3 ways we support the LGBTQ+ community
How we stand by our commitment to allyship both within our company and in the world at large
May 11, 2023
At Merck, our commitment to equality goes beyond the month of June.
While there has been great progress when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, there’s still work to be done — and we’re proud to play a role in achieving those goals. Merck has a longstanding tradition of supporting the LGBTQ+ community in our company and beyond. Here are just a few of the ways we stand by our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace:
Offering inclusive benefits
We strive for a diverse and inclusive environment, and that means providing a safe and welcoming space for all of our colleagues. It’s more important than ever that we remain committed to creating an environment of belonging, equity and empowerment in the workplace.
In 2018, we implemented our “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Employee Inclusion in the Workplace Policy” in the U.S. to educate our colleagues and ensure that our transgender and gender non-conforming employees feel safe, protected and welcome. In addition, we’ve made significant enhancements to our transgender-inclusive benefits. In the U.S., our medical plan offers a full range of transgender-related coverage. We also offer an adoption/surrogacy reimbursement program for employees who want to expand their families through adoption or a third-party surrogate.
Globally, transgender health coverage varies by country and is often limited due to local law or the local health care system. However, we continue to support and encourage our employees globally to elevate their voices and support efforts to effect change wherever possible.
How we do business
Our company has consistently scored 100 percent and has been named “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, the foremost benchmarking survey measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality. By cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce, we promote the discovery of the broadest range of possible medical solutions to address the needs of patients.
That also extends to whom we do business with outside of our organization. Supplier diversity is integrated into our company’s vision, creating a competitive business advantage and driving shareholder value.
“Diversity is critical for innovation and scientific excellence, as well as for better decision-making and cultural agility,” says Susanna Webber, SVP and chief procurement officer. “Putting people first is firmly embedded into the core values of our company, and that is clearly reflected in our business strategy and procurement processes.”
Our goals go beyond how much we spend with small and diverse-owned businesses. We also expect our suppliers to share our same focus on diversity and inclusion, and, in this way, we help to drive diversity and inclusion on a broader, and even more global scale.
“I did my research before I joined our company and saw that Merck openly and visibly supports the LGBTQ+ community,” says Donna Dvorak, product manager for change realization and communications. “I had a strong feeling that I would be welcome and comfortable here, and I was right!”
A unique approach to employee outreach
Many companies offer resource groups for employees, but we go a step further. We’ve taken a pioneering and global approach to our diversity strategy through the creation of Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), including the Rainbow Alliance.
With more than 3,500 members across 32 chapters around the globe, the Rainbow Alliance works to inspire and grow an inclusive workplace culture that supports a vibrant network of LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies through talent recruiting and development, community outreach and business integration.
“I feel proud to know that the Rainbow Alliance is having an impact on our colleagues,” says Dvorak, who is part of the leadership team for the Rainbow Alliance in the Czech Republic. “We’re opening eyes and gaining allies.”