One hundred years ago, as women gained the right to vote in the United States, building on the progress of women’s movements around the world, women’s rights leader Alice Paul said: “I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.”
Labcorp, the parent company of Covance, has been creating its own mosaic, celebrating events like International Women’s Day around the world and launching initiatives to recruit, support and develop female talent across the company.
One such initiative, Women in Leadership, was launched three years ago as Labcorp intensified its focus on gender diversity, interviewing dozens of people across the organization to understand how women can be equally represented and promoted in their career paths. Since then, the momentum has continued with both men and women engaged in supporting career development for women across our company.
Attracting, Retaining and Engaging Diverse Talent
“Increasing gender diversity starts with attracting the right mix of talent to join the Labcorp team,” said Brenda Wagner, chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Our recruiting team works with our managers to source a breadth of diverse candidates, including a focus on women, with the goal of bringing forward the most qualified candidates for our company.”
For those employees already onboard, retention is equally important, said Rhonda Holler, vice president of global talent management.
“We have solicited valuable feedback through executive listening sessions, where executives meet with women across the globe and learn from their shared and individual experiences,” she said. “These small, intimate conversations provide a safe space for employees to voice their perspectives, concerns, challenges and successes so that we enhance the experience of, develop and promote women in our company.”
Glenn Eisenberg, executive vice president, chief financial officer and executive sponsor for the Women in Leadership initiative, added, “Our executives are becoming more engaged by learning what is working well, while also hearing about the challenges and barriers that women face in their careers.”
Executive listening sessions have become hugely popular and have been held in more than a dozen countries around the globe. During the pandemic, we transitioned to remote sessions so we can continue to hear the voice of women during these times of change.
Promoting Leadership Development at All Levels
As part of the Women in Leadership initiative, several other programs are helping to promote and provide career development opportunities that support gender diversity across Labcorp:
- The Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN), our employee resource group (ERG) for women, was established in 2018. Today WEN has 14 chapters across the U.S., U.K and India with a combined chapter representing Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
- New leadership courses for the development of women. These leadership experiences are focused on mid- to upper-level roles and provide custom programming based on level and role. We focus on barriers and challenges empirical evidence suggests women face in their career development.
“To be successful and reach their full potential in the workplace, women need to see themselves modeled at all levels, especially the senior executive level,” said Nancy Marte, associate director of inclusion. “And women are now seeing other successful women in these roles. We have more women in the vice president and other senior roles, reduced turnover for women in these roles, and initiatives like WEN are providing networking, collaboration and development to women at all levels.”
Creating Awareness for a Stronger Culture
Labcorp has been working to raise awareness of women’s equity issues through several different channels. The company has ramped up communications both internally and externally to tell more stories of Labcorp women in leadership and provide perspectives from male leaders about the importance of gender diversity and supporting women’s career growth in the workplace.
“In 2018, we celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time,” said Nancy. “We had a great response from across the globe and it just keeps getting better every year.”
In 2020, the company generated a great deal of engagement through a series of nearly two dozen social media posts using the #EachforEqual hashtag to tell the stories of various dynamic women across the company who were defying gender stereotypes and improving the health and lives of patients all over the world.
Education represents another channel for creating awareness. All new hires received training on respect in the workplace, which aims to build a strong environment of trust, safety, inclusiveness and integrity in the workplace.
Acknowledging Women’s Efforts Around the World
“Great strides in women’s rights have been realized over the past 100 years, and yet for many women around the world, the struggle for gender equality continues,” said Judi Seltz, executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
“Beyond integrating work, family and community responsibilities, women work to challenge stereotypes and fight biases surrounding societal perceptions and expectations,” she continued. “As a corporation of more than 65,000 employees and serving customers and patients in more than 100 countries, it’s important we remain diligent in our advocacy for women around the world, across the communities in which we live and work, and within our organization. Diverse talent – including women talent – is core to our ability to innovate and meet customer needs.”
Learn more about inclusion and diversity at Labcorp, the parent company of Covance, and search for opportunities to join our exceptional teams: https://careers.covance.com/global/en/belong
NOTE: The image included with this article was taken prior to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.