Newday Portfolio Diversity & Inclusion: Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly)—a pharmaceutical company in our Animal Welfare portfolio—is helping to solve the United States’ two global crises: As Lilly tests COVID-19 antibody treatments and provides financial relief for vulnerable patients, the company continues to stand out as a longstanding global leader in corporate diversity and inclusion.
Lilly pledged $25 million to fund solutions for racial inequity and social injustice, focusing in Indianapolis—its headquarters city of 144 years—but also planning to fund programs in outward counties and the nation. They additionally pledged 25,000 employee volunteer hours over 5 years to support cultural understanding and equity within and outside of the company. In conjunction with these concrete commitments, the company hosted an Internal Lilly Day of Solidarity followed by a community-wide Indy Day of Solidarity with a viewable virtual event.
Lilly’s allegiance with racial equity isn’t new despite trending reactions by businesses across the United States. Lilly ranks No. 3 on Diversity Inc.'s Top 50 Companies for Diversity in 2020, which is calculated upon hundreds of data points on a company’s systems, processes, and people metrics. Their high-rank follows years of iteration and goal-setting, first hitting the list in 2011 at No. 39 and climbing to No.16 in 2017, to No.6 in 2018, and to No.5 in 2019.
Metric-based solutions strengthen the efficacy of its internal training programs, according to Lilly’s Chief Diversity Officer, Joy Fitzgerald. Representation goals are measured on a quarterly basis and yearly goals are set.
Taking a process Lilly uses to better understand what patients experience when ill and adapting it to understand women’s experiences at the company increased the number of women in leadership positions. Over 400 women participated in the program. Between 2015 to 2017, women of color at the senior director level increased from 6% to 11% in their U.S. workforce. Between December 2016 to August 2019, women in management rose to 44% from 38% and women reporting to the CEO rose to 38% from 29%.
But it’s not all data analysis and quotas at the pharmaceutical company: Storytelling and peer-support are integral to fostering psychological safety at the company. In one research program called “Employee Journeys”, improved solutions arose from listening to the lived, individual experiences of employees over mass problem-solving for nuanced identities.
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