As a subsidiary of global health care company Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. creates drugs that aim to help treat and cure some of the world’s most serious diseases, such as diabetes, HIV and Alzheimer’s. At 40,000 employees globally, establishing the learning infrastructure needed to successfully balance global needs with local ones is a heavy task.
Not only does Janssen’s sales organization require learning about drugs and products before they go to market, but also each local team requires custom learning on how different drugs apply to patients in different locations. To address the challenge, Janssen’s sales learning and development team established an ecosystem of digital resources that allow employees to access vital information on products or procedures where and when they need it, without sacrificing content quality or learner accountability.
Perhaps more impressive, it established a system and culture where employees address specific, tactical learning needs along with their longer-term leadership development aspirations — without being told to do so. “We’ve tried very much to go to a pull mentality,” said Michelle Lynch, Janssen’s senior director of sales learning and development, on the organization’s intentional shift to an on-demand learning environment.
Consider Janssen’s training launch for newly approved diabetes drug Invokana, which required the company to train a sales force of roughly 2,000 in a few months. Through a self-directed virtual classroom, Janssen was able to administer sales representative drug training just four days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it.
It did so with a four-phase, self-directed e-learning program that required a certification test score of 90 percent or above. Trainees were required to participate in a launch meeting that included eight rotational workshops to reinforce content. Using this agile approach, some 90,000 patients were treated with the new drug within nine months of its approval.
Lynch said a lot of the success for launches was due to sales learning pre-work. “We try to get a good indicator of what foundational learning we’ll need before we even get FDA approval.”
Janssen’s “YouLearn” training platform is another example of its agile learning framework. The performance support tool allows individuals to consume new skills and knowledge on their own time. The platform’s microcredentialing capability taps into sales employees’ natural competitive drive to push engagement and encourage peer recognition. Further, most of the assignments completed are self-assigned, meaning employees chose to complete them without a manager telling them to.
Janssen’s tech-driven learning doesn’t end there. The organization facilitates product launch training and continuous learning through an online suite of products, using iPads and other mobile devices and mediums to build engagement and reinforce content: podcasts help learners tackle the intricacies of using data in customer relationships; video case studies expand employees’ knowledge through vivid, detailed story telling; and “The Weave” incorporates social learning to connect employees around a common developmental purpose.
Despite considerable investment in learning technology, Janssen has not abandoned in-person development. Each piece of bite-sized learning consumed via technology is mirrored with an equally rigorous amount of in-person facilitation and feedback. Line leaders are required to hold five development-focused conversations with employees annually. Further, each employee has an individual development plan tracked via an enterprise system so the organization’s broader talent management function can project future learning needs.
To measure learning impact, Janssen uses a combination of the Kirkpatrick framework and an ROI evaluation methodology. This combination shows impressive results in a number of areas. For instance, the net promoter score — a measure indicating someone’s willingness to recommend learning to their peers — for a recent TEDx action-planning seminar hit 87, a high mark. Additionally, one new hire training program cut $69,000 in costs within a six-month period, leading to an anticipated positive revenue impact of $9 million.
Ultimately, however, the most important metric is sales. Tracking sales allows Janssen’s learning team to ensure its biggest impact is on the patients who need the drugs and treatments the company produces. “What we do day in and day out has to ensure that more patients are getting more access to our products,” Lynch said. “It’s all about the patients.”
Frank Kalman is a Chief Learning Officer contributing editor. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.
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