One drug company learns that investing in small changes can reap
The following story was shared by Michael Kauer, director of
organizational development at Covance.
A large drug development services company with more than 10,000
employees in 60 countries
The companys five-year-old mentoring program was growing
exponentially, making it increasingly difficult for senior HR
leaders to manually administer and operate the program.
The current programs operating procedures were inefficient, costing
the company valuable staff time and resources. During frequent and
lengthy meetings that took place over the course of three months,
senior HR leaders reviewed web applications and manually matched
mentors and mentees according to their stated development needs,
preferences, business units, and locations. Behind the scenes,
administrative employees logged the applications and communicated
program logistics to each participant via email.
After participants were matched, they were required to attend an
on-site, eight-hour program orientation. The company also created
80-page, glossy program guides and shipped one to each participant,
along with journals and T-shirts.
The company surveyed program participants, and 72 percent of
respondents reported that they hadnt looked at the guides beyond
the orientation session. While overall program satisfaction was
high, program implementation and back-end administration were in
need of an overhaul.
Kauer and the company searched for a technology solution that would
increase operational efficiency. They discovered that such
solutions were relatively
inexpensive, and they chose one that could streamline the
application and matching process.
Now, through the new system hosted by a third-party vendor, each
mentee completes a profile and is instantly provided a list of his
top three mentor matches. Mentees can pick one of these potential
matches or peruse additional mentor profiles. Mentors can choose to
accept or decline a mentorship and can determine how many total
mentees they will accept.
The company also overhauled the program orientation, which is now
conducted via a 90-minute virtual WebEx session. In place of the
costly 80-page participant guide, only the most pertinent program
information is conveyed through a series of handouts posted online.
This material includes checklists of key mentoring activities;
participants first meeting tool; a dialogue prompt tool; and tips
for distance mentoring success.
Senior HR leaders previously spent approximately 300 hours
collectively to review and match applicants; with the new online
program, they spend zero hours on this process. The prior program
cost $491 per participant; the new program, including the cost of
technology, adds up to $114 per participant. In its second year,
all feedback about the online program has been positive:
Participants report that the system is easy to use, and their
overall satisfaction level is the same or better than with the