Communicating Diversity and Inclusion: 5 Life Sciences Companies Who Are Nailing It
Successful diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives are far more complex than a list of general objectives. In fact, more and more companies are creating full-time roles that are solely focused on building, nurturing and socially normalizing workplace diversity and inclusion. And while attention to D&I is important from a stakeholder perception standpoint, studies are beginning to indicate a direct correlation between D&I and positive bottom-line impact as well.
Until recently, only a small percentage of companies made D&I a top priority from an HR, business or public relations standpoint. For many, diversity was synonymous with EEO standards and treated accordingly. Inclusion was frequently misunderstood and certainly not a factor in corporate strategy. However, in as little as the last 18 months the topic has risen to critical status for many companies and is factoring prominently in strategic planning.
Why the Big Focus on D&I?
Diversity and inclusion aren’t just about workplace equality in relation to gender identification, race, age, disability or sexual orientation. However, these characteristics are very prominent within the scope of organizational D&I and get a lot of public attention. For instance, the Human Rights Campaign, a foundation that advocates for LGBTQ equality, now publishes a comprehensive annual list called “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality; 100% Corporate Equality Index” which is categorized by industry. Studies, surveys and other research that are the underpinning of this and similar highly publicized lists are becoming common and are likely to have a growing impact on companies’ ability to attract and retain talent.
In their simplest form, diversity and inclusion are about embracing, appreciating, valuing and encouraging contributors with non-mainstream perspectives (big and small) or ideas. The largest and most influential HR community, the Society for Human Resource Management, states “Diversity & Inclusion encompasses activities that create opportunities for the organization to leverage the unique backgrounds and characteristics of all employees to contribute to its success.”
With diversity and inclusion gaining importance in the current and future employment landscape as well as national and global business initiatives, companies are beginning to not only address D&I, but also heavily invest in communicating their stance on the subject. In fact, many companies now address D&I in both job advertisements and the employment section of their websites. Below are five high-quality examples of major bio organizations’ efforts to showcase their commitment to providing a positive D&I work environment.
In no particular order:
AbbVie’s D&I message is strong and clear out of the gate:
“Our purpose is profound, and our path is clear. We know we are at our best when all voices are heard and valued and when our employees can contribute their best. That’s why embracing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is one of our core Principles.”
Like many other organizations who are creating a strong D&I presence, they include a quote and photo on D&I from their Chairman & CEO, Richard A. Gonzalez. What’s most impressive is AbbVie’s transparency on their ongoing measurement of D&I attainment; they include weblinks to internal and external ratings of their success.
J&J keeps their message clean and simple: “Diversity & Inclusion at Johnson & Johnson means - You Belong.”
J&J’s Diversity webpage includes 3 “strategic pillars” which solidify the business case for prioritizing D&I. They also include a link to their 12 Employee Resources Groups and list 22 examples of US and International D&I recognition and awards. To reflect a top-down and overall leadership commitment, their D&I page shares quotes from both the Chairman & CEO as well as their Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
Biogen’s D&I page goes beyond mission, vision, and a few listed initiatives or measurements; Biogen breaks their commitment down to various internal communities and actions and even includes “early-career” professionals as a part of their focus. What’s more impressive, they also address their commitment beyond corporate walls.
“Biogen is deeply committed to furthering Diversity & Inclusion outside of its walls. From supporting underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to being advocates for marginalized communities, we seek opportunities to exemplify greater corporate social responsibility.” While many major corporations are active in these areas, it isn’t yet common to see it addressed publicly as part of their D&I initiative.
CSL blends their career platform D&I approach with the value and reach of their global status: “We want CSL to be a reflection of the world around us.” They neatly summarize their position on D&I and offer a “Learn more” link for prospective employees who wish to explore CSL’s D&I initiatives further. They include an additional link to their presence in a global diversity index and have photos and personal D&I quotes from non-executive team members to round out their career-based D&I page.
While simpler in style and content than other listed D&I page examples, CSL’s modest and peer-based approach has its merits. Their focus seems to be in creating a relatable connection with prospective team members rather than dazzling or over-informing on D&I initiatives.
Boston Scientific’s approach to their career-related D&I page takes an approach quite different than any other bio-related D&I pages reviewed for this article: “Science advances when everyone can.” Boston Scientific addresses a common concern in D&I – opportunity for growth (especially in leadership) in under-represented groups. They use graphics to show increased representation over the last two years as well as share colorful click-through links to various means to achieving the goals including, “Awards & Recognition,” “Inclusive Employee Resource Groups,” “Equal Pay for Equal Work,” and “Empowering Working Parents.”
The Value of Strong D&I Branding
While there are a few areas of similarities among some examples shared in this article, each company has taken a unique, well-planned approach to creating a public message of commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Each of the examples also includes why D&I is important to both the short and long-term organizational viability and growth, acknowledging the logic and value in their D&I commitment.
To remain competitive in an ever-tightening labor market just having Diversity and Inclusion as a part of an organization’s mission statement or list of goals is no longer enough. Current and future stakeholders are increasingly wanting and expecting to have access to a clear and trustworthy account of a company’s D&I position, both current and future.
D&I metrics have the capacity to heavily impact a company’s client/buyer relationships in the next decade on a global scale. How does your organization’s public D&I brand measure up to these five impressive examples of D&I strategy?