By Kaitlin Carr Heath, Lucy Turland (leaders in the BD Women’s Initiative Network) and Rhonda Richardson (Talent Management)
What do employees do when they value and are intrigued by the power of mentoring – but don’t have access to a mentoring program?
At BD, members of our Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) Associate Resource Group (ARG) responded to that challenge by creating a mentoring program that would be designed, led and maintained by BD associates for BD associates.
Following the successful expansion of the program to other ARGs, WIN and Talent Management created a BD Mentoring Guide so that the program could be expanded globally. The guide is designed to enable a permanent change in the way BD conducts and champions inclusive mentoring by empowering associates to create mentoring programs that drive development and advancement.
Mentoring programs are now being run by associates at 12 BD sites around the world, including a cross-ARG program at BD’s headquarters in Franklin Lakes, NJ. These programs are aligned to the company’s core value of “we help each other be great” and aim to provide more opportunities for career advancement. Feedback shows that the program is working, with 81% of participating mentees saying that the program has helped them make significant progress towards their goals.
This positive feedback from our own BD associates is our best measure of success, but we are also encouraged that this associate-led mentoring program has earned external accolades as well. The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) selected the BD WIN ARG and our mentoring program and guide as a 2020 winner of the prestigious ACE Award (Advancement. Commitment. Engagement.).
Mentoring as a tool to attract, develop and advance the careers of women
The mission of our WIN ARG at BD is to help attract new talent as well as develop and advance women at BD. Our goal is to make BD the company of choice for women to work – one where they will be supported in fulfilling their career goals and aspirations. With that in mind, we followed some key tenants in designing and implementing mentoring programs that have helped lead to their success:
- We sought, and incorporated, associate input. We knew the mentoring program would only succeed if we listened and responded to associate needs, interests, and concerns. We conducted program pilots with smaller groups to gain valuable feedback and insights, which we then baked into the program’s design.
- We provided structure and guidance, while encouraging creativity and innovation. We created a step-by-step reference guide and toolkit to support associates in creating effective mentoring programs at sites across the BD network so that there would be a consistent approach and criteria for success. Each local mentoring program also has flexibility to adapt their programs to their unique needs. The Mentoring Hub on our company intranet also provides associates access to a wide range of mentoring resources.
- We sought – and earned – the support of senior BD leaders. We engaged senior executives as champions of the program, including Tom Polen, CEO & President and Executive Sponsor of the WIN ARG. Tom passionately believes that mentoring is one of the best ways to develop talent and is a strong advocate for the program. To ensure the program continues its momentum, we are forming a Global Mentoring Advisory Council – a team of associates who are responsible for overseeing the program’s sustainability and scalability.
A rising tide raises all ships
This program has had – and continues to have – a tremendous impact through creating new growth opportunities for participants. Participants have gained valuable support in reaching their objective-based development goals, including switching functions, gaining promotions, improving work-life balance, finding balance after returning from parental leave, and gaining greater visibility to opportunities within BD. The mentoring programs also provide increased visibility to talent across the organization, improving BD’s talent development process. It is a win-win for our associates and for the long-term viability of our company as we focus on being a diverse, inclusive and empowering organization that is doing meaningful work in advancing the world of health.
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