Unparalleled Passion – how work and volunteerism relate to animal wellbeing
Good things happen when teams see how their work and volunteerism relates to animal wellbeing.
Randolph Legg is the newly appointed head of the commercial business at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc.
Vet-Advantage: Why is it important for people to feel a connection between their work and animal wellbeing?
Randolph Legg: My colleagues and I at Boehringer Ingelheim believe that people and animals are connected in deep and complex ways, and we are dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of both.
Our respect for animals drives us in everything we do. When people see this connection, it reinforces a sense of purpose and increases their engagement at work. We make vaccines and pharmaceuticals to treat or prevent disease in animals. People throughout the organization see the benefits of that.
We also nurture a connection between work and animal wellbeing by getting involved in our communities and giving back through volunteerism. We often choose activities that are connected to human and animal wellbeing.
I have been with Boehringer Ingelheim for 25 years, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to give back. I spent a number of years on the human pharma side of our business. I was involved there in volunteer work with organizations that help patients in the areas of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.
Vet-Advantage: What kind of environment do team members need to thrive so that they can give back?
Legg: With our leadership teams, we talk about modeling behavior. People need to see leaders involved. We want people who work at Boehringer Ingelheim to know the vital role they play in enhancing the lives and wellbeing of animals and people. A few months ago, for example, many of us from the Animal Health senior leadership team joined about 60 employees to help renovate an animal shelter in a project coordinated by the nonprofit Rescue Rebuild (see Veterinary Advantage February 2020).
You have to provide an environment where you are explicit about the expectations to volunteer. I encourage employees to participate in programs that they feel passionate about and that the company feels passionate about. Our work to help renovate an animal shelter met all those conditions. We had a team of people with an unparalleled passion for work so closely connected to enhancing animal wellbeing.
Vet-Advantage: What is the best piece of advice you received on engaging a team?
Legg: Build trust and a connection with the team. That gives people the opportunity to participate at a level where they feel comfortable providing feedback and insights. It also helps team members stay connected. It fosters a sense that everyone shares one mission and a focus on the same strategy. It’s obvious when that doesn’t happen. There is a clear breakdown. Creating trust, clarity, and transparency on what we are trying to accomplish is an important foundation for a successful organization.