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Role of CHRO's in Building Future Workplaces in Pharma Industry

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) partnered with SAP Success Factors to conduct a webinar on Role of CHROs in building future workplaces in the pharma industry. The session was conducted on 30th July from 3 PM - 4 PM IST

The webinar witnessed enthusiastic participation from a keen and very astute audience gracing the occasion with their esteemed presence. We had the following speakers with us:

  • Mr Ajay Bhatt, Global Human Resources, Intas Pharmaceuticals
  • Ms Deep Kaur, Moderator for SAP

The session was moderated by Nitya Kumar - Talent Diagnostics and Knowledge Advisory, SHRM India

In this special session, we discussed how CHROs need to make their employees future-ready by equipping them with the correct digital tools and knowledge. The main and relevant points of discussion were how to create an ecosystem of knowledge to sustain growth and put people on a path of continuous learning to ensure business continuity.


Mr Ajay Bhatt initiated the webinar with a lot of stress on how the entire Pharma industry has had to pivot in the last two years of the COVID-19 crisis. Keeping this in mind, he said there are four main drivers that are set to shape the Pharma industry in the coming years:


"Digital skills can be imbibed and companies are aggressively chalking out strategies through targeted re-skilling programs."

Mr Ajay Bhatt opined that there has been a drastic surge in the Pharma spend on Digital. The current spend of pharmaceutical companies on digital is anything between 10%-15%. Over the next 2-3 years this is anticipated to go up to 40% and will touch 73% by the year 2026. There is no doubt that the Pharma industry is witnessing a seismic shift in the adoption of digital tools. Within the value chain we are seeing digital adoption in drug discovery, patient finding, drug dosing and adherence for patients.


Within two years, data analytics have become mainstream as stakeholders attempt to store data and arrive at decisions that are data-driven. ML algorithms are being utilized to drive innovation, streamline processes and improve healthcare.


“Rural India has adapted well to tech driven models with good cellular penetration. The challenge remains in the field of diagnostics.”

There will be better outcomes for patients within the healthcare ecosystem. Healthcare delivery will be more affordable, access to good quality healthcare will be foreseen and rich data insights depicted in the delivery of healthcare.


"Collaboration has never been stronger between pharmaceutical companies in the quest to digitize and provide affordable vaccination and healthcare to people"

There have been leaps and bounds in terms of innovation and research in the Pharma space. Payer claims, medical records, lab tests, smart watches are all doing the rounds in terms of innovation. Algorithms are being used to ascertain drug dosages especially in the arena of cancer treatment. These calibrations help customize treatment and reduce adverse effects of drugs.


COVID-19 has greatly spearheaded change in the pharma sector and there is a rise of tech-driven business models. The following are some of the key highlights of these models:

  • The emergence of tele-health for hassle-free health care to patients
  • As seen above, growing emphasis on digital marketing of health care and pharma products
  • Regulatory compliances are now seeing an e-mode of operation. All records are electronic for better assessment through timely audits
  • Cyber security is seeing an influx with the adoption of digital tools. Companies are rushing to buy cyber security solutions to protect their online resources
  • There is a growing need for a workforce that is agile and focused on innovation


The second half of the session concluded with a series of question and answers from which the following points were highlighted:

There are some critical steps needed to develop a future-ready workforce. In the current scenario, employee safety has gone up. There are two steps to prepare the workforce: leadership and talent capability.

This can be done through technical up-skilling and development of an agile mind. Desktop audit has taken a leap in the pharma sector. We still have to develop the necessary infrastructure for online audit. Security parameters have to be considered and there has to be a seamless integration between online records and live feed.

Post COVID-19, a large number of these changes will continue to remain. Changes such as the adoption of digital tools, online audits and growth of tele-health will stay. In short, anything that positively impacts the company’s bottom line will continue to stay and grow.

High Attrition is seen for Pharma companies globally. However, India is better off in terms of attrition rates seen which are at 8%-9% only. Problems arise when these figures cross 15%. At 8%, a review of compensation and benefits of employees could nip the problem in the bud. At 15% HR professionals may have to deep dive and look at the culture that they are breeding.

The session with Mr Ajay Bhatt ended on a high note with him thanking Intas Pharmaceuticals and his colleagues for making his journey into HR memorable and special. He stressed on 3 key competencies needed to build a workforce of the future – Trust, leadership and keenness to learn.

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