Invigorating a Pharmaceutical Company’s Culture
How four simple words helped a global company activate its purpose
Help a global pharmaceutical company hone in on a core purpose that attracts talent, unifies employees, and aligns passion with business strategy and offerings.
For current and prospective talent, this work generated a rallying cry oriented around helping patients, which instills in employees a sense of urgency, collaboration, and nimbleness. For executives, it drove motivation to align toward a common mission. For the business, the project yielded innovative and patient-centered offerings that support the brand and bottom line.
A unifying purpose that helps the company focus on its customers and unlock a series of initiatives beyond the pill, including new patient-friendly packaging and a website for physicians that collects the latest medical research and information.
Dr. Reddy’s, a 36-year-old global pharmaceutical company headquartered in India, was growing at a rapid pace. Over the years, the company’s main focus had been on producing affordable generic medication. But with more than 24,000 employees and seven distinct business units operating in 100 countries, there was an urgent need to identify a core, unifying purpose—one that would articulate a set of shared values and align leaders on key business decisions and goals.
G.V. Prasad, the company’s Co-Chairman and Managing Director, knew that the vision had to be simple and elegant–an emotional drive that every employee across the company could relate to and act upon.
Prasad partnered with IDEO to distill the focus that would align the company. Over the course of several months, Dr. Reddy’s team worked with IDEO to learn about the needs of everyone, from shop floor workers to scientists, external partners and investors. Together, they defined and distilled the essence of the company, paring it down to four simple words that center on the patient: Good health can’t wait.
The simplicity of these words belie their power. According to Prasad, the newly articulated purpose has resonated across the company, changing the whole culture of the organization. The idea of infusing a sense of urgency and nimbleness to their systems as a means of serving their customers has had a direct application in almost every corner of the business. Employees connect the message to their own experience, and each of the different business units are now moving towards a common goal.
Every employee is driven by the mission to accelerate the delivery of good health.
We were always a purpose-driven organization. What we have now is the language to bring it all together, so that every colleague connects with our purpose. As a result, in everyday decision making and actions, our purpose is coming to life in a very powerful way.
G.V. Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Reddy's
A Shift Inside
“Good health can’t wait” has become a powerful recruitment tool and employee rallying cry. It makes clear that the company is in the business of serving patients, not just creating products, no matter how innovative or affordable. This has given a new sense of meaning to all personnel, from frontline sales representatives to senior leaders to scientists. Many key decision-makers, including new CEO Erez Israeli, share that the purpose statement inspired them to join the company.
Articulating Dr. Reddy’s purpose has empowered these employees to take risks, experiment, and work together. For example, the marketing department has refocused its efforts on finding solutions that improve patients’ consistent use of their medications. And motivated by the idea that patients can no longer wait for a cure, employees from different disciplines are coming together to find inventive ways of bringing new products to market in record time.
“The website medznat.ru required immense collaboration between various teams—medical, information technology, marketing, and analytics,” says Mvsma Raja, Head of Strategy and Marketing for Emerging Markets. “This served as a platform to bring the latest happenings in the area of pain management to doctors in Russia, who we learned are looking for the latest medical updates on the go.” Building on this cross-functional collaboration and momentum, Dr. Reddy’s established an internal design studio dedicated to using consumer insights and rapid prototyping to drive innovation.
“Our brand belief has inspired how we’ve thought about our future growth,” says CEO Erez Israeli. The new purpose unlocked a series of initiatives, including the aforementioned website for Russian physicians and innovative pill packaging that helps patients better understand their instructions.
‘Good health can’t wait’ has made me and my team think beyond day-to-day transactions. It inculcates a sense of ownership and urgency, and always makes us think that someone out there needs our help. This allows us to foray into newer markets and deliver services beyond the pill.
Sauri Gudlavalleti, Head of Integrated Product Development Organization, Dr. Reddy's
Purple Pack is a new type of pill package that ensures that vital information like the expiration date is not torn off and thrown away. Born out of Dr. Reddy’s in-house design studio, Purple Pack allows the pharmacist or patient to mark their daily dosage and reminders on the packaging itself, as paper prescriptions are often misplaced.
A Business Boost
“Good health can’t wait” has not only attracted and unified talent and inspired new offerings, it’s boosted both sales and profit. For example, Dr. Reddy’s generic oral diabetes medication, Metsmall, has become the fourth largest brand in India based on the number of pills sold. The medication is distinct from competitors’ versions in that the pill is smaller and easier to swallow—a clear embodiment of product development oriented around the patient. With its signature Purple Pack convenience packaging, the medication has been one of the fast-growing Indian pharmaceutical brands over the last two years.
Looking ahead, both Prasad and Israeli hope to continue building a purpose-led culture that influences the business from the inside out, inspiring employees to be empathetic and responsive and realizing its mission to deliver good health to all.