Do It Yourself In-House
By Steven Rauschkolb
A recent year-long study by McKinsey &
Co. involving 77 companies and nearly
6,000 senior executives indicated that
the most important resource needed to achieve
and sustain corporate success over the next 20
years will be talent. The dilemma facing most
companies is that as the demand for talent goes
up, the supply of it will be going down due to
the last of the baby boomers retiring, among
Not all life sciences companies have financial
and other resources to hire external experts to
create and execute a talent development
program. Because identifying and developing
top talent is so important to the future of your
organization, you might consider developing
your own program in-house. It’s a great way to
broaden the scope of your department, while
proactively solving a critical issue for your
Before you start, there are several important
stakeholders that you should engage:
• Start by finding a senior-level executive
sponsor, high enough in the organization to
help you sell the idea.
• Next, be sure to engage your Human
Resources head to ensure that a similar
program or initiative does not already exist.
• Once you get the go-ahead to start the
planning process, develop a preliminary
proposal that carefully lays out the
objectives, scope and any potential costs for
the program. Run your proposal by your key
stakeholders and adjust as needed to ensure
that you are covering all of your bases and
that you have full alignment and budgeting
approved before you begin development.
As you begin to create the program, a good
place to start is by benchmarking similar
programs through your LTEN network and via
the Internet. Pay careful attention to the
duration, development modalities and final
assessment outputs of other programs.
Consider who else should be involved to help
facilitate the program and act as assessors.
Typically, this should be a team of people made
up from mid- to senior-level directors and vice
presidents from a cross section on functions
(Sales, Human Resources, Learning &
Consider breaking the development into
multiple parts, such as a kick off webinar, a live
training session to provide leadership and
business acumen training, monthly self-study
assignments tied to your leadership or
functional competencies followed by webinars
to discuss learning and application and
potentially an in-house assessment center,
where all of the learning comes together.
Regardless of the modalities you choose,
remember the 70-20-10 rule to ensure the most effective learning. The best mix
includes 70 percent on-the-job
learning through challenging
assignments, 20 percent coaching or
mentoring and 10 percent from
coursework and training.
o achieve this mix, the program
should conclude with a strong
individual development plan (IDP) for
each participant, incorporating in field
developmental assignments and
ongoing follow-up checkpoints and
coaching to ensure the stickiness of all
aspects of the program.
While developing an in-house
program is not easy, it can be done
very cost effectively with careful
planning and skillful engagement of
key stakeholders and senior
leadership. There is no better way to
demonstrate your personal leadership
and value to your organization than
tackling this important challenge.
Steven Rauschkolb is senior director, learning & development, for Quintiles. Email Steve at Steve.Rauschkolb@quintiles.com.