In Spring 2022, with support from our new NSF ATE grant project, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and City College of San Francisco (CCSF) partnered with the California Life Sciences (CLS) Racial & Social Equity Initiative to pilot the Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series aimed at helping life science labs and organizations build inclusive management practices and work places. This training was designed to teach current and future industry professionals how to efficiently and effectively train, performance manage, and support interns and employees of diverse backgrounds in an effort to foster inclusive, high-functioning working relationships.
This was our CCSF-UCSF team’s 10th iteration of this highly popular workshop series, previously known as TRAIN-UP, initially developed for UCSF postdocs and graduate students mentoring CCSF interns. This iteration was tailored for scientists who currently (or intend to) mentor and/or supervise in either academe or industry, with an emphasis on mentoring-supervising community college students.
The Training: The Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series was offered as seven 90-min live interactive virtual workshops scheduled over four weeks (May-June 2022):
Module 1 - Are you ready to be an inclusive research mentor/manager? How good people unintentionally build inequitable work environments
Module 2 - Effectively supervising people who aren't you: Managing different work-styles
Module 3 - How to transparently set (performance and conduct) expectations
Module 4 - Teach/train and delegate: Using best practices to train your diverse team
Module 5 - Communicating inclusively: developing your own feedback strategy and style
Module 6 - When someone isn't meeting your expectations: Strategies and resources to manage performance equitably
Module 7 - How to inclusively hire: Which strategies will you use?
Outreach: Our team reached out with information about the Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series to biotech-bioscience academic and industry professionals with an emphasis on those that had previously mentored, hired or supported community college students.
Registration & Attendance: We were thrilled to have over 220 scientists register for the Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series pilot, including 70 from the biotech industry from over 20 companies: Abbvie, Amgen Inc., BioAmp Diagnostics, BioLumen, Bio-Rad, Chimera Bioengineering, CODA Biotherapeutics, Cytokinetics, Denali Therapeutics, Eikon Therapeutics, Chimera Bioengineering, Genentech, Mantra Bio, Navega Therapeutics, Neuron23, Nitrase Therapeutics, Novozymes, Nura Bio, Olema Pharmaceuticals, Pace Labs
84% of those registered attended at least one workshop and over 35% attended all 7 workshops (10.5 hrs of training!). On average participants attended 4+ workshops each - showing their enthusiasm by returning for multiple workshops to gain over 6 hrs of training in inclusive workplace practices. Each 90 min workshop hosted 90-150 live participants on Zoom, including multiple forms of interactivity.
From a survey of 79 participants to the first workshop:
100% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that “The workshop was a good use of my time.” & “I will implement at least one tool or strategy from today's workshop.”
98% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that “There is a need for this type of training at my organization.”
96% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that “This workshop prepared me to better mentor-manage individuals from diverse backgrounds.”
Quotes from attendees:
This course has been a phenomenal and eye-opening learning experience about inclusivity, mentorship and people management. A must-have for all people that work with other people! Scientist, Denali Therapeutics
After attending all the 7 sessions, I really do see the great value for investing your time in this training course. You will NOT regret the time you'll put into the materials, new ideas and insights, and mind-provoking concepts you'll learn how to be an effective but also INCLUSIVE manager in research settings. Senior Associate Scientist, Amgen
This course opened my eyes to inclusivity in hiring, managing, interviewing and daily interactions at work in areas that may have been blindspots for me. We've been given tangible tools to use in conversations with our co-workers and management to bring more openness and understanding of each other in the workplace. I found workstyle preferences to be particularly useful and interesting for learning more about my colleagues and even how I work best. While I've had quite a few years of experience in the past of managing people, when it comes to inclusivity, I think I've worked off gut instincts rather than having the training and knowledge to understand the tools, thought processes and strategies for inclusivity. Associate Director QA, Denali Therapeutics
Thank you so much for a detailed and instructive course. It has, by far, set the standard for the environment I hope to work in and create for my future mentees. Research Associate II, Bio-Rad Laboratories
Naledi Saul, MPM, Director, UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development and Interim Chief of Staff (SAA/Graduate Division)/PI for the NSF ATE collaborative grant: A Collaborative Approach to Work-Based Learning in Biotechnology: Building Inclusive Lab Environments.(DUE #2055735)
Karen Leung, PhD, Biotechnology Faculty, City College of San Francisco/PI for the NSF ATE collaborative grant: A Collaborative Approach to Work-Based Learning in Biotechnology: Building Inclusive Lab Environments.(DUE #2055309)
Throughout the workshop series participants were provided multiple frameworks and tools to foster inclusivity in their workplaces and in their roles as mentor-managers. This frequently included an "Inclusivity Check" outlining multiple practical steps that could be taken to build inclusivity into regular activities, such as meetings.
It was exciting to have had such high engagement with this first pilot of the Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series, including a waitlist of over 30 scientists. We are already planning a repeat of this training in Fall 2022, where we hope to open it more broadly to biotech community college faculty engaged in work-based learning (WBL) programs.
