Responsibility

Celebrating Merck’s Diversity & Inclusion Experience Month

How we're leaning into the voices, perspectives and experiences that strengthen our purpose

August 28, 2020

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In January 2015, Celeste Warren, vice president and chief diversity officer, suggested during a team meeting that we need to celebrate the diversity of our employees and provide them with time to pause, learn and reflect. Energized, the team realized that a day — or even a week — would not be impactful enough. Celeste took in the perspectives of the team and said, “Let’s take the month,” and Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) Experience Month was born.

“Let’s take the month,” and Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) Experience Month was born.

Five Years and Counting

September 2020 marks our fifth GD&I Experience Month, and we are proud to dedicate a full month to fostering meaningful discussions and learning around diversity and inclusion while pausing to reflect and celebrate all the wonderful D&I-focused work being done throughout the year.

Employees outside
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Look how much we’ve grown and experienced since our first GD&I Experience Month

  • In 2019, employees in 68 countries tuned in to our kick-off event, which included 25 global watch parties
  • We’ve seen a 40% increase in membership in our 10 Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), with new chapters being added across the globe
  • We introduced a new process to monitor the company’s progress in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment
  • We developed an integrated disability inclusion strategy to ensure that persons with disabilities within the organization would be able to be productive and contribute to our mission of saving and improving lives

Engage, empower, elevate

We are proud of our impact and progress, but there is more work to be done — now more than ever. It is time to accelerate our efforts so that we can create the most inclusive workplace possible — where all voices feel heard and valued and where everyone has the ability to contribute their best. This year’s GD&I Experience Month theme — “Engage in the Work of D&I, Empower to Drive Change, Elevate Others to Unite” — will help us further contribute to the transformative culture of belonging that we are building.

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“We continue to deepen our commitment to making GD&I Experience Month an opportunity for our employees to grow, develop and thrive."

Celeste

“When every single employee embraces a mindset welcoming diversity and inclusion and can fully appreciate the experiences of others, better discussions, decisions and outcomes will certainly follow,” says Celeste.

More than just a month: Celebrating diversity & inclusion beyond September

While 2020’s GD&I Experience Month will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees can still expect plenty of engagement, including opportunities to explore concepts like allyship, learn more about goals and initiatives, participate in training programs and seminars, and hear from dynamic guest speakers.

September is a time for reflection, exploration and engagement, and that spirit can carry through year-round.

Making time to celebrate what makes us unique and continuing to break down barriers has propelled us to think bigger and accomplish more. Building and enriching our diverse and inclusive environment involves everyone. When we open our minds and hearts to new voices, new experiences and new attitudes, we have the power to be allies and role models in addition to being better colleagues and citizens.