But that is changing. Organizations large and small are creating durable and distinctive programs to promote inclusion and pathways to success for women. For example, the B-NOW (Bristol-Myers Squibb Network of Women) People and Business Resource group works to ensure that women have equal opportunities to be recruited, developed, advanced and retained globally within a culture that prioritizes this mission.
B-NOW hosts programming specifically for women, such as career advancement workshops. It also engages men to be full partners in gender equity. More broadly, the company cultivates and supports female employees and executives through targeted development, coaching, mentoring and sponsorship programs.
Bristol-Myers Squibb implemented a new format for interview processes that is also encouraging, said Salter-Cid. The company conducts panel interviews versus a series of one-on-one meetings. This 90-minute group interview is more efficient than a series of individual meetings and allows for a more natural conversation.
“I think it has made a big difference,” Salter-Cid added. “It’s more open and allows for a diverse slate of candidates and interviewers. Whatever biases an interviewer may have, good or bad, come to light as interviewers all hear the same thing at the same time.”
Female sponsors are also helping to shape careers, Salter-Cid noted.
“While mentors can provide great advice, it was a sponsor who changed my career track,” she said. “Sometimes mentoring isn't enough, and a sponsor can be a necessary player to champion new opportunities. Sponsors are more like knowledge managers – colleagues in relevant senior positions that are well-informed, strategic and in the same field – and can be an advocate for you.”