Helping people and planet thrive – A trainee’s daily routine in sustainability communications
Very focused she looks at her screen, shakes her head and frowns. This sentence for the next press release on the Science Based Targets initiative is still missing some fine tuning. She tries out alternative wording – the keyboard of her laptop clatters. "Now I've got it," she thinks to herself satisfied. Then the notification for the next Teams call with the colleagues from Sustainability Employee Engagement pops up... This or something similar could have been a situation in Leoni Bieckmann's traineeship. In the following lines, you can read about how she pursued her passion for sustainability and made the best of her time despite the pandemic.
A lot happened at Bayer in March 2020: Following restructuring, Corporate Communications started working in the new organizational setup with newsroom and business partners, the first consequences of the corona virus, including the change towards working from home, became noticeable – and after completing my bachelor's and master's degrees, I started my traineeship in the "Enabling Functions Communications" team. Here, communications experts drive the development and implementation of a holistic communications strategy for Group-wide and department-relevant topics. In addition to supporting the Bayer Foundation and Corporate Giving, my focus lay on sustainability communications.
Sustainability – more than a trending topic
Be it in the newspaper, on TV or on social media – the topic of sustainability is everywhere; and that's a good thing! Numerous companies have recognized it for their own benefit and their own reputation. However, following a trend or just wanting to satisfy stakeholders is not the reason for Bayer to put sustainability in the spotlight. At Bayer, sustainability is not only part of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), but a core element of our corporate strategy. The variable remuneration of all managerial staff including the Board of Management has been linked to the sustainability goals, a Sustainability Council with external experts has been established, and our CEO is Chief Sustainability Officer – these examples show how important Bayer takes the matter. The ambitious sustainability goals mentioned above include, for example, providing 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception by 2030, and making Bayer's sites climate-neutral (read more here. At its core, sustainability at Bayer is about "helping people and planet thrive.
The right concept brought to live through communication allows telling stories that inform, engage and inspire people – that is my passion. The fact that I was able to combine this with a focus on sustainability, my second passion, during my traineeship: what a dream come true! I'm delighted that sustainability has been receiving more attention sparking an increased interest to also act in a more sustainable way. Only together – be it as a private citizen, business or government representative – we can achieve what is necessary supported by innovations.Growing up on a farm, the first station during my "round trip" through the communications department with the Crop Science team almost felt like home.
Virtual, various, victorious
Starting with a new employer and a new team is always exciting. It gets even more intense when a large part of the onboarding process has to be shifted to being at home – as it was the case for me after having spent just two weeks on site in Leverkusen and Monheim. While I was still hopeful at the beginning that I would be able to return to the office in the near future, I soon had to look for alternative ways of exchanging with my new colleagues. How relieved I was that I was accepted as a true team member also virtually such as in team meetings, in numerous get-to-know calls, and during analog walks with colleagues during lunch breaks; yet, I still missed in-person shadowing opportunities and spontaneous chats in the coffee kitchen a lot. In addition to the three-month round trip through the various teams of the communications department and the trainings, the focus was on "learning on the job" – and that's what I did: Every day I gained new insights and skills, and my tasks were diverse: from strategy and concept development to content creation including video production to evaluation; from press releases to intranet articles and LinkedIn posts to the organization and execution of virtual events.
In addition to a steep learning curve and exciting projects that I was able to help shape, I am especially grateful for the open-minded and helpful people I have met along the way (thanks especially to my mentor!). I have taken a lot with me – for my private life as well as my next and current position in internal communications at Bayer Engineering & Technology.
Ready for a challenging and multifaceted traineeship? Find out more here!