Satisfied and motivated employees are a crucial factor for the success of Boehringer Ingelheim. That is why the company recently founded a new department that deals entirely with the strategic perspective regarding culture and people topics. Heiko Schmidt, Head of Culture and People Strategy at the company, explains how Boehringer Ingelheim promotes employee development and how it succeeds in competing for the best talent.

Heiko Schmidt joined Boehringer Ingelheim in 2017, initially as Head of the Digital Laboratory BI X. Before that, the economist had worked as a management consultant for many years.
Heiko, what kind of tasks do you and your colleagues in “Culture and People Strategy” take on?

Our main task as a department is to contribute to a successful implementation of our corporate strategy. We do this by identifying the relevant skills we need for the future, attracting and retaining the right talent, and fostering our unique corporate culture.

Why is your team part of the strategy department?

A company’s strategy and culture must go hand in hand for the company to be successful. In addition to the business strategies, a comprehensive strategic plan also includes the people strategy. This is important for the long term success of the company. For these reasons, the topics of culture and people strategy were integrated into the corporate division in February 2020. This enables us to work closely with our colleagues in this area on the central strategic planning and steering processes, while at the same time providing crossfunctional support for the strategic initiatives that affect our topics.

What are the decisive steps here?

It is crucial for us to remain in constant exchange with many of the company’s divisions. This is the only way we can live our common culture and achieve a future-oriented people strategy. As a department, we act as an interface. Boehringer Ingelheim is a very large organization and has developed with great momentum in recent years. It is a very exciting challenge to be part of this development.

Can you give us a concrete example?

A key topic for us is our attractiveness as an employer in order to attract and retain talent for the company. We are a global company with over 51,000 employees, and we have to convince many highly qualified applicants to consider joining us. These days, that is mainly done through strong employer branding. In plain language, it means that Boehringer Ingelheim needs to be visible and distinctive so that applicants choose us. As an employer, we are characterized by being a family business and the fact that we can plan for the long term. At the same time, our excellent researchers have been working for decades on innovative medicines which can make a difference in patients’ lives. One of the goals of our employer branding is to highlight these strengths of our company even more.