models become usable, I’m excited by how they could transform many areas of our lives today
2. Top three apps you frequently use: YouTube, Elevate, and Reddit
3. Favourite book on AI: Weapons of Math Destruction
4. Favourite podcast in AI and ML: I prefer non-AI podcasts to bring in more diversity to my day-to-day life. I love Exponent (Ben Thomson’s podcast on tech business analysis) and Acquired (Great storytelling and startup analysis)
5. What would you have been doing if you weren’t a Product Head? I would certainly still be in tech. But as a consultant or a Product Owner
6. How do you define your leadership style? I strive to lead with empathy. Since the pandemic, this has become more important to me than ever
Content provided by IBM and TNW.
When Hurricane Harvey struck southeast Texas in 2017, it caused $125 billion in economic damages. A recent assessment of local businesses in the area found that 90% lost revenue in the five figure range due to employee disruptions, lower customer demand, utility outages, and/or supply chain issues. Those that suffered property damage experienced compounded losses with parts of the business being shuttered for weeks and months at a time until repairs could be made.
Since 2017 there’s been an average of 17.8 weather/climate disaster events per year in the US alone. In fact, just in 2022, there have been 9 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each.
Rising temperatures, floods, droughts, wildfires and other offshoots of climate change present major challenges to economies and communities around the world. As a result, businesses are feeling the pressure to adopt new strategies to reduce their carbon footprint in the long term. But many have yet to prepare themselves for the impact that climate change can and will have on their operations.
Many companies are already feeling the heat, experiencing climate-related damage to their assets, and disruptions to supply chains. According to a exact report from the World Economic Forum, global heat waves and other extreme weather conditions could also cause a spike in the cost of raw materials for production, which would inevitably present huge revenue losses across sectors.
With such a high risk the question is, why have so few businesses prepared for the potential effects of climate change?
While an overwhelming majority of businesses have plans in place for cyberattacks and Covid-19, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021 found that extreme weather, climate action failure, and human-led environmental damage are in fact the top three most likely risks for businesses over the next ten years. Yet, many still don’t have clear strategies and risk analyses in place to guide decision-making.
“One of the major challenges for general business operations is that companies are still getting familiar with the many variables involved in collecting climate data,” says Miguel Modestino, an Associate Professor and Director of the Sustainable Engineering Initiative at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.
Indeed, tracking climate data requires historical weather data, sensors, intensive manual labor, computing power, as well as internal climate and data science skills. Even if you can capture this data, the problem then lies in being able to combine and compare all of the different variables to create one big picture of what’s happening on the ground.
Geospatial analysis is key to unlocking the potential of climate data.
According to Hendrik Hamann, Chief Scientist for Future of Climate at IBM:
In order to understand the economic damage of a flood, for example, one has to combine flood risk information with road and elevation information, or many other sets of information in order to understand its overall impact on business.
Once you capture climate data, the next challenge lies in understanding how to extract valuable insights from this information and how to actually apply them to business operations.
An EY study found that only 41% of organizations conduct scenario analysis of climate-related risks. This means that, in the increasingly likely event that a weather-related disaster does occur, many organizations don’t have a clear picture of what the potential risks, costs, and action plan would be. Without this understanding, prevention measures, budgeting, and other essential decision-making becomes a guessing game for business leaders who need to present this information to investors and other stakeholders.
“We’re sitting on this mountain of information, yet we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg. There’s all of this high value data out there including observations about our planet Earth, but we’re not taking advantage of that to make better decisions,” Hamann explains.
Geospatial analysis is key to unlocking the potential of climate data – but these insights are based on massive amounts of complex and disparate data types, including satellite, GPS, and historical weather data and imagery. The use of AI and machine learning holds great potential for helping businesses access and analyze these datasets in a way that is more manageable.
“With AI, companies can also develop advanced models that use machine learning to really quickly calculate the environmental impact of a particular set of business operations,” Modestino explains. “Having efficient machine learning models can help optimize their operations to maximize profit while maintaining a particular climate target.”
