It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, so – hard as it may be to imagine as we persevere through enduringly tough times – is it possible coronavirus has catalysed something of a positive revolution in Learning and Development? As they say, there is never a wrong time to do the right thing; the same applies to learning. The COVID 19 pandemic created an opportunity to pause, reflect, and invest in upskilling and developing people to handle the current challenges and accelerate growth. Fighting this epidemic apart from fighting chronic stress and low mental health becomes no less importance. Thus ensuring everyone is ‘new normal’ ready for when they are out of this pandemic.g
Keeping in mind that the current situation, Learning and Development team in Cadila Pharmaceuticals focussed on long-term capability building rather than managing short-term crisis that will guarantee a better capacity of employees to fulfil their roles. We spoke to Mr Uday Kumar, Assistant General Manager, Learning and Development, about the different initiatives taken up by Cadila Pharmaceuticals.
“A Pharma Sales call demands science at the apex and helps a sales professional to make an impact at the customers’ place and customer conversion. The sales team had an acute challenge of making physical doctor visits and product promotion. The field force were confined to their homes and mostly resorted to telephone calls to mobilize sales.
The Learning & Development team had an opportunity to explore the concept of learning and training anywhere, anytime, and espousing it to the Final Habit – “Sharpen the Saw”. However, this in turn required examination of a range of issues such as, how technically prepared were we and also looked at alternatives that support new ways of working in the face of disruptors like a pandemic. We explored innovative and updated learning methodologies and firmed up on ‘zoom’ as the medium to impart knowledge, upgrade skills and capability of our employees.
In the span of three months, we were able to conduct 20 soft- skills sessions, 86 sessions on techno functional skills and 24 Medical Trainings with more than 4000 employees. For the first time our induction programme for field officers went virtual with 234 participants. Everyone is going through a stressful time, and learning cannot be another thing to add to that. We wanted to make learning fun, and wanted to gamify it. Innovative tools like Break out rooms, polls, Google assessments helped make the session more fun and interactive and experts speak by Doctor & Chemist provided a real time perspective of the marketplace.
Rightly said by Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”.
Our Learning and Development team collaborated with Leaders of Business to understand need and identified SME’s to deliver sessions to the field employees. We formulated a complete roadmap encompassing Techno-Functional knowledge, Selling skills, Quizzes and other topics that influenced productivity and performance. The digital learning provided sessions for the Field force to improve Product knowledge facilitated by the medico – marketing team. The team also facilitated Learning sessions on various soft skills affecting quality and relevant to the field employees.
In addition to these, the Learning and Development team also focused on techno-functional skills like Detailing & Coaching abilities for the first and second line managers. This helped the managers to build inclusiveness of the team, being relevant and improve effectiveness. As the team went ahead with the learning agenda, we also built small video snippets named ‘Learning TF’ comprising of the key learnings of the sessions and utilized platforms like YouTube and WhatsApp to reach up to the learners every Tuesdays & Fridays. This promoted reinforcement of the learning and warranted retention in learners.
Technology is playing a vital part across the whole pandemic scenario. We now see that technology is no longer an option but a necessity in so many situations. Covid-19 hasn’t radically shifted L&D, but it has accelerated it.”