Industry Insights

How to Build Leadership & Develop Talent in Biotech & Pharma

Posted by Alan Slavik on Aug 14, 2018 11:51:41 AM

Facing the Impending Talent Cliff with Confidence, Creativity & Courage

While everyone knows that there is no literal cliff around the corner, Biopharma companies and firms must prepare as the largest workforce in history moves into retirement.

Or, stated in a more elegant manner, they must prepare as the largest workforce in history moves into the third act of life.

europe-agingAnimation from data visualization expert Aron Strandberg shows the median age of European countries between 1960 and 2060.

This image from our friends at Visual Capitalist, a great group in Vancouver, nicely illustrates the urgency of the situation.

The Solution: Build Strong Leaders for 2025 & Beyond

Not only will leading Biopharma companies need to establish strong and well-communicated leadership succession plans, they must quickly and accurately identify, then engage, future leaders before their competitors snatch them up.

This takes courage, conviction and a lot of creativity. And, we say this with no irony whatsoever, strong leadership.

What does this mean exactly? Here we share 4 simple tips on how firms can get the talent motor revved up for the future.

1: Identify Future Talent

First, find future talent within the organization, then identify and assess the critical leadership competencies your company desperately needs to kick derriere in the future.

So, you think you’ve identified those future leaders. Now what?

2: Build a Leadership Journey

What do you do with the ones that are still 5-8 years away from that big job?

And what about the young hires that are clearly fast-trackers and likely to get bored if they aren’t challenged, inspired and even pampered a little bit?

Be sure that you establish employee engagement plans, leadership journeys and programs aimed at retaining and inspiring your leaders for tomorrow. It’s as simple as that.

If your cliff is steeper than expected, ensure that hiring practices are designed to bridge the gap.

3: Understand What it Takes to Be a Good Leader in Life Sciences

Based on recent sessions with global experts and industry thought-leaders, we’ve surmised that it takes industry-specific business acumen, communication skills, digital acumen, emotional intelligence and strong people management skills.

Essentially, future leaders need to master a strong mix of both soft and hard skills which includes the ability to drive business results and cultivate and nurture productive, meaningful professional relationships

These competencies will help you to “become the ambidextrous leader,” as our founder Jean-Claude Larréché likes to say.

4. Promote Gender Parity in Leadership

Strong women’s representation in leadership teams has been proven to bring organizations better results. A successful leadership development program thus needs to tap into an often woefully underutilized resource—its female managers.

The “leaky pipeline” phenomenon common to many industries—and life sciences is no exception—sees an increasingly smaller representation of women with each step of the managerial hierarchy. As such, women typically represent roughly half of the workforce and yet only about a quarter of leadership positions.

This must and will change.

What is being done about this in the biotech and pharma space?

Many companies are taking a deliberate and disciplined approach to promoting gender parity in the workplace. There are many great examples of Women’s Leadership programs, academies and nonprofit organizations that StratX proudly supports.

Groups like Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association were created with the sole purpose of furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. This is just one example of how the world is quickly changing, and we at StratX are happy to play a small role in helping create positive changes. 

We remain enthusiastically committed to supporting our partners and customers in their efforts to identify, engage & grow the leaders of the future.

Leading in Biotech & Pharma in 2025 & Beyond: Free White Paper

Over the course of the next few months and in anticipation of our upcoming launch of CentrX Biopharma2.0, StratX is exploring The Big Six critical areas of development for the healthcare and life sciences sector.

This new experiential learning & development solution is designed for success in 2025 & beyond and covers these core areas:

The Big Six learning and development areas in biopharmaWe’ll also be sharing a white paper on how Biopharma firms can improve their teams’ capabilities within The Big Six. Be the first to receive the free white paper by registering today. 

Register for the White Paper

Feel free to reach out, question, challenge, inquire or even pick up the phone and call us. Old school. (+33 1 53 46 69 00 for Paris or +1 617 300 8220 for Boston)

We’ll be happy to talk and share ideas.

We hope you enjoy the ride and thank you very much for your time and attention. We greatly appreciate it.


If you’d like to hear more about our solutions and even participate in the testing phase and pre-launch cohort of CentrX Biopharma2.0, please connect with us. We’ll be thrilled to offer a free trial or workshop for your leaders and teams.

Topics: Biopharma, Leadership Development

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