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Navigating Workplace Culture Opportunities and Challenges in India’s Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare and Biotech Frontier

A Pharma employee doing her research

In the ever-evolving landscape of India’s pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotech sectors, innovation and leadership excellence are the driving forces shaping the nation’s journey toward establishing India as the “pharmacy of the world”. These industries play a pivotal role not only in addressing the diverse healthcare needs of the population but also in establishing India as a global hub for cutting-edge research and development.

In this blog, we delve into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that define the current state of workplace culture in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotech industries in India. We will highlight how Great workplaces in these industries handle challenges and stay ahead of the competition in making important changes for the future of healthcare in India.

Strengths: Empowering Employees for Societal Impact

The strengths of these industries are deeply intertwined with their contributions to societal well-being. Organizations in these fields prioritize leadership excellence and fostering a sense of pride among employees for their impactful work. For instance, companies like Allucent and R1 RCM Global Private Limited demonstrate an unwavering commitment to transparency and social responsibility.

Allucent’s Commitment to Integrity and Transparency

Allucent places integrity at the core of its values, fostering transparency among leaders and employees. During town hall meetings, leaders respond honestly and comprehensively to employee inquiries, showcasing a commitment to openness. This transparency extends to the rationale behind challenging tasks, demonstrating how each employee contributes to the company’s overall success. During a recent Allucent Global Town Hall Meeting, an employee presented a direct question regarding the financial health and forecast of the company. In response, Allucent’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer provided a comprehensive and detailed answer, addressing each aspect of the employee’s sensitive inquiry with transparency. This practice reveals how such work contributes to the overall success of Allucent’s business strategy.

R1 RCM Global Private Limited: Balancing Transparency and Social Responsibility

R1 RCM Global Private Limited not only emphasizes transparency but also champions social responsibility. Through initiatives like the Helping Hands Month, employees are encouraged to volunteer in various community service activities, aligning with the company’s commitment to operating with purpose. R1 RCM Global Private Limited leader maintains transparent communication with teams through ‘From the Desk of the leader,’ delivering updates, program launches, and personal notes. Executive Leadership also engages with business functions through regular emails, connects, and town halls. Such holistic approach to transparency, employee well-being, and societal impact sets the tone for success in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotech industry.

Weaknesses: Transforming Challenges into Vibrant Strengths

Acknowledging the performance gap is the first step towards transformative change. A lack of fun at the workplace and limited employee involvement in decision-making are the key workplace culture performance gaps in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotech sectors in India. are However, industry leaders like R1 RCM Global Private Limited and Cipla Ltd are actively working on addressing these challenges.

R1 RCM Global Private Limited: Fostering Vibrant Celebrations and Recognition

R1 RCM Global Private Limited fosters a vibrant work environment through initiatives that go beyond acknowledging work contributions. From themed celebrations to recognition of individual and team achievements, R1 RCM Global Private Limited ensures that employees feel valued and engaged holistically. This approach transforms the workplace into a dynamic and enjoyable space, addressing the identified gap of a lack of fun.

Cipla Ltd: Inclusive Participation in Celebration Ethos

Similarly, Cipla Ltd emphasizes inclusive participation in its celebration ethos, fostering camaraderie among employees through various events and activities. The company’s focus on engaging employees not only in the main event but also in the idea generation and planning stages addresses the weakness of limited employee involvement in decision-making. They create a committee of volunteers consisting of employees across divisions and levels to plan and celebrate festivals and fun activities. This committee takes ownership of the events and is responsible for deciding event themes, selecting vendors, and building an enduring collaborative approach.  

Opportunities: Nurturing Talent for Future Success

In India’s healthcare industries, significant opportunities for building sustainable competitive advantages lie in improving talent management, emphasizing skill development and fostering career evolution. Organizations like Aragen Life Sciences Pvt Ltd are leveraging innovative approaches to talent management.

Aragen Academy: Diverse Learning Initiatives

Aragen Life Sciences Pvt Ltd is dedicated to providing diverse learning opportunities across scientific, manufacturing, professional, leadership, and sales streams. These initiatives reflect a commitment to continuous learning and skill enhancement, shaping the future of the organization and the industry. The Academy team at Aragen Life Sciences Pvt Ltd publishes training calendars, allowing employees to self-nominate or be nominated by managers, thus ensuring learning is tailored to individual needs and aspirations.

Threats: Proactive Approaches to Ensure Equity and Collaboration

Persistent challenges like manager favouritism and workplace politics threaten the establishment of a fair and constructive work environment. Eli Lilly and Company, a leading player, recognizes and addresses these issues to foster a workplace that values equity and collaboration.

Eli Lilly and Company: Inculcating Fairness by fostering Trust and Mutual Respect.

At Eli Lilly and Company, important people processes, like as Performance Management, include multiple touchpoints throughout the year such as formal goal setting in discussion with the manager, and periodic performance check-ins during the year to ensure that there is open communication and transparency in sharing performance-related feedback and development areas. All supervisors are trained on holding performance and coaching conversations in an open and respectful manner, and on managing performance issues fairly- giving employees adequate opportunity and support to work on their development areas. Supervisors are also given examples of “What Good Looks Like” in terms of documenting performance feedback. Eli Lilly and Company also has a detailed and clear SOP in place for managing non – performance (PIP policy), outlining the steps and responsibilities of different stakeholders to ensure a fair and impartial process with adequate time, resources and support provided to the employee. This exemplifies their commitment to creating a workplace that prioritizes Transparency, Equity and Inclusion.

Conclusion: Shaping a Resilient and Dynamic Future

In conclusion, the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and biotech sectors in India are navigating a dynamic landscape, marked by strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in workplace culture. When leaders excel at demonstrating their executive capability and employees feel positive about their contribution to the society, workplace culture blooms. Fostering vibrant celebrations, addressing performance gaps, and nurturing talent through diverse learning initiatives are some key imperatives organization must focus on. Leaders must take proactive measures against favouritism and politics to ensure a fair and inclusive work environment.

By embracing these principles, the industry can not only overcome challenges but also establish a workplace that maximizes potential, fosters innovation and contributes to advancing healthcare in India and globally.

Mamta Jashnani

Mamta is a Project Manager within Great Place To Work's Consulting Team. In this capacity, she collaborates closely with clients having employees across the globe to facilitate their cultural transformation initiatives and enhance their employer brand at a global level. Through her work, Mamta strives to positively impact and help create a more conducive and fulfilling work environment for all.