Case Studies iconCase Study: Life Sciences Consulting

Communication skills workshop with immediate, measurable performance improvement

Client profile

Our client is a leading global pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and delivery of innovative medicines. In support of its renewed commitment to corporate social responsibility, the client instituted a new community outreach initiative which involved new, fairly intangible non-pharmaceutical “products”, new department to support the delivery of these new offerings, new roles/role descriptions, and new employees to establish the new initiative in target communities across the US. To ensure the success of the new initiative, the client determined that the new community-based employees would be the key communicators of the value of the offering to the general public as well as within the client’s organization.

Client Objective

Because the community initiative was considered a pilot program, its success would be documented and value clearly communicated to internal stakeholders. Activity impact and perceived value were currently the only success measures available since no hard data measures existed for this novel program. Therefore, effectively communicating the program’s value internally was deemed critical so that company leadership could be confident that the program’s mission was being and would continue to be accomplished.

Barriers – Getting in the Way

Our client engaged a contract sales force company to provide staff for the “pilot” role. Nine months into the program’s launch the contract company had provided at least 5 qualified professionals to fill the new role. Two key qualifications for the role w ere public health and community outreach experience. The successful application of these skills enabled the original 5 hires to effectively penetrate and serve the communities to which they had been as signed.

As the pharma company and contract company began to observe examples of successful community partnership through the CHP, it became evident that the value of the successes were not being regularly communicated. Though the program Director worked with the team to effectively document program activities, achievements and successes outwardly to the community; similar internal communications had not even been recognized as reviewed. While no formal analysis had been conducted, the program Director noted the following :

  • Current community-based employees did not have extensive corporate communication/ protocol experience
  • Successes were not consistently being shared across the program team
  • None of the 5 original pilot employees had corporate experience
  • Employees were not working together to vet topics before communicating
  • Employees were not peer-reviewing communications before they were sent internally to share good ideas and improve collaboration

The client recognized that communications skills co uld not be “fixed” quickly and only with routine coaching and ongoing positive reinforcement would a n individual’s skills improve. However, because no one knew more about the true value of the program than the community-based employees, a quick, measurable writing skills intervention was identified as critical and necessary to ensure the new program’s future.

Project Objective:

To ensure that leadership was provided with appropriate, timely and relevant information regarding the program, the client desired to employ a practical, hands-on writing skills workshop that would enable employees to quickly learn how and demonstrate the ability to write value propositions and focus messaging appropriately to audiences.

Services Delivered

To help the client meet the project objective, the following services were successfully delivered.

  • Provided a semi-custom workshop design to keep clie nt training investment down by mixing P31 existing training assets with client-dev eloped draft workshop design (the client had a workshop design in mind)
  • Validated and identified high priority skill develo pment needs via interviews with Director and contract sales force liaisons
  • Provided P31 job aids to reinforce application of b est practices in effective messaging and writing value propositions
  • Developed pre-work, final workshop design, exercise s, examples and practice activities
  • Facilitated workshop, coached (1-1) writing, videot aped presentations and provided behavior-changing feedback

Project Outcomes / Business Outcomes

  • As a result of community-based employees’ participa tion in the workshop and, subsequent application of the new writing tips and techniques, the client realized:
  • Better employee understanding of why, when and how they need to communicate
  • Observable improvement in quality and effectiveness of written communications
  • More and regular collaboration within the group
  • Morale increase was evidenced by a reduction in employee frustration with “the company”
  • Group demonstrated a shared sense of purpose and di rection observed by increased sharing of internal successes
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