We think it’s essential for our leaders to develop and grow so that they can address the diverse needs of their team members. Within our company, teams collaborate across sites and international boundaries. Their members bring a variety of skills, strengths and experience to the table that our leaders can leverage. We in turn support them in fulfilling their responsibilities. Since global collaboration plays an increasingly important role in the development of our next generation of leaders, our management processes fundamentally follow an international approach.

Our approach to good leadership

Our strategic competency model describes core competencies that should underpin the conduct of employees at all levels. Our six core competencies are Purposeful, Future-oriented, Innovative, Results-driven, Collaborative, and Empowering. In our day-to-day work, they play an important role in our success. This model provides the foundation for all development activities within our HR work – for employees, but in particular for our leaders, who act as role models and are therefore key to building employee buy-in for the competency model. In addition, the model defines the leadership culture through which we intend to grow our business.

Our competency model

We use our Performance and Potential Management Process to gauge the impact of our development initiatives. Furthermore, our employees also take surveys to rate the quality of leadership within our company.

How we facilitate good leadership

Our leaders are attuned to the needs of our diverse workforce and receive support in the form of resources and data. At the same time, they can access transparent feedback through specially developed tools to track the impact of their decisions.

Management programs

In recent years, we have initiated three programs to enhance the skills of our people managers. The Managerial Foundation Program imparts the basics of leadership, such as communication techniques, leadership styles, conflict management, motivation, and emotional intelligence. The Advanced Management Program covers topics such as change management, self-reflection and resilience. In addition, it teaches coaching methods that help leaders transition from their first management role to positions managing cross-functional and international teams. The third initiative is our Global Leadership Program, which focuses on competencies needed to ensure successful international collaboration. In 2017, the Managerial Foundation and Advanced Management programs were offered at several of our sites worldwide, while the Global Leadership Program was held in Germany, the United States and Dubai.

By the end of 2018, we want at least 50% of our people managers rated 3+ to have taken part in one of these programs. By the end of 2017, all our top 400 executives (Role 6+) had completed the Global Leadership program. Since the launch of the three programs, a total of more than 4,000 people managers have taken part.

Expanding the range of the company´s University courses

Since 1999, we have partnered with top international universities to offer a university program that is multi-regional and modular. Over a period of ten months, senior executives take classes on management techniques and strategic business development. In 2017, we partnered with the U.S.-based Stanford Graduate School of Business to offer a new module on leading innovation and digitalization, in which 23 of our executives took part. The module features an eight-week online course entitled “Innovation Process for Entrepreneurs” and also requires participants to attend classes on campus in Stanford over the course of three and a half days. To date, a total of 373 executives have completed the company´s University program.

Another initiative we've been offering our up-and-coming executives since the 1990s is our International Management Program, where participants work on an interdisciplinary project over a period of nine months. The results are then presented to the Executive Board. Moreover, we partner with universities across the globe in an effort to help our employees obtain qualifications such as an Executive MBA.

Leveraging growth market potential

In the development of our leaders, we also want to include our growth markets. In 2017, for instance, we again conducted our Growth Markets Management Program for local leaders in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America, and Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey (MEART) regions. The training covers a range of business administration topics such as marketing and financial analysis, along with content specific to our business, for instance our strategy and corporate culture. In 2017, we integrated a digital marketing module into this program for the Asia-Pacific region, similar to the program we introduced in 2013 in China and in 2016 in the Middle East and Latin America. To date, a total of 126 leaders have taken part.

We also offer other development opportunities in growth markets. In 2017, for instance, eight employees successfully completed “Afrika kommt!”, a one-year scholarship offered by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). This program offers training opportunities for young qualified experts and leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa. In supporting this initiative, we aim to build a pool of regional partners to encourage economic cooperation between Germany and Africa. Twelve former scholarship recipients are now working for us in various specialist and leadership positions, five of them in their home countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, and seven still in Darmstadt. In 2017, six new candidates were chosen for the sixth round of “Afrika kommt!”

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany uses a market-oriented system to rate positions within the company. To facilitate consistency across the organization, each position is assigned a specific role, with an overarching job architecture classifying each role as one of 11 levels, 15 functions and an array of career types (Core Operations, Services & Support Groups; Experts; Managers; Project Managers).

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