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Reflecting on important lessons during COVID: Connecting communications to strategic priorities

At UCB, patients are at the heart of everything we do – from discovery to development to delivery. And behind every solution delivered to the patients we serve is a dedicated employee who applies their unique talents and expertise in their daily work. As we adapted to the pandemic's changes, challenges, and opportunities, we aimed to foster a working environment where our employees were happy, healthy, and thriving even in a virtual setting.

UCB's priorities throughout the pandemic remained steadfast:

  • The health of our people and their families
  • Patient access to care
  • Maximum cooperation with local authorities to limit the risk of infection spreading
  • Our contribution to the economy and society

As a communications team, the pandemic required us to be more agile, collaborative, supportive, and innovative than ever to ensure we were doing our part to support employees.

We saw the need to care for our employees' mental and emotional health in very intentional ways. It was clear very early in the pandemic based on feedback from individual employees that we needed to take a different approach than ever before to the care of our employees. It required us to be agile and adapt quickly to the changing internal and external landscape – to ensure we were playing our part in the response efforts. We tried a wide range of methods to support our employees including:

  • We committed to weekly communications on everything from resources to new policies in a virtual world
  • We began to communicate regular updates through our internal #StrongerTogether campaign and found new innovative ways to engage employees.
  • We ran a virtual photo contest where employees could share their craziest quarantine purchase, best/worst work from home view, and more to enable a sense of community during difficult times.
  • Other successful initiatives included offering employees multiple recharge days so employees could disconnect and take a break, meeting-free Fridays to encourage project and planning time, and internet reimbursements to all U.S. employees.

During this time, it was also important to listen to our employees and leaders for key signs of burnout and stress – and act authentically and timely on feedback. By fulfilling our commitment, driving innovation, and providing meaningful communications, our employees can continue to provide differentiated solutions based on what patients value. I know the phrase gets old, but at UCB we continue to believe we are stronger together.