Let us proudly announce that MSD Czech Republic has been recognized as one of Europe’s top employers for 2022 by the Top Employers Institute again this year.

We also received the Top Employer status in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and UK.

Each year, Top Employers Institute certifies organizations which focus on their people. MSD Czech Republic was recognized for its outstanding standards in every HR domain like People Strategy, Work Environment, Talent Acquisition, Learning, Well-being, and Diversity & Inclusion.

The last couple years have changed the way we work. Your opinions matter to us – we recognized that many of our employees have valued the flexibility to work remotely when possible, so we introduced our global hybrid work model. A hybrid work model is a combination of in-person collaboration and remote work. This model helps us be even more agile and productive as we deliver outcomes for the people who depend on our work. It includes enhanced flexibility to better meet our needs, while allowing managers to decide when in-person collaboration is necessary.

We have an extensive Live it program, designed to sustain a healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyle at work and outside of work. The many community-based activities didn’t stop even during periods of lockdowns, but contrary with many awesome activities of our EBRG groups helped our employees in terms of maintaining the mental, physical, and social well-being. Further our Resources for Living supported many colleagues and all jointly confirm that well-being is a priority at our organization.   

Another great recognition was our top scoring in the new section devoted to sustainability. Our company’s policies include a commitment to making continuous improvement on social and environmental performance and we are incentivized to support our company’s environmental policies and goals.

“Obtaining the Top Employer certificate for the second time in a row is a powerful testimonial to our unwavering commitment to provide to our employees the best possible work environment which is conducive to a long-term career development”, says Dita Faltinova, HR Business Partner. “The audit process we had to undergo was not easier for us because participating for the second time. We faced an enlarged questionnaire with increased focus on people well-being, remote working and newly included section on sustainability,” adds Dita Faltinova, HR.  

The Top Employer 2022 certificate is a current reflection of the organization’s reality, this level of certification showcases the dedication to the consistent application of HR excellence on a regional level.

Congratulations on this outstanding achievement!

Harnessing tech to eliminate distance in a virtual world

An award-winning program has been key to our continued success despite limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You never know how the world will change, so agility and innovation are key — especially when you’re inventing for life.

When the working world was upended in early 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, we already had plans in place to gradually expand our Remote Assist capability on smartglasses — a platform developed by our own teams that provides shop-floor personnel and scientists the ability to instantly collaborate hands-free with anyone in the world. Remote Assist operators can send real-time video and audio to colleagues anywhere in the world, allowing experts to diagnose mechanical or equipment issues remotely while leaving the operator’s hands free to perform any necessary tasks.

As the pandemic mushroomed and waves of mandatory stay-at-home orders necessitated adopting new ways of working, we accelerated the rollout, seizing the opportunity to become an industry leader in the adoption of Remote Assist. In doing so, research and manufacturing quickly adjusted to the new normal at more than 70 sites across six continents, divisional boundaries were broken down, and Merck’s Extended Reality Ecosystem was established.

“It’s just one of the many tools that helps keep us inventing for life, even in unprecedented times,” says Dave.

And now, thanks to the successful adoption of Remote Assist, Merck has been recognized as a 2021 CIO 100 Award winner. These annual awards celebrate 100 organizations using IT in innovative ways to deliver business value. By delivering 21 months of scope in less than 9 months, Remote Assist helped save $3.6 million in travel costs and nearly 54,000 hours of employee travel across the company.

“This is just the beginning,” says Douglas Arnold, director, Merck Manufacturing Division-IT, client service leader and extended reality program lead. “We’ve built a great team, and together we are bringing innovation into production.”

Our Stories – Aigerim Kerimbekova

I always try to find the time and energy to do what satisfies my soul and I share this advice whenever I have the chance. I am originally from Kyrgyzstan and since my childhood I’ve been very curious and interested in different kinds of activities. During my school days I considered myself to be a nerd because I was never the type of person who hung out a lot with other kids or partied hard. Being a good student was always a priority for me and I spent a lot of time studying.

