Amity Institute Of Training & Development

Leading the Workforce through mega disruptions

A conversation with Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya, Head of the Sales & Marketing Academy, Cipla Ltd

Interviewed by: Dr. Nitin Batra, CEO – Amity Institute of Training and Development

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya is an alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He has held HR leadership positions at Nestle, Bausch & Lomb, CavinKare, Merck Sharp & Dohme. He brings in a rare combination of expertise in HR and Sales & Marketing. He is currently Head of the Sales & Marketing Academy of Cipla Limited, specialize in transformational coaching and mentoring.

Click below to watch the recorded conversation.

 

Amity: For the most part talking from the HR viewpoint how viable do you think that the Indian businesses have managed to cope with the impact of the pandemic?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - I would say my take on this would be there is no easy answer to this question because while organizations would be at different stages of response to this at least I may say but there are also industrial contexts. If you look at an FMCG organization maybe a food organization or even us as pharmaceuticals our response is also contextual to the best kind of business we do. So if you look at luxury retail segments. I think they were more impacted for the simple reason that the discretionary spending of the consumer has significantly gone down. But if you ask me from an HR and learning perspective, I think there are many examples around us where we have seen organizations in a very agile manner. They have come up with responses to this situation.

When we started this pandemic, the 17th of March was when a significant part of our workforce was asked to work from home. None of us imagined that these eight months and counting we don't see an immediate end to this ordeal so my take would be, organizations have been responding to the crisis at different levels but also there is an industrial context in which they have been able to respond to that. One of the major initiatives which excite me as a practitioner of HR and more specifically learning and development is a tremendous scale-up in which learning teams across industries and cutting across industries, did scale up to ensure that a large field force is essentially homebound is meaningfully engaged. So that's truly inspiring and as we go ahead that was a great reaction to a huge impact which was there, but now as we are going ahead, we are also making those responses more and more strategic knowing fully well that this is going to stay for some time some foreseeable future.

Amity: - People are talking about what is the next normal what do you think the next normal is going to look like for Indian businesses and how long do you think that next to normal will arrive and how long will it last?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - So once again my take on this would be that the next normal is here, the only difference is unlike the normal which used to be when we sort of entered this tunnel called the COVID 19 pandemic this new normal is constantly evolving as we speak. We saw countries that had opened up and felt that okay we are past peak on this issue and now you see significant portions of Europe once again getting into lockdowns. So, the new normal is here and the only thing is it is constantly evolving as we are speaking and that puts a huge challenge to business as well as HR and learning professionals how to prepare the workforce to be effective in a paradigm which is constantly evolving itself. An additional challenge for us is to keep our workforce very meaningful in these very dynamic times.

Amity: - How do you think as an HR professional you can build trust with somebody who has been boarded online and has been working with you for the last six months? So how do you build trust with an almost invisible man? How do you know to ensure issues like integrity, the commitment of your employees as an HR professional? How do we address issues of workforce management working from home? Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - That's a great question Sir, and I will take it in two parts. When you say an "invisible employee", Cipla India business is our biggest business in all Cipla markets. We on average have about 2000 new joiners in a year which means we have to onboard 2000 plus people every year. We used to do this till March beginning of this year in a completely face-to-face program at a very nice location. Since the 17th of March, we have had joining and all these people have been onboarded remotely completely in a digital fashion.

Now coming back to the question of integrity and hence the question of trust, which is there, I think it must start and end with leadership. It's the leadership that has to drive this and how do you drive this so my sense is your first drive with communication, I think you cannot over-communicate in such a massive change event. So more and more you communicate, employees get the confidence, and they sort of getting into the groove of this new way of doing things. Along with that, the second most important piece to me is how do you build new processes around these new ways of working, new ways of engagement, new ways of communication. So, a manager used to have a face-to-face conversation with an employee of almost every day till yesterday now they are probably in two cities how do you ensure technology, or I would say the right technology has been employed to ensure that the communication is being seamlessly executed.

