Family portrait of BMS employees, Heather and Ryan Fischer, with their young daughters Colette and Adelaide

BMS employees, Heather and Ryan Fischer and daughters Colette and Adelaide.

Addressing the Needs of Our Current and Future Workforce

April 06, 2021

Building a culture of inclusion starts with a full understanding of our workforce and the needs in both their professional and personal lives. Serving as a voice of our people, our PBRGs have had a significant influence in partnering with our human resources (HR) teams to shape benefits and work life offerings that address the professional and personal responsibilities our workforce shares. In the last two years, our PBRGs have worked in tandem with HR to foster a more desirable culture that allows every employee to contribute in a unique and meaningful way.

Expanding Flexible Work and Parental and Family Care Paid Leave Based on Unique Family Needs

In a study conducted in partnership with the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW) PBRG, HR found that paid family leave did not adequately meet the needs of our changing workforce and fell short of competitive benchmarks. Working in collaboration with B-NOW, we initially expanded our U.S. paid family care leave policy in January 2018, providing eight weeks of parental leave for U.S. employees and actively encouraging the use and broadening the availability of flexible work. In 2020, B-NOW and HR leadership collaborated to revise our parental leave policy effective January 1, 2021 to provide for 12 weeks of paid and 16 weeks of unpaid leave, regardless of parental gender. Offering paid parental leave to both mothers and fathers, including through adoption and fostering, as well as birth parents, is one example of changing cultural expectations and encouraging employees to bring their full authentic selves to work. On average, men were more likely to take advantage of paid parental leave. In totality, these efforts are in place to create a workplace where working parents, regardless of gender, can thrive in their personal and professional roles. Also, by providing eight weeks of paid family-care leave, we allow employees to take necessary time off to care for a family member with a serious disease.

In partnership with our Veterans Community Network (VCN), Bristol Myers Squibb improved its U.S. Military Leave Plan in 2020, enhancing our offerings for employees serving their country.
Portrait of smiling male US ARMY soldier in uniform

Similarly, in partnership with our Veterans Community Network (VCN), Bristol Myers Squibb improved its U.S. Military Leave Plan in 2020, enhancing our offerings for employees serving their country. This plan addresses the unique needs arising from a family member’s military service deployment. Under this policy, Bristol Myers Squibb offers full pay for 24 months, eligible upon hire, for full- and part-time U.S. and Puerto Rico employees engaged in uniformed services. Additionally, a new paid two-week readjustment period introduced in 2021 covers the time between the conclusion of the employee’s military service and his or her return to work, along with enhanced Employee Assistance Program services.

“The Veterans Community Network gives employees a voice,” says J.J. Wilson, Senior Territory Business Manager, Specialty Retail Sales Cardiovascular. “These actions speak louder than words, and this policy will give my family the opportunity to continue my service without risk of comprising my ability to continue my career with Bristol Myers Squibb and provide the best service to my customers and their patients.”

Ensuring all Employees Can Show Up as Their Authentic Selves

Among its priorities, the PRIDE Alliance worked with our HR team to build a culture that empowers LGBTQ+ inclusion and engagement. Since the mid 1990s, Bristol Myers Squibb has offered same-sex domestic partner health benefits. In 2018, Bristol Myers Squibb expanded its benefits offering to the LGBTQ+ community and implemented Trans Inclusive Guidelines in the U.S. that help colleagues and teams navigate the transition process, and offers gender-affirming healthcare in our benefits offerings. In 2020, we expanded the guidelines to include Canada and, beginning in 2021, we will deploy our global inclusive benefits strategy in more of our markets.

Other PBRG Intiatives

Supporting Communities Impacted by Hurricane Iota

When category 5 Hurricane Iota flooded the city of Cartagena, Colombia in November 2020, it displaced more than 150,000 people and decimated the three islands that comprise the San Andrés Archipelago off its coast. Our Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA) and Differently-Abled Workforce Network (DAWN) PBRGs came together with the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and our Colombia leadership team to partner with the World Institute on Disability to ensure that individuals with disabilities, a community often overlooked in disaster situations, would receive the support they need.

Through Bristol Myers Squibb’s Employee Giving Program, employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico were able to take advantage of a 2-to-1 match to show support for those who were among the hardest hit by the hurricane.

Protecting the Rights of All Employees

Switzerland has long trailed behind most of its neighbors in LGBTQ+ rights, ranking 27 out of 49 European countries in the 2019 report of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. So when a referendum was offered to expand protections against discrimination based on race, ethnicity and religion to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, our PRIDE Alliance chapter in Switzerland lent its support.

PRIDE members engaged with our workforce in Switzerland on LGBTQ+ issues, educating and helping colleagues understand the impact of discrimination on the community. It also encouraged colleagues to exercise their right to vote on the issue.

Much to the delight of those who engaged with colleagues around the referendum, it passed in February 2021 with 63.1% of the vote. Our PBRG’s involvement was a reflection of its commitment to the cause as well as to bringing our company values to life in a real and meaningful way. “In addition to supporting our internal colleagues and the patients we serve, PRIDE Alliance and all the PBRGs at Bristol Myers Squibb continuously look for ways to support the communities in which we and our patients live and work,” said Paul Shay, Global Lead for the PRIDE Alliance PBRG.