How Predictive Analytics Promotes Better Decision Making and Efficiency

CHROs are vital in helping to place the right people in leadership roles at their companies, but these days they also serve a critical strategic function. Those responsibilities seldom play out on a bigger corporate stage than at Johnson & Johnson, where Peter Fasolo serves as CHRO. Here, he discusses how his job has changed, the benefits of predictive analytics, employee engagement, and why his company cares so much about employee health and wellness.

June 15, 2018 – At most major corporations, it is critical for the head of HR to be an extremely strong strategic and trustworthy adviser to the CEO, the board of directors and senior management. That means not just filling leadership positions with the current needs of the organization, but being able to look to the future in terms of the modern-day capabilities that large companies will need to compete.

At New Brunswick, NJ-based Johnson & Johnson, that job falls to chief human resources officer Peter Fasolo. His responsibilities are many, and they affect a massive constituency. Consider this: The company employs 134,000 people in more than 60 countries. With three divisions – medical devices and diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods – Johnson & Johnson saw global revenues of $76.5 billion last year.

The types of employees that Johnson & Johnson seeks are those whose personal quest aligns with the company’s purpose and mission. Each year, Johnson & Johnson receives more than a million applications to fill 28,000 positions. About a third of those who are brought on board come from outside the company, the rest being internal hires. “We have tens of thousands of shots on goal to get the right people into the right jobs,” Mr. Fasolo said in a recent speech.

As such, predictive data plays a vital part in helping inform how the company invests in its talent, how it tracks their progress, as well as how it educates and coaches its workers on what they must do to develop within the organization. For example, company data shows that planned movement, cross-functional, cross-sector and global assignments yield a 45 percent higher likelihood of a leader winning a promotion at Johnson & Johnson.

Hunt Scanlon Media editors recently sat down with Mr. Fasolo to discuss his work, particularly the transformation of the top HR job at Johnson & Johnson and the impact it all has on the company’s employees, their families, patients and customers the world over. We also asked him about the role of predictive analytics at the company, and how it influences decision-making and drives efficiency. And when we brought up the company’s commitment to the health and wellness of its employees, he seemed particularly excited about Johnson & Johnson’s Healthforce 2020 initiative. Efforts to help employees achieve greater focus spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically have paid tremendous dividends in terms of employee engagement, he said, and that’s been a plus for everyone. Below are excerpts from the interview.


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Executive recruiters are in hot pursuit of chief human resources officers (CHRO) and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. The best HR chiefs are seen as integral strategic advisors to the C-suite, and the ones in demand are those who are sounding boards for CEOs. 


Mr. Fasolo started at Johnson & Johnson in 2004 as worldwide vice president, human resources for Cordis Corporation. He was then named vice president, global talent management, with responsibility for executive assessment and development. In 2007, he joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) as chief talent officer for the portfolio companies owned by the firm. Three years later, he returned to Johnson & Johnson as vice president, global human resources, and the CHRO role. He has more than 25 years of global experience in healthcare, having spent 13 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb in executive level, human resource roles in the company’s pharmaceutical, medical devices and consumer segments.

Peter, discuss how the senior HR leadership role has evolved in recent years. What’s changed?

Today’s dynamic operating environment requires the CHRO to continually evolve, having one foot in the future to maintain competitive advantage and one foot in today to ensure operations are running smoothly. From where I sit, I can’t just be the CEO’s HR person, I must be the company’s CHRO. This distinction is incredibly important because CEOs want real advice, not just agreement or validation. It is my responsibility to articulate a data-based recommendation to build or buy the talent based on what is right for the company in the long term, which may or may not match the CEO’s own perspective. At Johnson & Johnson, we’re doing this by continuing to innovate in our technology strategy, with a new, differentiated approach exploring artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, virtual reality and matching algorithms to attract and retain top talent. By truly advancing the functions of HR, we continue to enhance the experience for current and prospective employees, creating greater engagement and retention, and ultimately delivering a strong return that best serves our patients and customers around the globe.

“At Johnson & Johnson we’re harnessing the power and potential of predictive analytics to promote evidence-based workforce decisions while driving efficiency and enabling informed workforce decisions.”

Related: CHRO Influence Expands in Promoting Corporate Diversity

What can you tell us about the role predictive analytics is beginning to play at Johnson & Johnson?

At Johnson & Johnson we’re harnessing the power and potential of predictive analytics to promote evidence-based workforce decisions while driving efficiency and enabling informed workforce decisions. In fact, we have a differentiated talent strategy in emerging markets, which better enables us to review how we attract, select, retain and develop talent in specific regions. Data and analytics help us diagnose the issues and put plans into place to achieve the desired outcome. For example, China is a priority growth market for Johnson & Johnson and we were concerned as we began to observe a trend of higher attrition rates over the past 12 months. Our data demonstrated that the attrition we were seeing was driven by a number of attributes, like lateral moves, reorgs, receiving a bonus below target or having a lower performance rating. Using data and insights, we were able to begin to reverse the trend of regrettable losses in China by building in several strategies, including promotion and bonus programs, mentorship and ensuring one-on-one discussions with high risk employees.


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Managing a large workforce at any company is no easy task. But when that workforce is 32,000 strong, it requires the steady hand of a top human resource leader who will keep everyone motivated, engaged, intact and forward thinking. And that’s across 160 countries encompassing every cultural nuance imaginable.


It has been reported that Johnson & Johnson has the healthiest workforce in the nation. Congratulations! Why such a focus on health and wellness?

We call this our Culture of Health, which is rooted in the promises we make to our employees as outlined in our Credo. We have dedicated significant efforts to establishing this ethos of health & wellness across the company through a wide variety of benefits and programs, and as a result, we continue to see increasingly high levels of employee engagement. We’ve found that our Credo is a huge part of how we attract and retain people in ways that they want to come in to work and invent and make an impact.

Related: Data-Driven CHROs In Demand As Role Shifts In Complexity

What goals/objectives do you have in place with respect to this initiative?

In 2016, we launched a set of objectives centered around the health and wellness of our workforce, and our aspirations to have the healthiest employees by 2020. Our current initiative, called Healthforce 2020, is a global initiative with specific targets and strategies including digital resources/tools, healthy eating and movement and Energy for Performance goals to help us get there. Energy for Performance® is a unique training program developed by the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, which takes a multidimensional (spiritual, mental, emotional and physical) approach to teach people how to be more spiritually nourished, physically focused and direct their energy towards what is purposeful in life. Close to 60,000 employees have participated in the program to date, and we are striving to train 100,000 of our employees by 2020. Beyond employees trained, we have strong metrics that show this program is working, including graduates showing an 18 percent higher likelihood of receiving a top rating the year after taking the course, significantly higher likelihood to stay at Johnson & Johnson over the six-year period studied, and that participation in the course was associated with a 25 percent higher likelihood of receiving a promotion the following year. (*Note: this study found an association. This does not support claims of causation)

What has been the effect on your talent as it relates to this initiative?

Last year, we saw 90 percent engagement of our worldwide workforce, which we measure through employees’ attitudes against things like willingness to refer employees to Johnson & Johnson, going above and beyond their work, etc. This is huge, and really speaks to the fact that what we’re doing is working and providing value to our people. From diversity and inclusion and flexible parental leave, to talent development and sustainability, empowering employees every day is truly part of the fabric of the organization. The result of this turns out to be a strong competitive advantage – key to driving Johnson & Johnson’s business forward.

Related: Why the CEO / CHRO Relationship Is Essential

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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A very well explained article, it’s always beneficial to be on top of the game by getting facts and expectations in place. Johnson and Johnson surely knows to keep the balance.