Wockhardt is a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology organization based in Mumbai with manufacturing facilities and subsidiaries in several developed and developing markets. With a worldwide strength of nearly 9, 000 employees, sales representatives play a crucial role in promoting the company products and generating revenues. However, new sales employees usually registered a dip in their performance, and the attrition rate of new sales talent was high as well. Let’s take a look at how Wockhardt solved this challenge by creating a unique onboarding and training solution.
The organization noticed that the initial phase, when a new sales representative started their work, witnessed a decline in their performance. This was attributed to the lack of skills and expertise of the new employee since the role required domain-specific knowledge of science and business. New employees waited anywhere between two and six months to get adequately trained, and it took them a long time to reach the desired level of productivity. One of the primary reasons for the same was the lack of a structured orientation and training program, and it was leading to diminished confidence and sustained underperformance in the first few months. As a result, the infant attrition rate (an employee leaving within the first six months) was extremely high within the sales team.
These challenges not only mounted the recurring cost of recruitment and training but also made it difficult for the organization to ensure knowledge retention and introduce new product portfolios. Furthermore, combined with high competition among pharmaceutical companies for skilled sales talent and a changing disposition of health professionals towards sales representatives, the organization realized that it was time to make a radical change to the existing system.
The training team at Wockhardt devised an inclusive and well-structured induction module to help new employees overcome the initial challenges and accelerate their learning journey. Thus, the Wockhardt Orientation Workshop (WOW) 10 was envisaged as an extensive ten-day induction program towards the same. A blended-learning approach is followed to design WOW 10, which consists of a mix of classroom learning, e-learning, on-the-job training, experiential learning, and simulation-based learning. The responsibility and accountability of the program are given jointly to Regional Training Managers and Regional Managers.
The WOW 10 program is based on the foundation of the following pillars:
- Compact Design: The entire 10-program is split into two parts: four days of classroom training and six days of on-the-job learning
- Systemized Digital Training Centers: Four systemized digital training centers at the zonal offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai have been set up to ensure access and support.
- Using an Engaging LMS: WGenie, an internal learning management system, has been set up to help the training team deliver customized product knowledge training modules to new employees all across the country.
- 360 Degrees Measurement and Tracking: Every learner is required to record a video of their respective presentations in a simulated setting.
The WOW 10 program has helped new employees gain confidence, supported regional managers in gaining clarity on their mentorship role, and above all, helped foster a sense of belongingness for new emplo-yees, leading to better employee engagement and motivation
The learners provide anonymous feedback after one month of the program, and senior sales, both within and outside the sales team, seek regular feedback as well. This continuous flow of relevant feedback helps change the program to make it more useful and practical.
The initial decline in sales of new sales employees has been arrested, and the cost of hiring and training has also reduced. The mandatory program has helped new sales representatives become productive much more quickly and has also brought down the infant attrition rate by 16 percent. The program has helped new employees gain confidence, supported regional managers in gaining clarity on their mentorship role, and above all, helped foster a sense of belongingness for new employees, leading to better employee engagement and motivation.
The WOW 10 program has filled a critical gap by ensuring the smooth onboarding and training of new sales personnel and supporting them in integrating smoothly into existing processes. As for the future, the organization will focus on providing more support to weak learners, more prominent training on soft skills, and create live dashboards for leaders to keep track of their progress.