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Fast-moving Pharma Organisations Prescribe GamifiedTraining to Keep Coaching and Management SkillsScalpel-sharp

In an industry where new technologies and techniques are advancing all the time, cutting-edge coaching training is key to helping people keep pace with change. Big pharma organisations, like Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck, have turned to simulation training for the solution…

As the pharmaceutical industry continues its post-pandemic recovery, experts predict the sector’s value will grow to US$2.4 trillion by 2029.  This rapid growth is fuelling accelerated change across the industry, with new medicines, technologies and regulations, making it crucial that employee training keeps pace in an environment of constant transformation.

Big pharma companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck, are seeking fresh ways to ensure that their training is flexible, fit-for-purpose and fast to respond to ever-shifting needs.  

That’s why pharma is increasingly turning to gamified simulation training to keep their teams’ expertise and know-how scalpel-sharp at all times. Computer game-style simulations place people in true-to-life scenarios where they can practice skills in situations that replicate job conditions. These simulations are combined with gaming elements that increase motivation, attention and learning.

Immersive training has proved particularly effective in improving employee skills in two core areas:

1. Coaching and Development 

2. Relationship Management 

1. Coaching and Development – Helping Managers Lead From the Front Coaching is a vital aspect of success in the pharma industry, where first-line managers (FLMs) have finite opportunities to observe their direct reports interacting with customers.

Many FLMs have advanced from being successful sales representatives, but that does not guarantee that they have the skills or knowledge to effectively coach and develop their team members.   Holding effective coaching conversations is a skill that needs to be learned and regularly practiced.  

Boehringer Ingelheim took an innovative approach using psychology and gaming mechanics and created a simulation training solution. It had to be mobile-first, easily accessible and shaped into bite-sized modules that employees could easily fit into their already busy schedules. The simulation encourages effective coaching behaviour in FLMs to help themselves and others grow so that they can be game-changing leaders for their direct reports.

As a part of this project, Boehringer Ingelheim identified the key capabilities required by both customer-facing (CF) employees and their FLMs.

Coaching that Counts

Of the capabilities identified for FLMs, coaching (for performance and development) was the top skill that had the potential to make the biggest impact on performance. Effective conversations with great coaches can significantly improve performance, increase motivation, and enhance job satisfaction for individuals being coached. They also have the potential to foster a positive and productive team culture and to develop future leaders.

Additionally, effective coaching can help individuals identify and overcome obstacles, develop new skills and knowledge, and achieve their personal and professional goals.

To meet Boehringer Ingelheim’s needs, a solution called Coach to Grow was developed and recently launched in India and Canada. The primary goal of the simulation is for FLMs to gain a clear understanding of coaching methodologies, the EGROW framework and when to use coaching over other leadership skills such as feedback, mentoring, or direction.