Cipla is a 25,000 strong pharmaceutical company operating in more than 80 countries across the world organized through a complex organizational structure with a mix of matrix, hierarchical and functional linkages. Being one of the market leaders in a highly regulated and ever- evolving business environment, it faced multifold challenges when it initiated the herculean task of crafting a far-reaching learning strategy.
Some of the most glaring issues that the organization faced in the early stages of constitution of Cipla University were:
Disconnected and decentralized learning ecosystems
Every vertical (supply chain, manufacturing, R&D, sales & marketing, corporate, finance, quality etc.) within the company had a unique learning approach with multiple standalone learning interventions. These initiatives had a reactive rather than a proactive approach and did not stem from an over-arching learning philosophy to connect and unify all functions across geographies.
Lack of scalability of learning solutions
The increasing complexity and excruciating lack of dedicated resources, standardized processes, digital infrastructure, structured teams, and instructionally sound content design made left little opportunity to scale up existing interventions for learners across the organization.
Monotonous and theoretical offerings
The primary mode of learning delivery was through classroom sessions and workshops. Technology led learning was mostly limited to learning reinforcement and engagement. With an ever-expanding millennial and Gen Z employee base, who live by the motto of instant gratification and mobile learning, it became evident that our learning philosophy and systems were anachronistic and needed a complete overhaul to make learning more exciting, engaging and empowering.
Scrap learning: the failure of learning transfer
The coexistence of multiple learning ecosystems and approaches across verticals, each working in its isolated silo, resulted in the inadvertent creation of scrap learning. Certain interventions were overtly comprehensive to the extent that some of the lessons shared were not relevant to the learner’s hierarchical level or job profile and thus would never be applied on the job.
The transformation journey – the beginning
Cipla University (CU) was constituted in 2017 with a centralized approach to unify enterprise level learning and development initiatives and, incorporate a partnership with business stakeholders across the organization. Under the aegis of CU, transformational learning academies were created to deliver customised yet standardized learning solutions across verticals in line with the long term business goals of the organisation.
Once a robust learning infrastructure was established, it was imperitive to invest in creation of targeted, scalable and engaging learning solution with a sharp focus on business alignement. Digitalisation of learning emerged as a key tool in helping us make this vision a reality.
The digital transformation strategy focused on creating a complete learning experience by integrating cutting-edge learning technology, behavioral science and learning analytics. Envisioned as a system of inter-connected learning apps, portals and enabling tools with deep integration with the LMS, creating a wholesome learning capability for the organization by simplifying, standardizing and automating learning. The continuous feedback mechanism and the behavioral science model help reduce learning scrap/wastage.
Make learning accessible & engaging - Self Directed & Curriculum based
In Phase 1 of the Digital Transformation Journey, enterprise level digital learning platforms were introduced under the umbrella of CU to address needs across functions like India Sales Business, Supply Chain, Integrated Product Development & Corporate functions. To drive the curriculum based digital learning we deployed device and platform agnostic learning apps.
To drive self-directed learning, we partnered with CEB (Gartner) an online global best practice & insights tool, Percipio (Skillsoft) a Learning Experience Platform & Kwench – the Phygital Library addressing both micro and deep learning needs for our employees.
Gamification, customized content & bite sized learning were the key focus of these learning solutions. This resulted in a significant leap in the adoption of digital learning. The first digital learning tool took just under 60 days to reach 98% of its designated audience of 9600+ users. The organization was witnessing a huge shift in how its employees learn and adopt.
Phase 2 of the journey saw multiple levels and layers of integration within existing technologies. With single-sign-on (SSO), a seamless learning experience was built, reducing the setup and login time by almost 80%. The same levels of integration were brought in through SAP Jam to enable social learning. With over 23k active users, it is the largest unified learning and engagement platform in Cipla.
Strengthening the vision of digital learning, CU focused on organization's specific challenges and demands in-line with Stakeholder Experience, Operational Agility, Culture & Leadership and most importantly Workforce Enablement to launch “MiLearning” LMS platform in Cipla, with sharp objective of creating a desirable digital learning inventory and digital library.
Launch of MiLearning triggered the Phase 3 of the digital transformation journey. The deeper integration enabled linking of Talent Management initiatives with the overall learning ecosystem. In integration with our HRMS system, the platform opened a new set of possibilities of creating structured career development plans and succession plans for our talent force.
Classroom to blended learning to digital learning
With the launch of these learning solutions, our framework of curriculum design moved from standalone classroom sessions/workshops, to high impact blended learning. Custom content and simulations driven through learning apps, knowledge and application check using gamification, AI enabled tools and live behavior tracking checklists are being used extensively in the functional training space. The behavioral trainings adopt micro-learning content from Percipio & CEB to drive the learning effectiveness.
Virtual onboarding journey
MiCipla- the standardized global induction was initiated in 2016 with the aim of providing a uniform onboarding experience across all levels, functions, and geographies. With the COVID19 induced uncertainties, we moved to a virtual induction across Cipla as a primary step. And the experience with encouraging feedback from stakeholders pushed us to accelerate our vision of creating excellence in onboarding experience by introducing a fully digital, automated and self-directed MiCipla.
6Ds (Six Principles of Breakthrough Learning) are the guiding principles of learning intervention at Cipla University. The process of designing a program begins with defining the need and articulating the impact (populating the Learning Wheel-D1) in partnership with Business Leaders. A few tangible examples of the impact we have created on the stakeholders are as below:
• Employee Engagement Score – 88% Ciplaites say ‘I have an opportunity to continually learn and enhance my skills’. The 2020 scores placed us 21% above the Global Industry Average and 12% above the India Industry Average.
• Application of Learning in live business problems: Example: Capability development initiatives in Supply Chain follow a phased approach where Phase 1 focuses on gaining knowledge by completing eModules on a gamified mobile learning platform and Phase 2 focuses on implementation of learning from Phase 1 on live business cases in Breakthrough Projects (BTPs). Each BTP has a clearly defined success criteria and leads to cost optimization. The estimated cost saving from BTPs implementation was INR 25 crores.
• Increased efficiency through better performance – Our interventions focus on equipping the participants with knowledge and capabilities that they can implement to enhance their performance at work.
• Reducing the ramp time to optimum performance - With the use of technology, we have brought down the TAT of functional inductions by 40 days (3X reduction over 2017) which means the Cost of Lost Opportunity in the market is reduced as we have a market-ready field force sooner.
• Building confidence through success stories – Sharing success stories of successful application of the learnings. Example - 500+ customer conversion stories within 90 days of application from a sample representing 25% of the business.
• Cost (Investment in Learning) Optimization –Our digital learning solutions make participants the pilot of their learning journey and gives them flexibility of undergoing a self-paced program example- with our digital onboarding programs, we have achieved a Y-O-Y saving of ~7 crores.
To ensure sustainability of our learning initiatives, we have created an integrated set of processes to ensure sustainability, seamless administration, and objective governance of our programs. Learning does not stop even when we do not meet our employees in-person, Cipla University greatly stepped up by building our capabilities to use various tools and enable our participants by helping them in becoming comfortable across available platforms.