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Learning & Development

Whether it’s helping invent the next breakthrough treatment or simply challenging and supporting one another for mutual betterment, our culture is about applied curiosity.

The Global Learning & Development organization delivers learning solutions by leveraging resources, educational platforms and other synergies to drive business performance.

To support our global employee base, we build workforce capability to accelerate talent, improve performance and mitigate risk through relevant continuous learning experiences. This includes, but is not limited to, building leadership and management skills, as well as providing technical and functional training to all employees.


Build the best teams and talent

Build the Best Teams and Talent is a global program intended to help the organization learn, grow and achieve. It is based on neuroscience intended to increase the quality of performance conversations and helps people share and receive feedback in a more “normal” and comfortable manner.

Management and leadership programs

Management Foundations is a comprehensive program that focuses on building core, common and critical knowledge and skills for new managers. Using a variety of learning methods, new managers focus on what they will need to know and do to be effective in their role and to gain the knowledge and skills to manage others.

In addition to foundational management skills, we offer a suite of programs for experienced managers that are driven by key topics integral to the organization, like strategic planning, innovation and influencing others.

Recognition through INSPIRE

In 2018, employees benefited from the first full year of INSPIRE, our new global recognition program. INSPIRE helped create a culture of acknowledgement and engagement by empowering employees to recognize others for their good work. Employees shared simple thank-you messages for everyday contributions as well as accumulated points and cash rewards for significant achievements. In INSPIRE’s first year, over 85 percent of employees received recognition through approximately 400,000 recognition moments.

Team development

To support building and maintenance of effective teams, we have a suite of programs that provide skills and tools for team leaders and team members, including Leading High Performing Teams, Virtual Teaming, Assessing Team Performance, Teaming Fundamentals and Insights Discovery, a program to understand communication styles.

We have five active Key Talent Programs to support the learning and development of our future key talent, women in leadership, diverse talent and those who are at the executive level. These programs support the advancement of our talent pipeline and diversity and inclusion strategy.

The programs are as follows:

General Management Acceleration Program (GMAP)
Our flagship, application-based program to develop future global, enterprise-wide leaders. The objective of GMAP is to create a robust global acceleration program for internal talent, providing the right experiences and learning opportunities to help meet our future business demand. Successful participants will broaden their experience and perspective, enhance their leadership abilities and be well placed to grow into positions of greater responsibility following their rotations.

The Business Leadership Program
A global, nomination program designed to enhance both an individual’s leadership and business acumen skills. Areas of focus include: our company’s strategic context and how to integrate long-term plans with short-term action; value creation in financial and non-financial terms so one is able to increase ability to perform in the short-term and plan for the long-term; and ability to translate strategy into action to deliver business impact.

The Women’s Leadership Program
A global, nomination program designed to support the advancement of women into senior leadership ranks. Areas of focus include: strengthening the ability to navigate within the organization; gaining skills and knowledge to grow and improve leadership capacity; and increasing the ability to manage gender differences and any subtle “micro-inequities” that may exist in the culture.

Diverse Leader Program (U.S. only)
This thought-provoking nomination program is an interactive leadership journey that is designed to create a safe place where participants can hone their leadership skills while exploring what it means to be a Leader of Color within the company. While building leadership proficiency, participants will also investigate the similarities and differences of leaders from other racial/ethnic groups. Finally, they will have the opportunity to deepen relationships with their sponsors and mentors through experiential activities and conversations. 

Executive Acceleration Experience
An inspiring and actionable learning experience designed to help our company’s top leaders further embed and amplify their leadership capabilities. The experience involves small cohorts being immersed in a variety of leadership principles, looking outside the company for broader inspiration and devising experiments they can run with their teams. Leaders visit leading organizations, talk to inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs, all while learning new tools, skills and mindsets.

photo of a woman working at a computer with a male colleague sitting next to her

Tools and resources

Our current talent management system supports companywide performance management, talent review, succession planning and associated employee performance and development processes for critical talent data. It helps ensure that our workforce continues to stay aligned with company objectives. The system keeps track of employee development plans, performance objectives and performance ratings, career aspirations, experience, language proficiency, certifications and education.

Managers and employees meet throughout the year to discuss progress and accomplishments against their priorities. Emphasis is placed on creating a culture of ongoing coaching and future-focused feedback. At year-end, colleagues assess the impact employees have had on the organization, their team and their own development. This leads to annual performance reviews of employees at all levels (except those subject to collective bargaining obligations) to guide company decisions relating to development, compensation and rewards.

Employee performance is measured, in part, by how well employees demonstrate our leadership behaviors. We seek to emphasize not just what an employee achieves, but also how he or she achieves it. It is critical to our company that the annual incentive bonus is determined, in part, by demonstration of our leadership behaviors.

In addition, we conduct an annual employee-development planning process in which managers discuss with each of their employees his or her strengths and development opportunities. The manager and employee then jointly create an action plan to grow capabilities and skills.

Leadership Development Center
The Leadership Development Center is a website that features videos, articles, program announcements and resources for leaders and managers. Resources are aligned to our leadership behaviors, professional competencies and functional competencies, and are available in the following formats: “on-demand” web-based modules, classroom programs, articles, books (including audio books), webcasts and suggestions for “on-the-job” development activities.


Total course completions for all employees (in millions)4.2 5.3 4.4
Hours of training for all employees (in millions)12.1 2.6 2.2
Course completions per employee60 48 43
1Based on average of 30 minutes per course.
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Executives1100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Middle management100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Line supervisors100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Non-managers293% 94% 94% 93% 94%
1“Executives” refers to the first two levels below the chief executive officer.
2All “non-managers” (previously “individual contributors”) including those who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement (unions).