I also had a strong desire to learn music, particularly to play piano and dance. So right after school every day I always rushed to either music or dance school. I was practicing piano, dance, and other activities the whole afternoon, so it’s not surprising that I usually arrived at home around 10 pm -and then I did my homework late into the night.

I started to play the piano when I was 12, which is considered to be quite late for musicians. Typically, people start to learn at 6 or 7, yet somehow my devotion to music let me finish 7 years of music school in 3.5 years because I loved it so much. During weekends I was either studying or enjoying time playing the piano which kept me pretty busy from my school days up to my time at university.

During this time my teachers were always nudging me to study music more deeply, but I never considered it as a profession, because it’s pretty hard to finance yourself with music and there are lots of other really talented musicians. I planned to stop my music education when I finished music school, but luckily my teacher insisted that I continue studying. It turned out that I liked music college as much as I did music school because it showed me how to understand music at a deeper, professional level.

During these years I dove deeper into musical techniques and went to different countries for competitions. These travels led me to meeting one of the best teachers and I think the whole music world just opened up to me then. I was surrounded by truly talented and interesting people and the four years I spent at music college was one of the best periods in my life.

After my third year of music college, I was accepted to the Kazakhstan university Bachelor program and needed to move and again. I was going to quit music college before my last year of studies, but again, my teachers urged me to continue by transitioning to semi-distance learning. This meant coming on weekends, passing exams, and taking new materials for study. I agreed to try it because the university was only 4 hours from my home.

Looking back, I wonder how I did it, but at the time it didn’t seem so hard. I managed to go home every weekend just to pass exams. I think when you really love and enjoy doing something, you don’t feel fatigue, fear, or doubt. That’s what music did to me.

All my hard work was worth it too because my final performance was given at a Rachmaninoff concert which is always on my mind. The memories, feelings, and emotions from that evening are always with me when I need them. Unfortunately, I did not go further at the conservatory, but I still played at my university when I had the time.

When I moved to Prague, I really missed playing so I found a music school that let me teach. Whenever I feel lost, or am having difficult times, I return to music. It always brings me back to myself, my soul, to who I truly am. I think it’s wonderful and very important to find your own passion no matter what it is. Something close to your heart which will be a reliable companion throughout your whole life.

– Aigerim Kerimbekova

TOP EMPLOYER journey of MSD

We are proud to announce that MSD Czech Republic has been named as one of Europe’s top employers for 2021 by the Top Employers Institute. We also received the Top Employer status in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and UK.

“Curiosity was the starting point when registering for Top Employer recognition. We wanted to verify how good a job we are doing compared to respected standards and use the feedback for HR development,” says Dita Faltínová, Associate Director, Human Resource Business Partner, MSD Czech Republic.

The certification program ran for several months starting in April 2020. In the first phase, extensive questionnaires containing hundreds of questions were completed. An audit process took place during the summer and all the documents submitted were thoroughly verified and quality assessed. The months of effort resulted in being awarded the Top Employer 2021 certificate in January of 2021.

“Obtaining the Top Employer certificate is great news for employees, job seekers, and specifically for people who are professionally involved in HR management at MSD. It proves that MSD is a good place to work, where careful attention is paid to all the essential aspects of working with human potential. I am really very proud of that”, adds Dita Faltínová.

Ten countries where MSD operates participated in the program this year. Structured results can be shared between the participating countries to inspire each other and replicate the procedures that prove to be the most effective. The Czech Republic can thus use the experience of Italy in managing Leadership Development, Poland can adopt the best practices of Talent Management applied in the Czech Republic, and so on.

