Whether it’s nurturing positive mental health, promoting diversity, or celebrating a culture that recognizes employees’ success, Genentech is cracking the code on fostering a happy and healthy IT workforce.
As a leader in the biotechnology industry, Genentech is particularly invested in its own employees’ wellness, taking a holistic approach that cuts across career growth; social well-being; and financial, physical, and mental health. What stands out is Genentech’s comprehensive suite of mental health benefits, which includes preventive care and early intervention, talk and text therapy, medication management, 25 free sessions with a mental health counselor each year for employees and their family members, and a variety of mental health workshops and resources.
Its wellness offerings also include free digital health tools such as the Rally app for wellness rewards; the Sleepio app to help alleviate insomnia; and the Doctor on Demand program, which supports video visits to physicians and psychologists. More than 300 Genentech employees volunteer as mental health champions to help support colleagues’ mental wellness.
“We offer programs designed to support our team members through mentoring and personal coaching,” says Charles Castano, vice president of US Informatics at Genentech. “We also have a very strong culture focused on wellness, ensuring psychological safety, and generally looking out for one another.”
Laying down a path to career success
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integrated into the company’s DNA, both to ensure that Genentech is a compelling place to work and to bolster its capacity to deliver scientific innovations and medicines that drive better outcomes for individuals and communities. Genentech’s chief diversity office (CDO), created in 2020, has set the goal of doubling Black and Latinx representation among directors and extended leadership.
Other CDO initiatives include requiring an inclusive hiring certification for all hiring managers and interview panels, providing unconscious bias training and allyship and racial equity workshops, and expanding the pool of candidates by recruiting from nontraditional sources.
Change Sequence events are another way Genentech is working to expand its pipeline of diverse hires. These recruitment events coincide with culturally significant observances such as Hispanic Heritage Month or Black History Month and provide opportunities for people from outside Genentech to meet its leaders and team members.
“It’s a great way for outside talent to interact and connect with us,” Castano says. “We chat with them and give them guidance.”
Career enrichment is key to employee wellness, and here Genentech has a multifaceted plan to keep its workforce on a positive path. In addition to providing a wide array of skills development and career guidance initiatives, the CareerLab program grants employees five free 45-minute private consultations designed to help them plot a career arc that aligns with their values and goals. A robust mentoring program matches mentors and mentees through online profiles.
“We believe that coaching and mentoring are essential elements of professional and personal growth, and I make sure to set aside time in my schedule for these mutually beneficial learning opportunities,” Castano says.
The Personal Excellence Program, unique to IT, concentrates on improving soft skills through a six-month regime of workshops, coaching, and educational sessions available to eligible employees. Managers can use instructor-led sessions called LearningLabs to learn how to better foster meaningful development conversations with team members.
“The idea is to coach managers and team members on topics like resilience, vulnerability, and having the courage to speak openly about their ideas and perspectives,” Castano says. “This allows us to focus on the whole person’s development so they can contribute to a thriving community that is resilient, connected, and empathetic.”
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