2 Our empowered employees

2 Our empowered employees

Our culture encourages each of us to take accountability and create value for patients focusing on the outcomes and impact we want to create for them. To achieve this, we need to ensure we stay focused on value and impact creation in everything we do, while elevating our ability to push the boundaries of innovation.

We consider strong leadership throughout the company to be an important enabler of our priorities and culture. We have embarked our leaders throughout UCB on a leadership journey to build a culture of innovation, learning, and focus on value creation for patients. This cultural change impacts our talent acquisition, learning, development and retention policies.

Sofia, UCB (portrait)

UCB has given me the chance to get to know new people and new cultures. Thanks to this opportunity I am growing – not only as an employee – but also as a person.

Sofia, UCB

Our talent acquisition process

Throughout our talent acquisition process, UCB’s policies aim for ethical and equal employment opportunities. We believe that through a diverse and balanced workforce we are better able to understand and meet the needs of our patients and stakeholders.

Over the course of 2019, UCB evolved its talent acquisition program further towards an integrated approach for permanent employees and contractors. This has allowed us to bring in competencies and skills in a more agile way. Today, 7 160 of UCB’s employees are hired on permanent contracts, representing 94% of UCB’s workforce.

Contract type by region
Contract type by region (pie chart)

Our learning and personalized development process

We operate in a dynamic world, characterized by constant evolution and new technologies. We aim to prepare our employees to be agile so that they can accommodate and adapt to changes in society, in the healthcare ecosystem and to novel technologies and treatments. We are enhancing our development processes to prepare for these changes – empowering employees to grow and to be up to date on evolving needs and trends. In 2019, 94.3% of our employees received regular performance reviews.

We offer core programs to support individual growth and leverage our personal competencies and collective capabilities. These include technical development programs as well as leadership training programs and individual coaching and mentoring. In 2019, 76.4% of our employees received regular career development reviews1.

In 2019, UCB invested over € 10 million in learning programs, content, technologies, and services to deliver on our commitment to grow talents and foster personalized development. On average, employees received 20.92 hours of formal learning across a range of subject areas. These areas focus on leadership, professional, and technical skills development. 

Average training hours
Average training hours (bar chart)

Mentoring up

The Mentoring up program represents a new and disruptive way of learning aimed at building business acumen and living the principles of the Patient Value Strategy. Twenty employees from Germany and from UCB’s Youngsters community in Belgium are part of the pilot initiative. Senior leaders are eager to learn from them to broaden their skills, improve their ways of working, support collaborations across generations, and to find creative solutions together.

Learn more about our Mentoring up program in this short video:

Watch video in the online version of the report

Employee Insights

At UCB, we promote a culture of open dialogue and feedback. One of the many opportunities for employees to share their perceptions about company culture, strategy and ways of working is a global employee survey (“UCB Voices”), alternated with short “temperature checks” (“UCB Pulse”) focused on employee engagement.

This year, two “UCB Pulse” surveys showed that employees continue to be highly engaged – with a score of 76% (in the last pulse-check, in November). The main drivers of engagement for our employees are pride in working at UCB and a sense of personal accomplishment. Their exceptionally high level of trust in the future indicates strong confidence in our Patient Value Strategy.

Engagement remains high (pie chart)

76% Engagement

Engagement remains high and pride and sense of accomplishment are key drivers of engagement for UCB colleagues.

Confidence in the future is high (pie chart)

85% Confidence in the future is high

Confidence in the future is strong despite uncertainty, UCB colleagues are keen for clarity to empower them to strive.

We are transparent in sharing survey results with all employees – encouraging further dialogue and debate around possible areas for improvement.

Aside from these results, our continued commitment and shared vision with our employees has been recognized and highlighted externally. One great example of a campaign conducted in 2019 was called “Patients at the Heart”. This campaign leveraged employee stories to share the drive behind UCB’s commitment to patients with key stakeholders and providing motivation to employees internally.

1 Reporting period up to 31 December 2019.