Inclusive Hiring for a More Equitable Future

Genentech designed and implemented its Inclusive Hiring Certification—a multi-pronged and interactive program to help team members consistently and effectively conduct equitable and inclusive candidate selection processes.

Diversity in the scientific and medical workforce can save lives. In our industry, building teams that reflect the diversity of the patients we serve is linked to greater access to care and ultimately better health outcomes for communities of color and historically underserved groups.

Unfortunately, the industry isn’t keeping pace with the growing diversification of the country. Despite representing approximately 33 percent of the U.S population, Black and Hispanic/Latinx representation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce stands at less than 25 percent.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility as an industry to close this gap. And that starts with removing inequitable barriers to STEM careers, including bias in the hiring process.

As companies continue to democratize the hiring process, they often take action to empower and resource employees of all levels to have a voice. Through that process, we need to be mindful that every individual brings biases into hiring that can disproportionately harm candidates and even expose an organization to legal risk in the face of inadequate training, preparation, and support.

At Genentech, we believe change doesn’t just happen, it must be created. To address these risks and unintended consequences, we designed and implemented the Inclusive Hiring Certification—a trailblazing, multi-pronged and interactive program, created for us and by us, to help our team members consistently and effectively conduct equitable and inclusive candidate selection processes.

Building a Tailored Program

In order to fulfill our commitments to double Black and Hispanic/Latinx representation and close the Asian representation gap at senior leadership levels by 2025, we’re prioritizing intentional and equitable hiring.

We know one size does not fit all. That’s why we partnered with third-party learning experts last year to launch a bespoke Inclusive Hiring Certification to empower all employees to hold themselves, their colleagues, and the company accountable for moving beyond words and commitments to actions.

Developing the certification in a custom fashion versus utilizing an off-the-shelf offering meant we could write the scripts for the modules, draft the curriculum, and identify the biases that could appear in hiring. And importantly, it allows us to meet our employees where they are, address their specific needs, and prepare them for relevant and real-world scenarios at Genentech and wherever their careers take them.

Fostering Accountability at All Levels

At Genentech, we have a culture of shared accountability where everyone plays a role in building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace—so our program took that into account. Whether you are a hiring manager, an interview panelist, the person scheduling the interviews, or even an employee not actively partaking in hiring, we ask everyone to identify their own biases and learn how to mitigate them.

In the Inclusive Hiring Certification, there are three modules for employees, and a mandatory Unconscious Bias Training that serves as a key prerequisite to the certification. In addition to the foundational Unconscious Bias Training, one introductory Inclusive Hiring module is required for all employees—no matter their role or level—to create a shared understanding on the “why” behind this work. Employees who are directly involved in the hiring process, for example, as a hiring manager or an interview panelist, are required to go a step further in their learning journey and complete additional modules to receive the certification. Upon completion, all employees have access to supporting resources and documented best practices so they are able to immediately begin applying their learnings in real-world situations.

Though the certification is an important part of our efforts to diversify our workforce, we know a training program alone isn’t enough to solve an obstacle as complex as inequitable representation in STEM. So rather than have it stand on its own, the certification is just one component of our larger strategy to foster belonging in our company and throughout the industry. In the collective pursuit is where we can make progress.

Making a Real Impact: Inclusive Hiring Certification Results

Since launching the certification in October of last year, we’ve seen tremendous engagement. Nearly 90 percent of employees have completed the mandatory module and prerequisite training.

We have done so much work to attract and hire a diverse talent pool in tandem to the certification, and we’re seeing the results. We currently have the highest representation of Black and Hispanic/Latinx employees in our history, and we’ve made progress toward narrowing the gap of Asian representation at leadership levels. We’re also seeing record high representation among interns and postdocs—since 2020, Black and Hispanic/Latinx representation among these groups has increased by 7.2 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

But more important than the numbers, we hope the certification will have a long-lasting impact. “The training allowed us to go a step further in creating an inclusive workplace by inviting ALL employees to be part of the education experience,” said Stacey Scott, principal, Learning and Development manager, Genentech. “By reaching employees at every level of the organization, we can create a sea change in how we bring talent into the company.”

The Future of the Workforce Is in Our Hands

The U.S is changing. The Census Bureau estimates that already the majority of the nation’s children are people of color, and by 2045 the country will be. Business leaders of today have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are keeping pace with the needs of our evolving society.

At Genentech, that means doing our part to ensure our organization reflects the diversity of the patients we serve so we are better positioned to advance a more equitable healthcare system and society for all. The development, launch, and impact of our Inclusive Hiring Certification program is an example of what’s possible when we acknowledge the needs and gaps in our organization, and create intentional  solutions that address them head on.

I encourage you to join us in taking deliberate steps to combat bias in hiring. Together, we can build a pathway to a more diverse workforce where people of all backgrounds can thrive.

Jayson Johnson
Jayson Johnson is the head of Diversity and Inclusion Business Partnering, and Learning and Development in the Chief Diversity Office at Genentech. In his role, Johnson collaborates with the chief diversity officer and partners across the organization to identify learning opportunities, inform decisions, influence strategies, and drive BOLD actions to embed D&I throughout Genentech and Roche. He serves as an organizational leader, including membership on the Genentech Diversity and Inclusion Board, People & Culture Leadership Network, and Global D&I Area of Practice Core Team. Connect with Johnson on Linkedin at: