Reinhardt says that Novartis's employee-development plan works well because it's given high priority by upper management.
"This is a very, very important program for all of us," he says. "Our CEO personally goes through the development plans of
the organization's top 500 people."
Novartis puts its incentives where its people-development plans are. "I'm the head of a division," explains Reinhardt, "and
my performance assessment is dependent on how well I do on training and educating and developing my people.... I would say
it's up to 10 percent of my overall assessment."
Adds Engle, "We train and treat employees very well. If we don't, they're going to go to the competition across the street.
It's the nature of the beast, and we know it."
No matter what the dimensions of a given job market appear to be, finding and keeping performance stars will continue to be
a challenge for even the most dynamic organizations. Like so much else, success is a matter of mastering the basics: taking
innovative steps to uncover talent; using patience when searching for personnel; and investing in resources that keep employees
focused and aligned. It's the best way to keep your people pipeline full with blockbuster talent—and your competitors at bay.
J. Kevin Day is principal of Day & Associates, a Burlingame, CA, executive search firm. He can be reached at