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September 21, 2016

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MSD celebrates 125 years of making a difference

AS a global healthcare company with a 125-year history of work­ing to make a difference, MSD is never shy of talking about inspiring its people to pursue excellence for the benefit of patients.

The pharmaceutical giant is always committed to hiring and developing the best people, who together understand the in­creasingly diverse demands of a global market. And these long-lasting efforts have already paid off.

In 2016, MSD was recognized as one of the Top 10 Best Em­ployers in China for the second consecutive year. It stood out among tough competition involving 108 Chinese and overseas companies from 11 industries and 192 Chinese cities.

A strong employer brand, active employee engagement, effective leadership and a high performance culture. With high scores in all these aspects, MSD never stops bringing together talented and committed people with diverse perspectives.

As other pharma conglomer­ates are stepping up efforts to lure professionals in China’s booming health care industry, the fight for talent is extremely fierce. Chris Round, president of MSD China, said the company has an unwavering commit­ment to ethics and integrity while developing innovative medications that save and im­prove lives.

“‘We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for profits..’ said by our founder George Merck, has be­come our core value,” Round said in an interview with Shanghai Daily. With this focus in mind, helping patents and saving lives is the key reason for MSD to stand out, and “we strive to develop and protect this reputation, which gives us an advantage over our counter­parts in the pharma industry,” Round added.

Having lived and worked in UK, Sweden, Norway, and USbefore moving to China last year, Round said that while core values stay the same, cultural differences are fascinating. Ac­tually, diversity is an integral part of MSD’s business practices as the company values and fos­ters diversity in its workforce.

MSD China is a relatively young team with a high pro­portion of the Y generation and millennials under the age of 30, giving a totally different dimension against some of the developed markets where most of the sales force has 15 to 20 years of experience.

“I’m impressed by the am­bition and the speed of local talents,” Round said. “The dynamism and the speed of de­velopment here is fascinating.”

MSD fully recognizes that employees are the key to its success. It’s well reflected in its commitment to attracting, recruiting, retaining and de­veloping the best-performing people in the local market.

“Nowadays competitive sal­ary and pension schemes have already become a standard, so we have to find new ways,” he said. “These will include cre­ating comprehensive training courses, talent identification and development programs, as well as providing flexible work­ing hours and environmentally friendly working space. We aim to help our employees develop and realize their potential.”

MSD China has developed a talent acceleration program by identifying individuals with strong potential to become managers. All these candidates have to complete rigorous as­sessment and training courses. “Now a pretty high proportion of our sales managers are promoted through this talent acceleration program. They’re not only familiar with our products but also understand well the corporate culture. That helps them develop our new sales teams,” Round said.

In order to beef up integration with its young employees, who have higher expectations for career development and training, MSD China has also adopted new media channels such as social networking sites for smoother communications. Round said his colleagues even created a cartoon character for himself in an innovative way to make messages delivered.

This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the estab­lishment of MSD. The company has held many internal and ex­ternal events in a bid to call for employees to devote themselves to volunteer projects that help patients. Round said that MSD hopes to leverage on its excel­lence in science with some critical breakthroughs in the disease areas of oncology and diabetes. That will help address unmet medical needs in China and support the government’s health care reforms.

“You cannot rest on the laurels and achievement of the past,” Round said. “It’s also important to remember how far we’ve come and the depth of experience we have as an organization when we move forward.”

When asked about his per­sonal management style, Round said he tends to rely on trust. “I’m reasonably hands-off but always ready to offer them sup­port,” Round said. “I prefer the leadership to work as a team because bringing multiple dis­ciplines together helps you get solutions much faster.”


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