Meet me in 5: promoting career growth at Covance China

Our “Meet Me in 5” series covers 5 people, topics or questions to illustrate how our business nurtures exceptional people, provides an energizing purpose and enables extraordinary potential in its employees’ careers.

In this article, we spoke to Linda Qiu, Executive Director, APAC HR Partnering, based in Shanghai. She shared how Covance has helped grow her career and how she is working to help her colleagues to advance in their own careers at the new location in the Aland Center.

Growing a long-term career with Covance

Nine years ago, Linda joined Covance in an HR generalist role. Since joining the organization Linda has taken advantage of our culture of continuous learning and has seized career growth opportunities. Her first career move led her to a regional role to oversee R&D lab partnering, then she became an executive director in HR partnering for Covance Asia Pacific. Beyond her leadership role managing APAC HR partnering work, she also leads global projects and helps integrate employees after mergers and acquisitions.

“The kind of opportunity and exposure I am experiencing at Covance is incredible. I was never given this type of experience in my previous jobs,” she explained.

A successful Aland Center relocation

In May 2019, more than 400 employees in Shanghai, China moved to a new facility called the Aland Center. This brand new building is in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Zone, a strategic location close to many pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The Aland Center also unites several Covance China business units: Clinical Development & Commercialization Services (CDCS), Central Laboratory Services (CLS), Chemistry Solution (CS) and, our corporate and commercial functions.   

“I recently moved into a new apartment so I can really relate my experience to our colleagues,” said Linda. “From a business perspective, usually the focus is on how to minimize the impact on business operations. But from an HR mindset, we need to think about how to engage our employees and make them feel like they are moving to their ‘home away from home’ instead of just moving their work stations.”

Linda has worked to get employees settled in their new environment and make the most of their resources.

“We invited colleagues to participate in various activities, such as naming the conference rooms, providing input on the office layout and picking our furniture color schemes. We also helped employees get accustomed to the new neighborhood. Our communications included several emails and WeChat newsletters to let them know about all the available resources such as dining options, commuting arrangements and housing choices.”

Making a commitment to Covance employees

Linda elaborated on how the move to the Aland Center was a strategic investment in committing to the growth of the Covance China team.

“When Covance decided to move into the Aland Center, we planned ahead to accommodate our significant growth. With our current rate of hiring and the ongoing demand for our teams’ services, there’s a chance that we will need to continue expanding our facility. The team here is extremely grateful for the commitment and support we have from the global enterprise.”

Opportunities for building career experience and exposure

Linda sees several advantages to working with Covance China.

“From the business perspective, our employees get to work with the only contract research organization (CRO) in China that offers comprehensive drug development services. We actively create opportunities for the teams to work together and support cross-business collaborations across the enterprise.

Everyone has abundant opportunities to develop their own career, both horizontally and vertically, and we encourage exposure beyond China to regional and global levels. To both current and prospective employees, this translates to tremendous career opportunities and various career paths to learn about our business and get introduced to a wide range of careers and skillsets.”

Giving back to the community

To Linda, the work at Covance is both challenging and rewarding.

“Ensuring our projects are flawless requires starting with a robust strategy,” she explained. “This is a challenging process but extremely fun! I have seen how Covance has influenced the overall market in China and nurtured the industry.

The drug development business in China is still relatively new. That’s why we are continuing our commitment to providing training and education. We have the opportunity to give back to society and let the general public see how we improve health and improve lives, which echoes the energizing purpose of our work.”

Learn more about our culture of learning and explore careers at Covance on our career site.

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