A day out for inclusion and diversity

One of the great things about working at GSK is the variety of people I get to work with on a daily basis. People often think of big corporations as faceless—but when I think about it, it seems more like faces.

We’re a company of 100,000 or so employees in more than 100 countries, and each day I get to work with people from many places, with unique perspectives, opinions, outlooks, and experiences. This diversity—these many unique faces—drives our business and allows us to have an impact on the health of a wide variety of patients and healthcare consumers.

But diversity is only half of the equation. The other is inclusion. GSK defines inclusion as the act of engaging and valuing all people, and diversity as the sum total of the characteristics and experiences that make each person unique. Put simply, if diversity is about getting a mix, inclusion is about how to make the mix work.

We often have groups of employees organize themselves into groups formalized around an interest area that play a key role in creating an inclusive, resilient, performance-based work environment. These groups provide opportunities for professional growth for the individual, and provide new perspectives to the business.

I am delighted to be a member of one of these groups that aims to provide a supportive, nurturing forum for employees across the spectrum of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Specifically, the group provides support to GSK’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and straight ally employees, and works to increase the awareness and understanding of issues and concerns.

On Sunday October 13, my fellow employees and I from the Philadelphia areas participated in OutFest. This annual event attracts more than 30,000 people to the region for a street party for GLBT people and straight allies to embrace equality and showcase the many facets of the GLBT community.

Personally, I found this to be an excellent opportunity to highlight GSK’s approach to inclusion and diversity and our belief that an inclusive environment, where alternative perspectives are welcomed and encouraged, is critical to breakthrough thinking and high performing teams. We had a table set up and answered a lot of questions from people looking for career opportunities, and more about us as an organization.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to work in an environment where differing knowledge, perspectives, experiences and styles are genuinely sought, valued and drawn upon. If we are truly to be the best we can be, the challenge is to realize that the way each of us looks at the world is just one way of seeing things.