3 Fostering an inclusive and diverse organization

3 Fostering an inclusive and diverse organization

Our patients are diverse, as are the communities in which we operate. While historically we have relied heavily on expertise within the pharmaceutical industry, we acknowledge it is important to challenge our assumptions, by including different perspectives to broaden our cross-functional leadership and cultural experiences.

At UCB, diversity is defined as the collective richness of people’s unique backgrounds, life and cultural experiences and the diversity of thought this brings. Inclusion is respecting individual differences and capturing the advantages they provide. An inclusive culture at UCB involves the full and successful integration of everyone.

Throughout the year UCB has been further strengthening its diversity and inclusion (D&I) ambition in multiple ways:

  • In 2018, the Talent and Company Reputation department outlined a training initiative to mitigate unconscious bias in our decision making, especially in relation to our recruitment, retention and promotion. In 2019 the model has been further deployed in individual departments and teams prior to key moments such as talent organizational review and other key discussions. A blended learning journey on unconscious bias and inclusive habits has been initiated with a focus on team dynamics and will be further cascaded into the organization,
  • The Talent and Company Reputation department has committed to ensuring a solid diversity and inclusion footprint in all talent processes; from talent acquisition to talent management and reward management. In 2019, major advancements have been made in the talent acquisition process. This review of key talent processes will continue in 2020 and will lead to the implementation of mitigation strategies that will enable greater diversity and inclusion along all talent processes and
  • UCB monitors and implements measures to promote gender diversity at all levels. Whereas UCB has a 50/50 balance between men and women within the organization, efforts to advance career opportunities for women at the executive level are being emphasized. This has resulted in an increase in the representation of women at executive level from 22% in 2012, to 33% in 2019. We remain committed to ensuring equal opportunity for the positions offered.
Employee Group by Gender
Employee Group by Gender (graphic)

In countries with staff above 150 people, i.e., China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S., 85% of the leadership teams are from within the country (last year was 70%) and the split between women and men is 43% and 57% respectively.1

UCB also recognize the risks related to harassment and discrimination amongst its employees. While consistently working toward an inclusive and respectful culture towards all, UCB promotes employee to speak up if facing any form of harassment or discrimination. In 2019, UCB received 18 internal complaints related to harassment of employees. Each complaint had been investigated, out of which four have been substantiated and one is ongoing. Substantiated complaints led to disciplinary measures including one termination of incriminated employee.

Supporting employee groups to be heard

Through its support to Employee Resources Groups (ERG), UCB provides space for employee-led group to address specific gender, age, minority-related topics and secure optimal diversity and inclusion in UCB’s workforce.

At UCB, we recognize diversity and inclusion as a foundational enabler of the UCB Patient Value Strategy, but that is not enough. Each individual employee needs to be intentional, vigilant, and actionable with respect to D&I, week by week, and minute by minute. We need to use diversity and inclusion as a filter to how we think, behave, act and respond. Failing to remain vigilant is not an option and will prevent us from achieving our ambition for patients.

Duane, UCB

During 2019, UCB’s Women in Leadership (WIL) program progressed its mission of driving transformational experiences empowering each woman to realize her life’s goal and amplifying UCB’s impact on society. One example was convening a meeting of the core team to refine our objectives and deliverables in order to deliver on the mission. This meeting was held in connection with UCB’s strategic sponsorship of the Women Deliver 2019 conference, one of the world’s largest conference on gender equality. UCB now has local WIL affiliate groups in Belgium, Brazil, China, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.; all synchronizing their efforts to support WIL Global ambition and objectives

Justyna, UCB (portrait)

Amazing individuals with different backgrounds or experiences but having one common goal – creating an impact for UCB.

Justyna, UCB

The Youngsters community is a group of enthusiastic and engaged colleagues that host activities to share their experiences and create networking opportunities inside the organization. For example, they host lunch and learn sessions with senior leaders. In 2019 an exciting project – the Mentoring up program – was developed by this group with the objective of establishing a dialogue between generations and across the organization on specific topics from digital mindset to new ways of working in a connected world.

Detlef Thielgen, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Corporate Development (portrait)

Our Youngsters are a great source of fresh ideas and diverse thinking. In addition, we can learn from them to naturally use technology and to collaborate virtually and in person in an inclusive way.

Detlef Thielgen, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial
Officer & Corporate Development

The LGBTQ+ network is a newly-formed group which aims to contribute towards an open, inclusive and safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community and allies in UCB, where everyone feels equal and valued regardless of their sexual orientation and gender expression. In 2019, for the first time, UCB joined the Proud Science Alliance (PSA), a collective of healthcare and life science sector LGBTQ+ networks in the U.K., at the Pride parade in London through the impulse of the network.

To help form an inclusive environment and support the D&I initiatives at local level, councils have been created under the sponsorships of senior leaders from diverse business areas. This year, there has been a particularly strong focus on D&I in the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland. An inclusion study was performed in 2019 by a specialized consultancy in the U.K. and Ireland. This ground zero assessment of inclusion at UCB can be used to identify and inform local D&I strategy moving forward.

Creating a culture of inclusiveness is really important. UCB aspires to offer an environment for all our people to grow and express their full potential while living the life they want. It’s important that people feel they can come to work and be their authentic selves.

Michele, UCB

To learn more regarding people diversity in UCB visit the People data section.

1 Scope of reporting: The calculation for leaders who are from within the country excludes the leadership team based in U.S. as according to local regulations this sort of data cannot be stored. The U.S. leadership team is considered for the leadership gender balance calculation.