The Top Employer certification program consistently examines an extensive list of HR categories and measures each sub-activity in relation to the best industry experience. For completeness, we’re presenting all the chapters that the audit procedure dealt with:

Business StrategyLearning
People StrategyWell-being
LeadershipEngagement
Organization & ChangeRewards & Recognition
Digital HROff-boarding
Work EnvironmentValues
Employer BrandingEthics & Integrity
Talent AcquisitionDiversity & Inclusion
On-boardingSustainability
PerformanceBusiness Context
Career

The basic concept and structure of the Human Resources discipline at MSD do not differ much from other corporations of similar scope and focus. It is a broad portfolio of activities charged with the complexity that traditional corporate HR has accumulated over the years. In the overall results, MSD met the demanding certification criteria in all categories. However, what is different and what makes each organization unique is the corporate culture.

Obtaining the Top Employer certificate concluded a thematic chapter which began in 2014 when MSD opened its first innovation hub in Prague and grew tremendously with the HR role gaining prominence.

MSD begins 2021 with 1,500 employees in the Czech Republic and continues to search for new talent, create the best conditions for current employees, and constantly innovate with procedures, and adopt new technologies as the company grows. The Top Employer 2021 award is a current reflection of the organization’s reality, however it’s only one stage in the company’s lifecycle.

As Anita Zubak, the MSD Executive Director and Prague IT Hub Lead says: “The Top Employer certificate is great, and it has brought many people immense joy. But a certificate, however prestigious, is not, and will never be, the goal. Our goal is to continuously increase our attractiveness for top job seekers and to create extremely friendly working conditions for existing employees which enable them to apply their skills, grow, and fulfill their ambitions. Now we have received a sign that we are on the right track. It’s a dose of energy that will help us going forward.”

ABOUT THE TOP EMPLOYER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

The Top Employer Institute is an international organization that has allowed companies around the world to complete the Top Employer certification program for over 15 years. Hundreds of organizations undergo a demanding and comprehensive HR audit every year. The most successful of these who meet the hundreds of certification criteria receive a Top Employer certificate.

More detailed information can be found on the official website of the Top Employers Institute.

Our Stories – Monika Vampolova

I really enjoy traveling and exploring new things. When I was at primary school, I wanted to become one of two things. Either a successful basketball player who would retire at the age of 30, or 32, at the latest, so I could just enjoy traveling to all the cool places around the world, or the person who invented a teleporter so that I could travel easily to different places as part of my job.

I felt like the first option was more realistic because I really did play basketball for about 17 years. Over time, however, I realized that I probably would not become the next “Michael Jordan in a skirt.”

Thus, I went to university to study Cognitive Informatics and spent a year studying abroad. This experience confirmed to me that among other things, every step out of our comfort zone is worth taking because it makes us stronger.

In October 2017, I joined MSD IT in Prague as an intern in the HH Go to Market Team. After almost a year, I was selected for a rotational program called ETR that lasts 2.5 years. I spent my first rotation with ITRMS as a Security Analyst. For my second I joined the 3D Printing Technology Team for a year. Then I spent six months split between Ballydine, Ireland and Rahway, New Jersey before my final rotation started in 2020 working for MRL IT with a focus on enabling 3D Histopathology analyses.

Now that I am almost at the end of the program, I have been thinking about where to go for my final placement. I envision myself working on incorporating new technologies into existing processes whether they involve 3D Technologies or not. I enjoy conducting both technical, as well as business analyses, and coordinating the projects.

Looking back on my childhood visions I know that neither 3D printing nor 3D histopathology is a teleporter. Nevertheless, traveling is part of my job that I hope will resume after Covid and perhaps exploring the potential of producing customized medicines, human tissue, and organs with 3D printers, who can say with certainty that these are not the first steps?

– Monika Vampolova

Laptops for Charity

We have cooperated with various NGO’s regarding a donation of returned and un-used laptops in previous years. It has always been one of the most satisfying CSR projects. This year we joined forces with the Prague Parish Charity NGO. The laptops were distributed to those in need before or at the onset of the second wave of the pandemic, so that they can be utilised during the ongoing closure of the schools. Here are couple of stories of the recipients:

A pregnant high school student, who is trying hard to complete the first half-year at school before giving birth. She will be on an individual study plan afterwards, so she will have to continue studying from home even if the schools are re-opened. So far, she had to share a computer with her brother. They live just with their mother only and their sole income are the disability benefits.

