CUSTOMER STORY

Novartis

Novartis achieves a 45% decrease in staff turnover with The Mindful Leader program

700 employees across the country…

Novartis had the courage to face the fact that they needed help with engagement and leadership.

Transforming the leadership culture in a large organisation can be difficult but they needed to make a change for growth. Novartis decided to invest in their leaders and enable them to undertake the Mindful Leader program. They have achieved remarkable results, far exceeding their expectations.

700 employees across the country…

Novartis had the courage to face the fact that they needed help with engagement and leadership.

Transforming the leadership culture in a large organisation can be difficult but they needed to make a change for growth. Novartis decided to invest in their leaders and enable them to undertake the Mindful Leader program. They have achieved remarkable results, far exceeding their expectations.

Their Challenge

Across the pharmaceutical industry, the average staff turnover rate sits at around 15%.

Before the Mindful Leader program was undertaken by staff, the turnover for Novartis’ Australian division was well above average, running as high as 22%. The costs to the company were considerable, with the HR department rating the cost of each person who left at twice the value of their annual salary. This figure, although alarming in itself, did not fully take into account the inevitable impact on the morale, team continuity and productivity of departments and divisions that were losing important members. Clearly, action needed to be taken. As Novartis CEO put it: “We are bleeding.” Adding to the urgent need to change was a global directive from the worldwide

Headquarters that required all the divisions to change their organisational structures to address the new more competitive landscape and realise the full potential of the product pipeline. Pressure was building and decisive action was required.
At the time, Novartis’ international management team ran a global survey of its employees where results showed that there were multiple issues around engagement at senior leadership and management levels. This gave some insights into where the challenges were and what might be done to overcome them. A new HR Director was also appointed with a specific mandate to change the company culture.
In collaboration with Senior Leaders, middle managers and employees, a deeper analysis of the issues was carried out. The survey scores that were given were very revealing about what was not working well. The problem was real, expensive and needed urgent attention. Some key areas were:
  • Retain top talent
  • Improve senior leadership capability
  • Build people-management capability
  • Reduce the complexity of the decision-making processes
  • Improve the IT platform and data access
The first three fell within the remit of HR and this was where the Mindful Leader program came into play as a practical solution for sustainable cultural change.
In collaboration with Senior Leaders, middle managers and employees, a deeper analysis of the issues was carried out. The survey scores that were given were very revealing about what was not working well. The problem was real, expensive and needed urgent attention. Some key areas were:
  • Retain top talent
  • Improve senior leadership capability
  • Build people-management capability
  • Reduce the complexity of the decision-making processes
  • Improve the IT platform and data access
The first three fell within the remit of HR and this was where the Mindful Leader program came into play as a practical solution for sustainable cultural change.

The Solution

The implementation of The Mindful Leader®, the most highly researched and innovative leadership development program in the world.

After many years of exhaustive research, studying real-world situations, what is crystal clear is that leadership is not as much about who you are – it is about what you do (or fail to do). Effective leaders inspire their teams to do the things they would not otherwise do on their own. In order to create the desire for team members to do the extraordinary, five behaviours have been conclusively shown to be the keys to leadership:

The Solution

The implementation of The Mindful Leader®, the most highly researched and innovative leadership development program in the world.

After many years of exhaustive research, studying real-world situations, what is crystal clear is that leadership is not as much about who you are – it is about what you do (or fail to do). Effective leaders inspire their teams to do the things they would not otherwise do on their own. In order to create the desire for team members to do the extraordinary, five behaviours have been conclusively shown to be the keys to leadership:

A Shared Vision

Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. Then, they enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Model The Way

Leaders lead by example. First, find your voice by clarifying your personal values; then set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
Inspire

Enable Others To Act

Leaders foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and trust Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion, allowing their teams to have ownership of projects and initiatives.

Encourage The Heart

Leaders recognise contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence and celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community in their teams and organisations.

Challenge The Process

Leaders challenge the status quo and search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve. They lead their teams to experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

A Shared Vision

Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. Then, they enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Enable Others To Act

Leaders foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and trust Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion, allowing their teams to have ownership of projects and initiatives.

Model The Way

Leaders lead by example. First, find your voice by clarifying your personal values; then set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
Inspire

Encourage The Heart

Leaders recognise contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence and celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community in their teams and organisations.

Challenge The Process

Leaders challenge the status quo and search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve. They lead their teams to experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

Novartis’ top talents started undertaking the Mindful Leader program, as this was the cohort who were most important for Novartis to retain. They were also the group most likely to leave if something was not done. Given that the root cause analysis revealed career acceleration and development were key drivers for these individuals, the retention strategy adopted was, therefore, a high quality, long-term leadership and personal development program.

Something standard or off the shelf would not be enough to fully engage these high achievers: a transformational program was needed, something that would engage, inspire, fully challenge and enable practical application for the top talent in the organisation. The Mindful Leader program was undertaken by the team. Because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the top talent group, Novartis Executive Team made the decision to undertake the program too. Seeing the progress of the top talent group, the CEO and HR Director had quickly come to realise that in order to support their highest achievers they needed to understand the training and to become mentors to the top talents, speaking to them in the new language that they were now learning.

They also faced the painful fact that the undesirable behaviours in the company were a direct result of their own leadership. They understood that organisational transformation must be underpinned by personal transformation at the most Senior Leadership level.

