Fostering diversity in the workplace and beyond: “We have to dedicate time and action to make change happen“
In North America, Sartorius’ diversity and inclusion program is well-underway. Mary Lavin, President North America, gives insights into what drives her and her team in making a change inside and outside of the organization and what milestones they have reached so far.
This article is posted on Sartorius Blog.
In the U.S., the year 2020 was marked by events that exposed the need for society to be more actively aware of underserved and underrepresented groups and to better understand and support them. "These events – be it the Black Lives Matter movement or for LGBTI, women's or transgender rights – have highlighted that it's not enough to care about diversity and inclusion in our workplace. We have to go beyond good intentions for social justice, we have to dedicate time and action to make change happen," says Mary Lavin, President, Sartorius Group North America.
Diversity as a strategic objective
Putting thought into action, Mary and her team set out to accelerate the pace of this change at Sartorius and in the communities where the company operates. “We wanted to actively address Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and make an impact with our activities from the very beginning. The decisive factor here was that we were able to build on a strong base: Diversity is, and has always been, a strategic objective and part of the culture lived at Sartorius.”
By embracing diversity, we achieve a key prerequisite for our success: openness. Exchanging perspectives leads to a better understanding of our customers and drives innovation. It is the basis for a positive, motivating and thriving working environment and - finally - it widens the company’s access to the best talent.
President Sartorius North America
Activities inside and outside the workplace
To further develop D&I inside the company and to attract and retain people, the team created a program around several long-term initiatives in North America, organized by a newly created D&I committee. Consisting of executives, managers, HR representatives and employees, the working group is designed to foster diversity in the workplace.
As a starting point for the broader workforce, in November 2020, the team launched an Unconscious Bias Awareness training. The purpose of the training was to encourage self-reflection of explicit and implicit bias. “Awareness is the first step to meaningful change," says Mary. “We're all born, and we grow, and we come with our own ideas, feelings, and experiences. It's important to make sure everybody is aware of unconscious bias and how it can influence a person's decision making." In the first round, the vast majority of employees in North America completed the program and earned a certificate of completion in Emtrain’s Inclusion and Belonging program.
Additionally, Sartorius is working with several agencies in the United States and in Puerto Rico to help employ more people with disabilities as well as veterans, and is reaching out to organizations focused on improving lives and outcomes for underrepresented communities. So far, the company has donated a total of 100,000 U.S. dollars to four organizations. In a next step, the team plans to directly engage with the institutions to support their missions beyond financial sponsorship.
A place to grow with equal opportunities
“There’s still more work to be done, but we remain committed to cultivating a workplace that champions diversity and inclusion. Sartorius is a place to grow - and we will keep on taking affirmative action to ensure equal opportunities for all. We believe a diversity of thoughts, experiences, and talents isn’t optional - it’s essential to our business”, Mary concludes.
Sartorius is an equal opportunity employer. We take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or other legally protected characteristics. View EOE posters at www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/posters.
Learn how Sartorius employees experienced the Unconscious Bias Training