Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company Case Study: Assessment-Based Succession Plan Improves Turnover in Key Roles

The Challenge: 

A  leading pharmaceutical company did not have a solid succession plan in place.  The company was racked with record-high turnover (40%) in  key roles across several departments,  greatly hindering productivity and advancements. Potential successors were leaving faster than they were being developed.

How could the company decrease turnover and develop high-potential executives who one day could lead the company?


The Preparation: 

In order to address this problem, XBInsight identified the need for a robust succession plan that included:

  1. Creating clear benchmarks for the next level position to measure the readiness of these scientists to be promoted to this role.
  2. Developing a customized assessment to not only reflect the skills, critical thinking and overall fit needed for the current position, but also identify a clear picture of what success looks like in the next level job.
  3. Designing a comprehensive leadership development program to prepare high potential employees for next level positions.

The Implementation:

XBInsight created a customized assessment in order to define the skills required for success in the next level role. Once the benchmark was developed for the position, the assessment was administered to current employees to determine high potentials for the program and to measure their readiness for advancement to the succeeding position.

Based on the results, XBInsight designed a more workable appraisal format with the competency data collected. Important changes were made to  the interview process to hone in on the specific skills necessary for strategically important leadership roles. Development gaps were identified and included in the curriculum for the leadership program and in-depth development plans were created to mold and shape employees to optimize these critical skills with the aim of preparing high potential employees for their future position.


The Results:

XBInsight’s validated assessment and  development program is now an integral part of the company’s hiring and succession planning process and continues to be monitored annually. Today, the company has a solid, well-conceived succession plan with a number of potential successor in place.

The company has experienced tremendous improvement in a number of talent-related outcomes, such as:

  1. Turnover for key roles decreased by 20% within the first year.
  2. Engagement survey results for participants increased by 20%.
  3. 60% of the participants in year 1 and year 2 advanced their positions and were promoted to the next level.