Building future leaders

Written by Katie Loovis

Everyone talks about “leadership.” Business schools teach courses on it and war metaphors abound. Great leaders are often described as near-mythical creatures - like unicorns. Yet we believe that what makes someone a leader is a combination of both nature and nurture – and, perhaps most importantly, opportunity.

Building our future leaders

We’re not waiting for unicorns to move our story forward. Instead, we’re building our future leaders and creating the opportunities for them to succeed.

Our Future Leaders program provides a consistent, high-quality approach to our global graduate recruitment. The program provides a breadth of potential career pathways – from R&D and finance, to marketing, communications/government affairs, and procurement – with the option to move between functions during several job rotations. Such job rotations make up 70% of the program, with feedback, mentoring and coaching constituting a further 20%, and formal training the remainder. This balance enables graduates to develop the specific skills to be effective in their individual role and business, while getting a broad grasp of the company and learning GSK’s distinctive global leadership approach.

Around the world

The program is rated highly by participants – a recent survey of alumni found that 89% felt the rotations helped them to develop relevant skills and experience for their career at GSK. They also shared that they felt supported by their line manager and team, and would recommend the program to friends.

The benefits to the business are clear. The number and geographical spread of the intake means we have home-grown, diverse leaders rooted in all our markets, including the faster growing emerging countries. In 2016, we had 441 new recruits representing 59 nationalities from 58 countries – up from 130 from eight nations in 2012. Further, GSK was voted Britain’s top graduate employer for Research and Development in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2016 (for the 19th successive year) and ranked 13th overall.

In the US

Amber, a Future Leader program participant, is in commercial management for our US Pharmaceutical business and works from our offices in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Amber benefited from the program’s focus on development and shared how the program helped her uncover new career opportunities at GSK that she didn’t realize were available.

“The best part of the Future Leaders Program is the focus on our development. Through on-the-job experiences, relationships, and formal training, the program is shaping us to become leaders at GSK. Through it all, the program not only reinforced my passion for developing my sales and marketing capabilities, but also revealed exciting career opportunities I didn’t know were there.”

Amber, Future Leaders Program Graduate

This article is part of a series on our responsible business in the US.

GSK US Corporate Responsibility

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