How Salla used her Talent for Good
About the Secondment Program
The J&J Secondment Program is a signature program within the global employee engagement strategy called Talent for Good. It allows J&J employees to take on life-changing, skills-based volunteering assignments to help raise public health standards in communities around the world, while at the same time enable them to grow personally and professionally.
The Secondment Program is a long-term assignment, usually lasting 4-6 months. There are two programs: The Traditional Secondment and the Lion Secondment. The Traditional Secondment gives J&J employees at a manager level and higher the chance to work fulltime onsite with the NGO. The Lion Secondment in turn is for senior J&J leaders taking on strategic, advisory roles supporting remotely for 20%. In 2021 however, due to the public health situation, all secondments will be offered in a virtual format ranging from 20-100% for Traditional and 20-75% for Lion Secondments.
Sallamaari (Salla) Jauhiainen, who works as an HR leader in Zug, participated in the 2019 Secondment Program. Salla got the opportunity of a lifetime as she was assigned to a 6-month project in Kenya, working for an NGO that aims to eradicate poverty in the communities where they work, by investing in grassroot entrepreneurs and helping them turn their skills and potential into jobs.
Salla’s job in Kenya aimed at creating and delivering public health trainings in the communities. During her time there, she organized and provided health education sessions on cancer awareness, nutrition, and water & sanitation to local communities in remote areas of Kenya. According to Salla, her work in Kenya really felt meaningful and fulfilling, as it helped locals get access to important health information they would otherwise not reach. «I really saw how my work had a small, yet immediate impact on individuals in local communities, who reciprocated with honest thankfulness and appreciation.»
The J&J Secondment Program does not only empower our employees to give back in a meaningful way. By being exposed to new situations and challenges, it also gives them an opportunity to nurture and further strengthen their development and bring new insights and learnings back into our organization. As an example, Salla shared how she developed professionally by having to find new ways to communicate and connect with her audiences in Kenya. «My biggest takeaway was the agile way of working and how important it is that the audience understands your message. I learned that you have to be adaptable and creative when you cannot rely on the western technologies that are part of our daily lives.»
The biggest personal learning for Salla was the realization that the more challenging the situation and the more forbidding the environment, the more important it is to rely on a strong community to watch out for each other. «The ability of a community or a team to work together effectively is based on the mutual trust and the deep relationships between its members. This personal insight transcends the boundaries between personal and professional life as it equally applies in all settings and is a valuable guide on how to build an effective team which can overcome any challenges together.»