Express Pharma

Employee Value Proposition: Going The Extra Time

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Employee Value Proposition would play a pivotal role in luring and retaining the best talent in the coming years and it is time for pharma companies to implement such measures on a priority basis By Sanjiv Das

As the ‘Make in India’ mission gains traction, the country is expected to witness a surge in hiring activity in the coming months across sectors. The companies would be on the look out for skilled manpower and retaining good talent would become very imperative. A top employer is an organisation that treats employees with respect, has loyal employees, is socially responsible, and has a work culture aligned with employees’ values. In order to improve morale at the work place, some employers give their employees time off to volunteer and also provide funds for their philanthropic work. The pharma sector will be one of the primary drivers of hiring activity. In such a scenario, ensuring that employees are kept stimulated and satisfied is of paramount importance and slowly employee value proposition (EVP) is gaining prominence.

Explaining EVP

The concept of EVP has been adopted by several pharma companies as an important means to retain the best of talent and also reward its employees for good work. So, what does this concept actually entail?

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Pradip Sachdeva

Pradip Sachdeva, Head HR, Mankind Pharma enunciates, “It is the unique set of benefits which an employee receives in return for their skills, capabilities and experience which they bring. It is about defining the essence of your company as well as the give and get between company and employee encompassing every aspect of the employment experience. It rotates around the central reasons that people are proud and motivated to work, such as the inspiring vision and distinctive culture. When integrated into all aspects of a business, a strong EVP will help to retain top performers and attract the best talent.”

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Milind Thatte

Says Milind Thatte, Director – Commercial Development, Merck, “EVP is about attracting the right talent and setting the platform for employee engagement. With consolidation in the industry and the competitive world that we work in, EVP in my opinion is very important. The demand supply gap is changing. Jobs are getting created constantly and therefore managing, engaging and retaining talent has become a challenge for every organisation. EVP addresses this very issue.”

Smita Saha, VP – HR, AstraZeneca India says that EVP is built on the principles of corporate brand, which in turn helps to drive the business and culture forward. It also helps to differentiate offerings in an increasingly competitive marketplace for talent.

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Aditi Kare Panandikar

Indoco Remedies, a leading pharma firm, believes that each employee is an individual first and that satisfied employees are key to success of strategies and achievement of company’s goals. Aditi Kare Panandikar, Managing Director, Indoco Remedies explains, “We have a history of employees putting in long services and staying committed to the company. This is because the employee feels that they belong here and relate to the culture of Indoco. We believe, good employee policies, programmes, rewards and benefits are essential to create an environment where an employee feels involved, engaged, has a high level of ownership with the organisation.”

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Smita Saha

Saha informs, “At AstraZeneca, our core EVP encapsulates and conveys those messages that define our unique promise. As an organisation, we are building a culture with values that promote scientific curiosity, that is agile and high-performing, and which attracts, develops and retains great people.” The four broad pillars of AstraZeneca’s EVP, according to her are inspiring company, a thrilling experience, school of excellence and a culture of congeniality.

However, EVP needs to be well communicated across levels to get the true value. Kamal Karanth, Managing Director, Kelly Services & KellyOCG, India explains, “By the nature of the industry we are in, there are a certain set of benefits that we offer our employees through various programmes, processes and systems that we have in place. This helps employees perform better, stay motivated and also see value in being associated with the brand. These are a set of programmes that are packaged for the employees that we consider EVP. It needs to be communicated at frequent intervals for employees to start associating with it.”

Brand building

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Kamal Karanth

Many industry veterans feel that EVP can also help in employer branding. They believe that the day is not far when employers across sectors including pharma will concentrate on attracting talent by employer branding as well as using channels like social media and other marketing tools to reach out and tap relevant candidates.

Sachdeva says, “The employment brand, just like a consumer brand, is how the future and current workforce understand this proposition. How they feel and connect with it. And finally the reputation it creates for the organisation. The ultimate desire is of course, that the proposition is so lucrative and well enough understood that current employees are consistently reminded what a great organisation they work for, and future workforce will be fascinated by the opportunity.”

Panandikar elaborates, “Existing employees themselves create such a culture, which becomes a key driver for employer branding. A satisfied staff can spread a good word about the organisation and becomes a true ambassador of the company.”

Says Saha, “A compelling, consistent, visible and distinctive EVP acts as a key driver for talent attraction, engagement and retention – which is ultimately what an employer brand seeks to achieve.”