IBM recently launched its Environmental Intelligence Suite (EIS) which brings together a wide variety of weather, climate, AI and operational technologies into a single software as a service offering that companies can use to better plan for and respond to climate risks.
Map out the potential risks across your business’ operations.
A unique capability within this suite is a geospatial analytics engine developed within IBM Research, which helps provide insights on complex geospatial datasets in a way that can be more easily accessed and combined with broader business technologies and data. This can help companies efficiently understand and analyze geospatial data to predict the risk and potential impact of upcoming climate and weather threats to their business.
“When we think about satellite observations of the earth, we think, ‘how can it be analyzed?’, or ‘how can we understand natural phenomena like tree growth, vegetation growth and how much carbon is being stored in it,” Hamann says. “This is all covered by geospatial analytics.”
For instance, where a utility company has tens of thousands of substations which are used to supply electricity to customers, climate impact might provide rise to the following questions: Which of our asset locations are at the biggest risk? How can those sites be prepared to withstand the impact? How will investments be allocated? The ability to analyze geospatial data keeps companies informed about potential risks and prioritizes them while making actionable business decisions.
It’s clear that developing clear strategies for extreme weather and climate change is no longer just for a rainy day. They will become key to enabling businesses to function, operate, and even grow.
The first step is to map out the potential risks across your business’ operations, from resource scarcity to the potential for logistics disruptions.
The next step is to consider the potential opportunities. How might changing your sourcing/production/distribution strategies lower your risk for climate change disruptions and boost your bottom line? How might these changes also contribute to your company’s longer-term sustainability strategies?
As it continues to affect populations all over the world, it’s also becoming increasingly clear that a warming planet poses a looming threat to business operations. Advanced technologies and methods, like geospatial analysis, are still in early stages and therefore we expect to see a lot more room for innovation in the coming years.
For years, economists and researchers have been predicting how automation would eliminate significant numbers of jobs. Certainly, routine work—jobs largely based on the performance of regular tasks at certain times or for specific situations—has been reduced. However, non-routine work—jobs comprised of tasks performed at irregular intervals and often executed in different ways dependent on the situation—has exploded. This trend is creating better jobs, higher-paying jobs and jobs that require new skills.
For example, consider the automation of self-service retail, mobile phone orders and in-store kiosks. These automation tools did eliminate traditional call center and order-taking jobs. But the high volume of new transactions has created new jobs in service delivery, customer service and support, analytics, supply chain and logistics. Most of these jobs fall into the category of non-routine work.
Facebook (Meta), Amazon and Google now employ thousands of people to curate content, moderate social media and determine how their systems will behave. The need to “train” and “moderate” and “improve” intelligent machines is higher than ever, and these jobs are vital and pay well.
The National Bureau of Economic Research has extensively studied the shift from routine to non-routine work and confirms its significance. Not only have “occupations” shifted, but the growth rate in non-routine jobs is almost 25 times higher than the growth rate in routine jobs (based on data from 1976 through 2014).
What are these non-routine jobs?
Non-routine jobs are typically defined as “service” jobs; they fall into two overlapping categories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a long list of service-providing industry segments encompassing a wide range of jobs in healthcare, finance, education, trade, leisure, hospitality and professional services. These jobs make up more than 70% of U.S. employment; their average wages have been growing at more than 5% per year. A second, even more important category encompasses jobs that require skills in design thinking, communication, empathy, teamwork and time management. Most jobs in the U.S. fall into this category in one way or another.
Sales is a good example of the shift from routine to non-routine work. While companies like Salesforce, Hubspot, Seismic and Gong are automating sales and marketing processes, the demand for salespeople has gone through the roof. Today, according to Lightcast’s latest data, there are more than 580,000 open sales jobs.
This demand is not due to economic growth; job openings are a direct result of sales automation. Thanks to CRM tools, a salesperson today spends time pouring through Salesforce, looking for qualified leads, then crafting interesting emails or phone conversations to get the attention of prospects. Has sales been automated? Not really. It has been augmented and improved by automation, but it’s still a person-to-person job.
