In October 2019, Parker reaffirmed its dedication to forging a culture of high performance through a brand-new purpose statement, Enabling Engineering Breakthroughs that Lead to a Better Tomorrow. This newly defined purpose can only be realized through recognizing the importance of individual contributions from every team member, and a concentrated approach to strengthening employee confidence and passion for engineering at all levels of the organization. This passion starts at the individual level when each team member’s confidence aligns with their competence.
Parker provides many resources to help employees reach this potential and ultimately raise the bar of performance within our industry. One of the many initiatives that has impacted team members across the globe is the introduction of mentoring circles through Peer W, Parker’s Business Resource Group that focuses on attraction, development, and retention of women in the workplace.
Parker’s Peer W North America Mentoring Circles Program was launched in 2020 with the intention of bringing peer mentoring opportunities to team members in all Parker locations across North America after a survey of team members indicated an extensive demand to network with and learn from their peers. The group of women behind the design, launch, and maintenance of the Mentoring Circles program range from engineers to pricing managers, IT analysts to supply chain leaders, all with a shared passion for leading change in the workplace.
By the end of 2020, over 300 Parker team members are participating in the Pilot Mentoring Circles program. They represent all 6 operating groups plus corporate headquarters and are spread across 106 cities in 36 US states. After the initial application period, team members were placed into either regional in-person circles or virtual circles, depending on their location and geographic proximity to other interested team members. When COVID-19 forced more virtual interaction, the in-person circles also became virtual.
Individual circle members present to their group the educational topics that most interest them and align best with their personal and professional development goals, and moderators guide the group in selecting additional educational opportunities that align with all members’ goals.
"I definitely feel more engaged with having these circle meetings, especially during this time with COVID-19 and working remotely. I feel engaged and empowered employee for Parker to provide this opportunity and invest in myself."
Aarti Patel, sourcing & commodity manager, Motion Systems Group, Richland, MI - Parker Hannifin
It takes all of us, united by a common purpose to make a better tomorrow. Mentoring Circles cultivate that common purpose by bringing team members together who may not have much visibility to the broader Parker network of empowered individuals. Participants in regional circles can become more familiar with team members from geographically close divisions and virtual circle participants connect with others across North America. In either style of a circle, participants are challenged to step outside their comfort zone and confidently engage in often difficult discussions around gender bias in the workplace, building trust on teams, navigating career setbacks, or how to lead with meaning.
“Since I joined the Mentoring Circles program, I have found the program to be insightful and worthwhile. While we are in the initial meeting stages, hearing other women share their experiences and stories while also sharing lessons I have learned, has been very rewarding. To see these women, even if only virtually once a month, provides a rich layer of relationships and networking that I think is invaluable.”
Zaneta Brommer, division lean manager; Engineered Materials Group; Salt Lake City, UT, Parker Hannifin
Circle meetings, whether virtual or in-person, can also directly help team members practice the Parker virtues of trust, compassion, courage, justice, wisdom, temperance, and hope. Through the program, participants learn to further develop trust with our colleagues, and virtual circles face the additional challenge of developing trust with persons who have never met face to face, a growing common reality in today’s world. By discussing challenges faced when building trust and role-playing ways to bridge those gaps, circle members are better equipped to strengthen relationships in the workplace and with customers.
"Parker's Purpose enables us to understand the company ourselves. Through the circles, I have taken the time to understand myself as a professional in the corporation, and how can I make a meaningful impact not only in the business but also in the circle's team members."
Jenifer Castillo, territory manager - Caribbean, Pan American Division; Puerto Rico, Parker Hannifin
Sharing personal stories about difficult experiences in the workplace requires trust amongst circle members and providing thoughtful insight into other’s challenges helps us see the struggles with others in the workplace while strengthening our compassion for others. That same trust and compassion helps us to speak up for ourselves and others in the workplace, which not only further develops our courage and confidence, but elevates the morale and connection amongst team members not participating in the program.
"The Mentoring Circles program helps by improving ourselves to be better employees, teammates and leaders - taking Parker to the next level."
Elizabeth Wieland, customer service manager, Motion Systems Group, Richland, MI, Parker Hannifin
This openness fuels collaboration and drives the entrepreneurial passion that gives team members meaning in their workdays. It reminds team members of their love for engineering, their creativity to innovate, and their drive to keep Parker competitive as a top tier engineering company that inherently draws in talent. The Mentoring Circles helps team members recognize and push past any roadblocks that hinder passion, so they can match their confidence to their competence. These engaged employees will be the engineers or will lead the engineers that develop the breakthroughs that lead to a better tomorrow.
The Purpose Statement is only one piece of the puzzle to position Parker at the forefront of industry. Business Resource Groups like Peer W are a pivotal part of the foundation that will help drive the changes necessary to realize that purpose. True innovation, whether in a CAD model, the test lab, a creative supply chain procedure, or a new business strategy, comes from a diverse workforce that sees every team member as an equally influential and valuable contributor.
"The Mentoring Program has made me feel more empowered. This is my first professional role and it has given me confidence that my Peer W groups had my back, which makes me feel more confident about what I'm doing."
Katelyn Larner, planner, Motion Systems Group, Richland, MI, Parker Hannifin
While Peer W aims to connect and engage women; these efforts are entirely inclusive to both men and women, as men are strong allies for change and can support conversation on how we can improve collaboration in the workplace.
Article contributed by Amanda Durk Frye, engineering services supervisor and mentoring circles HPT team leader, Aerospace Group, Parker Hannifin
Related and helpful content: