Annual Diversity Focus: Mentoring
DxD launched the Annual Diversity Focus to help members of the health technology industry take action to improve gender equality. Our focus in 2020 is mentorship. Mentoring has been shown to help women rise and succeed in the workplace, and also to positively impact recruiting, job satisfaction, retention, promotion, and business growth.
To participate as an individual or a company, commit to getting more involved in mentoring women this year. This can mean organizing a mentoring circle, planning a speed mentoring event, or offering to become a mentor on a particular topic of expertise. To help, we've compiled resources below including a reference list of mentorship models and articles from health technology industry peers who are already deeply committed to mentoring.
No matter which approach to mentoring you choose, all of these activities add up to meaningful change, especially when many of us get involved. As Stanford sociologist Shelley Correll, PhD, points out in her small wins model, the changes we can realistically make in any one instance are often small and imperfect, but they lead to bigger ones. We have to start somewhere.
Success stories and lessons learned from this focus will be shared with participants throughout the year. We will also discuss and build on the results at the next Summit on Diversity in Health Technology Innovation on October 26, 2020
Mentoring is not "one size fits all." It can involve a long-term relationship, a two-hour "speed" event with multiple mentor and mentee participants, or a one-off meeting or phone call on a specific topic. All can be individualized based on available resources and goals. Examples:
- One-on-one (traditional): Generally a structured relationship in which a more senior individual meets regularly with a more junior individual to provide guidance and support over a period of six months or longer. A good match between mentor and mentee is important to ensure trust, bonding, and consistent support.
- Speed: A 1-2 hour event in which more junior individuals explore career topics of interest through a series of short conversations with multiple, more senior individuals. Think speed dating, only with mentors and mentees.
- Flash: A one-time meeting or discussion of about an hour that enables a less experienced individual to learn from a more senior person with relevant knowledge and experience on a specific topic. Provides a focused learning opportunity for mentees while requiring a limited time commitment from mentors.
- Mentoring circles: A peer-to-peer, group mentoring format that enables peers who share learning objectives around soft or technical skills to develop together as a group by learning from guest speakers, sharing their own experiences, or tapping other resources.
- Group: One or more mentors providing guidance and support to a group of more junior individuals. Recommended for team building, promotes knowledge sharing from many different perspectives and backgrounds.
- Peer Mentoring: A professional who is new or less experienced is matched with a more experienced co-worker who provides support and guidance. Helps colleagues in their professional development and growth, encourages mutual learning and helps build a sense of workplace community.
Articles on Mentoring from Healthtech Industry Peers
Many people in our industry are already deeply involved in mentoring. Read the articles below to learn from their experiences.
- Speed Mentoring, Flash Mentoring, and Mentoring Circles - An Interview with Julie Haeger, Director of Talent Management, Edwards Lifesciences. Julie Haeger has been in HR at Edwards Lifesciences for a dozen years. Learn how her team implements new mentoring models like speed mentoring, flash mentoring, and mentoring circles to help employees thrive and succeed.
- I Thought She Had What it Took - An Interview with Allan Will on One-on-One Mentoring. Allan Will has been in the health technology industry for nearly forty years, serving as president, CEO, founder, director, or chairman at renowned companies and venture capital firms. However the title of which he’s perhaps most proud is “recipient of the Astia/Deloitte Excellence in Mentoring award,” which he earned for his work mentoring women executives like Angela MacFarlane and Ferolyn Powell.
For Mentees and Mentors: CSweetener
- CSweetener This program from HLTH Foundation provides virtual mentorships to aspiring c-suite leaders who identify as women and hold mid-senior level positions in the industry. Individuals do not have to pay for mentorship - they can be sponsored by an employer or funded by a scholarship. Mentors must be tenured healthcare executives of all genders. Visit the website to learn more and apply. HLTH Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to improving equality and diversity in healthcare as well as access to care.
Starting Any Mentoring Program
No matter which mentorship model you choose, here are some “best practice” steps to help you get started.
1. Set the Stage
- Define the purpose of the program. Will the mentoring provide career guidance and support? Leadership skill development? Something else?
- Choose a mentorship model that suits the purpose and takes company size into account. In small companies, you may want to involve outside participants.
- Get leadership support. Management involvement a sends a message that improving diversity is valued in the workplace and is not just an HR issue.
- Take a baseline. Is there any type of mentorship program in your company currently? Does anyone in your company have a formal or informal mentor?
- Choose or be a “Mentor Champion” to spearhead the program. This should be someone who is enthusiastic, well respected, and able to facilitate the program.
2. Establish the Framework
- Communicate expectations. What services will mentors be expected to provide? What benefits should mentees realistically expect? What is the time commitment involved?
- Consider confidentiality. In small companies, employees may be reluctant to discuss career goals and issues with others from inside the company.
- Build the infrastructure. What do you need to make this program happen? A webpage with information and links? An event location or reservation?
- Recruit participants. Will your event be attended only by company insiders, or do you want a mix of internal and external participants? Invite participants well in advance for optimal attendance.
- Gather feedback on what was and wasn't helpful. Solicit suggestions for future programs. Ask if participants would recommend participation to others.
- Measure/track outcomes. Metrics can focus on career growth, promotions, networking, grants, presentations, program growth over time.
- Do it again, only better. To be effective, mentoring shouldn’t be a one-time thing.