A family of refugees from Syria with 6 kids, that has been a client of Parish Charity for 4 years already. The father is seriously ill, which limits his ability to work. The mother is very responsible, learning Czech language, independently conducting official business with the authorities. The children mostly are doing well at school. The family is functional, basically being a textbook example of social integration.

A family with four sons, aged 7–15. The father works as a teacher, the mother an assistant teacher. They need computers for distance learning, but the family income is insufficient to buy one for each kid.

A Czech-Sudanese family, a mother and 4 children, three being at primary school, one girl already adult but still studying. They have escaped from a threat of political repressions in Sudan several years ago. The mother has suffered serious mental health problems in the past. The father has joined the family recently, after he was released from a Sudanese jail as a political prisoner, but left the family again shortly afterwards.

It is amazing to link the donations with stories and to know, that it actually makes a difference!

Our Stories – Neeraj Tyagi

I was born and raised in Delhi, the capital of India. I have been playing cricket since childhood. I probably started playing when I was about six years old, and I stopped sometime after graduation. In India, like football in Europe, cricket is everywhere. Everywhere you see adults or children playing cricket: on the street, in public places, everywhere.

There I completed my education in the field of engineering and now I am based in Prague. I came to Prague 3 years ago working at Accenture. I started playing cricket again in the corporate leagues at Accenture and I played in various cricket clubs around Prague. I joined MSD last year in December because MSD performed very well in medicine, had a good reputation with Keytruda, and was benefiting cancer patients.

In July there was a European Cricket Network Series in cooperation with Dream11, which is an Indian company that takes care of the legal betting in leagues. They were organizing all of the European tournaments and luckily, there are 16 teams participating in the Czech Republic for this ECN-Prague series. We started our own club within MSD last year. From there onwards, we won indoor tournaments, the 40 Overs division, and this year I led one of the teams and we placed 3rd out of the 16 teams in the country.

When you lead a cricket team, you have to manage 11 players on the ground. You have to make a strategy, know who a good bowler will be to start innings with, and you have to think about the match a few days in advance to prepare. It’s a great experience to lead a team because it also makes an impact on how you lead in your work environment. Somewhere in the future, everyone will have to lead a team in some way and it’s great to look for opportunities anywhere, such as in sports or another hobby, to prepare for that.

Cricket may not be as widely popular globally as other sports, such as football or tennis, but it’s a very amazing sport and you never know what is going to happen next. One inning could last for hours. But it’s not so much about cricket, as it is about sportsmanship. When the MSD team formed there were only a few players, but now there are 12. In the club, there are over 20. More partners began to join, and we met colleagues that we might not have met otherwise and formed a good community. If anyone from MSD in Prague or the Czech Republic wants to join our team, we are always happy to have them and they can reach out to me.

– Neeraj Tyagi

Our Stories – Magdalena Graef

What I love about the times we live in is that, no matter what we studied, we can change our career anytime. There are so many opportunities – especially at MSD – one just needs to seize them! I studied interpreting and translating and had my own business for a few years. Over time I slowly transitioned to where I’ve been the last 4 years: Cybersecurity & Compliance! There were many things I learned during my time as a junior entrepreneur. One of them was to approach my work as an employee as if it were my own business and always go the extra mile.

On happiness and well-being: there are two aspects of life which I consider important here. The first is a healthy lifestyle inside and out and the second one is safe behavior in cyberspace. My philosophy is that by taking care of your mind, body, and health in general, as well as behaving responsibly in the online world, you can prevent many future unpleasant surprises and lead a much more stress free life. I am so grateful to MSD for having the opportunity to fulfill this side of my life focus by leading the LIVE IT program. It offers our employees various options for taking care of themselves through sports and other healthy activities while bonding with our incredibly cosmopolitan, diverse community that includes over 70 nationalities in the Prague office!

