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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

AbbVie, MSD, Genentech and Takeda rank in the top 20 Best Workplaces in Healthcare & Biopharma

Health Industry Hub | April 13, 2021 |

Human Resources: AbbVie, MSD, Genentech and Takeda ranked in the top 20 list on the Fortune and Great Place to Work Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma for 2021.

The annual list recognises companies focused on creating great workplaces for all employees, and this year’s award focused on how organisations cared for their employees, supported their customers, and made a difference in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eighty six percent (86%) of employees at AbbVie say this is a great place to work.

“They care about our work-life balance. When something important of a personal nature comes up, leadership is supportive and encourages family-first,” one employee is quote saying.

“I am extremely proud to work for Takeda and feel that the management is always transparent, encouraging and supportive of employees,” commented an employee at Takeda. Eighty seven percent (87%) of employees at Takeda say this is a great place to work.

How have the Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma helped their people avoid burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic? Great Place to Work research points to three keys areas:

  • Preserve and reimagine jobs amid crisis
  • Make gathering employee feedback a ritual
  • Provide resources for employee well-being

1. Preserve and reimagine jobs amid crisis

One of the risk factors for burnout is minimal control over one’s job or schedule. The ultimate loss of control is losing one’s job altogether. And that was a risk and a reality in the healthcare industry last year. Although headlines blared about COVID cases overwhelming some hospitals, some workers in the industry were laid off, in part because hospitals suspended elective procedures during the pandemic.

To prevent employees from worrying about their jobs being cut, several Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma announced they would retain all staff members amid the crisis.

Pharmaceutical giant MSD, for example, promised its 70,000 employees across 120 companies a significant measure of job security, according to Celeste Warren, vice president of global diversity and head of MSD’s Inclusion Centre of Excellence.

“From a financial stability perspective, we started with a statement that we would avoid layoffs due to the pandemic, continue pay during quarantine or sickness and expand emergency COVID access to 401k accounts,” Celeste said.

 2. Make gathering employee feedback a ritual

Poor communication, especially with management, is another cause of burnout. The Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma took pains to communicate frequently with employees – and to make communication a two-way street with plenty of listening.

MSD conducted surveys and focus groups this past year to understand employees’ feelings, challenges and needs, Celeste noted.

In doing so, MSD took a wise step toward increasing employee trust and well-being. Overall, organisations that scored best on Great Place to Work’s rankings regularly gathered data on employees’ experience amid the pandemic using our Trust Index™ survey.

MSD’s efforts to take the pulse of its people paid off with insights.

“It quickly became clear that balancing work and family responsibilities, as well as maintaining physical, mental and financial health were the major issues,” added Celeste.

 3. Provide resources for employee well-being

According to the World Health OrganiSation, burnout reflects “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma stepped up efforts to help employees manage stress and improve well-being.

For its part, MSD moved onsite exercise and yoga classes online, offered daily mindfulness calls, ran campaigns focused on resilience and burnout, and offered global webcasts by world-class speakers on resilience, mental health and happiness. 

Other companies paid close attention over the past year to the strains on working parents, who have had to balance professional duties with extra caregiving amid closed schools and remote learning.


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