Along with communication, the second piece I would say is the policies and processes. So as you are reimagining the new ways of work-life so the old policies probably many of them may not be relevant at this point. So how do you redesigning your policies and processes around the reimagined way of doing things if we do this right and when I say we I mean the leadership of the organization it starts and ends there. Then you see a new culture evolving and at the end of the leadership is the keeper of the culture. So how do you constantly ensure that our culture is something which lets employees very quickly get into the new way of doing things? So, my answer to this question would be that it's building integrity, building trust starts and ends with nature.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - I think that was an interesting response. What's been or what is effective leadership communication from your perspective? Is it telling the organization we are in a problem this pandemic, let us be real about this, or is it future-focused?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - I do not see this as an either-or question. I think and that is a great way to start that I was a leader do not have all the answers. So being vulnerable as a leader becomes more authentic. You said yes we have a problem let's not wish it away from the window. We have an issue and that problem probably is the biggest reason that we very quickly do need to adopt the new ways of doing things. So, if you are doing that and as a leader, I can do that and consistently, so it is not important saying it once twice or thrice or five times, consistently even when I am not speaking is my behaviour reinforcing that message that yes, we are in a problem. At the same time, we have a plan, and I am counting on each of your 100% support to ensure we execute the plan, and I am sure the team will rally around it.

In addition to that, I think one of the ways of getting people to rally around this call of this clarion call of leadership if I may say is going back to the why. What's the purpose of the organization, why does the organization exist? I think that these are the best times when we go back. And if I can share the Cipla example our organization's mission says caring for life is our mission but that is not important what is important is what is the golden legacy of Cipla.

Time and time again rising to ensure that the HCPs and everybody in the health ecosystem are enabled to deliver caring for life for those who need it most. It doesn't matter it's in Sub-Saharan Africa where our initiatives have helped save millions of lives who are afflicted with the debilitating condition of HIV Aids or be it currently if you look at the response as an organization be it the new treatments being ensuring the manufacturing continuity. Everything which we do we strongly believe it is tied back to why the organization exists and which is the purpose. So if leadership can connect communication to the purpose and be authentic and vulnerable I think magic can happen that would be my opinion.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - Oh great I am glad you did not take my bait on the either-or. So I am going to pose another either-or question in front of you and allow you to correct me. I have leaders and if we take Cipla as an example if you're able to share that information otherwise in your experience, have leaders focused much more on boardrooms or c-suite discussions or in discussions with employees on figuring out how we can continue business as usual as best as we can? If we could not get in touch face to face with our customers with our intermediaries or influencers in your case healthcare professionals how would we redesign our business model?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: -So my point would be the question is that today for tomorrow versus today for today question so I read it that way. What do I do today to ensure that he today is completed at the same time given where we stand am I also investing significantly for tomorrow by certain actions today? My answer is once again both and we exactly did that and nobody had an idea. Let's not kid ourselves. WHO did not have an idea this is going to go so wrong so who are we to say that and we didn't have a clue but I will give you a story which inspires us that 17th March is a very important date for us. One of the jobs of my learning team which I lead was to ensure that a tremendous scale-up happened.

We have a 10,000 strong sales and marketing force out of which almost 7000 is the frontline runner the individual contributor whose primary selling model, is getting inside the doctor's clinic and talking about our medicines, our products, and services. The model the pharmaceutical sales and marketing model has not dramatically evolved in the last four-five decades. We're still because still where the rubber meets the road the primary head of the strategic execution is through in-clinic conversation between a medical rep and a doctor.

Now that has changed so our first job as of today was to ensure that the person who is sitting there wishes to spend a significant amount of time travelling between one clinic to another or waiting for the doctor to take that call. Now he's homebound he or she is homebound so how do you scale up to ensure that his skills that the saw is sharpened enough whenever we come out of this pandemic and the doctor call starts happening whichever way it's digital-physical. He or she is equipped to have that conversation but that was the initial part of the pandemic we also understood the customer around which everything the selling marketing model, sales and marketing model around the customer's reality has changed. If the customer's reality has changed how can our engagement models be similar? So, to your question what about anticipating the future exactly that's what we should be investing in and I would always recommend putting the customer at the center. What's his or her reality today and given his or her reality how do we meaningfully engage with him. And when you have this approach you will see the solutions and technologies or processes which are meaningful should evolve because everything else is to just enable that piece that how do you deliver your value to the customer. So c-suite discussion 100% yes without that not going to happen. How do you ensure business continuity and particularly as a large organization like us a manufacturing and sales organization but at the same time investing for the future? That has to happen today for a better tomorrow. So, hope I could answer your question.

