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What Led to Eli Lilly's Best Places to Work Win? One Word—Diversity

Posted by Amy Elisa Jackson

Last Updated February 21, 2018

At Glassdoor,  one of the most common questions we get from employers is, "How do I become a Best Place to Work?" The coveted award is a decade old and honors only the top 100 companies in the US (along with the UK, Canada, France, and Germany). Needless to say, the companies whose employees believe in their culture, values, and future are more than willing to contribute positive reviews and ratings on Glassdoor. After all, the Employees' Choice Award boils down to what the employees think, feel and experience day in and day out at work.

Earning a spot on the Best Places to Work list, however, isn't without hard work on the part of the employer as well. Creating an innovative and supportive culture, balancing the demands of the business with the rewards of compensation and benefits, and fostering growth are huge undertakings for any organization. For the global healthcare company, Eli Lilly, being voted a 2018 Best Place to Work (#52) was the reward they had been working toward for a while and had really doubled-down on last year.

"For the past few years, we’ve been exploring each employee’s journey, and we are expanding this in 2018. This helps us understand specific opportunities and challenges for various groups of employees," says Amy Green, Head of Global Recruiting and Staffing at Eli Lilly. "The employee journeys are helping us build a more diverse and inclusive workplace to fuel innovation and deliver the breakthrough medicines patients need."

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion year-round, Green holds, led to Eli Lilly's return to the Best Places awards' list. We caught up with Green to dig deeper into Lilly's company values, their investments in diversity and what they look for in candidates to help shape the future of healthcare.

Glassdoor: Congrats on your Best Places to Work win! How do you make this a great place to work day in and day out?

Amy Green: We try to ensure that we all behave and work in a way that reflects Lilly’s values: integrity, excellence and respect for people. We also keep diversity and inclusion in the forefront of everything we do. People need to feel that they are valued because of their unique perspectives. My group really enjoys working together as a team, and we have fun along the way.

Glassdoor: What internal changes have you made that you feel contributed to your Best Places to Work win? How did you initiate those changes?

Amy Green: I would point to two areas: diversity and inclusion and our facilities.

Diversity and inclusion are business imperatives at Lilly. We must recruit, retain and develop the best people and ensure that our employees come to work willing and able to give their best. We need competing perspectives to drive innovation and creativity. We must better understand our changing and rapidly diversifying healthcare marketplace, and first-hand experience is the best place to start.

We have also invested in modernizing our facilities. Here in Indianapolis, we have onsite fitness and daycare centers and services such as dry cleaning. We also have internal leagues and clubs for virtually every interest from photography to basketball, environmental sustainability to cycling.

Employee resource groups are another success story. On the corporate level, there are 11 of these groups—for ethnic groups, women, the LGBT community, veterans, early-career professionals and individuals working and living with disabilities—and more than 75 chapters at Lilly locations around the world. These groups offer strong support networks and help us develop talented individuals for future leadership roles at Lilly.

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Glassdoor: What do you do to foster employee trust and engagement?

Amy Green: For me personally, I start with the assumption that employees can trust me and I can trust them, until proven otherwise. I also think humility goes a long way toward trust and fostering engagement.

Glassdoor: How do you screen candidates to ensure that they will be engaged and thrive within your culture?

Amy Green: We look for people who have grit and determination to persevere with teamwork when things get tough. We need people who can work with speed, agility, and an eye to continually improve.  

Glassdoor: How do you help build a great company culture?

Amy Green: Lilly is constantly transforming to continually strengthen our company culture. From an HR perspective, that means ensuring that people can be themselves in the workplace—to bring their diverse and individual perspectives and be empowered to do their very best work. There’s nothing more rewarding than having the autonomy to do meaningful work for the patients around the world who need our medicines—and being recognized for your accomplishments.

Glassdoor: Good leadership is not just one person. How do you work with your management teams to make sure employees have great leadership here?

Amy Green: Mutual accountability. We all need to recognize that we will be held accountable for demonstrating strong, inclusive leadership.

Glassdoor: What is the best part about working at Lilly?

Amy Green: Our mission—making medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives—is very rewarding. I also can manage a very successful career at Lilly and a very successful life outside of work. Work-life balance is an expectation.

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Glassdoor: What do you look for in informed candidates?

Amy Green: From a recruiting perspective, it’s helpful when people understand we are a Midwest pharma company. Candidates should do their research and know a little about our products and what we are trying to achieve on behalf of patients.

Glassdoor: What makes someone a great fit for Lilly?

Amy Green: In addition to some of the characteristics I mentioned earlier, like grit, determination, teamwork, speed and agility, I would add thinking broadly.

Glassdoor: What interview questions do you ask to ensure your company recruits great employees? What makes your company’s recruiting techniques different?

Amy Green: It depends on the role. Our work is very complex, so there is a place for people with many different kinds of skills and career goals. Interview questions are tailored very specifically to each area and position. A great scientist has very different attributes than a great marketer or a great financial analyst or high-tech manufacturing engineer. At the core, we need to ensure we work effectively as one team.

Generally, we ask candidates for examples of times in their careers when they demonstrated behaviors like and determination and perseverance.

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Glassdoor: What keeps you at the company for the long haul? What advice would you give to companies focused on retention?

Amy Green: I enjoy working with Lilly people. They are really intelligent individuals who are all working toward the same mission. I also get to solve a problem every day—some big, some small—and help my team solve problems daily.

As for retention, companies should realize that their people are their biggest assets and invest time and money in their employees.

Glassdoor: Healthcare is booming. It is projected to hire more people than any other industry in 2018. What should job seekers understand about the future of healthcare and pharmaceuticals? What trends are you seeing that you think are important for job seekers and candidates to appreciate?

Amy Green: Everyone should appreciate the complexity of the healthcare industry. There are a lot of stakeholders and key players, and there is also a lot of change going on in the industry. For that reason, it’s critical that people are flexible in their thinking. We will experience continuous change for the foreseeable future.

Learn more about Eli Lilly by visiting their Glassdoor profile & checking out their open jobs!

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