ProGroup > Case Studies > General Mills Case Study
Retention and 'The Pipeline'
Diversity and mentoring help solve the puzzle
General Mills logo
General Mills
INDUSTRY: Retail/Food/Consumer Goods
EMPLOYEES: 25,000+
Situation
The president of General Mills, became concerned about his company's retention rates of women and people of color. He also was aware that few women or people of color were in the pipeline as future leaders. He figured the two situations were related, and he wanted both changed.
Process
So the Manager of Corporate Diversity at General Mills came to ProGroup with that challenge. Partnering with her, we created a customized Co-Mentoring program, in which all top-level women and people of color were paired with executives.

General Mills wanted each member of the pair to be equally responsible for sharing and learning. ProGroup created customized Co-Mentoring Guides for participants to use in their conversations. Topics included culture, generations, race, gender, and career.

Results
The initial 80 participants say they have built deeper connections with their co-mentors, including a higher level of appreciation and a greater understanding and comfort with each other.

With the aid of the Co-Mentoring Guides and decks of ProGroup's Honoring Differences cards, these leaders often ran out of time before they ran out of subjects to talk about.

The results of this program were what General Mills had hoped for. More women and people of color are being sought out for their input and are in the pipeline for executive positions. Important relationships have been built as the company moves ahead. One executive who participated in the program says, "Now when I walk into a room, I notice who is missing, who hasn't been heard. I know I need to seek different perspectives...it's a mental shift."

In fact, General Mills won the Catalyst Award, which honors businesses for effective initiatives for women's advancement, in 2001 in part due to their Co-Mentoring program.
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