Look at roles like nursing (with the largest number of job openings in the U.S.), management (600,000 open jobs), customer service (245,000 open jobs), and even food service and hospitality (more than 275,000 open jobs). None of these jobs has been automated away; rather, they’ve grown in demand as more and more routine tasks become automated.
Technical skills vs. power skills
Despite the ongoing demand for scientists, engineers and technical professionals, the research also shows that technical careers, while critical and vital to our economy, are also turning into services jobs.
Recent research from IBM found that CEOs don’t only want employees with technical skills, they are also desperately looking for people who are creative, can solve complex problems, manage large teams of people and deal with strategy, time management and organizational growth. Technical salaries do go up with specialization, but almost every study of pay shows that managerial roles pay 50% to 100% more, even in highly technical domains. Yes, it’s hard to hire the world’s best scientists and engineers, but try being the manager of these brilliant people. That is a really tough job.
And this leads me to an important point: We are becoming an economy based on power skills. While technical skills are certainly valuable, skills in design thinking, agility and flexibility, communications, empathy and management are even more so. The top skill requirement on LinkedIn isn’t computer programming or data analytics, it’s communications. And this makes sense. If you can’t listen and communicate your thoughts well, there aren’t many jobs you can really do.
What this means for HR and business
First, we have to expand focus beyond technical skills in training, development and recruitment. You should define these skills, continually develop them and reward them.
Long-term business success and economic growth is now dependent on the ability to understand this shift. An interesting study conducted by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that the slowest-growing economies had a much larger percentage of jobs with “routine-intensive roles.” In other words, if you don’t design and engineer jobs to make the shift to non-routine work, your company will suffer, as will the overall economy.
Low unemployment may be here to stay. While historically, companies have laid off workers when the economy slows, that formula seems to be changing. Why? We are constantly reinventing work and creating new jobs as other become obsolete. The fertility and marriage rates are low, and this demographic drought is creating a limited supply of potential employees. So, jobs will continue to be hard to fill.
Our new Global Workforce Intelligence study details how this shift is impacting healthcare workforces right now. The healthcare providers thriving in this difficult time are those re-engineering work, automating the routine tasks in their facilities and taking innovative approaches to train and develop people.
As I see it, the future is not a world in which technology replaces people, but rather one in which jobs continuously get better. Leveraging this trend is key to growth and even survival in the future.
Data Analytics in L & H Insurance Market 2022-2028
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Pune, Maharashtra — (SBWIRE) — 10/08/2022 — The Latest research study released by HTF MI "Data Analytics in L & H Insurance Market" with 100+ pages of analysis on business Strategy taken up by key and emerging industry players and delivers know how of the current market development, landscape, technologies, drivers, opportunities, market viewpoint and status. Understanding the segments helps in identifying the importance of different factors that aid the market growth. Some of the Major Companies covered in this Research are Deloitte, SAP AG, LexisNexis, IBM, Verisk Analytics, Pegasystems, Oracle, OpenText, Majesco, SAS, TIBCO Software, Prima Solutions, Qlik, Global IQX, Earnix & Atidot etc.
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Data Analytics in L & H Insurance Market By Application/End-User (Value and Volume from 2022 to 2027) : Predictive Analysis, Demographic Profiling, Data Visualization & Others
Market By Type (Value and Volume from 2022 to 2027) : , Service & Software
Data Analytics in L & H Insurance Market by Key Players: Deloitte, SAP AG, LexisNexis, IBM, Verisk Analytics, Pegasystems, Oracle, OpenText, Majesco, SAS, TIBCO Software, Prima Solutions, Qlik, Global IQX, Earnix & Atidot
Geographically, this report is segmented into some key Regions, with manufacture, depletion, revenue (million USD), and market share and growth rate of Data Analytics in L & H Insurance in these regions, from 2017 to 2027 (forecast), covering China, USA, Europe, Japan, Korea, India, Southeast Asia & South America and its Share (%) and CAGR for the forecasted period 2022 to 2027
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Chapter 1 Data Analytics in L & H Insurance Market Business Overview
Chapter 2 Major Breakdown by Type [, Service & Software]
Chapter 3 Major Application Wise Breakdown (Revenue & Volume)
Chapter 4 Manufacture Market Breakdown
Chapter 5 Sales & Estimates Market Study
Chapter 6 Key Manufacturers Production and Sales Market Comparison Breakdown
Chapter 8 Manufacturers, Deals and Closings Market Evaluation & Aggressiveness
Chapter 9 Key Companies Breakdown by Overall Market Size & Revenue by Type
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Johnson & Johnson Chief HR Officer Peter Fasolo is the first to admit he was a bit “unmoored” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With responsibility for the 140,000-plus employees of the global pharmaceutical giant—whose products touch more than 1 billion customers and patients every day—it’s no wonder Fasolo, HRE’s HR Executive of the Year, was overwhelmed by the people implications of the unprecedented health crisis. But, while he didn’t have a pandemic playbook to guide him, he did have a document that provided direction.
