Employee Volunteer Program

Merck inspires employee voluntarism for its 125th anniversary celebration

Organization promoted volunteerism as part of its legacy.

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Pharma organization Merck turned 125 in 2016, and it used the occasion to inspire employees to volunteer at the local level. Its success has earned Merck first place in the “Employee Volunteer Program” category of PR Daily’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

As a biopharmaceutical organization, Merck has done well by improving lives, and has long carried that mission into its community-based activities through its “Merck Gives Back” program. Merck Gives Back provides eligible employees with full pay for up to 40 hours every year for volunteer work performed during work hours. 

In recent years, though, volunteerism has trailed off for several reasons: Employees believe they don’t have the time, they’re not interested, they worry about how they’ll be perceived by peers and bosses for taking the time away from work, or they don’t know the benefit is available to them. 

To turn that situation around, the organization introduced a new theme, “125 Years of Helping the World Be Well—A New Way Every Day.” The campaign aimed to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to CSR by encouraging voluntarism globally, showcasing the impact Merck’s CSR efforts have had on human health and humanizing the organization by showcasing employee volunteer stories. 

To bring the campaign to life, Merck created traveling and online exhibits and introduced “Event-in-a-Box,” a turnkey digital online toolkit that allowed local facilities to host events to reinforce the message. 

The campaign’s goal was 125,000 hours of employee voluntarism during the anniversary year; it delivered 215,000 hours in 60 countries on all seven continents. More than 150 employees shared their volunteer stories. The Event-in-a-Box kit was employed in 24 countries.

Congratulations to everyone at Merck for giving back so generously. 

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