Updated on 24/01/2023
Tools to improve employee communication and engagement
Why is it important to improve communication with employees? What are the benefits? What are the opportunities? And what are the best tools? In this post, we will focus entirely on B2E in the pharmaceutical industry.
Digital Transformation has had a profound and decisive impact on the Pharma Industry. It has caused a real paradigm shift that has involved all sides of the sector and all the players at stake: from large multinational companies to the latest healthcare start-ups, up to single pharmacies and parapharmacies.
We have repeatedly stressed how the digital revolution as it is applied to the pharmaceutical industry can be summed up in a very simple and decisive concept: today, the patient is at the center of the business. Individuals, with their unique characteristics–the most precious asset for modern Pharma companies–is all here.
On closer inspection, however, this is not everything. Our attention must be turned even further upstream.
“It’s the employees who come first. If you take care of the employees, they will do the same for the customers.” These words are from Richard Branson (headspacegroup.co.uk), the British tycoon who founded the Virgin Group empire.
This statement perfectly summarizes the importance of what today is defined as the “Employee Experience,” which is a subset of B2E (Business to Employee). And that’s what we focus on in the next paragraph. Next, we’ll take a look at the specifics of the pharmaceutical sector, and focus on some concrete strategies.
Employee Experience and B2E in the pharmaceutical industry: What it means
Let’s start with the labels. Employee Experience simply means the quality of the work experience of your employees.
So, not just making sure that employees are satisfied with the economic aspects of their jobs, but also the “quality of time,” the quality of work spaces, the work-life balance (a very topical issue in these times of widespread smart working), the level of engagement, how much the workforce feels involved in company processes, the degree to which objectives are shared…and all the way to Employee Advocacy (a concept we will come back to a little later).
B2E (Business to Employee) is linked to all of the above: this is a strategic approach that focuses on employees, rather than on consumers (which B2C, “Business to Consumer” deals with) or on other businesses (as in the case of B2B, “Business to Business”).
The goal of B2E in the pharma industry:? To achieve the greatest possible corporate retention, and consequently improve the company’s reputation towards consumers and, at the same time, become more and more attractive.
B2E includes recruiting and onboarding, first and foremost. Then there are team-building strategies, training courses, flexible working hours, the possibility of bonuses and special offers for employees, and benefits of various kinds. In addition, a primary role is played by internal communication dynamics, which must be increasingly tailored and one-to-one.
Attracting talent, of course, but then being able to retain them, empower them and satisfy them; putting them at the center, transforming them, in the final analysis, into the first positive testimonials of their own brand and of company reputation.
This is what B2E (Business to Employee) is all about.
The employee can no longer be considered by the company as a number among other numbers: he/she must become an active agent who can deeply influence the destiny of his/her company, in a continuous, simple, and profitable dialog.
But how, in practice?
Let’s see how below, focusing on five fundamental areas related to B2E in the pharmaceutical sector.
1. B2E in the pharmaceutical sector starts with onboarding
First and foremost, 20% of turnover occurs in the first 45 days after hiring (inc.com). This figure makes us reflect on a fact that is often forgotten: good company retention starts from the delicate phases of recruitment and – above all – of the insertion of the new employee into the team and into the dynamics of the company (“on-boarding”).
The latter phase, in particular, is not an instantaneous process.
The most cutting-edge strategies recommend a 90-day journey (source: clearcompany.com). This involves explaining the basic tasks of the new employee, of course, but also taking care of the best possible integration into the team. And that’s not all: people must be put in a position to develop – in the shortest possible time – a good degree of independence, establishing a fruitful dialog with colleagues and employers. It is important to encourage people to become more proactive, to take on more responsibility, and to start contributing to the company’s destiny by adding personal value, according to their roles, within a broader framework.
This is true both for new hires in a large pharmaceutical company with hundreds or thousands of employees, and for those who find a position in a small pharmacy. In the latter case, the process is simpler; however, a poor fit certainly creates greater harm, and it is more difficult to hide.
2. The road from engagement to advocacy
The concept of engagement is central to everything related to marketing and Customer Care, but it is even more important to translate it within the company.