Johnson & Johnson’s Credo, written 80 years ago, is a 300-word values statement that Fasolo says is a living testament to the principles on which J&J was founded in 1886, and those that continue to guide leadership every day—which, Fasolo says, boils down to servant leadership.
That’s part of what attracted him back to the company after a brief break. After 12 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he joined Johnson & Johnson as vice president of HR in 2004 and left three years later for a new venture. But, in 2010, he found himself back at the New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J campus.
“I don’t think the question was even finished on the other end of the phone when I said yes,” Fasolo says about returning to take on the CHRO role. “When I left, I realized pretty quickly that J&J is a pretty special place. I was drawn back by the people, the mission, the purpose.”
Meeting the moment
That was all top of mind for Fasolo when COVID started spreading across the globe in early 2020.
“When the pandemic hit, it was very natural for our leaders to immediately go into, ‘How do I take care of our employees?’ Because at the core of our Credo, we’re a caring company,” he says.
That principle focused leadership on employee safety as the immediate priority. And that meant that Fasolo had to facilitate remote work for nearly two-thirds of the global workforce, an effort that, he says, involved close partnership among HR, IT and global facilities.
Many employees had to continue to report in person, particularly given the new demands on the company—it stepped up to provide ventilators early in the pandemic, meet the need for sanitizer and was one of the only companies to pursue a not-for-profit vaccine—and the work was arduous. Through the “On-Site Superheroes” program, J&J invested more than $33 million for one-time rewards and an extra week of PTO for more than 30,000 employees and 4,000 contingent workers.
“Our culture and values were expressed during the pandemic; where some companies may have had to try to figure it out or find their purpose, I was at a huge advantage. Johnson & Johnson is built to last—because we’re built on principles,” he says.
That commitment to “caring” has continued to evince itself in the last two-and-a-half years—with J&J expanding paid parental leave from eight weeks to 12, upping military leave from two years to three and enhancing support for families of servicemembers. The company has also sharpened its focus on employee mental health, including through virtual access to EAPs and new caregiving leave.
“We have to meet the moment and provide the support employees need financially, personally, mentally—to ensure they’re safe,” Fasolo says. “Because when our employees returned [after COVID], and as they continue to return, they’re not returning the way they left.”
It’s part of a larger shift in exact years toward tending to the holistic health of employees, Fasolo says. While the company maintains fitness centers at campuses around the world, its approach to health has become much more expansive than the traditional focus on physical health—encompassing everything from global shipment of breast milk for traveling employees to tuition reimbursement to competitive pay and robust retirement plans.
“One thing Peter has done really well that impressed me is that he has made employee wellness a real foundation of the HR model at J&J,” says Charles Tharp, professor of the practice at Questrom School of Business at Boston University and former CHRO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked with Fasolo. “Whether it’s helping people with exercise, balancing work and non-work, providing resources—he makes it such a priority.”
Looking toward a post-pandemic world, the company’s strategy for employee wellness includes a new understanding of work/life integration. Last year, it rolled out its global hybrid working model, J&J Flex, through which office-based employees have the option to work at least three days on-site and up to two days remote per week. This is the latest addition to a portfolio of flexible work arrangements, designed to offer individual solutions for employees: from more frequent remote work to part-time schedules, compressed weeks and more.
