Diversity and inclusion: top priority at Lilly
“The skills and experience needed vary greatly,
but one thing that is important for all at Lilly is a passion
for making lives better,” says the chief diversity officer
Eli Lilly and Company has a long history of medical innovation in the treatment of infectious diseases, diabetes, depression and more. Its portfolio includes oncology and biomedicines; its emerging markets business unit works to deliver medicines to address unmet needs around the world.
“We employ a wide variety of engineering and IT professionals,” says Monique Hunt McWilliams, chief diversity officer. “The skills and experience needed vary greatly depending on the position, but one thing that is important for all at Lilly is a passion for making lives better.”
Seeking strong tech skills
Lilly has opportunities for computer scientists, systems analysts and chemical, computer, biotechnical and biomedical engineers. Important assets for job hopefuls are experience in usability engineering, industrial design, cost and statistical analysis, technical troubleshooting, and systems/software development and implementation. Medical device experience and database integration knowledge are also key.
“We are committed to identifying and attracting top diverse talent who can help the company achieve its mission,” says McWilliams. “We offer internships for engineering and IT students. We have relationships with many professional organizations and universities, and we attend several of their recruiting events throughout the year.”
Most internships are located in Indianapolis and last ten to twelve weeks, from May until September. Top performers are matched with projects based on business needs and students’ skills and interests.
Lilly recruits at many of the country’s top colleges and universities, and works actively with the Black Data Processing Associates, the National Black MBA Association, the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the Society of Hispanic Engineers.
Once on board
Lilly’s extensive training portfolio helps employees grow professionally and personally.
“Employees do forty hours of required training each year, and have access to additional learning and development programs,” says McWilliams. Employee development includes training programs that encourage a diverse, nondiscriminatory and respectful work environment, she adds. “These trainings are mandatory for new hires in the U.S., and supervisors are required to complete additional diversity training modules.”
Diversity initiatives engage the entire workforce
In recent years, Lilly has focused on increasing leadership accountability for developing diverse talent. Senior leaders’ performance objectives center on mentoring and career path planning for women and diverse employees globally.
“Our executive committee serves as our top diversity council, and our business units have their own teams and task forces,” McWilliams notes. Lilly offers ten employee-led resource groups (ERGs) with fifty-three regional affiliate groups globally. These groups connect people from diverse backgrounds and support Lilly’s business objectives.
“About 10,000 employees are members of or have participated in these organizations,” McWilliams says. “Regional affiliate groups include a European division of our LGBT ERG and women’s network chapters in countries around the world.”
Active ERG members gave approximately 11,600 hours in 2013 to help Lilly’s business internally, and devoted 7,000 hours to external activities, she adds.
Developing future leaders
“Our succession management process identifies individuals who we believe have the ability to lead at higher levels. We work to develop women and diverse employees for consideration for future openings in key positions,” McWilliams says. “These employees are given opportunities to grow in their leadership capabilities. Lilly also conducts leadership retreats globally for diverse employees.”
Lilly has a variety of mentoring programs. Some are companywide, while others operate within a particular business unit or ERG. “Our leadership retreats give diverse colleagues and leaders a chance to network across the company and gain a greater perspective of the business,” McWilliams points out. “The global women’s network, the largest of our ERGs, connects Lilly women with internal and external development opportunities.” The women’s network holds quarterly speaker events, mentoring programs, annual recognition events and other tailored initiatives in coordination with affiliate networks, she reports.
Other employee resource groups also sponsor career development and mentoring programs, she notes.
Supporting well-being and the community
Lilly locations offer a variety of amenities and services to help employees maintain work-life balance, such as on-site fitness centers, dry cleaners and credit unions. “We also offer part-time job shares and work schedules, teleworking, maternal and paternal leave, backup care for children and elderly dependents, an on-site summer camp, adoption assistance, latchkey/safe sitter programs, nursing mother stations and on-site health services,” McWilliams notes. Lilly’s domestic partner benefits include same-sex partners.
Lilly’s community outreach includes summer internships, tours and career days for public school students. Science Bound, a partnership among Purdue University, the Indianapolis public schools, and the Indianapolis business community, helps prepare low-income students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math areas. “Students are invited to join the program at the end of fifth grade,” McWilliams explains. “When they successfully complete the five-year program, they receive a four-year tuition scholarship to Purdue.”
Young Innovators Quest (YIQ) camp, which exposes participants to the process of drug development, is sponsored by the Lilly Foundation in collaboration with Lilly Research Laboratories and the Latino ERG. Approximately thirty high school students participated in the 2018 camp.
The company’s life science coach program assigns Lilly scientists to classroom teachers. The coaches help with experiments, talk about real-world science, and serve as role models for students. The program began with fifty coaches in 2011-2012 and now involves about 140.
Lilly takes advantage of uniqueness
“We strive for a workforce that matches the diverse populations we serve,” McWilliams says. “We believe the interests of our company are best served by a Lilly team that takes full advantage of the unique inputs, perspectives, talents and experiences of each and every person with whom we engage in our work.”
Eli Lilly and Company
manufacturing and research