May 7, 2020 / All Stories

How a strong culture drives business forward – even during times of crisis

AbbVie employees around the world exemplify our principles in the many ways they’re responding to the impact of COVID-19.

Tim Richmond, executive vice president, chief human resources officer, AbbVie

Turning to culture in a crisis

By Tim Richmond
executive vice president, chief human resources officer, AbbVie

During times of uncertainty and fear, a solid foundation and clarity about what you believe in are invaluable – and a strong company culture provides both. Our AbbVie Principles – the guiding beliefs that anchor our culture and represent what we stand for as a company – ensure our mission and identity as an organization are always at the forefront of every decision we make.

As we continue to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve seen our Principles come to life in a number of ways.

Our science, healthcare and manufacturing employees are transforming lives by showing up to work each day – despite all the turmoil in the world – to continue advancing our pipeline and producing the essential medicines our patients need.

We’re taking steps to keep our onsite workers as safe as possible – so they can focus on making vital medicines for our patients.

AbbVie is serving the community through a donation of $35 million to help support underserved communities and healthcare systems impacted by COVID-19. Not only that, employees with relevant medical, pharmaceutical, R&D, and public health and safety expertise have the option to volunteer their time and skills while continuing to receive their full pay and benefits.

Across the organization, I’ve seen employees driving innovation – both in how we are addressing the virus clinically and in how we are establishing creative new ways of working.

For example, our Commercial organization launched “Let’s Stay Connected,” a platform in which employees across the company can share examples of working virtually, photos of their remote offices and memes that make them laugh – all for the purpose of staying in touch while moving the business forward.

Finally, I’m proud to see AbbVie continuing to act with integrity. We always strive to do the right thing – and that’s apparent in the ways we support our onsite workers. AbbVie has set up mini markets in our global manufacturing plant cafeterias and at our headquarters so employees can purchase food essentials such as eggs, bread, meat and dairy products. These markets are especially valuable for our onsite workers whose shifts may prevent them getting to local grocery stores before they close.

There are many other ways AbbVie is responding to COVID-19. No matter how big or small, every action we’ve taken in response to this pandemic reflects our culture – it’s echoed in everything we do.

Employees across AbbVie share their gratitude for colleagues who must come to the labs or manufacturing sites every day.

People sometimes ask me – what’s the secret for a company to create and maintain a culture that translates to high performance? My answer is always “It’s not just one thing.” There are many small factors that lead to engaged employees who are passionate about their jobs. But, there’s one element you must ensure remains constant – and that’s staying true to your convictions. This means you keep your greater purpose in sight and articulate it to your employees. At AbbVie, we have employees all over the world – in our labs, manufacturing plants and communities – who “get it.” They bring it to life every day in the ways they work together to make an impact on patients’ lives.

At AbbVie, we talk about creating an environment where how we work together is just as important as what we achieve together. As we all adjust to new ways of working – whether it’s maintaining six feet of social distance on the production lines or, in my case, helping my kids with their online schoolwork while working from home – we can be confident in knowing we’re still united and guided by our culture around the globe.

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Alissa Bolton
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