Amity: - We will take this little more forward about working from home. As the current transition to technology adoption and digitalization create more agile ways of working, do you think this is the opportunity to leverage innovation? Now that we are used to a new way of thinking a new way of working, do you think the time is not right with this technology adoption and digitalization to leverage more innovation and getting to think into innovative ways of working?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - Absolutely and I would say the time is prime. It should have already happened because we are in the eighth month where we are saying that we are living in this new reality. I have witnessed a tremendous amount of breaking down old paradigms and starting to do new things. I will give you an example, as I was saying we train almost two and a half thousand people to face to face in a completely instructor-led session, within seven days we had to move on to a completely digital training connecting to every corner of this country, people were joining at their homes and they were doing that. How do you do that so you have to reinvent everything including the way the content is, including the way the facilitator is engaging, you don't have an opportunity of walking to a participant and say hey do you understand what I am telling. So how do you ensure that?

I think it is a tremendous opportunity it is a hotbed of innovation. To my mind sir to learning professionals and HR professionals this is the biggest opportunity of our lifetimes. Because as the walk gets reimagined we ensure that HR Strategy and the Learning Strategy have to dovetail under the Business Strategy. As business is redefining the ways of walking how we are redefining what would be the behaviours, what would be the capabilities and how do we have new ways of building those capabilities. So absolutely aligned and this is the time this is the moment of our life in our professional careers where we rise to this challenge of being more innovative, being more creative serving our customers be it internal be it external.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - Just going back to the themes that you spoke about one of the themes is the contactless organization. We cannot get in touch with the employee anymore. There is another theme on the contactless customer or in our case the influencer. So there is that overarching theme on contactless and what impact that have on the business model? Is there another theme that you can draw out for our attendees anything other than contactless that you think would drive innovation or should have already driven innovation in their organization?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: -Sure I would say customer-centricity is the other one because when you say contactless, I would say it's physically contactless. It does not have to necessarily be contactless, contact has to be there. But how do you contact how do you meaningfully ensure that you're connected, you're engaged, you have the mind share of the customer which can be internal. I like the point of influencer because that's the typical tweak our industry has where there is an influencer who is in the value chain. So contact has to be there but how do you do that and hence I would bring in the second theme which is customer-centricity. You put the customer at the center try to see from his or her perspective. How his or her reality has changed? When you see that and ask yourself a very simple question there may be immediate challenges which the customer is facing which of those challenges are meaningfully solvable by us.

Not every challenge and we should not try to do that also, and what is that one point where our mission and the healthcare practitioners mission meet and that is caring for life, he or she is delivering care to the patient. How do we ensure that we add value to that process and if you figure that out you would figure out the way to also connect meaningfully? So I would say contactless. physical contactless, so it must be Phygital, it’s not 100% contactless even as we speak. We see significant parts of the country has opened up to physical calls. It may not be the same time there are challenges but calls are happening. So, it is a Phygital, it is physical plus digital. How do you bring it together to ensure there is meaningful contact because now you do not have any more opportunities to say doctor, I just want to give a reminder to you. No, I don't want this because I think that's some element of the past of sales has to be meaningful contact.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - There are two insights Phygital contact and customer-centricity. there was another insight that you did not spell it out exactly, but it was very clear from your intention which is employee centricity. I see our clients as not entirely sure whether employee-centricity should be pushed in a very different way from what's been done earlier. How much has the focus on employee centricity changed? Is it useful for companies to think about employees first?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - I held that point and in fact when I said customer centricity, I did not spell out adequately enough to say that our customer, our employee, our first customer I would say. So, this time it makes even more sense for you to put the employee at the center. And this is tied back to our business continuity also. So if you see Cipla, for example, we have a large manufacturing force who are at our factories constantly working to ensure that these value chain deliveries come, if we don't have products to sell what would you do with sales and marketing. So, one of the first things and I think Cipla’s Human Resource a Leadership response to the pandemic in terms of the employee centricity also has been phenomenal.

