through customized evaluations
In recent years, pharmaceutical organizations have faced changes in drug development, technology adoption and adaptation, policy shifts, and challenges with access and pricing, which have led to rapid innovation. A multinational biopharmaceutical company was facing these shifts as well as significant leadership changes, including the appointment of a new CEO and shifts in the leadership team; losing exclusivity on a high revenue-generating drug; and pressure to diversify its product pipeline.
Consequently, the organization recognized the need to reassess and redefine its effectiveness and enhance operational agility. Doing so would enable the organization to expedite innovation, market product launches, and improve patient and provider access. The CEO identified leadership as a critical lever for driving this transformation. The organization set out to redefine leader expectations, ensure leaders modeled key behaviors, and elevate overall leadership effectiveness throughout the organization, starting from the top and cascading down to all employees globally.
Guided by a clear vision for the organization’s future, the CEO established new Leader Expectations (a competency model) that emphasized the behavioral shifts necessary for leaders to succeed in the new environment. To drive accountability for these behavioral changes, the organization implemented a performance management framework. The organization partnered with BTS to develop and deploy an enterprise-wide, annual 360 and 180 feedback process as a key instrument for driving this change.
The initiative intended to foster a long-term cultural shift by aligning behaviors and mindsets across the organization with the new Leader Expectations while also creating a feedback culture, which would enable the development of people leadership skills. The annual 360/180 feedback process was selected as the centerpiece of this initiative, offering participants holistic feedback to enhance self-awareness around their strengths and development areas. This effort provided an evaluation of the organization’s leaders at a global level, informing investments in development and accelerating talent development at scale.
In collaboration with BTS, the organization created a custom feedback assessment with key levers to measure how individuals performed in alignment with the new framework. The assessment was part of a broader initiative to provide senior leaders and their managers with data-driven insights into their leadership capabilities.
Recognizing the significance of senior leadership as change drivers, the organization chose to implement the program with executives and senior leaders first. Approximately 1,700 leaders globally underwent the initial 360-evaluation in the first year. The feedback they received served as input to refine development plans and was considered alongside other inputs for their year-end performance reviews. This approach effectively communicated the initiative’s importance and relevance to the entire organization.
After successfully completing the assessment, each participant received a detailed feedback report highlighting their strengths and development opportunities based on feedback from stakeholders. In addition to the 360-feedback report, participants gained access to a wide range of targeted, personalized development resources to support their ongoing growth. They were also invited to attend group or 1:1 debriefing calls with trained BTS facilitators and coaches to receive guidance on how to leverage insights from the report and tailor their individual development plans with their managers.
Furthermore, the organization provided competency-specific self-guided learning paths, as well as optional leadership coaching to support leaders’ developmental journeys.
Through the customized assessment, the company was able to zero-in on critical areas where change was needed. This learning informed broader organizational interventions around personalized development planning, creating a feedback culture, and creating consistency around development processes.
The CEO is an active, vocal champion for the program and deeply invested in the success of all employees. Their drive and passion for the program greatly contributed to its successful first year.
In the initial year, the redefinition of Leader Expectations and the feedback assessment yielded the following outcomes:
Building on the program’s success, the organization plans to expand the availability of the assessment to reach more mid-level leaders, exceeding 4,500 leaders in the second year and more than 8,000 leaders in the third year.
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