Flexibility has become a central focus in HR trends like the “Great Resignation” and “quiet quitting”—movements that, Fasolo says, can actually move HR functions in a positive direction.
“People have re-sorted; they’ve re-prioritized,” he says. “During one of the most traumatic events in our lifetime, if you have the luxury to—and not many people do—but if you have the luxury to step back and say, ‘What’s important to me now?’, that’s healthy. And it’s up to HR functions like ours to meet that moment.”
DE&I: From aspiration to operation
As employees are “re-sorting,” chief among their changing expectations is a heightened emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. DE&I has been a cornerstone of J&J since its founding more than 135 years ago, Fasolo says, with ongoing progress—eight of the first 14 employees were women; it hired its first female and Black vice president in 1976; and J&J expanded its benefits plans to include same-sex partners nearly two decades ago, for instance.
The longstanding commitment, Fasolo says, has embedded a deep understanding of the power of diversity across the ranks at J&J, particularly among the diverse board of directors and leadership team.
“You need a workforce that reflects the customers and the patients you have the privilege to serve. That’s the starting point,” he says. “You need [DE&I] to innovate … and to compete on the world stage that you’re in, so that’s the imperative.”
Setting the tone at the top is the first building block of J&J’s DE&I strategy, Fasolo says, and, from there, the focus has been on developing very public aspirations. In 2020, the company rolled out a series of five-year DE&I goals in its Health for Humanity strategy—including reaching gender parity in management globally (currently at 48%), 35% racial/ethnic diversity in U.S. management (currently at 34%); and 50% growth in representation of Black and African-Americans in U.S. management (that figure currently stands at 6%, a 25% increase in the last two years).
Operationalizing those aspirations has involved everything from candidate slate reviews to leadership scorecards. Since last year, more than 25,000 people leaders and 20,000 individual contributors have voluntarily set DE&I goals.
“Our board of directors and Executive Committee look at [leaders’] progress on a quarterly basis, and then we loop it into our reward system,” Fasolo says. “So, in part, our reward system is predicated on making progress in our diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations.”
Technology has also played a significant role. J&J has “invested heavily,” Fasolo says, in data analytics—generating information on everything from the diversity of current teams to quality of hire to flight risks, which has tremendous predictive power.
“Johnson & Johnson is built to last—because we’re built on principles,” – Peter Fasolo
“We now have mobile applications of data analytics in the hands of our business unit HR people so they can constantly see what’s happening,” he says. “That’s real-time data science that has been hugely powerful.”
Tharp recalls that Fasolo and an HR analytics leader at J&J delivered a guest lecture for Tharp’s MBA HR strategy course earlier this year—and that students were “wowed” with their work.
“What [J&J has] done in predictive analytics has been amazing,” he says. “The future of HR is really data-based decision-making.”
A new J&J
The future of HR at Johnson & Johnson today looks a bit different than it did just a few years ago.
Again guided by the Credo, Fasolo led an HR restructuring over the last seven years. At the time it initiated, the company had hundreds of different HR management practices around the globe: for recruitment, comp administration, performance management.
Instead of HR getting credit just for having robust processes, Fasolo says, he wanted to instead shift the focus to outcomes.
“What’s the diversity of your team? What’s the inclusiveness of the unit that you support? What’s the mood of the organization? How are you the stewards of the Credo? We measure those things,” he says. “In large part, I wanted the HR organization to be accountable for those outcomes, not focus on processes.”
So, approaches were harmonized where possible, and the organization then created a global services footprint to help HR meet employee needs in a way that was “easier, more efficient, more effective and faster.”
Today, nearly half of HR leaders and managers at J&J work in a global services environment—with focuses like employee relations or comp administration—allowing HR professionals in areas like corporate services or total rewards to tend to overarching strategic direction.
The change-management muscles Fasolo was able to flex during this transition came in handy in exact years, as the organization saw several additions to the Executive Committee and Fasolo led the search for a new CEO, the second in his career at J&J. Former CEO Bill Weldon departed in 2012 and his successor, Alex Gorsky, stepped down earlier this year, with former Vice Chairman Joaquin Duato succeeding him.
