Operating as a global top employer in transformational times

The Head of HR for Growth and Emerging Markets at Takeda outlines the three core people management principles adopted by her team.
By: | May 24, 2019


About the Author
Ana Cardoso is the Head of HR, Growth & Emerging Markets, at Takeda

What does it take to become a top employer in a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy unrelenting in its competition and speed of change? Many point to overcoming talent shortages as the answer.

Research indicates that a current global skills shortage is expected to result in US$8.45 trillion in lost revenue by 2030, equivalent to the combined GDP of Germany and Japan.

As an HR team, we have the privilege of being on the frontline of transformational change, empowering our people across Takeda’s growth & emerging markets (GEM) to perform to their highest potential, to grow in their role and within the business.

Progress has been highly encouraging. In January 2019, we completed our merger with Shire and as one unified company, we are now ranked among the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Critical to the success of this merger is the integration of our people, with HR playing a key role in this transformation.

More recently, 20 of our GEM countries were awarded Global Top Employer status by Top Employers Institute for the second year running.

Much of the success in receiving this recognition should be credited to our solid HR processes and a long-term vision to invest in and develop our people.

Retaining and engaging talent is critical in today’s competitive landscape, regardless of your industry or sector in which you operate. There are three core principles that we have adopted and that I believe every organisation should consider.

Create an engaged workforce

Establishing an open and transparent culture, with two-way dialogue at the heart of it, helps us to motivate great performance, which is key to developing and promoting rising stars within the business.

At Takeda, we track the engagement levels of our people through a survey that helps us to measure our progress as a “Best in Class” Employer in the eyes of our people.

The insights from this survey are then reviewed using our streamlined analytical platform that provides us with a detailed view at the area and local country levels in order to create action plans for positive change, with KPIs set to continuously monitor and improve.


Empower people to shine

Establishing an open and transparent culture, with two-way dialogue at the heart of it, helps us to motivate great performance.

Working at Takeda, it is important that our people feel empowered to perform to the very best of their ability as they work towards creating a brighter future for millions of patients worldwide.

We enable all our people to grow by providing support and training where needed and fostering a culture of trust to allow leadership at all levels.

Across all parts of our business we look for new ways to enhance the employee experience and our tailored  Develop, Nurture, and Accelerate (DNA) program sits at the heart of this strategy.

This program includes talent development, international assignments, flexible schedules, partnering with world-class academic institutions for training academies and focusing on employee-first HR practices.


Communication is key to good leadership

A clear sense of purpose helps to increase engagement among employees, and fundamental to this is communicating transparently about the company’s strategy, direction, and results.

We leverage our regular company Town Hall meetings, as well as video and email communications to reach our people and ensure these regular touch points keep colleagues abreast of all activities.

Another way we do this is by connecting with our talent and bringing the ‘outside in’ mindset, which we do at our GEM Summit, a high-touch program which links outside thinking with our GEM strategy and recognises the impressive work of our people across the business, including their commitment to patients and our Takeda values.

Communication is a continuous and two-way process where the follow-up is equally as important as the strategy setting, and the listening to employees, and creation of channels and forums for dialogue is as important, if not more important than simply being on transmit.

Employees always want to see how their daily responsibilities connect to the overall strategy, understand how they are adding value to the company’s achievements and know that they are being listened to.

Identifying, and effectively implementing appropriate channels to directly communicate across the business is therefore critical.

The better people we have, the better services we can deliver to patients worldwide and we should continuously reflect on how best to match business aspirations to our employee value proposition to enable our people to make a lasting difference to the business.

This is a continuous journey and as we transform and evolve as a company, we remain committed to our people, to their professional development and their future.