Monday, October 21, 2013

C&EN article on "most desirable employers": Vitae, Johnson and Johnson, Dow Corning

In the middle of an interesting "Most Desirable Employers" article in this week's C&EN (written by Susan Ainsworth), an interesting comment about employers and how they seen their employees:
Vitae employees also embrace the speed with which decisions can be made at the company. “We don’t want to wait around for weeks to get a conference room and have a committee meeting to make a recommendation to the next committee, so that three months later we get the green light to do something,” [CJ's note: Vitae President/CEO] Hatfield says. Instead, “when we get a piece of data, we can make a decision in the hallway, so that five minutes later, the entire organization is acting upon new knowledge. That is very exciting to employees.” 
Acknowledging that Vitae may be made up of a disproportionate number of workaholics, Hatfield says the company looks for ways to help its employees to occasionally relax at work. Each year, the company hosts on-site barbecues, a Halloween party, a Ping-Pong tournament, and a luncheon to celebrate Chinese New Year. On any given day, employees can retreat to Ping-Pong and pool tables set up in the facility.
It's funny to me how a Chinese New Year luncheon seems de rigeur these days; not necessarily the case 30 years ago, I suspect.

P.S. These "e-mail free" weekends policies at J&J are interesting; I wonder if people actually follow through. 


  1. My company splits the difference- there are plenty of meetings in the hallways, but still nothing is decided. They do have barbecues, immediately followed by HR's weight-loss challenge program.

  2. They make it sound like making a decision in 5 minutes is a good thing.

  3. "Work life balance" at Dow Corning needs to be considered with respect to the three major reductions of force they have had in the last four years, which have hit US research staff hard. Their hiring strategy for PhD's seems to be to ditch half of them after 3-4 years, once they have extracted whatever it is you learned in grad school / post-doc.

  4. As a contractor at J&J for going on 2+ years now ...I am of the opinion that most of what you read about them is highly hypocritical. The actual J&J employees do get great benefits, but at the expense of everyone else working there being treated as second-class citizens. The "email-free" weekend rule is mostly followed...but not completely.