As part of Celebrate Diversity Month, Tamika Jean-Baptiste, Amgen’s executive director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, shares why it’s even more important for companies to create a sense of belonging in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How is Amgen recognizing Celebrate Diversity Month this April?
We’re committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging (DI&B) all year long, but having a special month to celebrate the power of diversity is certainly a force for good, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented time reinforces the need to reflect on the importance of belonging, staying connected and showing empathy. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) had a lot of activities planned for the month, and we’ve had to rethink them based on the social distancing guidelines. But it has been so inspirational to see these teams embrace a diverse mindset and approach, while demonstrating that we’re all in this situation together.
How do you describe Amgen’s commitment to DI&B?
DI&B is not only a strategic priority for the business, it’s also just the right thing to do. We’re committed to celebrating differences, empowering diverse ideas and welcoming unique perspectives to help us create a better work environment that drives innovation for our patients.
It’s so important that we reflect the populations we serve. Diversity is just one of many factors that should be considered when recruiting and referring top talent to the organization.
We also need to ensure that we’re creating an inclusive culture that provides professional development opportunities for our current staff through mentoring and other programs. We’re currently reinvigorating our platforms to share DI&B tools, resources and learning experiences that help leaders lead inclusive teams and create a greater sense of belonging. I see it as a journey—there is more to do, but we are on the right path.
How are Amgen staff getting involved in diversity initiatives across the organization?
We believe that it’s everyone’s role to promote—and live—diversity, inclusion and belonging. Amgen has nine Employee Resource Groups (ERG), organized around primary diversity attributes, that promote staff development, professional growth and inspiration. Each has an executive sponsor and provides opportunities for staff the get involved through networking, community events and other activities.
But our staff don’t have to be part of an ERG to foster an inclusive culture. We’re also staying connected to one another through web apps like Yammer, Skype and WebEx to create connectivity and a sense of belonging during this difficult time. We all have a role to play in creating an environment where every staff member feels valued, safe and empowered.