Bausch Health: A Framework for Success
Cover Story – By Jason Zeman
The new framework enables our 20,000 employees to grow to their full potential.
As learning leaders, one of our goals is to increase business results. To achieve it, we know that linking learning strategy to business strategy ensures business impact and longevity of a learning function.
According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2020 Learning Strategy, nearly 85% of companies indicate this alignment is either important or critical for achieving business goals. Organizations that do are far more likely than other organizations to see increases in key business metrics.
For Bausch Health, one of our consistent business priorities has been to cultivate a high-performing, results-oriented culture by recruiting, engaging, developing, rewarding and retaining talent. To achieve this priority, the HR team launched a global employee development framework that created a common and integrated approach to development. This would enable our 20,000 employees to grow to their full potential, achieve their career goals and contribute to the success of Bausch Health.
In 2020, with a full COVID-19 lockdown in place, two HR Center of Expertise (COE) teams – leadership & organization development and talent management – collaborated to design the company’s first global employee development framework. It embodied what had been previously implemented at Bausch Health throughout the years while envisioning new possibilities for the future.
We started by defining what the employee development framework is, how we would execute it and what the business impact is for the organization. Leveraging information from recent employee engagement surveys, leading HR practices and our internal teams’ experience, we formulated key questions for ourselves and stakeholders through a visioning exercise:
- What if we could reach all employees at Bausch Health?
- What if everyone we reached increased their leadership effectiveness by a measurable degree in their day-to-day?
- What if the keys to success in our selection, development, succession and engagement work were defined and aligned?
We found that the impact of accomplishing the above would be both inspiring and tangible. Some examples included:
- Everyone at Bausch Health has an active Individual Development Plan (IDP).
- Better skills, better business results.
- Feels like a more inclusive environment.
- This is a place that I can grow and develop throughout my career.
- We hire, develop and promote from within.
As we thought about the current state with our employee development and systems, we imagined the future state to create a better employee experience and company culture. (See Table 1.)
The Employee Development Framework
The framework was defined as supporting employees to grow to their full potential, achieve their career goals and contribute to the success of Bausch Health. The visual graphic of the framework represented inclusion, potential and interdependence, which was inspired by the definition. The core segments were organized as career development, leadership development and capability-building. Within those segments, we thought through the most practical way to represent each and what would resonate most with employees.
- Capability building to provide continuous development opportunities for employees in their current roles and with regard to potential future challenges and opportunities.
- Career development to provide employees with career exploration pathways while learning about and understanding their strengths and developmental needs in preparation for career movement.
- Leadership development to focus on developing leaders and potential leaders within their current and future roles.
The 10 leadership & development competencies and the IDP would be our anchor to create a global and integrated view to development, while also enabling personalization for every employee. Linking to the organizational drivers was important to ensure sustainability, alignment and results.
To launch it right the first time, our strategy consisted of guiding principles, phases for the implementation, vendor selection, communication plan, core languages, governance for decision-making, HR communities of practice, intranet website and tools for HR business partners, leaders and employees to use.
To ensure a successful implementation, we aligned on guiding principles that are guardrails for decisions. These included:
- Take an integrated approach with HR business partners and COEs when designing and implementing solutions at the right time with the right audience.
- Engage leaders and employees with a regular cadence of targeted communications to drive utilization.
- Lead with insights when designing new solutions and/or updating current solutions.
- Utilize modern technology and innovative learning approaches to scale our solutions to multiple audiences.
- Develop globally consistent materials in accordance with our language strategy.
- Enable a centralized approach for decision-making when implementing global and local solutions.
- Build and reinforce a culture of continuous improvement.
TABLE 1: Creating a Better Employee Experience
Our Employees Voice Their Feedback
- “I really like the new employee development learning catalog. It’s like TED Talks for work! The courses look very relevant, and I appreciate how much you can actually learn in a 10- or 15-minute micro-course.” — Commercial Leader, U.S.
- “Never stop learning — Pinpoint Platform, thanks for this great stuff.” — Sales Professional, Switzerland
- “Excellent framework, supports our main pillar of development, the people.” — Commercial Leader, Greece
- “Can’t wait to start using this. Excellent work and great project that can only be viewed as beneficial to our workforce.” — HR Business Partner, South Africa
- “Incredible resources to develop our teams.” — Commercial Training Leader, U.S.
- “The framework is a practical and accessible resource for Bausch Health to support all our employees with their development and build capabilities and skills at any stage of their career from new hire to senior executive.” — Talent Leader, U.S.