A factory cannot work from home. My colleague must come to the factory to run the machine lines. How do we ensure the employee feels safe enough? How do you ensure that there are new policies very quickly done to ensure that the employee feels that I can put my best foot forward every day? And that's true for every corner of the organization and for an organization of our size and complexity it becomes even more important for us to do that. So 100% of a new joiner has joined in some part of India. How do we ensure that he is stepped into the culture of Cipla, irrespective of whether wherever he or she is, his or her experience of the organization has to be the seamless one? Why should it change whether or not pandemic has hit our old ways of working out of the window? So 100% that's the most important piece because if our employees are not feeling engaged if your employees are not feeling safe and if the employees feel that I am not being prepared enough to face this huge disruption who is going to execute the business strategy. So absolutely, completely align with your thought.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - From a value perspective, what you just said, is there ROI on employee engagement in an organization making the employee feel that they are central, that the organization cares for them for their safety, for their well-being through a tough time either anecdotally or overall would you have a return on this investment that you can throw some light on?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - Great question! I will like to answer the first part of that with my perspective on this. We are in a young organization. The roots of the organization are inspiring to say the least. The organization came into being when basic medicines were not available in this country so that's our root. Our 85-year history has been all about delivering ensuring, assuring, and enabling caring for life. So large organization and our employee average age are quite young that way, we are a young organization so how if the employee is not 100% engaged, then there is no question of 100% output of that employee. How would ROI come if the business strategy execution is not optimal? So it's common sense that every part of the organization the way supply employees have a reason for this occasion. That is proof of what great employee engagement can do, it can be in the form of, we are the only organization to my knowledge at least in the Pharmaceuticals space in India we have a palliative care center near Pune where we have the end-stage oncology patients who are assured of the dignity of life.

We just do not talk about caring for the life we ensure that caring for life is assured for a patient who does not have a long time to live. If every employee is not inspired with the Cipla story, is not engaged with leadership with the line there will not be 100% efforts being made and we need discretionary efforts to ensure that we not only sailed through this pandemic but we're ahead of the competition and I think employee engagement is the fuel which ensures that organizations propelled towards that success.

Amity: – We go back a little to the learning and development. What advice would you give to those training learning and development of their workforce? Now that we are in and what are the areas of priority, of course, you hinted at? How the problem of salespeople not being able to physically meet let us say doctors that there's a problem so in your view what are the priority areas of L&D as things stand today?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - So as I said this a short while before, I would say start with the business strategy. As HR professionals if the business for some reason is unable to anticipate and appreciate that the customers' reality has changed we must put our voice. We must say that please do consider while preparing the business strategy. Once that is robust second question is how you do then make your HR and learning strategy? What behaviours would be required in employees to demonstrate? To demonstrate the behaviours what are the capabilities which would be required for the specific employees? Do we have those capabilities at this point in our force? If the answer is yes, then sharpen it furthermore often than not because of these very difficult times we will not have the necessary capabilities to demonstrate those new areas.

If that is the case either we must hire or we must retrain people to pick up those capabilities. So my suggestion I wouldn't say advice, my suggestion to my fellow learning and development practitioners, start with the business strategy and ensure that the customers' reality and the customer centricity is an integral part of the business strategy and start from there and then come to the question what capabilities would be required do. I have those capabilities do I need to build for those capabilities? Once you have that question, do I have the technology to deliver the capability building solutions which I'm planning? But sometimes, unfortunately, it does not happen we start with the technology okay let us do this, but this seems to be the end thing to do.