This was the turning point for Novartis. It’s only when the leaders of the company fully committed, that the program truly became embedded in the organisation and was able to support significantly positive behavioural changes. Subsequently, more leadership development programs were undertaken within the company to train other teams.

The Internal Stakeholder Support

The commitment of the Executive Team and, in particular, of the HR Director was outstanding. Progress had to be measured and tested frequently, but in a way that was unobtrusive. As the HR Director put it, “These are lead indicators, not lag indicators. You need the results for HR to prove you are making a difference and create accountability.”

In effect, 360 degree assessments were utilised to support the program. When any resistance to the necessary changes being taught came up, the HR Director was able to maintain momentum: “We had tons of reports, monitoring, feedback and results. We are in business – we want results!”, she said.

Any truly transformational leadership program is challenging. It is designed to help leaders change their long held habits and beliefs. It is not a tick the box exercise, and it is not about tools and techniques: it is about personal growth, mindset changes and habit changes.

The HR Director had to repeatedly check in with the executive team for their buy in through the process. There were several pivotal moments where it was literally put to a team vote to continue or to stop the program. This strategy proved very powerful as it ensured the program and process were given a constant buy in and buy out option. Ultimately, this helped the Executive Team to engage with the program more and it also supported WorkSmart with real time feedback for improvement.

The Achievements

Staff turnover dropped from 22% to 12% – significantly below industry norms.
Retention rose by 9%.
Overall engagement lifted significantly from 78% to 85%.
Innovation and change rose by 7%.
Novartis went from “bleeding high potentials” to not losing a single high potential from the beginning of the program up to the time of writing of this case study
Most of the high potential course participants have achieved more senior roles within the business since.
The executive team is now a model of a high functioning leadership team. Honesty is at an all time high, effectiveness and cohesiveness are exceptional. It is a team that trusts each other and leads the organisation based on its core values.
All of this progress was achieved even though survey ratings for salary and benefits did not increase – the process appealed to deeper values and was effective because of it.
Another very important change was that all Senior Leaders re-prioritised their business objectives, making engagement a top objective of their leadership efforts. For a corporation with such a strong historical emphasis on commercial results to reframe their understanding of how to achieve those results was a remarkable achievement for everyone involved.

Companies are made up of the people in them. In the War Room in the Ford Motor Company’s HQ is a sign that says: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ As Michael Bunting puts it: “we have a way to teach very deep and meaningful material in the logical language of an engineer and still not lose the human element. The process stands up to the greatest cynic because it is logical. This is key to buy in for transformational work”.

To change the company culture, changing some procedures or practices has little impact. The people have to change. The Mindful Leader is in the most innovative program for personal transformation. Personal transformation towards a growth mindset is how companies change their culture, their leadership style and achieve their new, more ambitious goals and greater levels of success.

Companies are made up of the people in them. In the War Room in the Ford Motor Company’s HQ is a sign that says: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ As Michael Bunting puts it: “we have a way to teach very deep and meaningful material in the logical language of an engineer and still not lose the human element. The process stands up to the greatest cynic because it is logical. This is key to buy in for transformational work”.

To change the company culture, changing some procedures or practices has little impact. The people have to change. The Mindful Leader is in the most innovative program for personal transformation. Personal transformation towards a growth mindset is how companies change their culture, their leadership style and achieve their new, more ambitious goals and greater levels of success.

TESTIMONIALS

What our clients say ?

Alcon

Misty Shatto / Sr. Director, Culture & Org Development

Mindful Leader (and working with Michael through corporate programs) has had an incredibly positive impact for me. The tools are easy to use and help me to feel energized and creative. I really appreciate the research and careful design of the Mindful Leader app.
Air Services Australia

Stephen Miles / Commercial & Business Performance Manager

This is the first app I have used for my well being and I love it! I did the team starter pack with my People Capability team and really enjoyed that experience. One of my team members said she was a lot calmer dealing with her little kids in the morning getting them ready for daycare. People within that team who I thought wouldn’t really show any interest were actually getting great benefit from the process; I am looking at doing this for a new team soon. Personally, I probably need prompting as I don’t do it as much as I should, especially the Guided Meditation. I have tried to schedule time during my lunch hour to sit in my office, do a module or play some Neurosync and reset for the afternoon. It seems to work for me, my family has the app and my 16 year old son is getting huge benefits from the Neurosync programs.
Nexus Hospitals

David Hugo / Group Financial Controller

Mindful Leader has been of fundamental value and benefit to me during what has been a challenging time personally given the testing process/road of divorce settlement that I have been travelling, not to mention the normal work and parenting matters that are tossed into the mix.
Hilton

Mike Swadzba / Director of Operations

Mindful Leader has been a great help to learn new and refocus on mindfulness practices, it is easy to use and has something for all situations.
Qantas Airways

Isabel Webster / Delivery & Adoption Lead

Using the Mindful Leader app makes me more productive, which in turn makes me feel more in control and ultimately happier. My To-do list always shrinks when I’m listening to the Mindful Leader!
Salesforce

Salena Fereday / Global Head of People

The Mindful Leader definitely contributed to my overall happiness and it helps me put my worries away and relax for a while.
Novartis

Steven Baert / Global Head of People

I love the app. It is user-friendly and being able to easily download meditations is great. I also love the interview series. Learn a lot and it’s well done.
Hilton Asia Pacific

Richard Todd / Senior Director HR

Mindful Leader has been a great help to learn new and refocus on mindfulness practices, it is easy to use and has something for all situations.

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LET'S GO

Start your leadership transformation today!

We will contact you asap