By focusing on people first, Merck has been and always will be inextricably linked to diversity.
We believe in the three pillars of global diversity and inclusion—workforce, workplace and marketplace. Merck’s vision is to be the number one trusted and valued healthcare partner to the diverse patients of the world. That’s why our strategy leverages a consistent, focused, enterprise-wide approach embracing global diversity and inclusion best practices that results in productivity and innovation.
We define diversity as a rich blend of organizational and human characteristics, needs, experiences and traditions. We define inclusion as providing a sense of belonging to all members of the organization so that they feel welcomed, respected and valued, and can contribute to the best of their abilities.
We believe that our human and organizational differences, when managed successfully, will make us a more innovative, agile and profitable company—able to quickly respond to the emerging global marketplace with critical business insights that reflect the needs of our diverse patients and customers.
Commitment from the Top
The single most significant driver of diversity and inclusion at Merck resides at the very top—with Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier, who continues the company's legacy and commitment to global diversity and inclusion, and views them as critical to our business success.
In 2011, Ken Frazier joined top executives of global companies in signing the CEO statement of support for the Women's Empowerment Principles—Equality Means Business. The Women's Empowerment Principles are a set of principles that provide a road map for business to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles are the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, part of UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact.
The Principles emphasize that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential in order to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel businesses’ operations and achieve their goals. The development of the Principles included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which was launched in March 2009.
In January 2012, Ken Frazier took part in a panel discussion called "Leading with Diversity in a Global Economy," the first event in a three-year initiative called JFK50: Justice for All. Sponsored by the JFK Library Foundation and Bingham McCutchen, a global law firm, the program commemorates the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy presidency and examines the core ideals that propelled the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s that continue to be important today. The panel discussion also examined why diversity is a key to increased productivity and competitiveness, and how strategies for developing and retaining a workforce must reflect the global marketplace.
Global, Diverse Workforce
Through our diversity and inclusion strategy we make sure that candidate pools are broad and diverse and that all applicants are treated fairly and equally. With a policy to promote equal opportunity globally, our management is responsible for enforcing it by making thoughtful and equitable efforts to correct potential imbalances in our global workforce.
We expect all Merck leaders to achieve key diversity and inclusion goals, and we use those goals to judge not only an individual manager's performance but also division and corporate performance. To this end, we have developed specific tools for defining, measuring and rewarding diversity performance, including affirmative action plans developed in accordance with legal requirements and diversity objectives.
Inclusive Workplace & Leadership Behaviors
By actively leveraging best practices, we work to create an inclusive work environment that enhances our employees’ commitment to the company, increases employee engagement and productivity, and helps to make us more competitive.
With this in mind, the company uses a comprehensive approach to make sure employees have personal and career development opportunities, build important stakeholder relationships throughout their career, learn new skills, and hear the perspectives of the senior-most people in the company to broaden their insights and knowledge.
We also maintain a strong emphasis on mentoring—both informal and formal—as a key to successful leadership development. And we offer work-life integration programs throughout the organization to reflect the needs of today's talent and employee pool, to drive engagement and to enhance our reputation as an employer of choice.
Merck recognizes that our customers worldwide are becoming increasingly diverse. To operate successfully as a global organization, and to reach our goal of achieving leadership among these customers, we must align our internal workforce and executive population to better reflect and understand those we serve. We believe that having a diverse, inclusive workforce and organization makes us more innovative and an agile company, attuned to the needs of our customers.
Given these global trends, and our goal of achieving leadership among the diverse customers of the world, we must be sure that Merck aligns its internal workforce and executive population to better reflect and understand the customers we serve.
The Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion oversees the company's integrated effort to include diversity in all business practices. This office is led by the Chief Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, who supports division management in creating tailored diversity initiatives that fit business needs. The office consults with our Office of Ethics and Human Resources to resolve workplace issues involving diversity, and it oversees compliance with local, state, federal and global regulations.
In 1983, Merck received its first Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Award, which honors federal contractors that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts to increase the employment opportunities of underrepresented ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Since then, Merck continues to achieve compliance with the OFCCP guidelines under our functionally aligned affirmative action plans.
One Merck Diversity & Inclusion Awards
Merck clearly recognizes that our success is dependent upon the harmonious collaboration of our employees against clearly stated business goals. That’s one reason why the company sponsors the Chairman's Global One Merck Diversity and Inclusion Awards in recognition of the outstanding commitment of employees to achieving diversity excellence.
