Article: Empowering employees: In times of a pandemic

Employee Engagement

Empowering employees: In times of a pandemic

With the ongoing war to attract top talent and the increased competitiveness of talent markets, companies need to offer purpose, innovation and meaning.
Empowering employees: In times of a pandemic

The next normal is here, and it certainly feels different. There is no dearth of discussions on the impact it has made. However, organisations have chosen to focus on making it smoother for themselves and their employees.

Many of us have witnessed a new wave of workforce empowerment on multiple levels. While digitisation has empowered technological advancements enabling us to work remotely and to connect from anywhere, organisations have become more flexible. Higher leadership access, more engagement within and outside teams, and organizations with an enhanced focus on employees’ well-being and mental health are a few changes that have helped organisations lend more power to their employees.

On the other hand, one evident and undesirable change resulting from the pandemic is uncertainty. As industries have suffered the fallout from COVID-19, employees worried about their employment may not see a clear growth path within the organisation which could cause them to stop performing at high levels. Because of this, empowering employees has become more crucial than ever before. An empowered employee will positively impact not just his own performance, but that of others too. Therefore, investing and developing power teams can be a winning strategy, especially in these uncertain and challenging times. 

Building a workforce that is aligned to your company’s vision and equally excited about it too, might be challenging especially in this time of instability. With the ongoing war to attract top talent and the increased competitiveness of talent markets, companies need to offer purpose, innovation and meaning. It requires a strong value proposition for the talent population to feel motivated and exceed expectations. It is important to create an empowered and supportive environment inspiring people to think of why they do what they do, both at work as well as for people when they are working from home. 

Building a team of diverse talents aligned with vision driving innovation

Great talent is important to any organisation, and for an innovation-led organisation such as ours, it’s the lifeblood. Talent drives performance and acts as the catalyst to building a high-performing culture, which in turn attracts better talent and more development opportunities for the existing workforce. 

Great talents are self-managing. Once they know what they need to do, they will figure out how they should get there. What leaders should do is to provide a clear vision to help and guide. 

It is important for organisations to set a clear vision. An organisation’s vision provides the blueprint for success and collective purpose provides the necessary guidance. There should be alignment around shared organisational values, which become the lived-out behaviours of an organisation. Organisations should encourage empowered employees to continuously pursue and realize the vision by challenging themselves and the status quo. Collaborating with one another towards a shared purpose will also help them fight against barriers, remove roadblocks, and come up with the best solutions.

By creating an inclusive and equitable environment where every employee is empowered to bring their authentic selves to work each day, we surround ourselves with a variety of unique perspectives that help create solutions to better serve our patients. It’s a success picture of an ideal team – easier said than done. But by setting a clear vision throughout the organisation of embedded inclusion and diversity and engaging the people aligned towards the vision, it’s not unachievable.

Developing and advancing talents with learning, development, and career paths

Culture is the key to retaining and keeping our workforce. Culture allows one to inspire, share and create as a team and guides the way employees work, innovate, collaborate, and treat each other. It fuels business performance and enables employees to deliver on business objectives.  

Leaders play an essential role in bringing out the best in their teams by providing opportunities for them to grow and sometimes step out of their day-to-day responsibilities. This can be achieved by taking a personalised approach to development by identifying each employee’s individual development needs and career paths, encouraging them to set learning objectives and development plans and prioritising development opportunities aligned with their interests. A focus on career development will help leaders build and advance their teams. Providing leadership development programs, mentoring and coaching should be a part of the succession and career growth plan for all organizations now.

The pandemic has created new ways of working and enabled some organisations to be more flexible. When recruiting new talent, leaders within a function are most capable of understanding what that level of flexibility is needed to effectively perform within a role. 

It is important for pharmaceutical companies to identify and support the development of the employees that will enable them to develop and deliver innovative medicines to patients around the globe. That’s why investing in people and their growth, helping them gain specific enterprise-critical capabilities to develop, build and find purpose in their careers are crucial. 

Building a patient-centric culture inspiring meaning and why

Today’s employees, including more and more millennials in the workforce, are looking for purpose and meaning in their jobs. According to Wharton management professor Adam Grant, employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive, too.

It is therefore important to connect employees with the purpose and meaning of their work to make a difference in patients’ lives. By continuing to put the patient at the center of what a pharmaceutical company is doing to discover and develop new drugs and improve patients’ experiences and outcomes, we can help our people adapt and transform to meet the changing needs of patients. The need to be patient-centered has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. With medicines to treat life-threatening diseases in immunology, oncology, virology, and eyecare, pharmaceutical companies are driven to help more patients have the best treatment outcomes with innovative treatment and solutions beyond the drugs, than ever before. 

Patient Immersion Experience is one method which helps employees put themselves in the patient’s pain and challenges that they physically and emotionally face every day. It’s a meaningful way to empathise with the patients. This experience to feel the patient helps employees pursue efforts to identify their unmet needs and come up with ideas and solutions on how to address or fill the gaps from our drug discovery and development, patient access, treatment, and throughout the patient journey. 

Another value of building a patient-centric culture is that organizations can help their employees connect to the purpose and understand the impact that they make on patients’ lives through their work. 

Developing and advancing talents from diverse perspectives through learning and development opportunities, career advancements, a strong culture and meaningful work is the key to driving innovation, sustainable business, and continuous growth. 

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Topics: Employee Engagement, #GuestArticle

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