Pfizer Puts the Emphasis on People (Case Study)
Pfizer is one of the companies that have gained international respect for having good quality pharmaceutical products. This is also an example of company that recognizes the efforts of its 91,000 employees being the highest contributors of its success. Besides, the management of Pfizer spends “15 percent of its pharmaceuticals payroll in training” handled by experts who facilitate about 146 trainings yearly for each employee.
Imagine the way Pfizer processes employee training considering that hiring does not end in selection; rather, it goes through certain stages which include “improving employee skills and knowledge, grooming future leaders, providing growth opportunities, and minimizing turnover. ” In addition, in retention program alone, the company allots a budget of $150,000. Not only that, Pfizer Company is firmly convinced that only through maintaining and grooming valuable employees that lowering failure rates as well as maintaining profitable growth will become possible.
Pfizer’s underlying principle for putting emphasis on its employees lie on the fact that employees have the potentialities to create opportunities towards achieving organizational goals. In the experience of Pfizer, the company gains profit with amount exceeding the amount of company expenses. The $150,000 on retention program cannot surpass the $3 million gain because of higher productivity of employees as well as the reduction in costs on hiring and trainings.
Coming close to analyzing Pfizer’s program on training employees will help to understand the connection of profit with employees’ productivity and employees’ productivity with employees’ training. However, Pfizer’s operational cost takes much of its profit which may possibly be a subject of scrutiny in order to maximize its full resources with less spending. It is stated in the first few paragraphs of the case study that only four percent of the new product ideas are utilized and the rest just die out unused.
Product ideas are essential but very costly; so losing it can be disastrous to the company’s operational budget because it never gets the return of its investment. How would you suggest that Pfizer evaluate the performance of scientists who work on drugs that never make it to market? As Pfizer invests on employees’ training, it also devotes on research and development especially on discovering new product ideas which costs the company almost $8 billion a year. Ironically, only 4 percent of these new ideas are brought into the market because many of these ideas get lost on the first stage of processing those ideas.
These are some of the reasons why scientists’ works do not make it to the market. Interestingly, only through the sales of the four percent new products that Pfizer could recover the money spent in research. In this case, Pfizer must accept the fact that many new product ideas may be discarded or eliminated during the screening period because of insufficient data which may cost unnecessary development cost. Since very few of these ideas become successful, it is important therefore that Pfizer evaluates the scientists’ performance in a variety of ways.
First, the company must evaluate the criteria being used in screening new ideas. Through this, the management can determine whether the criteria used are accurate or not, appropriate or not considering company’s standard. The company may also consider evaluating the scientists based on their passion and fascination to do pharmacological research of new products. It is important that among the researchers, there is active and critical discussion about the research of new idea to verify the veracity and possibility of new ideas to become new products.
Scientists must be creative enough to think in new ways and conceive blending of new ideas to elicit new discovery. Another point for evaluating scientists is their ability to use applicable models in the conduct of research to be accurate in their actions. Research models for pharmaceutical research are highly significant because they served as guides which directs the manner of doing the research. Next, it is also necessary that these scientists be evaluated in terms of their loyalty to the company and to the attainment of the company’s organizational goals.
Scientists must be cost-conscious; if not, they would probably lose a lot of money in unproductive researches. Ideally, there must be cost-cutting procedure being utilized by every department that will maximize the resources against its outcome. Lastly, the perspective of the human resource manager can also help to evaluate the performance of these scientists through the result of the testing executed on them when they were applying for that position. Which of the four types of testing (if any) would you recommend that Pfizer use in selecting among applicants for research-and-development positions?
Among the four types of psychological tests that are used for the selection process prior hiring of employees, the personality tests will give adequate report regarding an applicant’s behavior which is necessary in order to determine a person’s capacity to perform a given task. This type of test gauges the person’s qualities weighing both his attitude and personality and how those affect his behaviors and actuations on a daily basis. Most importantly, personality test contrary to other tests help finds out the future job performance of an applicant.
