MSD is deeply committed to fostering an inclusive environment that embraces and values varied skills, experiences, backgrounds, and cultural perspectives. MSD has a long-standing commitment to creating an organisation that is diverse and a culture that is inclusive and socially responsible.
Diversity and inclusion are not just words – they are the reason we are able to deliver on our promise to invent for life. We foster a diverse workforce where employees feel comfortable bringing their unique perspectives and their whole self to work. This includes families of all shapes and sizes.
But diversity is only half of the story; inclusion is just as important. Inclusion means a sense of belonging. When our employees know they are crucial to our mission, not only will they thrive, but our company will, too.
That’s why we’re committed to continually evolving our approach to being a family friendly workplace, where everyone can thrive and feel supported.
Well before the pandemic, MSD has been working to embed flexibility into our culture. We have long recognised that flexibility is unique to each person and that their needs around flexibility change over time – throughout their life stages and career.
We see the best way to offer flexibility is to make it mainstream, and unique to each person. Our aim is to continually mainstream flexibility, whether it be through storytelling, our hybrid working approach or our flexible work options.
Flexible work options include purchased annual leave, flexible and caregiver status neutral Parental Leave, compressed work weeks/fortnights, job-share, 40 hours paid volunteering leave, 3 additional leave days plus a company leave day, and more. We also recognise extended leave is required for some key moments in the lives of the people at MSD – whether it be for gender affirmation, undergoing cancer treatment, caring for a family member, or personal reasons.
There is a sense of pride in this culture, and a heightened recognition of each person as a unique individual with their own desire and needs, which goes a long way to creating a sense of belonging.
Over the years as flexibility has become increasingly embedded in our culture, we’ve seen the dividends for individual wellbeing and engagement for our people. We are heartened to know 91% of our people strongly agree they have the flexibility they need to work and undertake other commitments.
We have seen increased engagement for our people, increased retention, being able to attract the best talent; including ensuring previously untapped talent tool are represented in our workforce, making us more attuned to the needs of our patients. We know we are stronger when we are more diverse.
In 2019, Jo and her husband bought a farm in the Riverina next door to her in-laws. The long-term plan was to move there and run it with their family. However, this happened sooner than expected – they spent a wonderful Christmas there that year with their children, and quickly decided it was where they wanted to be as a family. They would for the first time have extended family support and could achieve Jo’s husband’s dream of being a farmer.
After returning from the break in January 2020, Jo explained to her manager their plans to move mid-year. She offered to either resign or to take a downwards move to become a member of the team she managed as she saw these as the only realistic options. Jo felt that her management role would remain office based in Sydney, and already having a part-time arrangement in place, wasn’t sure if the response to this additional level of flexibility would be possible whilst maintaining the manager role. However, after some consultation and discussion, Jo’s request was met with her manager Gary, offering to trial a remote working flexible work arrangement in her current role, to see how it would work for them both, the team and their internal stakeholders.
Shortly after she relocated, the pandemic commenced, and all MSD knowledge workers began to work remotely overnight. Jo has been supported by the business to help with hybrid and remote working with additional training, technology and equipment which help her to connect to her other team members in Sydney and Auckland, and her peers.
Working remotely has enhanced Jo’s personal life in a multitude of ways. Having family support, living in the country, seeing her children interact with the animals and growing their own produce, her husband is fulfilling his dream.
Meanwhile, Jo is progressing and enriching her own career and development, and also achieving the top performers award in 2021. Jo says ‘I feel that this is something that was possible because of my home arrangements which have enabled my at-work achievements.’
“Being open minded to trial this new way of working meant I could both continue to employ a strong contributor to my team as well as begin to explore the possibilities of how the role could evolve from a fully office-based role in 2019. Once COVID hit this confirmed that the arrangement was successful with the right communication, IT infrastructure and support in place” – Gary, Jo’s Manager