In both transitions, Fasolo says, before building out the CEO profile, he started the process by “grounding [himself] in the company strategy,” to identify the CEO capabilities that would be needed to take the organization into any new directions. Chief on the horizon for J&J is the 2023 planned separation of the consumer health business to a separate, publicly traded company, which will focus on J&J’s beauty, self-care and other over-the-counter products, with the reimagined J&J continuing to invest in pharmaceutical and medtech.
“I need people around me who, in many cases, are better than I am and who are willing to provide me their point of view and who can be truth tellers.” – Peter Fasolo
“I would say it is one of the biggest strategic decisions that we have made as a management team, as a board of directors, to create two new companies,” he says, noting the shift has “huge people and change management implications” for both new organizations.
“[Consumer health business employees] have all of the questions you would expect them to have; their identity has been with Johnson & Johnson but there is tremendous opportunity to define the future of consumer healthcare,” he says.
To confront the challenges of such a move, Fasolo created the HR Project Management Office, which will manage the people-related issues—think, digital processes or tax and legal requirements—of the planned separation, along with setting talent and other HR strategies.
“We’re working on both of those sides of the equation, and it’s a lot of work,” Fasolo says, “but it’s a lot of excitement in the organization as we prepare to launch these two new businesses in 2023.”
A marriage of personal, professional values
That Fasolo has helped keep the J&J ship steady as it has navigated such shifts is a testament to his HR fortitude, says Fred Foulkes, professor of Management & Organizations at the Questrom School of Business and a judge of the HR Executive of the Year competition.
“There has been a lot of change while he’s been there and he’s really provided that stability and an ability to work with the top team through it all,” Foulkes says.
Fasolo’s stable voice on HR issues—and willingness to share the knowledge—is often counted on throughout the industry, adds Tharp.
“All of our colleagues [at Bristol-Myers Squibb] whom we used to work with, when we talk about who we network with, who we keep up with, who we call for advice—everyone calls Peter,” says Tharp, who recalls that same spirit when they were at BMS. “He was a person who, no matter what I would ask him to do, he was always raising his hand, ready to go.”
Since then, Fasolo has delivered guest lectures on HR strategy everywhere from Boston University to Cornell to Rutgers and volunteered his time and expertise for organizations like the HR Policy Association and Center on Executive Compensation.
“It’s not only what he has contributed but his willingness to contribute that has impressed me,” Tharp says. “He is truly someone who is caring and giving—and that is just such a wonderful personal characteristic.”
Being an active and connected leader within the HR industry—including as a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources—feeds into Fasolo’s passion as a “student of the profession,” Tharp adds, noting he’s known him to be a “voracious” reader of HR- and management-focused literature.
“He’s an ongoing student—and, to be successful, that’s a must,” he says.
Fasolo agrees that he’s learning “every day.” He says he approaches each morning as CHRO “never thinking I have the answer.” He may have the experience and an informed point of view—but that doesn’t always mean he’s right, he acknowledges.
“I need people around me who, in many cases, are better than I am and who are willing to provide me their point of view and who can be truth tellers,” he says.
Creating an environment where colleagues and employees can feel like they can be authentic and can trust Fasolo sets the tone, he notes, for collaborative learning. For instance, he says, he tries to consistently make room in his calendar for face-to-face time with employees across the organization: out in the field with sales reps, on the manufacturing floor, in the clinical labs, in the office with HR team members around the globe.
“When they know I care about them as individuals, then it gives me permission to say, ‘Let’s get better. Let’s raise the bar. How can we improve?’ ”
And the trust goes both ways. Fasolo says he’s confident in employees to make the “million decisions” that have to be made every day at J&J because he knows everyone on the team is grounded in the company values.
“I don’t need to be involved in those million decisions,” he says. “I just need to know that the environment and tone I’m trying to create is one of authenticity, safety, truth-telling, realism. If you can keep doing that, there’s no problem you can’t solve.”