- “It is truly appreciated having a team that proactively engineers paths to enable our teams to truly focus on their development.” — Sr. Regulatory Affairs Leader, U.S.
- “Employees appreciate the framework because it gives them the opportunity to design their career with the tools available to grow into their desired roles.” — Leadership and Organizational Development Leader
Identifying Strategic External Partners
Development Dimensions International (DDI) and ExecOnline. Combined with our internally developed tools and programs, we would now be able to provide formal and informal solutions to all levels of employees – new hires, individual contributors, managers, leaders of functions and business/enterprise leaders.
We first introduced the framework to all U.S. employees and the global HR team, essentially as a pilot with a limited number of tools available. This gave us the opportunity to assess utilization, get feedback on tools and improve the overall employee experience. Based on positive feedback and the organization resuming the allocation of resources (e.g., budget) from our COVID recovery, we received approval to establish a long-term commitment with the suppliers, which would set us up for a successful global launch in April 2021.
To inspire action, we created a campaign titled “Start Now: DEVELOP Yourself. DEVELOP Others. DEVELOP Anywhere.” To take it a step further, we validated that its meaning would translate correctly to the 10 languages. Encouraging immediate action, we first introduced this campaign to all U.S. employees. We spotlighted tools and resources that support managers and employees as they prepare and conducted performance reviews and goal-setting.
To increase awareness with leaders and employees, we equipped HR business partners globally with a toolkit containing a talking point deck (5-, 15- and 30-minute versions) that could be shared at leadership and team meetings, email signatures with the “Start Now” theme and a website, FAQs, videos to socialize the employee development framework, personas to help employees create an IDP and the “Getting Started” tools that employees would use.
We also started and continue today playing the global launch video on site monitors. All these resources and tools were translated in 10 languages (French, German, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Japanese), which represented about 95% of employees.
On April 21, we officially launched the employee development framework to our 20,000 employees. Given the timing of the global launch, we spotlighted the development planning process with our “Start Now” branding, which included a development planning process, IDP process and tools, a learning catalog with more than 80 courses and workshops, and a development guide linked to our leadership competencies that contains key actions, quick tips, development activities, courses, books and articles.
We also created a website through our collaboration with information technology.
In addition to the steps above, here are a few more recommendations to set you up for success:
- Partner with human resources to understand what may exist today, what may be in progress or how you can work together to create something new. This ensures you are integrating efforts, avoiding duplication of work and maximizing your strategic resources.
- Scan the environment internally and externally for ways to evolve your thinking and adapt your plans.
- Establish a cadence of quarterly or semi-annual check-ins with HR business partners and other leaders to review: What was accomplished, what can be accomplished and how to prioritize what’s most important to the business. This ensures you are doing the right things at the right time with the right audience.
Results to Date:
- Reached more than 23,000 views to the website, which demonstrates employees’ interest to learn more about how they can start to benefit from it.
- Achieved 11% utilization with Pinpoint, our online learning platform through DDI, which is above the industry benchmark. Additionally, the average number of learning assets completed per learner is 10. More than 14,000 learning assets have been completed.
- Increased the number of employees who have active IDPs due to leaders setting expectations for 100% completion.
- Implemented tools and resources to align with organizational activities like year-end reviews, development planning, succession planning; also, for business priorities including diversity, equity & inclusion and change management initiatives.
- Integrated our succession planning efforts to develop our global top talent through our ExecOnline partnership with 39 senior leaders globally with 100% reporting an overall positive experience, 97% likely to apply their learnings to work, and $134.7 million projected financial impact from project work completed during courses.
- Scaled our Frontline Leader Impact Program by leveraging DDI technology to 200 global employees across commercial sales, corporate functions and manufacturing with an 85% completion rate.
- Expanded our Global Emerging Leaders Program to include 150 global employees leveraging team’s technology and most DDI curriculum with YTD retention of 90%.
- Reduced our overall budget spend by 25% due to streamlining our partnerships.
The design, development and implementation of this global employee development framework is the result of countless hours during a very challenging time, with a global HR team committed to achieving one of our core business priorities and living our mission to improve people’s lives.
With Bausch Health’s planned separation into three companies, the employee development framework is a “lift and shift,” meaning it will continue to be used in the new companies.
Our work is not done, in fact our journey continues. To fully operationalize the entire employee development framework will take at least two years to become an end-toend talent solution that creates consistent business impact.
The good news is we now have the tools, the resources, the partners and the commitment to democratize leadership and learning for all employees in service of transforming ourselves and others to transform the business.
Jason Zeman is senior director, leadership & organizational development, for
Bausch Health. Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.