Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) encompasses the principles of creating a diverse workforce, fostering an inclusive environment, and ensuring equitable opportunities for all employees, regardless of their background or characteristics.

A study found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more likely to outperform their industry competitors in terms of profitability. In an era marked by societal transformations and a greater emphasis on equality, companies that prioritize DE&I initiatives not only experience a boost in productivity and innovation but also foster a more harmonious work environment.

Global healthcare company, MSD in the Philippines, has been modeling DE&I as part of its strategic priorities, to nurture its talent pool, and better serve its equally diverse stakeholders. Through the establishment of Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), MSD aims to provide a platform for employees to come together based on shared backgrounds, experiences, or interests, fostering a sense of belonging and support, as they grow their careers and work to save and improve patients’ lives.

“Leadership plays a pivotal role in ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion or DE&I programs are not just supported, but truly embraced. We know it is our responsibility to foster a workplace culture where every employee feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. By championing DE&I initiatives, we not only cultivate a more inclusive environment but also unleash the full potential of our diverse workforce. We can create a future where everyone thrives, where barriers are shattered, and where our collective success knows no bounds,” said Andreas Riedel, MSD in the Philippines President and Managing Director.

Empowering women to be at their best

MSD in the PH female employees celebrate Women’s Month by launching the Women’s Network

A prominent initiative within MSD’s commitment to DE&I is the establishment of the Women Network (WN). The primary goal of WN is to empower and support women to realize their full professional potential and promote gender equity throughout all levels of the organization. With an aspiration to create an engaged and influential community, the Women Network inspires women to embrace their authentic selves, fostering a sense of belonging and supporting them in realizing their professional aspirations.

Women Network has organized a range of impactful activities that highlight their dedication to promoting gender equity and empowering women in the workplace. One such event was the International Women’s Day celebration, where the accomplishments and contributions of women were recognized and celebrated. In addition, the Women’s Network, in collaboration with Vaccines BU organized a cervical cancer prevention lunch and learn activity, raising awareness about an important health issue affecting women. Special occasions like Mother’s Day and Women’s Health Month were commemorated, emphasizing the significance of women’s roles and well-being. WN also established regional circle sisters, which provided a safe space for bold and inclusive discussions and learning circles.

“My passion lies in empowering women within our organization and creating a space where their voices are heard, valued, and celebrated. I am committed to fostering an environment where women can thrive, break barriers, and unlock their full potential. Through mentorship, networking, and professional development opportunities, we are building a community of strong and resilient women who inspire and support one another. Together, we will continue to shatter glass ceilings, cultivate leadership, and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future for all women at MSD,” emphasized Jade Fortin, Women’s Network Lead, Philippines.

Notably, women make up over 50% of MSD’s employee population, and over 50% of management roles are held by women leaders in health care.

Bridging the generation gap

Meanwhile, the Next Gen Network (NGN) program is a dynamic initiative aimed at breaking generational barriers and fostering a strong sense of belonging and acceptance among employees. By creating a genuinely safe-to-speak environment, NGN ensures that every individual within the organization feels valued and heard. By bringing together employees from different generations, NGN not only fosters understanding and collaboration but also accelerates business outcomes through diverse perspectives. Furthermore, the program plays a vital role in developing the leaders of tomorrow by providing opportunities for mentorship, skill-building, and professional growth.

“By nurturing intergenerational relationships and creating spaces for meaningful dialogue, we can harness the collective wisdom and innovative ideas of both seasoned professionals and emerging talents. We are breaking down barriers, fostering understanding, and cultivating a dynamic workplace culture that values the unique contributions of each generation. Through the Next Gen Network, we are shaping the leaders of tomorrow, united in our commitment to drive positive change and achieve remarkable outcomes,” noted Justin Jerome De Jesus, Next Gen Network Lead, Philippines.

Leading with pride

The newest of the EBRGs, Rainbow Alliance is an integral part of MSD’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, envisions an accepting workplace culture that fully supports a vibrant LGBTQ+ and visible Allies employee network globally. Through initiatives such as talent recruitment and development, community outreach, and business integration, Rainbow Alliance strives to inspire and nurture a workplace environment that embraces and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. In collaboration with the Human Resources department, a consultation session was held to explore the possibility of extending benefits to common law and same-gender partners. After thorough research and extensive discussions, the policy was approved, marking a significant step toward fostering equality and inclusivity within the organization. Effective January 2023, this policy change demonstrates MSD’s commitment to creating an environment where all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with dignity and respect.

“I am inspired by the support and encouragement we receive in our mission to create a safe and affirming environment for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. With the backing of our leadership, we are empowered to drive meaningful change, break down barriers, and ensure that every individual feels valued and respected for who they are. We are building a workplace where diversity is celebrated, and all voices are heard. MSD’s leadership is instrumental in paving the way for a more inclusive future, and I am honored to be part of this transformative journey,” shared Mel Siapno, Rainbow Alliance Lead, Philippines.

As businesses strive for success in a rapidly changing world, they must recognize the value of DE&I and take proactive measures to foster an inclusive and equitable workplace. By embracing diversity, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring equity, organizations can cultivate a thriving workforce that drives innovation, enhances employee well-being, and paves the way for a better future for all.