Employee Engagement, in fact, strongly influences productivity and motivation to do one’s part in achieving the company’s goals.
Let’s consider this data:
- Highly engaged employees tend to change jobs at a rate 87% lower than “disengaged” employees (source: qualtrics.com);
- 82% of employees at top-performing companies in terms of growth and revenue, consider themselves highly engaged in their company’s mission and dynamics (data from Blake Morgan, published in Forbes);
- Companies with high employee engagement rates produce, on average, 2.5 times higher revenue than competitors with low levels of engagement (source: kornferry.com).
By now, it’s evident from these numbers that investing in the involvement of its employees brings enormous benefits to the company, on an economic level, but not only. But what is the ultimate goal? Employee Advocacy, i.e. the promotion of a company by its employees and collaborators.
It’s a goal that can be achieved step by step, combining different strategies, but all of them aim at doing something very simple and natural: treating employees as “individuals,” each with their own characteristics (in a one-to-one dialog) and – finally – making them feel co-responsible for the company’s mission and vision.
Advocacy comes naturally, in short, when you aim for personalization.
3. Social networks and EGC (Employee Generated Content)
Today, social networks are fundamental for marketing and for managing a company’s reputation. Beware, however: they can also become a formidable B2E tool in the pharmaceutical sector.
You have probably heard of the so-called UGC (“User Generated Content”): this is social content about companies, brands, or products that are generated by customers in a spontaneous way. UGC are perceived as much more authentic and truthful than posts produced by the brands themselves: for this reason their effectiveness is very high.
The same is true of EGC (“Employee Generated Content”), which is social content about a brand that is spontaneously produced by employees and contractors.
According to the “Trust Barometer” research conducted by Edelman, employees are perceived as twice as credible as a CEO or executive when promoting their company. For the same reason, employees’ social media posts generate – on average – eight times more engagement than their employers’ posts (cisco.com).
So, do you want to trigger a win-win mechanism? Encourage your employees to express themselves on social media. You’ll increase engagement and – at the same time – you’ll have an important image return.
An example of the use of EGCs in the pharmaceutical sector?
Abbott, a multinational pharmaceutical company based in the USA, which also uses its social channels to share the stories and careers of its employees.
4. The turning point for B2E in the pharma industry? Personalization
At the end of the day, the secret to improving communication with your employees, their engagement, and aiming at advocacy is very simple: it’s personalization.
First, however, it’s a matter of “getting closer” to them, getting to know their characteristics and their needs, and learning to dialog with each one in a way that is as diverse, simple, and tailored as possible. Each employee is different and expects to be treated as an individual.
This can be simple and straightforward when we’re talking about a few people, like in a pharmacy. But what about when you have a workforce of hundreds or thousands?
Thanks to the most advanced digital personalization technologies, which start from the collection, organization, and interpretation of data (especially the so-called “smart data” or “deep data”) to arrive at an increasingly “intimate” and one-to-one dialog.
In concrete terms? The creation of customized mini-sites, tailored training proposals (even remotely), sending of one-to-one communications. And in this sense, there is no more powerful tool than personalized videos, which we will focus on in the next point.
5. Leverage personalized video for B2E in the pharma industry
The effectiveness of communication is always linked to the medium and channel through which it is conveyed, and there is no more powerful medium, in the digital age, than video.
This is a common experience, supported by a lot of data. Two will suffice:
- 55% of people pay more attention when approaching video than any other type of content (source: omnikick.com);
- When viewing a video, the average user retains 95% of the message it contains; when it comes to text, this percentage drops to 10% (source: insivia.com).
Now, think about coupling the enormous power of video with the boost of personalization and using personalized videos to improve communication with your employees and their engagement.
These kinds of services are offered by companies like Doxee and are aimed at companies of all types. With Doxee Pvideo® solutions, you can build interactive videos based on the characteristics of the recipients, designed with an omnichannel perspective, to be integrated into your B2E strategies.
Here, the most advanced technologies become the best allies to do something very old: know your employees, get closer to them, and turn them into the first ambassadors of your brand! This is the real goal of B2E in the pharmaceutical sector.