Strengthening Human Capital with an Intelligent Learning Ecosystem Purpose-built for BioPharma

Alison Muller
June 10, 2024

The backbone of any successful organization is human capital, defined as the economic value of its people. It’s their collective skills, knowledge, experience and account for the sum total of a workforce’s capabilities, performance, and growth.

In Biopharma, having a knowledgeable and skilled workforce is paramount.  Strengthening human capital translates to better decision-making, increased productivity, and a culture of continuous improvement–and that leads to innovation and growth. 

The core goal is to streamline knowledge transfer, reinforcement, and automate learning journeys for any employee, anywhere, anytime. Achieving this involves the implementation of an intelligent learning ecosystem (ILE). An ILE can train people to be prepared for the unexpected, achieve mastery, and return to the ecosystem easily and quickly so they maintain their “edge.” 

These three areas—Readiness, Mastery, and Autonomy—are the blueprint of a proper and effective ILE.

1) Readiness: Preparing for the Unexpected

Pharma employees must be ready to handle unexpected challenges, from regulatory changes to scientific breakthroughs. The best ILEs help staff be continually updated with the latest knowledge and skills necessary to adapt to radical change.

During this phase, employees go through structured learning, get certified, and likely get reinforcement training to ensure the new knowledge and skills stick. Focusing on knowledge transfer, this phase also involves integrating continuous learning modules so employees stay current and remain compliant.

Vital to adoption of an IFE is ease of access—these resources must be available and accessible easily within the flow of their workday. A sales operations manager noted that moving ACTO into their field team’s workflow, resulted in a “60% reengagement rate” as well as an “80% knowledge retention score.”

2) Mastery: Achieving Excellence

At the end of this readiness phase, ensuring employees’ knowledge and confidence in their own readiness helps on two levels—firstly, they know their competence (i.e., do they know the material). Secondly, they are aware of their ability to be confident in communicating that information (i.e., can they build trust and make a positive impact). If they have yet to master material at the end of the readiness phase, they have the opportunity for additional study to get comfortable with the material, so they can increase their competence, which will impact their confidence.

Mastery involves achieving a high expertise level, and an ILE provides the tools and resources needed for employees to reach such proficiency. Tailored learning paths that cater to individual strengths and areas for improvement can significantly enhance mastery. 

By allowing employees to progress at their own pace and focus on specific skills, companies ensure a deeper understanding and greater retention of knowledge because:

  • The people who know the material have the ability to test out and move on. 
  • Those requiring reinforcement training can improve the learning process so people have a positive experience, want to learn more, and use the ILE on a regular basis.

For those requiring additional learning support, have options such as field coaching, and scenario-training, if required. Incorporating scenario-based training can help those employees more motivated by real-world challenges, develop problem-solving skills in a controlled environment. This approach can build confidence in handling complex situations.

3) Autonomy: Empowering Employees

An ILE can empower employees to take charge of their own development by supporting self-directed learning opportunities with easy access to information. Such autonomy can improve the ability and responsibility of making informed decision-making. Training programs that focus on critical-thinking along with decision-making skills are essential to train employees to better analyze situations, weigh options, and choose the best course of action.

More importantly, such autonomy can encourage innovation because an autonomous workforce is more likely to innovate–they feel safe. When employees feel safe to explore new ideas and approaches, they contribute to a culture of innovation. An intelligent learning ecosystem fosters this by offering platforms for collaboration and idea-sharing.

Strengthening human capital in this fashion through an ILE approach is essential. By focusing on readiness, mastery, and autonomy, biopharmaceutical executives can build a workforce that is skilled, adaptable, and forward-thinking. Focusing on human capital allows for more knowledge consistency within an organization–Marketing, Branding, and even R&D–feels informed.  

But Wait, How Do We Improve Over Time?

One other vital ILE element is insight gained to make significant changes. With all learning activities and data in one place, companies can gather behavior analytics to help make real-time, data-driven decisions. 

It allows for discussion from a starting point involving evidence. This can remove emotion from conversations and allow people to focus on solving challenges. It also allows for more substantial conversation based on evidence rather than conjecture. This can lead to less confrontations and more collaboration. 

With these insights, you can validate and confirm successful learning behaviors and create best practices that can be repeated companywide. It can help demonstrate ROI to stakeholders so you can prove the value of learning for a range of activities from new hire onboarding to sales meetings, ongoing coaching, and employee training.

As a sales trainer from a pharmaceutical company working to commericalize products for people with life-threatening allergic reactions put it, with ACTO, they could “… address competency gaps, in particular messaging with new hires.” They also were able to “ … provide valuable insight for assessing and improving training effectiveness, as well as enhancing individual and organizational performance.” 

Viable ILE + Sharing Knowledge = Advancing Human Capital

When people all share the same knowledge, there is an efficiency that helps people communicate, participate, and engage. This fosters transparency and a culture of learning. 

Supporting the entire journey—from readiness to mastery to autonomy—is the best way to create employees who are “Masters of the Message”—they are competent, confident, and credible, so they can build strong relationships for your organization and drive performance.

As the Head of the Commercial Learning Innovation Centre for a global, science-led, patient-focused pharmaceutical company said, “… (W)e are focused on creating a culture of learning where everyone has the ability to grow and develop in the flow of work. We are pushing the boundaries of science and putting patients first in everything we do. ACTO is a key partner in helping us in our evolution of developing new skills, being relevant to our customers, and ensuring learning is a strategic driver to performance.”

To learn how ACTO can help you create “Masters of the Message,” contact us.