Embracing EVP

The advantages of EVP are myriad and multi-faceted, yet many pharma companies continue to be resistant to the concept. So, how is it likely to affect them in the long run?

Thatte says, “Organisation who restrain from adopting EVP are not aligned with the changing world. Today, a talented executive is sought after by many companies and therefore an organisation with right EVP can attract the talent to begin with. Else why do we see very few from the IIM cadre who join the pharma industry? I have been on the campus and found that pharma jobs are the last preferred ones. The same way, even in middle rung managers the same people keep rotating between the companies. We seldom see cross pollination with other industry.” She further opines that the growth of a company comes from its people, based on how talented they are. It is based on how they frame a strategic road map for the organisation. He adds, “So, if an organisation cannot attract capable talented leaders, how will the company grow?
Mediocrity breeds mediocrity!”

Karanth predicts, “Organisations that restrain from adopting EVP aren’t being sensitive towards engaging employees and over a period of time might lose some of their best and most critical talent. EVP is important in boosting employee morale and brings in the competitive spirit within employees.”


Initiatives…

Kelly Services

  • Rewards and recognition
  • Leadership development programme
  • Talent development programme for all employees

Astrazeneca

  • Offer global career opportunities to employees
  • Focuses on employee reputation and integrity and building a strong leadership pipeline

Mankind Pharma

  • Strong presence of training and development programmes for employees including internal trainings on soft skills, leadership skills etc.
  • There are annual pay hikes for top performers by which the company identifies and recognise the best
  • Believes in creating an internal talent pool to draw upon for new ideas and initiatives
  • Provides enormous prospects by way of ‘Internal Job Posting’ which helps employees achieve their career aspiration within organisation

MERCK

  • On-board programme for new employees
  • A closed group FB page for employees to share good practices, success stories
  • Celebrate festivals, and group activities at the head office on Merck day
  • Diversity and inclusion day celebrated to encourage employees to participate and develop mutual respect. E.g. Men and women employees competing in a culinary skills
  • Periodic town hall meets are conducted to cascade the current information and update the staff of the company initiatives and financials

Indoco Remedies

  • INSPIRA, a cultural programme with employee participation held every year on Chairman’s birthday on January 9.
  • An annual sport day event, PACE, as also Annual Dasara puja is undertaken at all locations.
  • Many manufacturing locations have established employee credit cooperatives with 80 per cent staff participation by way of membership.
  • ASPIRE – KRA based performance evaluation and review mechanism
  • IMPETUS – A forum for professional growth for senior management team
  • RETREAT – Informal meet of higher and senior management team
  • AGAMAN – Interaction of new employees with the higher management
  • SAMPARK – Development programme for second line managers
  • GEMS – A mentoring programmeto create leaders from within
  • CLIMB – A group of middle managerial team coming together for mutual benefit
  • IMPACT – Training programme within Indoco on behavioral aspects and
  • Star Awards

Sachdeva, while quoting a survey report from Gallup, a global performance management consulting firm, found that only 30 per cent of people are engaged at work, while 50 per cent are just kind of present, and an alarming 20 per cent are actively disengaged or miserable. He says, “With this improved economy, why do you think so many employees are so unhappy? I believe that the answer lies in the company’s EVP, what the organisation wants and expects from its employees and what it provides to the employees in return. A strategically developed and communicated value proposition conveys, ‘Why the total work experience at an organisation is superior to other organisations’.”

“A lot of employee activities required to create value are at times perceived as investment in the short term by companies that restrain from adopting EVP. It is very essential to align the various practices followed by an organisation with its organisational vision, mission and business strategy as well as study their effect on the organisation’s growth. As long as the organisation has an institutional leadership, it will always opt for EVP to drive its growth through people power,” states Panandikar.

In times to come

Organisations using EVP effectively are more likely to see that their employees are engaged and twice as likely to achieve their goals.

As Sachdeva affirms, “A company that remains true to its brand promise receives more favourable people’s opinion and enjoys higher levels of credibility and profitability than those organisations that default on their promises. This makes a company a preferred choice which in turn provides an edge over others. Thus, these companies are often able to achieve higher levels of profitability, efficiency, and overall success.”

Implementing EVP would become inevitable to a company’s growth in the coming times and the sooner a company embarks on this path, earlier it would progress.

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