Employee autonomy behind Sintetica’s healthy corporate culture

For almost 100 years, Swiss pharmaceutical firm Sintetica has leveraged innovation and hard work to expand into new markets, but employee autonomy has played an equally important role in the company’s success

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Swiss pharmaceutical company Sintetica is fully committed to innovative therapies in local anaesthesia, pain management and neuromodulation

Established in 1921, Sintetica is a Swiss pharmaceutical company that delivers injectable anaesthetics and analgesics to patients around the world using innovative approaches to drug development, production and marketing. We currently employ 300 people across offices in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK. Our headquarters are located in Mendrisio, Switzerland, where our innovation department employs 15 percent of our total workforce.

Sintetica is fully committed to innovative therapies in local anaesthesia, pain management and neuromodulation. As such, we move forward with passion and competence in full respect of people and the environment.

All our efforts and resources are focused on becoming the leader in our chosen fields by developing novel medicines and better treatment options for physicians and patients around the globe. But in order to achieve such levels of leadership and growth, we believe it is important to focus on strategic partnering and business development.

Taking responsibility
As corporate CEO, I believe it is my responsibility to define the vision of the entire organisation, from strategy design through to execution. Within this, I believe innovation is vitally important, not only in terms of our products but also with regard to management style and organisation. Getting this right is a key element of our long-lasting success.

Innovation is vitally important, not only in terms of our products but also with regard to management style and organisation

That is why I am implementing an innovative organisation model based on responsibility and meritocracy, which I call ‘human-centred organisation’, instead of relying on a hierarchy of rigid internal structures. The human-centred organisation model is based on deep cultural change and requires an innovative managerial philosophy that places responsibility and merit at its core.

At Sintetica, we endeavour to create a working environment based on dynamic and highly innovative ideas, projects and products, not one obsessed with strict definitions and controls. We’ve found that our company culture is greatly improved by increasing our employees’ sense of responsibility. They may be given clear objectives to aim for, but our employees are also given a great deal of autonomy with regard to the management of their duties.

Managers, therefore, are moving from a role of commander and controller to that of coach, enhancing talent through delegation and accountability. They are transitioning their mindsets away from controlling activities and towards an approach based on the control of results and accountability, so as to create peripheral decision-making autonomy based on conscious risk assumption.

Mutual trust
I believe in a company culture that promotes creativity and informed risk-taking. In this respect, it must also promote a good feeling for all members of staff, who should always feel safe while they are at work. Making Sintetica a great place to work is my key objective and something that is very much a part of the company’s DNA. I consider our people to be the company’s core resource. That is why I trust my staff to be open to change and drive innovation in the long term.

We recently obtained marketing authorisation in the US for a new drug called Clorotekal (spinal chloroprocaine), which is mainly utilised for fast-track spinal anaesthesia to enhance recovery after surgery. This is an outstanding achievement. In fact, we are one of very few small-to-medium-sized companies in the world to have managed to register an original pharmaceutical product in the US.

We have built up our international network and can now proudly boast that our products are registered in more than 100 different countries. Over the next five years, we should see these efforts bear fruit with our products launching in many of these markets. With a network of partners who share our ‘quality first’ approach, we are confident of maintaining and expanding our current innovation-driven value proposition significantly in the coming years.