CSL Behring: Why Diversity Matters
Diversity is good for our people, it’s good for our business and it’s good for our patients.
By Elizabeth Walker, Chief Human Resources Officer, CSL Limited
In recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month in October, CSL’s Chief Human Resources Officer reflects on the positive impact diversity, equity and inclusion has on helping the world’s third-largest biotech company drive scientific innovation for patients and public health and why this work is never done.
When you work at a leading global biotech company with more than 27,000 employees serving patients and protecting public health in more than 100 countries, you think a lot about innovation. In fact, you never stop thinking about innovation.
Ensuring we develop and deliver the best science and the best therapies and influenza vaccines for patients and public health hinges on our ability to innovate. And that means having a workplace culture in which our workforce is engaged, inspired and motivated to bring their best, authentic selves to work every day.
As head of Human Resources for the world’s third largest biotech, I’ve seen first-hand how our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across our organization has not only made our workplace stronger, it’s made our work stronger, too.
At CSL, we rely on our people’s diverse perspectives, ideas, capabilities and experiences to help us deliver on our promise to patients and protect public health.
Simply put, diversity matters because it’s good for our people, it’s good for our business and it’s good for our patients.
Yet building an inclusive culture where diversity can thrive doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen overnight. As we recognize Global Diversity Awareness Month in October, we must continually reflect and listen to both the needs of our employees and the communities where we operate and live around the globe. True commitment to DEI requires leaders to embrace thoughtfulness, empathy, vulnerability and the willingness to navigate complexity and have hard conversations that many workplaces haven’t typically encouraged in the past.
Our company has had a long commitment to investing resources in programs and initiatives that promote DEI, including talent recruitment, retention and development. Each year at CSL we set measurable diversity objectives and assess our progress against those goals annually. We take an active approach to our Corporate D&I Policy, revisiting, reviewing and revising it if needed to ensure our commitment remains true and evolves. What’s more, our Board of Directors reviews and approves this Policy on a regular basis, most recently in June, underscoring the importance of our company’s efforts.
As part of this regular assessment and reflection, we know we can do more and we are working to do so in the coming weeks, months, and years – from external collaborations and partnerships to additional investment in the development of our people.
Recent events related to social injustices and racial inequality, particularly in the U.S., are deeply concerning and they have indeed shaped our response to how we approach DEI as a global company committed to corporate social responsibility and citizenship. We continue to take a thoughtful and deliberate approach to promoting DEI, one that aligns with our Values of Patient Focus, Innovation, Integrity, Collaboration and Superior Performance.
I’m proud of the many programs and policies we already have in place and continue to evolve at CSL to ensure each of our employees feel respected, valued and heard.
From our hiring processes that include ensuring we have a diverse slate of candidates for all job levels to development opportunities to ensure we retain diverse talent and develop inclusive leaders, DEI must be embedded into all areas of our company. For our patients, this means partnering with patient advocacy groups to ensure we close the gap on health disparities for diverse populations.
To be sure, making meaningful progress must also start at the top and I’m inspired knowing all of our leaders – including our CEO Paul Perreault, our Global Leadership Group and our Board of Directors – take responsibility for DEI. Diversity must also be reflected in all levels of the company as well.
Our Board is fortunate to have the expertise of three incredible female members. With the recent appointment of Joy Linton to our Global Leadership Group, we will become one of only 23 publicly-traded companies on the ASX100 in Australia with a female Chief Financial Officer. Along with Joy, our new Chief Digital Information Officer Mark Hill and me, our GLG is benefiting from more diverse voices, experiences and perspectives.
Fostering a Dynamic Workplace
In an effort to build a dialogue among employees to talk openly about DEI, we have expanded our development workshops and resources on a range of topics, including inclusive behaviors; cultural differences to be aware of when traveling abroad; working with multi-generational teams; and earlier this year, how to have tough conversations at work in response to the senseless death of George Floyd.
Global Diversity Awareness Month is not just a celebration of our differences, but it’s also an important reminder that our work to advance DEI throughout CSL is never done. We must continue to invest in it, sustain it and own it. Our people, our communities and our patients deserve nothing less.