Nordic Life Science 1
a Scandinavian organization in the global biophar
maceutical company AbbVie was formed. The merge of the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian operations included around 230 employees and offices in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. Linn Mandahl, former CEO of AbbVie Sweden and today CEO of AbbVie Scandinavia, led the transition work. “One of the differences between the three countries was that the Swedish organization was larger than the other two. With size comes more management structure, guidelines and more distance, since everybody cannot collaborate spontaneously in the same way when there are so many,” she says. Linn Mandahl and her colleagues could see that Denmark and Norway sometimes understood each other better, and therefore they could sometimes create more simple and dynamic solutions. “But it is easy to focus on differences in national cultures, we actually have far more similarities than differences,” she adds. “It was really exciting because when we merged the three organizations we saw that we, independently of each other, have been working with similar focus areas to create the successful culture we have in the different countries. All three countries had been focusing on seven important issues, which today is what we call our Recipe for Culture (Kulturrecept).” This Recipe for Culture was one of the reasons why AbbVie Scandinavia was announced the 5th best workplace earlier this year, according Great Places to Work’s annual employee survey. The high ranking is a result of the employees’ opinions on how the company acts within five areas: credibility, respect, equity, pride and fellowship. AbbVie’s employees gave the company a trust index of 91 percent and 97 percent of the employees are proud to be working at AbbVie. Part of the results are also based on the company’s culture report, which describes how AbbVie as an employer is working long term to create a culture that nurtures both the employees’ and the organization’s wellbeing. “In less than a year, we have managed to receive such a great feedback from our employees, and that feels amazing,” says Mandahl. “The first thing we did when we created our Scandinavian organization was to take stock of the success factors that in all three countries have placed them on top for several years when it comes to the best places to work. The result of this stocktake became the new concept, consisting of seven main ingredients,” says Mandahl. he recipe includes creating a meaningful why, focused and common goals – and a clear and regular leadership communication, putting effort into the leadership, the self-leadership and every employee’s development, forming dedicated culture clubs in every country and on a Scandinavian level, and putting the patient in focus – for real. It also includes celebrating success, taking social responsibility and contributing to society by engaging the employees. And finally it includes measuring success, and taking actions on the result. “The first ingredient, creating a meaningful why, means that we, the management team, continuously communicate why we are here and what our common goals are. Then we have specific and ambitious plans for every ingredient and we make sure to engage as many employees as possible in every issue, because involvement and commitment are the core in our culture,” says Mandahl. For example, concerning the second ingredient, i.e., putting effort into the leadership, the self-leadership and every employee’s development, AbbVie has a 5-day leadership program, Leadership Essentials, offered to every leader during 2020. “Another example, part of ingredient six, contributing to society by engaging the employees, is that every year we give our employees the opportunity to participate in a practical societal contribution. In Sweden we call this Möjligheternas Dag (Day of Possibilities) and last year we dedicated this day to helping the Ronald McDonald family houses that are located in Sweden,” she says.