Bayer executive takes a different D&I approach in the United States
By Moses Frenck
For global companies, diversity and inclusion strategies in the United States may require a very American approach.
“The U.S. is the melting pot of the world with a unique history that in many instances requires a different approach to address issues of diversity and inclusion,” said Philip Blake, who is responsible for all U.S. activities of the worldwide Bayer Group (a 2016 DiversityInc 25 Noteworthy Company). “A one-size-fits-all approach is not applicable with regard to D&I.”
Over the course of his career, Blake has worked around the world, with numerous people and across functions. A native of England who holds Canadian citizenship, Blake has been with Bayer for more than three decades.
Blake has a unique perspective on the U.S. workplace, particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion, and he works at a company that gives country representatives flexibility to approach D&I differently.
“While Bayer’s global D&I framework focuses on gender and culture, the U.S. framework is much broader, focusing on gender, ethnicity, veterans, sexual orientation and individuals with disabilities,” he explained. “We also factor in EEO compliance and supplier diversity.”
The United States is also the only country where Bayer has D&I councils and employee resource groups (ERGs).
“[These] are vital partners in our efforts to cultivate a more inclusive environment, to increase employee engagement and to expand awareness of our D&I objectives,” he said. “We recognize [ERGs] create opportunities for employees to gain critical skills, contribute unique insights, break down organizational silos and become a part of a sustainable community that inspires loyalty to Bayer.”
Blake added that a U.S.-centric approach may not always be the case given the proven benefits of ERGs and their strong return on investment, which are resulting in targeted efforts to export elements of the U.S. company’s D&I strategy to other parts of Bayer around the globe.
“Diversity and inclusion is not just a program or series of events — it is an ongoing strategic process driven and supported by the company, myself and the rest of our executive leadership,” he said. “Our human capital is the most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, innovation, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but Bayer’s reputation and achievements as well.”
And it’s also about finding the best talent.
Diversity and inclusion, he noted, “are pivotal components to our overall U.S. talent management strategy, which strengthens our talent pipeline by providing opportunities for ALL our employees to develop, drive engagement and support our businesses more effectively.”