I aim to reflect this dual focus in my family as well by trying to educate my son in this direction too. I talk to him about the importance of healthy living and safe behavior in cyberspace and give him specific examples of the consequences of what can happen otherwise. It’s all about being mindful of things whether you’re a grown up or a kid. Sometimes it’s challenging, yet I believe it’s worth it.

– Magdalena Graef

Our Stories – Thomas Browne

I was a very good high school student who always achieved outstanding results, so naturally I continued my studies into higher education. I wanted to study math and science so I joined a 2-year preparatory school that enabled me to enroll in an engineering university. Applying to these schools is extremely competitive in France and it is very difficult to get admitted. I decided to go to one of the best prep schools to increase my chances, mainly because I was told I was talented enough to aim for the top. Eventually, I got accepted into one of the most famous and difficult universities. I was happy at the beginning, but I ended up despising it. I had to dedicate all of my time to studies and could not do anything else. My studies were not very enjoyable and most importantly, I missed my biggest passion – music.

Before I graduated from high school, I had started my own band and wrote songs. Suddenly I ended up having no time for it. Besides, I was constantly told by teachers to give up on the band, grow up, and focus on my studies. At the end of the year, the school reviews the performance of students and forces many of them to leave based on that. Despite my creative and artistic tendencies, they believed in my skills and gave me the honor of moving on to the second year. Though I was expected to thankfully accept their offer, I surprised everyone in my world and said: “Thank you, but no thank you. I simply missed music too much and I want to dedicate all my time to it now.”

That was the best decision I could have made. I got back to my band and spent the three most amazing years of my life. My days were all about composing, rehearsing, writing lyrics, playing concerts, and recording music. It felt like with my studies, I had been put on a one-way path since the beginning. Whereas in music I could be myself, choose my own direction, and take full responsibility for it. If a song was working well, I could take credit for that. If a concert didn’t end up so great, I was the one to blame. That taught me a lot.

As the years went on I met this fantastic girl, who later became my wife and the mother of our new-born. This was when I felt it was time to get back on track. I had explored what I wanted to in music and began picturing a future that music couldn’t provide us. I decided to go back to university to study math and ultimately got a Ph.D. It was fantastic to know that I was there every single day because I really wanted to be, and not because someone else told me to. This makes a all the difference.

– Thomas Browne

Our Stories – Sonila Francová

I am originally from Albania, a very small but beautiful country in the south of Europe. I came to Prague, Czech Republic 22 years ago for my studies and decided to stay in the “City of 100 Spires.” Besides being truly one of the most beautiful cities I know, Prague offers so much more: safety, beautiful parks, wonderful architecture and a wide variety of entertainment and culture – I just love it here! At first, it was a bit difficult for me to feel “included” in Prague as it takes some time for Czechs to accept you; they need to get to know you first. Once you are accepted though, you are fully part of the “pack” for the long run😊.

In MSD I felt fully part of the “pack” since day one!

I am a very transparent person and radiate my energy in the environment around me. One thing that I really love are colorful clothes and shoes. So, I tend to have a bit more colors on me than usual. It makes me happier and many times it brings a smile in other people’s faces as well, which is great. Just recently I entered a doctor’s office in a hospital full of sick people, wearing a bright yellow dress. She looked at me with very tired eyes, immediately smiled and said, ”Nice dress color! Just looking at you actually makes me feel better.”

That brings me back to where I have been working for the last 2.5 years – MSD. You see, I know that diversity is not just a fancy word talked about here but it is proven in actions every day! So, even though I am a bit more colorful and a tiny bit different 😉 (as we all are one way or another), I have always felt included and in the right place to be.

– Sonila Francová