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7 Tips to Cultivate High Potential Leaders

Emerging leader programs keep top performers developed and engaged

LEADERSHIP/MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT – By Beth Doladee, M.A., M.B.A.


Pharma, biotechnology, medical devices and other life sciences organizations are under greater pressure than ever to continuously innovate and stay competitive.

Our second annual Vaya Vision Survey of more than 1,000 U.S. professionals found that the healthcare industry is still struggling with lingering effects of the pandemic, including burnout, talent shortages and lower levels of employee engagement. The poll uncovered that only 31% of healthcare workers feel engaged and connected to their work, which is less than other industry employees, such as finance (38%), IT (39%) and professional services (42%).

These challenges, combined with today’s hybrid workplace, make it increasingly imperative for healthcare companies to identify, develop and retain emerging leaders from within. In this article, we’ll discuss best practices that can help life sciences trainers harness the talent and skills of their own workforce and prime their organizations for future success.

7 Best Practices

Keeping top performers growing and engaged, staying ahead of the competition and updating your company’s succession plan requires a holistic emerging leader program. Here are seven best practices to consider as you embark on this process:

  1. Objectively identify qualified candidates. Selecting the right emerging leaders is critical. An unbiased, multi-method approach facilitated by a neutral third party will help provide an objective evaluation and selection of employees with the highest leadership potential.
  2. Follow through with an accurate assessment. Once the right candidates are identified, be sure to capture a baseline understanding of their behaviors in alignment with future roles. Holistic data from individual interviews, psychometric and other personal style tests offers a wellrounded view of their leadership potential.
  3. Take an individualistic approach. Training should be highly personalized to help emerging leaders develop, grow and refine skills and strengths based on their unique learning needs. It should also contain course content that’s customized to address your organization’s own business goals.
  4. Embrace training technology. Today’s cloud-based coaching platforms are designed to accommodate onsite, distributed and hybrid workforces. These coaching and learning solutions are self-paced and offer an immersive experience based on active engagement, peer-to-peer interaction, live coaching with a certified coach and manager involvement. Following a “learn, practice, reflect and refine” approach leveraging the power of technology is highly effective in helping emerging leaders to understand and build impactful leadership skills.
  5. Practice skills in a safe setting. After emerging leaders have completed their formal learning program, they should be given a chance to apply their new skills before taking the leap into a new role. For example, can they navigate the complexities of developing a field sales territory? Create and present a go-to-market strategy to a C-level audience? Real-world simulations and roleplaying exercises through a virtual or in-person capstone assessment offer a risk-free environment.
  6. Close the feedback loop. Your emerging leader solution should offer meaningful written and verbal feedback as well as pulse surveys at progress checkpoints throughout the development journey. It’s important that a variety of stakeholders – including the emerging leader’s direct manager, coach consultant and peers – are all involved in providing input.
  7. Measure, measure, measure. A well-structured emerging leader program should be designed to increase pull-through, generate ROI and produce emerging leaders who have the necessary skills aligned to personal success and organizational goals.

A Pathway to Sustained Success

The development of new leaders is a process that requires dedication, patience and discipline.

A holistic emerging leader program geared to life sciences leaders is based on development plans that resonate with each individual, drive accountability and can be measured through actionable outcomes and real-world skills application – resulting in more roleready emerging leaders.

Equally important, your emerging leader program will improve retention in a competitive industry challenged by skill shortages and talent gaps. When employees know you’re invested in their career advancement and progression, they’ll be an even greater asset to your company.


Beth Doladee, M.A., M.B.A., is managing consultant and life sciences practice lead for The Vaya Group. Email Beth at bdoladee@vayapath.com.

 

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