Fostering an Inclusive Environment


Diversity and inclusion are essential to every aspect of our strategy including our ability to innovate, execute, adapt and grow. We launched a new Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy where we strove to look at it much more holistically than in the past. We were challenging ourselves to look beyond the numbers and leverage D&I as a strategic, competitive advantage. In recent years, it became apparent that the unconscious bias in some areas of our leadership could be hindering our ability to innovate and grow. It was time to bring in the right tools and resources available to mitigate that risk. 


In 2014, Merck and MSD introduced Unconscious Bias Education (UBE) to senior leaders across the globe. We focused on those leaders who could impact and influence large numbers of employees. By 2015, our research and manufacturing divisions introduced a facilitated training program for unconscious bias At the end of these first two years, we realized we needed to make this type of training more available, easy to scale up or scale down, and purposefully integrate it into the flow of our critical business decisions, particularly talent management and acquisition.

In 2016, we launched ‘just-in-time’ resources offering people managers the tools and training to improve awareness, facilitate dialogue and identify ways to mitigate the risk of unconscious bias during critical talent decisions. In early 2017, we launched new UBE content which is embedded into our talent practices, e.g. talent reviews, succession planning, performance management and recruitment. 


The initial training at the senior levels of the organization garnered immediate awareness and heightened sensitivities around unconscious bias and its impact on decision making of these leaders. It resulted in increased diversity representation of women globally at Merck and MSD and enabled us to put metrics in place to track our progress on women globally and under-represented ethnic groups in the US. Over the course of the last 3 years, Merck and MSD has begun to look at diversity & inclusion more holistically as a major enabler in creating a competitive advantage. 

We chartered 4 diversity “ambassador” teams: The Employee Resource Business Group (EBRG) Executive Leadership Council, the GD&I Business Consortium, the GD&I Extended HR Leadership Team and the Disability Inclusion Strategy Council.  Each is responsible for specific strategies and directives to enable Merck’s global diversity and inclusion strategy.  

We have made progress in our business objectives. Two examples are in our supplier diversity and US Clinical Operations areas.  We have also added metrics around our partnerships with diverse (female and persons of color owned) suppliers. In 2017 we were named to the Billion Dollar Roundtable for the first time in Merck’s history. We have set goals to ensure appropriate diversity representation of patients going through our clinical trials in the US for relevant areas.


Celeste Warren
[email protected]

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