Basic Training: Trends in Learning & Development Departments - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Basic Training: Trends in Learning & Development Departments
Educating employees has put big companies like GE and AT&T into leadership roles—and padded the bottom line. What is pharma doing to get the training wheels off its potential?


Pharmaceutical Executive


One company adding an LMS in 2008 is emerging midsize firm Daiichi Sankyo. The company's head of training, John Sjovall, hopes the LMS—combined with a new enterprise-resource-planning system—will allow his department to better measure the impact of their training. "Our goal is to start doing clinical-type trials of our training programs," Sjovall says. "We'll run one group through a training segment, separate another group as the control, and then we'll compare the results."


Methodology of the Study
In the meantime, he has found other ways to gauge the value of his company's training programs. For example, all Daiichi Sankyo trainers are required to spend time in the field with representatives and managers at least twice a quarter. Trainers also get valuable feedback when working with DMs on plan-of-action meetings, which Sjovall's department now manages. "In the past, POAs have been business meetings primarily. But since we have taken ownership, we are making them learning events to help fill in the gaps between classroom training. Basically, we are now building a business and training meeting in a box for our DMs to roll out to the reps," he says.

Trend 5: L&D Departments Seek Productive Partnerships

As training departments in pharma, biotech, and device organizations continue to achieve higher profiles, one of the challenges will be finding the right consultants to provide the missing knowledge, skills, and technology. Currently, outsourcing accounts for about 27 percent of the departments' total budget.

Another challenge for trainers will be adapting to their growing consultative role, which may involve less action and more analysis. "It's becoming clear that if the industry doesn't address customers' concerns about the value of our sales forces, we put our traditional marketing approaches at risk," says Brian Fagan, executive director of SPBT. "Training can be part of the solution as the marketplace is becoming more complex. Some of the strategies that training departments are implementing to help the industry adapt include continuous quality-improvement processes, increasing trainer headcount, and providing physician and patient value beyond product. These L&D initiatives have worked in other industries, and we expect that they will help our sales organizations maintain their relevance to our customers." And as this unfolds over the next few years, it's possible that a pharma, biotech, or device company could stake out a reputation as an innovator—not only in battling disease, but in advancing learning.

Rayna Herman is a principal at Health Strategies Group. She can be reached at
. Laura Ramos is editor of SPBT Focus magazine. She can be reached at
.


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