In addition to relying on his team to help solve problems over the years, Fasolo also depends on support from his wife of 32 years and two grown sons, whom he says have been along the J&J “journey” right beside him.
He also keeps in mind some sage advice he received when he took on the CHRO role: “Always remember our Credo, and never forget that you have a responsibility for all of our employees and their families. If you can keep coming back to those two principles, you’ll be just fine.”
The marriage of the values expressed in Johnson & Johnson’s Credo and Fasolo’s own passion for taking care of the people at his organization are what will continue to inspire him as he leads HR at J&J into the future, he says.
“The great history of this company and my own personal values fit like a glove,” he says. “And I know that’s the way most people in this company feel: They’ve joined us because their personal mission fits the mission of the corporation. There’s very little daylight between their values and the values of the corporation. To me, that’s the magic of J&J.”
See also: How this HR exec quadrupled her workforce in 10 years
See also: This HR Honor Roll inductee is reimagining the healthcare workforce of the future
About the Competition
Every year, Human Resource Executive® selects one HR leader for our prestigious HR Executive of the Year honor, which has now been bestowed upon 34 individuals since 1989. Along with this top recognition, we have recognized more than 100 leaders on our HR Honor Roll.
A panel of eight judges reviewed this year’s submissions and based their selections on candidates’: ability to handle significant problems in HR, success at launching innovative programs that achieve measurable results, role and/or success in establishing the HR function as an integral part of their organization, management skills as demonstrated within the HR function, and contributions to the HR profession.
Judges for 2022 were Timothy D. Burke, senior vice president and publisher of HR products at LRP Media Group; Dr. Fred Foulkes, professor in the Questrom School of Business at Boston University; David Shadovitz, editor emeritus of HRE; and five former HR Executive of the Year winners: Diane Gherson, former CHRO at IBM; Kathleen Hogan, executive vice president for human resources and chief people officer at Microsoft; Tracy Keogh, chief people officer at Great Hill Partners; David Rodriguez, global HR officer at Marriott; and Ellyn J. Shook, chief leadership and HR officer, Accenture.
WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / October 14, 2022 / The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today its collaboration with IBM (NYSE:IBM) which includes leveraging IBM SkillsBuild - a free education program that helps students and adult learners develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities in technology fields - by providing digital content, personalized mentoring, and the experiential learning they need to gain technical, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills. The program will be offered for FREE to HHF Network, is completely digital, and includes IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market to create direct pathways to tech jobs. The effort will be open to high school students, college students, young professionals, and adult learners.
"This IBM SkillsBuild collaboration has been a transformational goal of our tech pathways strategy and goal for years," said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President, and CEO of HHF. "Our community has a tremendous value proposition for America's workforce and through this innovative collaboration, America can benefit from the talent we have always had to offer. Our collective mission is to provide training and opportunities for our community to make an impact in the tech sector.
We are grateful to IBM for allowing us to leverage their expertise and pathways in preparing the Latinx community for jobs that desperately need to be filled. As Latinos, we're ready as we always have been."
The learning pathways available through IBM SkillsBuild include courses on workplace skills, such as communication and leadership skills designed for any beneficiary wishing to understand how to work in the digital world, as well as courses on data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and many other technical disciplines. The program will also help early school leavers and long-term unemployed to gain what is required to re-enter the workforce. Courses are available in English and Spanish, providing Hispanic learners with a better and deeper understanding of course materials, to help ensure completion and professional competency.
"As a Latina, I am very excited and honored to be partnering with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to provide free education and career readiness resources to Hispanics nationwide," said Claudia Cortes Romanelli, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at IBM. "I see every day the great opportunity to invest in skilling the next generation of STEM talent from the Hispanic community. We look forward to working with HHF as part of our commitment to equitably skill 30 million people worldwide."
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation award-winning LOFT (Latinos on Fast Track) program is a leadership and workforce development program and network with a focus on various sectors or "tracks," including tech. HHF's broad network and beyond will be exposed to IBM SkillsBuild to learn, and build skills in artificial intelligence, data science, cloud, security, information technology, and more, with opportunities for mentoring and networking in the tech space as well as earning certifications and placements into the workforce.