The objective of the Diversity and Inclusion Awards is to recognize employees at all levels from around the world who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to integrate diversity and inclusion throughout our company at both the individual and team level. In 2010, 39 finalists from Merck's global locations competed for honors in five categories. They were evaluated by a global judges’ panel, which included 23 employees from every region, division and band level in the company. The five categories of Global Diversity and Inclusion excellence were:
- Integrates and Collaborates
- Enhances Merck's External Image
- Demonstrates Personal Leadership
- Enhances Merck's Image through External Outreach
- Supports Merck's Business through Inclusion
Merck values its relationship with organizations that reinforce the company's mission, values, and commitment to global diversity and inclusion. We have maintained a relationship with these organizations because we understand that supporting them helps to build stronger and more robust relationships in the community. Our strategic alliances include:
- The Ph.D. Project
- The Society of Women Engineers
- Healthcare Businesswomen's Association
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
- Hispanic Scholarship Program
Employees with Disabilities
Merck understands that it makes good business sense to provide reasonable work accommodations that enable employees with disabilities to perform the necessary functions of their jobs. To support those employees with visible and non-apparent disabilities—and to make sure disabilities do not become barriers to employment at Merck—we utilize some of the following approaches:
- If special accommodations for the employee are needed, the Merck team works in partnership with the employee, the employee's business unit, the Human Resources team, and the employee's healthcare provider to evaluate reasonable accommodation options. Structural considerations may include special accommodations for ergonomic furniture, travel and hotel, and widened office area access, and reasonable accommodations will be provided on a timely basis.
- Merck provides state-of-the-art adaptive technologies, such as voice recognition software and Braille readers and printers, to help employees with disabilities
- A Merck Human Resources team works with each newly hired employee to identify needs and develop a customized action plan that will be in place before the employee's first day of work. The plan is updated throughout the employee's career with Merck.
Merck has identified diversity and inclusion as a key growth strategy in recruiting, retention and leadership development programs.
Merck has had a substantial and sustained commitment to global diversity and inclusion as a strategic enabler of our vision to improve health outcomes for patients globally. By leveraging all employees' imagination and creativity, the company is unleashing a unique source of competitive advantage: its people.
Business Insight Roundtable
Early in 2012, the company announced the launch of the Business Insight Roundtables. The Business Insight Roundtable is a powerful new resource in our commitment to saving and improving lives. In keeping with our focus on the needs of Merck patients, customers and colleagues around the word, this new simplified diversity and inclusion governance structure will provide employees with better insights into our most pressing business priorities and better align our efforts to strategies that will help enhance our ability to outperform in the marketplace.
The Business Insight Roundtable structure fully integrates our current diversity teams Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) into one forum that Chairman, President and CEO Ken Frazier and Executive Committee members will work with directly.
There are three priority areas for the Business Insight Roundtable:
- Talent and Inclusion—Focus on recruiting, developing, retaining and inspiring the best talent.
- Corporate Responsibility—Focus on Merck for Mothers advocacy and awareness.
- Business Insights—Increase awareness, improve adherence in identified areas.
Under this new structure all employees globally are able to join the roundtables and have the opportunity to contribute by providing perspective on the challenges facing the company today.
Business Employee Resource Groups
Business Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one of the ways that we intentionally drive inclusion best practices for our employees. For employees who share similar affiliation, the ERGs represent excellent opportunities to support and contribute to the company's business goals and to network, engage in community outreach, host cultural celebrations, participate in leadership development opportunities, and provide business insights to Merck leaders.
The employee members, representing all levels of the company, volunteer to serve as an educational and cultural resource for other Merck employees and business groups, and to serve as contact points for Merck's external community. ERG membership and participation in ERG-hosted events are open to any full- or part-time employee.
Each Employee Resource Group (ERG) is now aligned with a Business Insight Roundtable:
The Women's Roundtable is aligned with the Merck Women's Network (MWN); the African Ancestry Roundtable is aligned with the League of Employees of African Descent (LEAD); the Hispanic/Latino Roundtable is aligned with the Merck Hispanos Organization (MHO); the Veteran Roundtable is aligned with the Veterans Leadership Network (VLN); the LGBT Roundtable is aligned with the Merck Rainbow Alliance (MRA); the Asia Pacific Roundtable is aligned with the Asia Pacific Association (APA); the Differently Able Roundtable is aligned with the Merck Allies for Disabilities (MAD); the Interfaith Roundtable is aligned with the Merck Interfaith Organization (MIO) and the Native American/Indigenous Roundtable is aligned with.Diversity & Work Environment.
As part of an ongoing dialogue, the Merck Manufacturing Leadership Team (MLT) and Employee Resource Groups have been sharing observations, concerns and ideas on how to improve engagement and inclusion across a diverse Merck Manufacturing Division (MMD community. In February 2012, MLT members met with leaders of select members of the ERGs to get a better understanding of what is going on from the ERG perspective and where there are challenges and opportunities. As a result of the discussions, MLT committed to several actions that they will be accountable for in 2012 to address specific challenges. In addition, MLT will continue to meet at least twice a year with the ERG groups to ensure follow-up and feedback on these action plans and the impact they are having on their respective constituency groups.