Amity: - I will ask a very Frank question, how are you personally responding to the crisis as a senior HR professional? What do you find helpful and motivating in your work and how do you connect with the purpose, you just talked about the purpose, so would you like to answer that question?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - For me, the purpose of my organization is a daily dose of inspiration and more so during these times as the way we walk is also getting re-imagined. The Cipla story is so resonant and so powerful the way we have done and we continue to do, the agility with which my organization has responded to COVID in terms of ensuring the supply chain, in terms of ensuring that the full portfolio of available COVID therapeutic choices is available with the company. You would have probably seen in the news that we have now come into COVID testing also. We are launching ELIFAST which would have a very quick detection of the test and once again this is tied back to the purpose of caring for life. If Cipla doesn't do this at this point when we are facing the biggest crisis of our lifetime which other organizations would do that? So that's my daily dose of inspiration. Having said that there have been tremendous personal challenges for all of us, for me, I've spent almost a quarter-century in corporate life daily, drudgery and commuting we always used to curse but sitting in one place from morning to evening become a challenge. A bigger challenge for me, a bigger consideration is my learning team. How do I ensure that I communicate with them and how my learning leaders, my leadership team in the learning team are also keeping my team engaged? We had done a rough count till about mid of October this team has delivered more than 6.5 lac learning hours which is at least 40X times higher learning team is typically used to do. How do you ensure that every team member who is bending his back or her back to deliver this service to the organization for the cause of caring for life? Why it's important because whatever we are building, the capability to prepare our sales and marketing force to enable the healthcare practitioner to deliver better care for life. So the purpose is at the center and that's something which is extremely motivating to me but it's difficult to get into this new way of doing things managing the workplace because your home and work overlap and I'm sure that's a reality for all of us but yes it's exciting times we are delivering more, learning more. I have learned like never with the speed which I have learned so very exciting times, challenging times no doubt but there is a promise for a better tomorrow and I'm sure we are helping, my team, is helping the organization get ready to face to go to the new normal.

Amity: - I will next take you to a question, it is not a hypothetical question but it is a question of performance enablement versus performance management. We at Amity Institute of Training and Development play a lot of stress telling our clients to lean more towards enablement rather than measuring and managing performance. What do you feel about this aspect of performance enablement versus performance management? Do you think that now the time has come to change the mindset of our people and as we discussed as of workforce becomes more invisible how you enabled performance?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - I think it's a great question! I would say ideally this question shouldn't have been there in the minds of all HR professionals and business leaders also because ideally and philosophically performance enablement should be a part of the overarching performance management process. It should be there, so when we are doing the goal setting and setting the milestones and the success markers the question should also come in how what's the readiness level of the employee to do that and how do we ensure through capabilities through processes the enablement. While that is ideal, philosophical, I completely align with you that this may not be the case. I think it is a big case to build very strong elements of performance enablement and why the reason is there that your reality seems to be shifting so fast, how do we ensure that employee is enabled to be agile, how the employees enable to be adapted to flexible ways of doing things and I think performance enabled is no longer a good thing to have. The need for performance enablement should become hygiene noisy so 100% I agree with you and should be the primary purpose of managers at all levels how do I enable performance if performance happens as per standards you ensure performance management also.

Amity: - I'll take on that word you just used agility. As part of the requirement for employees to be more agile, they are having to learn new skills, develop new expertise and disrupt some of their old practices everybody now has to learn, relearn upskill, relearn unlearn. So as an HR professional how are you dealing with this change, how to reskill your people, especially the older workers who are not too happy to change their ways or things. So how are you finding this sort of reskilling, more agility in your older employees and of course in your younger employees?

Dr. Nitin Batra: - As you mentioned agility and flexibility as being the demands of now, are there additional capabilities that you would highlight beyond the required quiet now for dealing with the future? You mentioned strategic thinking as well. So strategic thinking agility flexibility anything else that's required and how do you make sure that learning translates into effectiveness?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - First of all to your question that what about the "older workforce". I have a bit of difference of opinion on this. In my opinion, it's not about the older-younger workforce. Every part of the workforce needs a very strong reason why to be spelt out to them why they should pick up new capabilities and I would say it doesn't matter which generation person belongs to. The most important critical success factor for somebody to embrace new ways, new thought process and forget new ways will come second and I link it back to the question so how then strategic thinking agility and flexibility is linked? I said 100% so where would I build strategic thinking, agility, and flexibility first. I would first build in my leadership and this is exactly what we did and that way I think I'm very blessed to have the leadership support and culture you can do in Cipla which is meaningful.

Even within a month when we started the lockdown we understood that the biggest lever for enabling the organization to navigate through the choppy water and then go to very different success would depend on the leadership qualities. What we did was we curated a program for our leaders first and we took the help of one of the leading management institutes of Asia and we curated a course for them including strategic thinking how do you do digital leadership because if digital as a theme, as a concept is not part of my leadership dynamism then start could happen. I cannot expect a front liner to become strategic and be proactive and flexible. How ecosystem is going to enable that so we did this curated journey. We build leaders as teachers as a concept inside this so while the University faculty was getting prepared to deliver the content, complete contextualized to the reality of my Cipla leaders, at the same time we had the top leadership of Cipla also stepping in leaders as teachers and demonstrating these qualities and spelling out the why the purpose very strongly.