IBM and HHF's collaboration is part of IBM's commitment to equitably skill 30 million people globally by 2030.
About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
HHF's mission focuses on education, the workforce, identity, and social impact through the lens of leadership and culture. For more information, visit www.hispanicheritage.org and follow the Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok
About IBM Education
As part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, IBM's education portfolio takes a personalized, diverse, and deep approach to STEM career readiness. IBM's pro bono programs range from education and support for teens at public schools and universities to career readiness resources for aspiring professionals and job seekers. IBM believes that education is best achieved through the collaboration of the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.
IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners. The online platform offers over 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and many other technical disciplines - as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most importantly, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials recognized by the market. The customized practical learning experiences could include project-based learning, expert conversations with IBM volunteers and mentors, premium content, specialized support, connection with career opportunities, and access to IBM software. IBM SkillsBuild operates in 168 counties and has supported 2.2M learners.
View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from IBM on 3blmedia.com.
View source version on accesswire.com:
A four-year bachelor’s degree has long been the first rung to climbing America’s corporate ladder.
But the move to prioritize skills over a college education is sweeping through some of America’s largest companies, including Google, EY, Microsoft, and Apple. Strong proponents say the shift helps circumvent a needless barrier to workplace diversity.
“I really do believe an inclusive diverse workforce is better for your company, it’s good for the business,” Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO, told Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray during a panel last month for Connect, Fortune’s executive education community. “That’s not just altruistic.”
Under Rometty’s leadership in 2016, tech giant IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” in reference to roles that require a specific set of skills rather than a four-year degree. It’s a personal commitment for Rometty, one that hits close to home for the 40-year IBM veteran.
When Rometty was 16, her father left the family, leaving her mother, who’d never worked outside the home, suddenly in the position to provide.
“She had four children and nothing past high school, and she had to get a job to…get us out of this downward spiral,” Rometty recalled to Murray. “What I saw in that was that my mother had aptitude; she wasn’t dumb, she just didn’t have access, and that forever stayed in my mind.”
When Rometty became CEO in 2012 following the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 8%. Despite the influx of applicants, she struggled to find employees who were trained in the particular cybersecurity area she was looking for.
“I realized I couldn’t hire them, so I had to start building them,” she said.
In 2011, IBM launched a corporate social responsibility effort called the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn. It’s since expanded to 11 states in the U.S. and 28 countries.
Through P-TECH, Rometty visited “a very poor high school in a bad neighborhood” that received the company’s support, as well as a community college where IBM was offering help with a technology-based curriculum and internships.
“Voilà! These kids could do the work. I didn’t have [applicants with] college degrees, so I learned that propensity to learn is way more important than just having a degree,” Rometty said.
Realizing the students were fully capable of the tasks that IBM needed moved Rometty to return to the drawing board when it came to IBM’s own application process and whom it was reaching. She said that at the time, 95% of job openings at IBM required a four-year degree. As of January 2021, less than half do, and the company is continuously reevaluating its roles.
For the jobs that now no longer require degrees and instead rely on skills and willingness to learn, IBM had always hired Ph.D. holders from the very best Ivy League schools, Rometty told Murray. But data shows that the degree-less hires for the same jobs performed just as well. “They were more loyal, higher retention, and many went on to get college degrees,” she said.
Rometty has since become cochair of OneTen, a civic organization committed to hiring, promoting, and advancing 1 million Black individuals without four-year degrees within the next 10 years.
If college degrees no longer become compulsory for white-collar jobs, many other qualifications—skills that couldn’t be easily taught in a boot camp, apprenticeship program, or in the first month on the job—could die off, too, University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor Sean Martin told Fortune last year.
“The companies themselves miss out on people that research suggests…might be less entitled, more culturally savvy, more desirous of being there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, hiring managers should look for motivation.
That’s certainly the case at IBM. Once the company widened its scope, Rometty said, the propensity to learn quickly became more of an important hiring factor than just a degree.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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