AwardsRecognition & Rewards

Worthy of Recognition

See how top HR teams are making an impact and earning a spot on HRO Today’s HR100 ranking.

By Debbie Bolla

People change people. This statement could not be more true for those HR leaders and their teams ranked on the 2022-2023 HRO Today HR100. Outstanding HR teams understand better than anyone else the power of building strategy with the workforce at the center. Keeping employees at the heart of everything HR teams do drives meaningful change and impactful business transformation.

With this in mind, HRO Today sees the importance of recognizing these teams for the innovation they bring to their organizations. The HR100 is an annual ranking of HR departments in eight areas: workplace culture, employee benefits, diversity and inclusion, employee development and talent management, human resources innovation, leadership development, talent acquisition, and employer brand. Performance in these core categories is aggregated, forming an index that provides a reasonable score for overall HR excellence.

“We are honored and excited to be included once again on the HR100 rankings,” says Laurie Marsh, executive vice president of HR for Ecolab, supporting a workforce of 48,000 people across more than 170 countries. “It is a testament to the talent, expertise, and commercial focus of the Ecolab HR team that we continue to be so highly rated.”

Peter Fasolo, Ph.D., executive vice president and CHRO of Johnson & Johnson, agrees that talent is at the core of their success. “At Johnson & Johnson, our people are our greatest strength, and it’s their continued commitment to living our ‘Credo’ that fuels our mission to profoundly impact the health of humanity,” he explains. “This recognition from HRO Today solidifies the unique and important role our phenomenal HR team plays in supporting the careers and lives of our 130,000-plus colleagues and in ensuring that J&J is a great place to work.”

Mastercard is another such organization that understands the true value of the workforce and how it is supported by its HR team. “I’m incredibly proud of our people and capability team at Mastercard. They drive creativity and innovation across the employee experience, as well as support our people through many major milestones in their career journeys,” says Michael Fraccaro, chief people officer of the organization. “As our business has grown, our P&C team has also been instrumental in helping business leaders design and implement new ways of working across the globe to deliver for our customers with speed and focus.”

Kelly Jones, chief people officer at Cisco, attributes their top spot ranking to the people and communities team’s laser focus on ways to best to support and empower the well-being of its employees.

“This recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to caring for the holistic well-being of all 85,000 members of our worldwide team,” she says. “At Cisco, we take a scientific approach to meet the shifting needs of our employees. We listen, test, learn, and adapt. One thing we’ve learned is that well-being is foundational to both engagement and retention. We’re proud of having a culture that is inclusive and collaborative and ensures our employees feel supported in all areas of their lives so they can do their best work.”

Spotlighting HR Initiatives

In this tight talent market, Marsh understands the importance of developing people in order to retain them at Ecolab. “Our CEO said it best at a recent global town hall meeting when he noted that the HR team’s biggest impact is achieved by growing our talent,” she explains. “We have a very sales and service-oriented culture, so delivering on the development of our people is critical. This is what makes it possible for Ecolab associates to share in all the opportunities that come from being part of a successful, global organization.”

Ecolab has a strong belief in providing employees with continuous learning and development opportunities. In fact, each year the organization has a “Development Season,” spanning form April to June, dedicated to advancing employee skills. In 2023, employees were offered six focused development tracks, with sessions from fireside virtual chats hosted by a pair of executive sponsors to accountability discussion groups. Much success was seen in terms of employee participation, among other measures:

  • 2,254 attendees at the fireside chat;
  • 2,259 participants in accountability groups; and
  • 10,581 associates complete one or more LinkedIn Learning courses.

New for 2024 is “Win from Within,” a career development program designed by building experience, learning, and connections. The program adopts a 70/20/10 model: 70% of career development is through work experiences; 20% is the professional relationships formed; and 10% is through learning resources. This idea was in direct response to employee feedback from the company’s engagement survey.

At Johnson & Johnson, supporting all facets of the employee lifecycle is critical to bringing culture and business success to life. “Our job in HR is to support our employees as whole people so that they can work to solve the world’s toughest health challenges. I believe that our employees’ longevity and loyalty stem from our culture and ‘Credo’ values, which we see come to life in various ways,” says Fasolo.

He shares a few examples of the drivers of employee attraction and retention:

  • Johnson & Johnson’s inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives, abilities, and experiences;
  • A promise to care for the well-being of employees through comprehensive employee benefits offerings; and
  • investments in helping colleagues have meaningful careers through personalized learning and development opportunities.

Fraccaro says accountability is key to the people strategy at Mastercard. “We are building accountability and ownership for building a strong culture into people practices and programs. Our people strategy is grounded in operational excellence, and I’ve been impressed with how our team has taken the biggest friction points across our HR portfolio and implemented new processes, platforms, and policies to improve the overall experience for employees, and for each other,” he says.

One critical aspect to the employee experience at Mastercard, Fraccaro says, is supporting employee mental health and well-being. With that in mind, the HR team formed a “Mental Health Champions” network of certified employees that are trained to understand the signs of burnout and other mental health issues. The group directs employees to resources and benefits available to support them if they are struggling. The HR team has also led efforts to support Mental Health Awareness Month with empowering activities including webinars, storytelling content, and opportunities for conversation. These programs have resulted in a big boost to the employee experience survey with 91% of employees reporting that their leader cares about their well-being.

Jones says to successfully understand Cisco’s global employees, HR thinks like scientists by testing, listening, learning, and adapting. One way they do this is through the “People Intelligence” team. This group partners with the solutions team to embed what they’ve learned about employee needs into the center of strategy. For example, last year, the “People Intelligence” team worked with compensation to get a better idea about how employees were faring during this high inflation market. They did this through employee surveys and focus groups. The feedback from these tools and sessions drove a redesign of employee pay structure, which distributes more money into the hands of employees faster throughout the year.

Looking Ahead

There has been an unprecedented amount of change over the last few years, and with change comes innovation. “In today’s evolving business landscape, it’s incredibly important that HR lead the way in supporting the future of our company and ensuring all employees feel supported and capable of doing their best work. At J&J, it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly, and I am humbled to see our team’s hard work be celebrated,” says Fasolo.

Tags: April 2024

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