Cadila thinks out-of-the-box, encourages learning through Whatsapp

The pharmaceutical company has been successfully training its employees through WhatsApp groups.

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Other than the ‘Good Morning’ messages, people now use WhatsApp to exchange notes and necessary information. These exchanges are usually restricted to personal use. However, Cadila has come up with a unique strategy. It has begun using WhatsApp as an official platform to connect with its employees and use it as a training tool for its workforce.

The learning and development (L&D) team of Cadila Pharmaceuticals began its training programme in January, 2019. The objective of the training is to build the customer-centric capabilities of its diversified field force using new-age learning tools. The Company uses a mix of classroom teaching and e-learning via WhatsApp to apply the key learnings.

The training programme was initiated with a face-to-face conversation in January, when the L&D team trained 1,999 employees across 13 locations in ten days. For the remainder of the training programme, 15 WhatsApp groups were created by the Company’s seven human resources and L&D teams. It was followed by a weekly campaign of selfies, as well as audio and video clips to ensure application of the learning, including grooming, interpersonal skills, and communication.

The Company witnessed 40 per cent adoption by the workforce, which is much higher than the standard 20-25 per cent usually witnessed in e-learning.

The participants were tracked on a weekly basis by the L&D teams, and the top five scorers— in terms of consistency, quality, and active participation sans reminders— were rewarded in the second face-to-face meeting.

The success of the first phase encouraged Cadila to go ahead with the second intervention, aimed at knowing the customer well, in April. This time, 1,842 employees across 12 locations were selected. Another 275 employees were trained through Zoom webinars. The training was followed by weekly WhatsApp campaigns and tracking. In a bid to make the training outcome-oriented, and to facilitate better learning, success stories for customer conversion were also included in the weekly campaigns.

The third intervention will be aimed at training employees to connect better with customers. It will cover 2,300 employees across seven locations in six days. Post training, managers will also provide on-the-job coaching, while the WhatsApp campaign will continue till the end of the year.

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