"Developing Emerging Leaders not only evolved to meet our critical business needs, but exceeded our collective expectations.
Developing Emerging Leaders has consistently been one of our highest rated and sought-after programs at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The virtual version never lost a step — survey feedback remains high as does the business results for cohort participants and session demand.
The blended approach of self-directed learning and virtual instructor-led sessions create an innovative learning experience that is now accessible to an incredibly wide audience and is clearly appealing for our millennial colleagues who make up more than 50% of our workforce."
— Mike Glass, Vice President, Global Talent Development, Thermo Fisher Scientific
"I was extremely impressed with the virtual experience. It was very well run with constant interactions to keep it interesting and excellent prompts from the facilitator."
— Developing Emerging Leaders-Virtual participant
Thermo Fisher Scientific is the world leader in serving science with a commitment to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer through innovative products and technologies. Thermo Fisher Scientific helps customers address some of society's most pressing challenges, including treatment of disease, access to clean water, and ensuring the safety of their communities.
While the world stopped in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thermo Fisher Scientific sprang into action, delivering life-saving testing and vaccine technology. With approximately 80,000 employees globally, the organization needed an innovative — and completely virtual — way to continue to develop high-potential leaders during the pandemic. The Global Talent Development team tasked Entelechy with creating an entirely virtual version of the organization’s proven leadership development program for high-potential leaders, Developing Emerging Leaders, which was originally structured in partnership with Entelechy as a blended learning program with a three-day in-person workshop at its core.
The traditional version of Developing Emerging Leaders included virtual instructor-led training, instructor-led classroom training, self-paced learning, performance-based application plans, networking opportunities, and the development of personal leader brands — all spread over two to three months, with a three-day in-person workshop serving as the program’s cornerstone learning event.
The challenge in 2020 was to take that rich, dynamic, multi-faceted learning experience and reimagine it into a fully virtual training program, while still achieving the program’s overarching — and ambitious — learning objectives that centered around preparing the next generation of the organization's leaders.
When designing the virtual version of Developing Emerging Leaders, the team operated under six critical success factors:
- The program must have lasting results.
- Participants must leave the program with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to hold senior leadership positions within Thermo Fisher Scientific.
- There must be proven business impacts.
- The program content must be inclusive and relevant for a global and diverse audience.
- The program must be delivered using technology that is accessible, easy-to-use, and inclusive of a global audience.
- The virtual iteration of the program must be as comprehensive and effective as the traditional version.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were assumptions that “converting” an in-person or blended learning program to virtual would be an easy and straightforward process. However, to create an engaging and behavior-changing customized virtual program, it is truly more like creating a new program from scratch. Activities, engagement tools, structure, content inclusion, must all be re-examined and recreated to still achieve the key learning objectives of the program.
Entelechy employed a strategic content curation plan to effectively reimagine the core components of the traditional program for the new virtual learning environment. The resulting program is a rich, dynamic, and multi-faceted learning experience, featuring:
- 16 virtual training sessions in 2020 and 2021 for 400+ high-potential leaders.
- Unique blend of virtual instructor-led training on Adobe Connect, self-paced eLearning, Microsoft Teams social communication platform, and manager reinforcement.
- Highly engaging and impactful activities, including Everything DiSC® Work of Leaders assessments, virtual breakout rooms, interactive polls, collaboration opportunities, a real-world leadership simulation, and the development of personal leader brands and action plans to drive immediate impact for the organization.
Leveraging an easily accessible and cost-efficient virtual platform, Developing Emerging Leaders-Virtual establishes a common leadership framework and culture for high-potential leaders across the global organization, allowing Thermo Fisher Scientific to continue innovating and delivering life-saving research and technology to the scientific community. Specifically, Developing Emerging Leaders-Virtual achieved the following success metrics, which were comparable to the metrics garnered by the traditional program:
- 97% of participants agreed that they would be able to immediately apply the skills and knowledge learned in the program to their jobs.
- 96% of participants agreed the training was a valuable use of their time.
- The program garnered a Net Promoter Score of 61 (Excellent), with half of participants rating it a 10/10 when asked if they would recommend it to a colleague.
- 100% of participants found the quality of self-directed assignments, content, and activities to be effective, very effective, or extremely effective.
100% of leaders surveyed found the virtual instructor-led sessions and activities to be effective, very effective, or extremely effective.
- The program received a Gold HCM Excellence Award from the Brandon Hall Group for Best Advance in Senior Manager Development, a Gold HCM Excellence Award from the Brandon Hall Group for Best Advance in Leadership Development, and a Gold Learning in Practice Award from Chief Learning Officer for Excellence in Blended Learning.
Developing Emerging Leaders continues to serve as a cornerstone leadership development program for Thermo Fisher Scientific with virtual and traditional programming available.