The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. In fact, the global pharmaceutical market is projected to increase at a compound CAGR of 4-7% in 2018 and reach $1.3 trillion. That apart, this industry has a profound impact on human life and often attracts public and government attention.
Given the nature of the products, millions of employees in pharma companies need constant training. The learning and development departments of pharmaceutical companies face several challenges. Here are some in no particular order:
Launching new drugs
Pharma companies are constantly launching new drugs. As this happens, medical representatives and other professionals need to be trained in record time.
Pharma companies are subject to strict rules and government regulations. This suggests the need for regular training in order for the employees to ensure compliance needs are always met.
Finding skilled trainers
Pharma companies face the challenge of finding skilled trainers. For them, it is crucial to find professionals with knowledge of the latest products and the industry norms. Also, the availability of these trainers for face-to-face classroom training poses more challenges.
Conducting regular inspections
This is related to the compliance burden. Across functions like R & D and manufacturing, regular inspections are commonplace in the pharma industry. Employees need to be trained on the processes and learn to maintain records that may be subject to audits.
Surviving the competition
Pharmaceuticals is a highly competitive industry. This puts a greater onus on the employees to perform in order to ensure the organization stays ahead of the competition.
Clearly, the learning and development department has it tough in the pharma industry. But given the importance of employee training, how can they deliver impact?
Here are some of the ways in which pharma firms can maximize the impact of their L&D initiatives using eLearning:
Provide accelerated training
The pharma industry has unique business needs. The appearance of an epidemic, for instance, leads to a rapid ramping up of the production and release of certain drugs. Pace and reaction time become key. Classroom training will take a considerable amount of time to organize. Online training programs, on the other hand, are rapid solutions that can come to the rescue. They are viable when accelerated training is the need of the hour. From product training to training about the processes and the compliance needs, eLearning courses can cover everything.
Address demographic variations
Pharma companies tend to have large and diverse workforces. The training challenge is to address all of them in a manner that is apt for them. For instance, the millennials are more adept at leveraging technology, maybe microlearning and gamification is right for them. The older employees are more used to consuming large pieces of content and doing research—more detailed and interactive courses may work better for them.
Create accessible and equal learning opportunities
Traditional learning programs are often ineffective when it comes to training differently-abled employees. Customized L&D modules help bridge the gap as they are designed for accessibility. For instance, eLearning courses can incorporate the best audio and visuals to provide additional support. Likewise, these can also include certified accessible interactive tools to drive the training.
Surmount geographical barriers
Pharma companies often have geographically distributed workforces. Their field staff, suppliers, and employees may be based in different cities, regions, and countries. Uniform online training programs for all locations will ensure that the employees scattered across the globe are all aligned on the things that matter. Also, the relevancy of a course is increased by translating them into local languages.
Use bite-sized chunks
Custom learning modules must include information that is easy to consume. This will give employees a bird’s eye view of new products and drugs, the features, the regulations and everything else in between—in only as much detail as they need. Placing the information in context without overwhelming the learner is also important.
Opt for self-paced learning
A major benefit of online courses that drive L&D initiatives is that they are self-paced. Such courses help employees continue with multiple courses at a speed comfortable to them. The greater control this offers to the learner helps motivate them to persevere and complete the course.
Engage the learners
With training, the proof of the pudding is often in how it engages the learner. The mandate of the course creator is to come up with engaging and interactive modules to inform as well as engage the learner. This keeps the interest level of the participants high—even when they’re being subjected to dry compliance courses and the like.
It seems clear that eLearning can help the Learning and Development group within pharma companies contribute not just towards employee training and engagement, but also towards improving the business impact. The question is, how can they do that without adding additional headcount? There’s little doubt that eLearning fulfils a strategic purpose but is it a core activity the Pharma company must staff for? Would the company rather add people to revenue-oriented functions like sales and product development or eLearning? Clearly, the latter. So, what’s the option here?
To stay ahead of this learning curve without adding any additional headcount, the best way forward would be to partner with an expert in custom course development. It would be even better if the company understands technology, the specifics of instructional design, and course development. The cherry on the top would be if the company had experience in the pharma domain.
It could come down to hiring the right vendors for maximizing the impact of the L&D initiatives and get ahead in the pharma race.
At eNyota, we are engaged with some of the biggest names in pharma—training their internal employees and channel partners. Our eLearning covers all aspects of the pharma industry. We also make sure to cover all angles of training that one would expect! To know more, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here and we will get in touch with you!