Alnylam: Networking, Hiring and Compensation Efforts to Improve Diversity

Nov 11, 2017

By Karen Anderson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Alnylam

Over the last few years we have grown rapidly as a company, which also means we have had a chance to really look for ways to expand our diversity and inclusion goals. Diversity can mean many things – diversity of thought, the expansion of racial & ethnic group representation, the embracing of sexual preference and gender diversity, etc. As an active member of MassBio, we are particularly interested in the opportunity to build upon the extensive research and practical recommendation in the report on the persisting gender gap in life sciences commissioned by MassBio and Liftstream. These recommendations range from guiding principles for recruitment, to career mentoring, to sponsorship from senior leadership.

At Alnylam we look for ways to expand networks of women through leveraging associations such as WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology) and HBA ( Healthcare Women’s Business Association). Both of these important non-profit associations provide excellent opportunities to expand networks within the Biotech /Pharma industry and offer workshops designed specifically for women. The importance of networks is highlighted in the MassBio gender diversity report which indicates that women are often disadvantaged as they strive for senior level positions, and specifically Board positions, where the selection process is informal and via networks. With several female C suite leaders and Board members at Alnylam, we also look for opportunities to involve these leaders and directors in discussions with younger women and in group mentoring to share learnings and offer role models internally.

Also this year we have begun to build our commercial team. As identified in the MassBio/Liftstream report,  it is critical for our industry to have more women represented not only in functional leadership roles but also in operational leadership roles with P&L responsibility. At Alnylam we have committed to diversity and inclusion in our hiring slates which has resulted in women leaders in several recently filled key positions: our COO, our Head of Europe and now two out of three US Regional Business Directors, selected from approximately 200 submitted resumes. Visible gender, racial and ethnic diversity at senior levels not only makes sense as we find the best talent out of a fully represented talent pool but also enables us to provide additional senior level role models which can expand the attractiveness of Alnylam as an employer of choice when recruiting from a diverse talent pipeline.

Lastly as identified in the recent gender gap report, each organization needs to look proactively at trends within their organization to ensure unconscious bias is not forming disadvantages for women or other underrepresented groups. At Alnylam we look annually at our compensation practices, performance management ratings, and actions on recommended promotions to ensure fairness and equity and to reflect on any practices which may unintentionally create bias.

We are proud of our strong responses to striving for best practices in diversity and inclusion at Alnylam and appreciate the work MassBio is doing in identifying specific, actionable recommendations for employers to explore and adopt.

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