Personality test covers various areas of personality and personal values such as “cheerfulness, optimism, decision-making skills, team spirit, communication, self-confidence, and self-starter skills” (Jackson, Schuler, & Werner, p. 552). For others, personality tests are used to measure different personality dimensions such as “extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience” (HR Guide), which for a company a reliable basis who among the applicants will yield more output.
Accordingly, in view of the advantages of personality test, it states that after administering the test, employers are able to discover candidates who possess the traits “needed for certain jobs” (HR Guide
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Nideffer with regards to external threats acknowledged that “organizations have to put the right people in the right positions” (p. 1). Hence, the use of personality tests specifically for scientists working for Pfizer is likely to provide the company with sound arguments in the selection, screening and training process of applicants and/or employees. Using the findings of personality inventories wherein the “big five” personality variables have been identified as “predictive of good performance,” Nideffer explained how each personality variable may lead to excellent job performance.
In connection with research and development program of Pfizer where scientists perform very critical role, two among these variable may likely to fit the personality required of these scientists; that is conscientiousness and intellectance. Accordingly, conscientiousness which is characterized as “hard working, focused, and persevering” may be revealed through personality test results. In the same way, intellectance which also means as “imaginative, cultured, broadminded and curious” is another dimension needed to possess by a scientist.
These dimensions may be revealed through a personality test called TAIS. Do you agree with Pfizer’s hefty investment of time, money, and effort in training/ Explain? I agree with Pfizer’s effort to invest in training their employees. Training employees has many purposes because in the end it is expected to yield or generate growth for the company for it improves profit. First, it is recognized as the best ways to develop the skills of employees needed to make the company remain in its competitive edge, because employees are being made to be competitive.
Second, training helps boost higher productivity among employees because of their loyalty and dedication for the growth of the company. Third, training lessens turnover through which other costs are eliminated such as hiring and training costs for new employees. Fourth, training builds job satisfaction because they realize their value and recognize their contribution in the overall corporate performance. Fifth, training leads gradually to organizational change because of the integration of new knowledge to the system.
Providing training to employees is a powerful tool to shape employees’ attitude and skills to what Pfizer Company needs for growth. The result of the trainings that Pfizer Company gives to its employees is not only higher profit but also employee loyalty to the company. It only means that it is on the right track; training is cost effective in a sense despite big budget allotted for trainings. However, in my opinion, there are aspects of their training that require modification because as stated in the case study, the percentage of failure rate observed is still very high in 92 percent.
Besides, the turnover reports are still apparent while feedback on the low level of effectiveness has been receiving from physicians. Not only that, training has to be extended among scientists in order to eliminate loses and increase productivity. Pfizer relies on the sales of new products in which case, requires collaborative efforts of different departments from conceptualization of new ideas to the sales of them. Pfizer’s hefty investment in training employees is also strategic considering the threats alongside global stiff competition as long as the company has definite goals and objectives in executing the training.
Modification comes through the use of effective evaluation tool when reviewing the result of the trainings being given to employees. Recommendation Given the issues and concerns raised in the case study, the following recommendations will help in the modification of the trainings:
• Identify other trainings needed aside from selling techniques.
• Use theory-based approaches in conceptualizing new product ideas should be in order to eliminate loses of these ideas; enhance scientists’ critical thinking analysis and decision-making.
• Concepts pertaining to corporate values, mission and vision may be integrated in all types of trainings to direct corporate action. Loyalty must be emphasized along this line.
• Enhance the motivation of employees to eliminate turnover and lower failure rates.
• Expose sales team to new strategies of marketing new products. As the saying goes, “change is a way of life,” we can expect changes to take place in organization internally and externally without us expecting it.
Thus, an organization must be flexible and creative in its approaches in training employees to keep an edge of competitiveness.
Jackson, S. E. , Randall, J. & Werner, S. (2009). Managing Human Resources. USA: South-Western Cengage Learning. Nideffer, R. M. Using Personality Tests for Selection, Screening, and Training: TAIS and the “The Big Five Personality Characteristics. http://www. rembisz. com/pdfS/Using%20Personality%20Tests. pdf HR Guide to the Internet: Personnel Selection: Methods: Personality Tests. http://www. hr-guide. com/data/G312. htm