Accelerating the development of global talent

Syngenta helps growing populations live in a sustainable way by using science and innovative crop solutions to transform how crops are grown to enable millions of growers to make better use of available resources.

The challenge

Syngenta has 28,000 employees and they operate in 90 countries around the world. We have been working together for over a decade and this project was to design a Career Development Center (CDC) for three of their biggest regions: Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME), Latin America (LATAM) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

The purpose of the CDC was to accelerate the development of those on the talent matrix who were aspiring to the first level of senior management across three very different functions: R&D, operations and commercial. It was important that the event was in line with Syngenta’s talent strategy.

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The solution


The first step was working with Subject Matter Experts to identify what was different at the senior management level in each of these functions and regions. We used the data gathered to consider which of Syngenta’s competencies we needed to measure and how best to achieve this.

We have created the world’s biggest range of over 260 exercises, so based on our analysis of the data, we were able to customize four simulation exercises to reflect the types of activities and interactions in which senior leaders are typically involved, providing a cost effective and bespoke solution for Syngenta. It was important that the exercises were fair and relevant to participants from a wide range of disciplines and cultures. We were therefore careful to ensure that the content was equally challenging for everyone and that it wasn’t an advantage to have any particular technical or regional knowledge. One exercise was set in China, one in the US, another in Germany and one was set in an international agency similar to the World Health Organization.

In addition to the use of simulations, the process included a one-day workshop which focused on how participants could make the best use of their 360 feedback (completed in advance), how to create a personal development plan and how to maximize the benefit of coaching and mentoring.

We ran four of these CDC’s: two in Switzerland for talents from EAME and then one center each in Singapore and Sao Paulo. For each event, we provided a center manager, who trained a group of senior leaders from the region to act as observers, to write reports and to give developmental behavioral feedback. Many of the observers commented that this training was valuable in terms of developing their own leadership skills as well as those of the participants. Ongoing improvements were made to the process between each center, including increased automation of the report-writing process. For most of the observers, English was not their first language and so, by creating a standardized set of feedback comments, we were able to help them to produce high quality developmental feedback reports more quickly and accurately.

The results


  • 94% of the observers and 95% of the participants described the quality of the feedback as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good.’
  • 95% of the participants described their levels of personal development and motivation as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good.’
  • 100% of the participants said that their levels of commitment to their future development were either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good.’