How One Site Director Focuses on Inclusive Hiring

Publish Date

15 AUG 2023


For Danyal Kennedy, Site Director at our Manufacturing site in Danvers, MA, inclusive hiring is not just a must-have for the workplace but fundamental to building and promoting a culture of belonging at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In your experience what has been your key to success when it comes to hiring diverse candidates?

For us in Danvers, success comes from building relationships and showing our leadership’s commitment to the topic. This includes making ourselves known at local technical schools and colleges and speaking to the students about Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. It’s also about considering our unique population and offering incentives for them to refer friends and family to join our site—we have promoted this by creating physical job boards our internal operators can visit during breaks since they cannot easily access the intranet.

We have also made it a point to have our diverse leadership attend recruiting events, which allows future talent to see themselves represented in our current leaders. Do you have a particular example where your efforts led you to hire a diverse candidate?

Last year our Head of EHS at the Danvers Site left. I saw this as an opportunity to do an inclusive talent search for this role. In partnership with our DEI team, we came up with a different type of recruiting campaign. Instead of heavily promoting the role description we focused on the work environment and the team this person would be joining. Our materials featured images of some of our site activities like our Thanksgiving luncheon, engagement days, and more.

Having gone through the hiring process before, this approach was really new for me, because it wasn’t just a campaign about the job but rather a portfolio of who we are and what we’re doing. We launched the search on LinkedIn in December. During this time, the DEI team sought out additional diverse LinkedIn candidates that did not directly apply to the role. I would quickly look at their online profiles, determine whether they were a fit or not, and then recruiting would move forward with setting up the interviews. This collaboration was so successful and efficient that we ended up filling the position with a diverse candidate by February.

How do you ensure there is a sense of belonging for new and existing talent at the Danvers site?

Our goal is to create a culture where belonging and respect exist at all levels. For us, this is about bringing in talent that already has an open and inclusive mindset. It is also about having an environment where we show our support of different ethnicities, religions, and holidays. For example, we created a site culture board where we celebrate holidays for all cultures, we even get the cafeteria involved and offer diverse food options. There is also a site prayer room providing a quiet space for those employees that frequently pray.

My leaders and I are also proactive about attending DEI-specific trainings alongside employees, showing up demonstrates our commitment and belief in DEI to the team.

What advice would you give other leaders on inclusive hiring?

It is important to prepare supervisors and managers who are taking part in the hiring process. Aside from having them participate in the companie's Inclusive Leadership Workshop, as a Site Head I also challenge my supervisors to have a diverse pool of candidates before engaging in interviews. And when we’re not actively hiring, I encourage my leaders to look at the current demographics of their team and think about how they would want to make it more diverse from a skill, age, gender, etc. perspective in the future. Afterall, diversity creates a creative and innovative environment and has been a huge contributor to Danvers successful, exponential growth.

Danyal Kennedy represents how we can all Act as Owners. By rethinking inclusive hiring at the Danvers site, Danyal demonstrates how we can all act on an opportunity to be leaders and to take accountability for creating a culture of belonging and inclusivity.