We have established several recruiting initiatives designed to seek and attract diverse job candidates:
United Negro College Fund: Despite statistics suggesting that more than 50 percent of new entrants into tomorrow’s workforce will be minorities, African Americans currently hold less than 3 percent of PhDs in biology and chemistry. To help address this imbalance, Merck joined with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to help expand the pool of world-class African-American biomedical scientists and, in so doing, achieve the complementary goals of enhancing economic competitiveness and social diversity in the United States.
The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative (UMSI), was launched in 1995 with a ten-year, $20 million grant from the Merck Company Foundation. In 2005, the Foundation renewed its commitment to UNCF with a five-year, $13 million grant, and in 2011, the Foundation pledged another $14 million to UNCF over five years. The company has also provided $3 million to support the summer intern stipends of the undergraduate Fellows since 1995.
National Alliance for Hispanic Health: In 2008, working with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, we launched a program to promote science education, the Alliance/Merck Ciencia (Science) Hispanic Scholars Program. The program is designed to help Hispanic students achieve access in the pursuit of undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields.
Veterans and People with Disabilities: In 2010, Merck formed a new recruiting council made up of senior recruiters from each division, along with representatives from the Business Employee Resource Groups, Veterans Leadership Network and Merck Allies for Disabilities, to develop a recruiting strategy to attract and retain talent from these two constituencies. The council formed new partnerships with external recruiting partners such as Service Academy Career Conferences; Equal Opportunity Employers Career Expo for People with Disabilities and Disabled Veterans; Walter Reed Wounded Warriors Career Fair; and Milicruit Virtual Military Career Fairs.
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf: Merck has partnered with the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) and the National Institute for the Deaf (NTID) since 2004 to recruit interns with disabilities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer sciences and other select fields of business. Merck also partners with the Emerging Leaders program managed by the National Business and Disability Council to hire interns and entry-level talent.
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities: The company collaborates with Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) to learn how to more effectively prepare students with disabilities for recruitment in the industry.
Disability Mentoring Day is another opportunity to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through job shadowing and hands-on career exploration. It provides an opportunity to emphasize connections between school and work, evaluate personal goals, and explore possible career paths.
Diversity Conferences: Merck partners with several diversity-focused professional organizations in order to find diverse talent for entry-level through professional-level positions within the company, targeting African Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT community. We are able to target diverse constituencies through our relationships with such organizations as the National Black MBA, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and Reaching Out MBA.
We also partner with several minority engineering conferences like Black Engineer of the Year Award Conference, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professionals and Society of Women Engineers, in an effort to source qualified engineering talent. Moreover we partner with several minority research science organizations—like the National Organization of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineers, Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society—in an effort to increase the diverse talent in our Merck Research Laboratory division.
Training & Leadership Development
Merck offers employees a variety of training programs and development opportunities that reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Courses such as “Microinequities, Managing Across Cultures” give employees an opportunity to learn about and address non-inclusive behaviors and different cultures. To date, more than 22,000 employees have taken the Microinequities course.
Employees can also take advantage of external opportunities such as Merck-sponsored leadership conferences and workshops, and they have access to an open mentoring tool that matches mentors and mentees and provides guidance to support mentoring.
In 2011, Merck launched the Women’s Leadership Development Program, which is now part of our standard curriculum. The Program is designed to accelerate the development and readiness for more senior level roles of director-level talent. A global initiative that Merck launched at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, the program focuses on skills development, knowledge sharing and individual coaching to help position women as future Merck leaders.
The specific objectives of the program are to:
- Develop a talent pool to increase leadership diversity and improve business results
- Reflect the diverse nature of our customer base
- Increase retention of high-potential women leaders
- Have Merck be viewed as an employer of choice for senior women
- Create more opportunities for women’s career advancement
Women’s Mentoring Program
The Women's Mentoring Program, which was launched in 2011 in the Global Human Health Europe/Canada regions, is designed to accelerate the development of talent for future senior roles, increase retention and engagement of talent, increase the strength of the leadership pipeline and increase exposure of key talent to leadership. The program is built on a mentor-mentee relationship that is sustained through regular and frequent communications and meetings.
Women’s Leadership Summit
More than 200 female leaders met in Munich in 2011 for the second annual Merck/MSD Women’s Leadership Summit. The meeting was an opportunity for women to network, learn from each other and develop new strategies and skills to be effective and successful leaders at Merck/MSD.