Company: Rockwell Collins
Innovation: Speed Mentoring
Date Introduced: 2012
Award Recognition: Top Ten (#3)

In an effort to foster more cross-cultural mentoring relationships between the company’s diverse talent and senior leaders, Rockwell Collins’ Office of Diversity and Workforce Effectiveness developed Speed Mentoring in late 2012.

Speed Mentoring events are not formal mentoring or an interview. As part of the company’s overall retention and engagement strategy, the events provide active members of the company’s ERGs the opportunity to interface with Rockwell Collins executives and senior leaders. In turn, the Speed Mentoring events provide the company’s leaders with visibility to talent they may not interact with on a daily basis. Leaders who participate include Rockwell Collins’ CEO, president, and more than 80 percent of their direct reports and other senior executives at the company.

During pre-event preparation sessions, the ERG participants get an overview of the event and are challenged to consider how they would like to be perceived by senior leaders and to focus on their “brand” before they arrive. They are also coached on what type of questions to ask senior leaders based on their career aspirations and how to foster a rich dialogue during each brief interaction.

During the Speed Mentoring events, participants engage in several five minute rounds of dialogue before the ERG member rotates to a new leader. Using the information from their preparation sessions, ERG members lead conversations and gain insight into career and personal development best practices from each senior leader. They also can share their own experiences and questions they may have about the company.

After the event, all participants are encouraged to have at least one follow up conversation with a potential mentor/mentee or begin a formal mentoring relationship.

Since its inception, more than seventy employees have participated in Speed Mentoring. As a result, more than twenty formal mentoring relationships have been established between senior leaders and ERG members.