Organization at a Global Pharmaceutical Company

Work at UCB is nearly always viewed through a collaborative and cross-functional lens. Though individuals may take the lead on a given piece of a project, multiple stakeholders are engaged both within teams and across teams. Work is viewed first and foremost through the lens of the value given to patients. Due to the relative size of UCB compared to other global pharmaceutical companies, internal rotations and training programs for early career professionals are not as prolific as at other places. As a result, most employees that I have engaged with are mid-career and have prior work experiences at other companies, law firms, businesses or organizations. They have described the values of the organization as significantly more patient focused than other places they have worked as well.

Communication at UCB has been shifted significantly due to the pandemic. For the most part, employees tend to engage informally. The company encourages employees to maintain open lines of communication throughout the employment hierarchy, which helps to shore up working relationships. Another strength of UCB’s culture is the commitment to employee happiness. Surveys of all UCB sites and employee satisfaction are taken seriously. Any issues are identified and promptly addressed through a variety of solutions. One weakness however, comes from the work done in cross-functional teams. The collaborative nature can be challenging to navigate, particularly if the hierarchy is not clear. One way to rectify any potential issues could be to designate certain group members as project or task managers. This would help to ensure that input is being taken in appropriately from all stakeholders and that the collaborative work is being done in the most efficient manner. Some challenges with cross-functional work arise from UCB’s role as a global company. There can be a disconnect due to the location of different offices. For example, on a given project, there could be teams working independently in four different locations in the US and Europe. While some teams are more accustomed to working alongside each other than others, when teams with little familiarity engage, some issues can arise. For the most part however, work at UCB is done efficiently and in an appropriate manner.

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