Which competences will
boost your career in the future?


September 2020

Which competences will boost your career in the future?

Life science competences will never cease to be relevant. Nonetheless, there is much to suggest that your approach and working methods are at least as decisive. Digital competences, flexibility and excellent communication skills are becoming increasingly important.

Globalisation and the ability to perform data analyses at great speed and precision continues to influence market conditions as well as our ways of working. So, how will you remain relevant? How will you strengthen your company’s continued development? How future-ready are you? These are important questions, often calling for change, when you answer the questions honestly.

Changed market and product portfolio called for crucial reorganisation

At the end of 2018, Roche identified changes in the company’s product portfolio and changes in its market. To secure a continued successful business, it was apparent to the management of that time that adaptation was necessary, both with regards to organisational changes and approaches to leadership and the way of working.

Introducing agility, self-management and autonomy on 1 May 2019, Roche made a great advance that presented a new organisational model involving a radical change of the company’s routines.

“When the market and your products are changing, you need to adapt. Considerable changes were underway, and we wished to be prepared for them. We had the choice between changing or coming to a standstill,” Roche’s Head of HR and Business Support, Linda Vestergaard, explains.

Employee involvement: a decisive factor

Employee involvement has been of high priority through the entire process. At the same time, continuous communication and sufficient information have generated transparency and secured commitment.

“We were very explicit about the reason why these changes were imperative. We set up teams that, with external help and different focus areas, worked towards elaborating future needs. The sum of their efforts and the subsequent work with gathering all recommendations led to our current organisation, which is a flat organisation with the customer at the centre,” says Linda Vestergaard.

More specifically, mid-level management was removed, so that 20 managers were transformed into today’s eight centre managers. At the same time, 37 roles were discontinued and 37 new roles implemented. These changes meant internal reshuffles and external recruitment where the required competences could not be found in-house.

The right attitude is decisive

Today, Roche is geared for the future, and the organisation is prepared for easy adaptation as conditions change. Thus, the employees’ competences not only match healthcare skills. In particular, they possess the agile mindset that is so important for the employees of the future.

”Attitude is paramount, the rest can be learned. To us, it is important to find the right people, whereupon we invest in training, time, and education. The way we are organised today, there is no getting around being equipped with, for instance, a good deal of flexibility, courage, and dynamism,” states Linda Vestergaard.

Important competences within the agile organisation

Roche has found the formula for what is essential for their business. Function-specific and healthcare competences continue to be linked with individual roles and will not change. However, across roles within the organisation, the company has defined a set of fundamental competences.

The fundamental characteristic of the new organisation is its agility, but what does this mean in practice, and which demands will be made of the employees?

“Usually, we say that we are skateboarding. The goal may very well be a magnificent sportscar, but as soon as we have a board and 4 wheels, we’re off to a start. Our philosophy is to learn during the process. We work by way of many brief sprints, gaining input, adjusting, and optimising as we move forward. This requires courage, and you must have the nerve to fail,” Linda Vestergaard continues.

Six roads to an agile workday

At Roche, they take their point of departure in six areas, which are foundational for agile action. In brief, this means that employees are encouraged to:

  • Be pragmatic (80/20): Progress is more important than perfection, and there must be room for uncertainty in the process.
  • Ask questions: Employees must have the courage to challenge suggestions and to be challenged.
  • Demonstrate confidence and strength: Make the necessary decisions and be supportive of your colleagues.
  • Be experimental and be prepared to take risks: Be courageous, test ideas, and look forward after making a mistake.
  • Network and prioritise collaboration: Share knowledge, expertise, and learning.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning: Be inquisitive and move outside you comfort zone to acquire new learning.

How Roche prepares its organisation for being agile

To think and act differently in a professional capacity requires support for those elements that may be challenging to the individual. Therefore, a natural part of implementing the new organisation is to work with, for instance, feedback, new meeting forms and techniques that support agility in practice.

“We have prioritised training in feedback. It takes courage to ask for and provide feedback, and – to many – this may be challenging. It is extremely important that everyone feels comfortable with this, and, fortunately, this can be learned. Also, we have an agile coach and two scrum masters, who support our working methods and who are resources for our employees,” says Linda Vestergaard.

To Roche, a new organisation and the agile mindset and working method represent the way ahead. Other companies may require a different approach. The decisive factor is to take the time to answer the critical questions pertaining to the future, competences, and value creation. How will you remain relevant in the market?

Inspired? This is the road to make progress

Roche, for instance, found inspiration in the book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, and the company’s previous work with a ”Growth Mindset” also contributed positively to the organisation’s preparedness.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like to discuss the possibilities for a course specifically tailored to your company’s needs.

Similarly, our sister organisation, Signum, perform market analyses and consultancy providing you with insight and assistance with respect to focussing on future needs.