How We Utilise Our Extended Leadership Team

Jacob Oerting Joergensen, Sr. Director People & Organisation, Business Area South-East Asia for Novo Nordisk

The Senior Director of People & Organisation, South-East Asia in Novo Nordisk, Jacob Joergensen, sat down to share some thoughts on how he utilises his Extended Leadership Team (ELT) to drive engagement and motivation as well as build brand awareness around Novo Nordisk in this part of the world. Novo Nordisk provides medicine to patients within diabetes, obesity and other rare diseases and among the top global pharma companies top 10 

In 2021 Novo Nordisk South-East Asia set out on a mission to become the No. 1 Best Place to Work. “We sat down, looked at this vision statement and then tried to become a bit more concrete. Many initiatives were derived from the discussion and one of them was to build an Employer Branding Strategy (EBS) and engage the Extended Leadership Team to support the EBS.”

Novo Nordisk South-East Asia covers 13 countries under 4 General Managers and 3 Country Managers and is headed up by Corporate Vice President Jay Thyagarajan. The issue at hand that Jacob and his P&O team had was that even though Novo Nordisk is a very strong brand in Denmark and Europe, it is less well known in this part of the world. This initially means, that they need to work even harder to attract the right talents compared to other more established brands in the area. 

“I can create a few ripples in the water but if I want a wave, I need to engage with more people and I need more people to talk about Novo Nordisk. I saw the possibility of creating a network amongst our ELT members by hosting leadership sessions to ensure that they could become Novo Nordisk ambassadors.”

The ELT meets four times a year. Normally, Jacob has arranged for a guest speaker to present and share thoughts on leadership followed by a Q&A session. 

“It has been important for me to find speakers in my network, who could both inspire and openly share their thoughts on leadership as well as any difficult situations that have shaped them into the leaders they are today. I needed senior leaders to role model, what leadership in 2022 in Novo Nordisk looks like”

Examples of presenters in 2021 and 2022 have been: Marcus Schindler, Executive Vice President for Research & Early Development, who challenged the ELT’s thinking on being “radically transparent” to drive innovation. Christian Born Djurhuus, Vice President & Chief Digital Officer, who shared his thoughts on how we should embrace the future but also the “potentially dark clouds” that may be heading towards them from competitors. Laura Svensson, Corporate Vice President, Insulin Finished Products who is heading up one the largest production sites in Denmark, shared her leadership journey and why listening as a leader is more important than talking. “I aim to combine the aspect of building leadership competencies for the ELT with creating a network of Novo Nordisk Ambassadors. That is how I tie the ELT together with the EBS. Once a month, I prepare a LinkedIn message and forward it to the ELT. It can be related to leadership, our vision or something else. The ELT members can either copy my text and links or rewrite it as they see fit. The point here is to drive awareness through my network and their network to ensure that we reach as many people as possible and build the brand awareness. I ultimately wish to become the employer of choice across South-East Asia. To reach that goal, I need to get a buzz going. Our tenure in the company is long. Once you get on the inside and realise what a fantastic company Novo Nordisk is, you don’t want to leave. We drive change both for our patients and for our employees and working in Novo Nordisk is truly a life-changing career.” Jacob concludes by sharing that part of his Employer Branding Strategy is also joining career fairs, visit universities in Singapore and Malaysia and engage with the different governmental bodies on talent programs amongst other initiatives.

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