Bayer Corporation, the United States subsidiary of Bayer AG, has developed an overarching approach to diversity in the context of continuous improvement of the business operation. The goal of the initiative, Bayer Women: Leaders for the Global Marketplace, is to provide women and people of color with the critical skills necessary to advance to senior positions throughout the multi-divisional, global Bayer Group.
The initiative is driven by the Bayer Diversity Advisory Council (BDAC) with five subcommittees (Communications, Education and Training, Mentorship, Recruitment/Retention, and Work/Life), each with two executive sponsors. The wide-ranging approach to preparing women for leadership positions features multiple mentoring programs, career development programs, employee networks, succession planning with executive accountability, and diversity awareness training. The Delegate Career Development Program was created to provide women with international assignments in non-traditional roles. It offers extensive language and cultural training to prepare women for the expatriate assignment.
Nine of the 19 women who have participated since 1997 have completed their assignments and have achieved promotions ranging from two to four grade levels higher. In addition, President and Chief Executive Officer Helge H. Wehmeier regularly meets with his direct reports to review employee statistics as well as action plans for employee development and diversity. As a result, the percentage of women has increased over the past four years – at the executive level from 2.6 percent to 6.7 percent in 2001, at the vice president level from 13.6 percent to 21.6 percent in 2001.