What's the reason for picking up these new things if that happens irrespective of the age of the workforce? When there is a consistent messaging that this is important, and things will happen so my response is these capabilities are more important to start with at the top leadership because the leaders do not demonstrate this consistently. The employees are going to get confused why should I pick up I have been 20 years in this career, and I have got significant success doing things. Now, who needs to change first I would say the leader has to change first. So in my team, if I'm the head of the Academy has to first start the change by picking on the new skills so yes, of course, the why has to become very strong from leadership and for that we have to prepare the leadership to have this communication.

Amity: - Taking on from that digital aspect of leadership let's get a little bit more into the technology side. As work becomes more horizontal and collaborator, data and technology provides new insights about employee performance and employee behaviour. The ability to understand analytics and draw prescriptive guidance from data will be vital so what support or capabilities do you think HR professionals require to deliver? What the business needs when we move onto that analytics side?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - So absolutely if I have to take a step even before that I would say the first capability which all HR professionals need more today is the performance consultation capabilities. I need to be able to be an internal consultant to the business leader to understand that what are performance changes, what are the new behaviours, what are the new capabilities. Now to be able to do that more than ever I need business acumen and client-specific business acumen. So if I am a consultant to you I need to understand your business, your model, and from there comes the question of analytics. If I am business acumen savvy I'd be able to read the analytics also and that brings tremendous credibility for the HR practitioner or the L&D practitioner to the business because business understands, this person understands my reality so he would be more open to having that conversation with you and you should be able to with your understanding ask that question how centrally the customer is placed in your side.

Coming to the question of data analytics so first, my recommendation would be, be very clear with the business data. Are you as familiar with the business data the way of business leader and thereby you start from there the other collaborative systems which are there process that we need to very quickly get onto the hang of getting the insights. Insights are more important than the data itself and do only that part which is already not fed as an MIS inside it if it is already there do not break your head over it, I would always say get your time, get your hands dirty to understand the business acumen. The customer reality understands the customers' data set and you would be able to have a conversation and thereby cull up HR and L&D strategy which is completely aligned to the business strategy.

Amity: - You are dealing with a lot of young and new employees, the greater access to information the spread of social media makes employees expect a greater say in shaping the content of their work or the way they work. So what kind of HR practices need to be adopted by companies for developing deeper relationships and engagement with their employees now with this younger generation just out of college. What strategies do you recommend?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - Only one sir, I mean maybe my answer will seem very simplistic I think HR and leadership at all level need to demonstrate only one skill, and then we have to add this skill also to our already repertoire of strategic thinking, agility and flexibility, that's the listening. Your ability as a leader to listen would be the most critical factor and how do I put processes which ensure I'm doing employee listening even when I'm not present. If we listen well enough to the point that every generation and all the more the millennial and now one is the Generation Z. I think it's proven that they want to better part defining the organizations and they're connected even more with the purpose of the organization. So as a leader am I able to listen with empathy, with respect in respective of the hierarchy and layers of the organization, and how I'm building this listening as a process and culture? If you can do this and together I'm sure we'll be able to craft HR strategies, policies learning, and development interventions that are in complete sync with every employee.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - We spoke about the leader we spoke about the starting employees; you emphasize the role of the manager as well. Our research suggests 70% of the organization's engagement depends on the managerial. What has changed or what will change in how managers manage and how can we best prepare managers to address that change?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - Great question, when we say manager for a moment because I feel the first line manager plays a decisive role in ensuring the strategic execution of the organization. Now, what has been the reality of a pharmaceutical first-line manager before the pandemic stuck us. Typically they are people who are very good at doing their reps' job and primarily the reason who has become the manager. So in all probability, they try to do that job by shadowing one of his or her reps so that's the reality.

