February 24, 2022 / All Stories

AbbVie’s approach to learning is unique – here are 3 reasons why

Leaders have made learning a part of the culture and empower employees to take charge of their development

Developing the people who are driving innovation

Innovation is fueled by great talent. When gifted minds can come together and perform at their very best, just about anything is possible.

But how do you bring out the best in a workforce approximately 50,000 strong? At AbbVie, part of the answer lies in learning and development.

Research shows that when employees have more time to learn they’re more engaged and a more engaged workforce is more likely to deliver business results.

Understanding the value of learning, AbbVie invests in employee development across the globe. As a result, 80% of AbbVie employees say they’re pleased with development opportunities, a sentiment that’s grown year-over-year. And, based on employees’ input, AbbVie ranked #4 on the Great Place to Work World’s Best Workplaces list in 2021, its fifth year on the list. Read on to uncover three reasons why AbbVie’s approach to learning is unique.

Make learning and development a part of the culture

Leaders at AbbVie have made learning and development part of their entire culture, shaping the way in which every employee works and delivers value to patients. "With strategic, innovative offerings and strong executive commitment, we empower employees to chart their own course," says Tim Richmond, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, AbbVie.

Within AbbVie’s culture is a talent philosophy that guides how talent is managed, developed and led. As part of that philosophy, every person — including every leader — is accountable for continuous learning and development. As a result, leaders can be found empowering other leaders by actively participating in AbbVie’s learning and development programs.

Every leader at the most senior level, including the chief executive officer, has been involved in leading or contributing to AbbVie’s learning and development programs. And in 2021 alone, more than 50 senior leaders led sessions to share their personal development and career experiences.

“When we hear stories from leaders, we quickly see how we all share many of the same strengths, challenges and opportunities,” says Bryan Hall, IT manager, AbbVie.

Customize development programs based on where employees are in their journey

Especially within a large and diverse workforce, what might prove useful to one employee or team may not be relevant to another. For instance, a new people leader in marketing likely needs a different kind of support than a post-doctoral student in order to grow in their role.

To address this challenge, AbbVie has dedicated teams providing learning and training on leadership development and function-specific knowledge and skills. These teams leverage insights from employees, business strategy, outside research, talent data and thought leaders to determine AbbVie’s curriculum. This approach led to the launch of specialized programs like AbbVie’s early career program, which provides a range of rotational assignments for every key discipline, including early career scientists and students in other fields, and AbbVie’s executive development programs, which deliver tailored support to new and upcoming leaders.

Employees are additionally empowered to take control over their own development through a library of training programs and extensive collateral materials, which they can access at their own convenience.

Be curious, innovative and continually seek ways to improve

In the same way AbbVie strives to innovate in discovering and developing new medicines, it always seeks to be more innovative in its learning approach. One way leaders do this is by delivering knowledge in creative ways during Learn. Develop. Perform. (LDP) Week, an award-winning initiative dedicated to employee development.

During this week and throughout the year, AbbVie’s entire global workforce gets to explore learning opportunities and hear from internal and external leaders from all around the world. In the six years the company has hosted the event, organizers have challenged themselves to deliver creative, new offerings, from music videos to TED Talks, a 24-hour radio station, a comedy sketch show, a television program, podcasts and webinars.

Throughout this and other creative programs hosted during the year, AbbVie leaders make a point to measure and collect feedback from employees to learn what to improve and adapt. Among the things teams measure are program participation, employee sentiment, the impact of skills development on culture, and the relationship between development and engagement.

“We’re always challenging ourselves to raise the bar,” says Richmond. “It’s hard work, but if we remain focused on amplifying our people, culture, and strategy, we know we will continue to make a remarkable impact on patients’ lives.”

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Name: Alissa Bolton
Email: Alissa.bolton@abbvie.com
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Tags: Careers