How this works fits into our current ATE project:
This work builds on our first CCSF-UCSF collaborative ATE grant (2018-2021, DUE #1801186, 1800998) in which we:
Developed a novel CCSF-UCSF Inclusive Mentoring Fellows program, in which UCSF internship mentors are coached as they apply inclusive workplace practices while mentoring CCSF interns.
In our current ATE project (2021-2024, DUE #2055735, 2055309) we are:
Translating our trainings for biotechnology community college students and mentor-managers from an academic to an industry setting (the Spring 2022 Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series was our first iteration of this more industry focused training)
Disseminate those trainings nationwide to community college students and biotech/bioscience mentor-managers through online platforms to foster the knowledge & skills needed to operationalize inclusivity and reduce barriers for community college students in the biotech workplace
If you are interested in attending the Inclusive Research Mentor-Manager Training series in the future and/or WBL for community college students, please consider joining the Collaborative to Strengthen Work-Based Learning (primarily a Google Group email list) and/or reaching out to talk with us:
Module 1 - Are you ready to be an inclusive research mentor/manager? How good people unintentionally build inequitable work environments: Many scientists have the best of intentions, but lack clearly articulated benchmarks with which to evaluate their preparedness to be inclusive as a research mentor/manager. In this session, participants will use frameworks to self-evaluate their current knowledge and skill level, discuss barriers (including previous personal lab experience, etc.), identify resources and strategies to further develop their skills, and consider language to frame and discuss their abilities as an inclusive research mentor/manager.
Module 2 - Effectively supervising people who aren't you: Managing different workstyles: In this module, participants consider how individual differences in values, approaches and relationship to work can impact productivity, morale and retention of team members. We also discuss tangible steps that managers can take to intentionally cultivate inclusive environments. We consider several factors that may make up our individual ‘operating systems’ when we engage in work, including how we prefer to communicate, make decisions, feel organized, and manage change/conflict. Participants will also have the opportunity to assess some facets of their own work style preferences, as well as develop the vocabulary to discuss others’ preferences without pathologizing their approach to work. Finally, we discuss and brainstorm tactics that team leaders can use to inclusively manage multiple work style differences and reap the benefits of working in diverse teams.
Module 3 - How to transparently set (performance and conduct) expectations: Gallup’s national State of the American Worker poll notes that half of all workers do not know what is expected of them. We discuss the challenges – the impossibility, actually – of setting all performance and behavioral expectations at the beginning of someone’s tenure, and the strategies that successful research mentors/managers use to set and manage those expectations over time. Participants will 1) identify which key expectations need to be set immediately to preserve their own productivity, 2) define and articulate expectations to team members, 3) overcome common challenges in setting expectations, including when mentoring/supervising individuals who are more experienced than themselves or have a strongly held ‘operating system’/way of doing things, and 4) consider criteria to determine if they’ve set an expectation effectively.
Module 4 - Teach/train and delegate: Using best practices to train your diverse team: Using effective training practices is important in any organization, but it is particularly important in research organizations. In biotechnology companies, the constant evolution of knowledge requires a solid training process to stay up to speed on innovative technology and knowledge. In this module, we discuss common training issues that can result in loss of productivity for individuals and their teams, and can put team members from some underrepresented groups at a disadvantage. We propose evidence-based approaches to avoid, detect and correct these training issues.
Module 5 - Communicating inclusively: developing your own feedback strategy and style: Do you feel most comfortable offering positive (or kudos) feedback? Do you tend to avoid or sugarcoat corrective feedback? Not sure what ‘evaluative’ feedback is? Then this is the session for you. In this module, we begin by dissecting the three types of feedback that everyone (including you) needs to be productive: kudos, corrective and evaluative feedback. Participants will practice giving feedback using a protocol that works for both kudos and corrective feedback Next, participants will modify the protocol as they consider their style (including their personal values, approach and language). We’ll discuss strategies to both gain buy-in/determine how the recipient can best hear and act on that feedback, and how to engage when the recipient has a strong reaction to feedback.
Module 6 - When someone isn't meeting your expectations: Strategies and resources to manage performance equitably: When someone repeatedly fails to meet performance or conduct expectations, many research mentors/managers frequently under- or over-correct and mistakenly attempt to handle the situation alone (rather than reaching out for support). In this session, participants will learn tactics to determine how their particular organization expects them to manage performance or conduct issues, how to access organizational resources to help them navigate the situation (including HR, Learning and Development, etc.), and common mistakes and approaches (including building a circle of support/self care) to manage one of the most challenging responsibilities for any mentor/manager.
Module 7 - How to inclusively hire: Which strategies will you use?: In this workshop, participants will learn evidence-based strategies to assess and select candidates using tactics from four inclusive strategy clusters: 1) adding intentional respect, 2) adding diverse voices, 3) adding accountability) and 4) leveling the playing field. Participants will learn how to transparently structure the overall hiring process, begin to develop their own questions/rubrics to assess for their priority qualifications, consider steps to prepare and manage a hiring committee, and discover tactics to mitigate others - and their own - unconscious biases.