Now, what's happening today the manager may be homebound because where he's from maybe there is a quarantine stage, whatever it is, and all his capabilities of reading data to do on the job very quick performance reviews with the team have tremendously increased because he has to be in three places together. He could afford to be with one person throughout the day morning to evening doing calls, now he has to do that. If it is a call through which he is connecting with the employee his capability to connect engage with the employee with empathy be there with him, have the capability and also the mindset that I am here to review is a paradigm shift which has to happen. We are also in the process of redefining the way a manager with the rep engagement has to happen, we are building capability programs around it. This is a tremendous shift that is going to happen. At higher levels of the hierarchy we are also building them very high-level data analytical skills so that you don't waste too much time in talking about 10 things, talk about one-two key issues and opportunities and in turn, you're helping your next line to focus on them.

There's a part to operations, there is you get your biggest issue or opportunity you are also going to get disproportionate results so there is a lot of work which needs to be done at all levels of the sales hierarchy but most critically I would say the first line managers work needs to get re-imagined complete is shifted like never. So we're building a lot of interventions to prepare, not only prepare to identify who is the right person to be a manager first and just not you are a great rep yesterday so you become a manager today. So through very objective assessments processes how the top talent is selected who has higher readiness for the next role then very structured way how do we prepare them so that when they hit the ground in the new role they hit the ground running and I think there is a potential of deriving create competitive advantage whichever organization can do this well and do this fast I think the time is also essential.

Amity: - I think it would be very unfair we don't ask anything related to pharma. Due to many reasons, Pharma cannot do marketing the way let's say companies selling soap can advertise beauty. There are certain restrictions and regulatory problems. We cannot do marketing like other sectors but traditionally it is still considered that the Pharma sector has been slow coming and entering into the digital spectrum as compared to other major industry and of course, the social distancing norms as you have mentioned already been affected the sales and marketing operations. So what are the emerging opportunities in digital marketing? What are the emerging trends? What innovations are coming? It's a difficult proposition to make sales when you cannot face the doctor? How are people overcoming this problem?

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - I think there are a lot of initiatives which have been taken and I agree that pharma has not been one of the industries that are known for very pioneering digital work. We had our reasons. However, I see a lot of activities happening around. Starting with the digital ways of doing continuous medical education for the doctors, large scale webinars connecting with doctors digitally and when I say digital it can be a telly call, it can be a one-on-one email, it can be a video call. A lot of startups have also come into the picture. A lot of upgrades happened in existing technological solutions to ensure that a manager and a rep in different cities even at different locations can connect with one doctor through digital means. I think technology is not the problem today. We have the technology to do that but there is a very fundamental question here.

The fundamental question is if Dr. Batra had been a medical doctor, I have all technology I can connect with him. The fundamental question is why I should connect with him and I urge my pharmaceutical fellow L&D HR practitioners and my business colleagues all organizations to start with this question. What value can I bring to you that's the question? Once again we are coming back to the question of customer-centricity. If I can answer that I think we have had enough initiatives in the last 6-7 months and Cipla has been one of the forefronts. We have been very agile and adopting new ways of doing things but we need to figure out how do I ensure this value for the conversation to the customer and once you marry these both I think contact will happen, engagement will happen. It will happen in a little different way no doubt about it but yes.

Technology is there, processes are there we need to just figure out the customer-centricity bit a little more and I think pharma can be equal if not more than many other industries in very quick digital adoption.

Amity: - We do not doubt that pharma is one of our bright stars in our country, we are the pharmacy of the world. First, it has been a pleasure, I am very surprised when I'll suddenly realize the time is almost over, I would like to hand you over to Dr. Nitin Batra for his concluding remarks.

Dr. Nitin Batra: - I am going to thank you for taking us through a white landscape of discussion. You talked about the themes for the future that an organization needs to prepare for, themes being contactless digital customer centricity, employee centricity at the same time you talked about preparing the organization at all levels but starting with the leadership how they communicate embrace for today as well as tomorrow. You talked about the seismic shift in the approach that managers should have and how we should think about managers differently putting the right person in the place.

You also talked about the new employees joining in and how they can be boarded and the challenge as well as the opportunity for an HR leader to think differently. It has been a wide landscape of discussion that we've had a lot of insights. I'm sure for our participants and I just wanted to thank you for your time with us here today.

Mr. Anindya Bhattacharyya: - Thank you so much once again thanks for the invite and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation thank you very much.

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Moderated by Dr. Nitin Batra

 

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