10 reasons why more cultural intelligence is needed in the pharmaceuticals industry

Why is cultural intelligence a skill needed in the pharmaceuticals industry?

The pharmaceuticals industry is one of the most powerful in the world. But does it represent the diverse populations whose lives it affects? The days when leading pharmaceutical companies were run by mainly Caucasian males, and sales strategies and marketing campaigns were directed at a white, one-size-fits-all audience are long gone. In today’s diverse climate, cultural intelligence is everything. Why? There are several reasons. Consumers are better informed about healthcare and are more demanding; they want to feel understood and spoken to. Personalised medication in the US means individuals expect more closely targeted messages. Better understanding globally of healthcare decision making means marketing can be tailored to specific groups and mindsets. Improved knowledge of how different population groups perceive health and illness is another way that pharmaceutical companies can tailor their communication. All of these factors are elements of cultural intelligence, which can sometimes be overlooked in a highly regulated field like the pharmaceuticals industry. Cultural intelligence in the workplace is just as important as in the marketplace. The pharmaceuticals industry needs to innovate and disrupt, which can only be done by creating a more diverse, forward-thinking workplace. Work forces should represent the company’s customers and patients, too – otherwise, how can the company concerned be perceived as being in touch with different consumer groups?

10 reasons why cultural intelligence is vital to the pharmaceuticals industry

  1. The pharmaceuticals industry affect all populations worldwide. Reputation and ethics are everything. Embracing diversity and demonstrating intelligent cultural understanding are two important factors in any corporate social responsibility programme. The diversity of a company’s workplace should reflect the diversity of its market – or consumers may not take that company seriously.
  2. In order to attract top talent and be competitive, pharmaceutical companies need to demonstrate their understanding of diversity. This talent needs to be retained; if different ethnic groups or LGBTQ employees do not see representation at all levels of the company, they may leave for a more enlightened employer.
  3. Cultural intelligence helps develop an in-depth understanding of working styles in other cultures – and in the pharmaceuticals industry, the supply chain and distribution network cross many cultures. A culturally intelligent workforce will demonstrate better tolerance, trust and understanding of global colleagues. Cultural differences become strengths in problem solving, rather than obstacles, while improved collaboration drives the ability to respond quicker to market changes.
  4. Developing a strategy across the whole company of improving cultural intelligence can encourage closer integration across offices worldwide. A culturally aware workforce is able to work effectively in virtual teams when everybody, metaphorically speaking, understands the same language. Creating a common language and understanding is both effective in business and unifying for employees. It also encourages the sharing across the company of best practices.
  5. Being culturally aware helps individuals to recognise areas of their own communication that could be improved, to make their daily interaction with international colleagues more effective, and more enjoyable. How emails and memos are worded, for example, and whether and why, with some cultures, face-to-face brainstorming is preferable to a WhatsApp group.
  6. Culturally sensitive leaders make better managers. They are able to better understand the dynamics of a multicultural group at a meeting, for example. They are better at negotiating with other cultures, and at conflict resolution between cultures.
  7. Cross-cultural training is essential for globally mobile employees and their families; it will reduce culture shock and make the individual more effective and better poised to integrate with their new workplace.
  8. Individuals with cultural sensitivity make better collaborators – essential when working in development teams across cultures. Sharing successes and failures is essential for driving innovation and building trust.
  9. Understanding the behaviour of diverse markets is essential for the pharmaceuticals industry in order to target messages that appeal to the cultural values of these markets, whether they are LGBT, Hispanic, Asian, mature or millennial.
  10. Better cultural understanding helps individuals come across as more authentic. Playing lip service to cross-cultural working, marketing and sales is not enough. A genuine appreciation of other cultures is essential, for example, understanding how different cultures view health issues, aging and death will impact how Pharma companies approach sales and marketing in specific regions.

pharmaceuticals industry

Country Navigator is an online and mobile platform that prepares global managers, executives and assignees on how to work and adapt to working across over 100 cultures. It combines assessments, country content and a range of e-learning modules.

Significantly increase your company’s global effectiveness

As a comparison instrument it allows users and corporate account owners to compare culture profiles and tendencies with countries, teams and colleagues and receive instant guidance on how to collaborate more effectively. Country Navigator supports clients in building cultural intelligence; from induction through to executive and high potential development. Country Navigator ensures all global leaders are well prepared and effective when managing diverse teams. The system follows a well-proven methodology which focuses on operational realities and practical application, enabling learners to transfer new skills and knowledge to their workplace.

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Benefits for your organization

  • You will achieve greater levels of collaboration, cohesion, and integration across teams and functions.
  • Country Navigator allows you to utilize existing technology and devices for inquisitive, mobile, and increasingly virtual workforces.
  • Realize significant cost savings over traditional training methods.
  • Enhance live, in-person classroom training and coaching programs with self-paced online learning modules.
  • You will be able to educate and inform employees at all levels and locations throughout the organization.
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Country Navigator is multi-lingual and multi-use

The cultural assessment tool and feedback information is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

In addition to its assessment capabilities the Country Navigator tool offers e-learning paths and online country briefings for global leaders. Users access structured country learning paths. Information includes local cultural tendencies, profile comparisons and key strategies on how to manage cultural differences. pharmaceuticals industry

  • Country guides: Access in-depth information and expert advice for all key international business destinations, with insider tips to build relationships and secure deals around the globe.
  • Country briefings: Learners go through a six-step structured overview of a country. A video quickly gets them up to speed on the local working styles. A gap analysis between the learner and the target country focuses the learner onto the key strategies that they need adopt to manage any cultural differences.
  • Blended learning: Access structured learning to guide and develop increased cultural awareness to build more fruitful international relationships.
  • Learning on-demand: Access a wide range of integrated learning tools, resources and courses from within the Country Navigator tool, on your desktop, online or via your mobile device.
  • Validated profiles: Culture assessments are based on insights and data compiled by over 250 culture experts covering 126 countries worldwide. A dynamic dashboard reacts to the learner’s usage and guides them to the relevant information. After the learner has completed the cultural profile assessment, the system will generate the learner’s cultural tendencies and provide them with clear guidance on recognizing differences in others and adapting for success. Learners can compare themselves to country profiles and receive detailed guidance on how best deal with any differences. They can also compare their own profile with their colleagues or counterparts and receive instant feedback on how to work better together.

The latest release of Country Navigator provides:

  • Essential tips and in-depth online guidance on how to do business in over 100 countries
  • Personal Assessment – identify your dominant cultural orientations and how they impact your global working style
  • Comparison Tools – compare your profile with colleagues and receive personalized feedback
  • Flight Packs – a downloadable collection of country resources and information

You can try Country Navigator for free right now with our 14 day trial. Click here to sign up.

About the Author

Sue Bryant

Sue Bryant is an award-winning writer and editor specialising in global business culture and travel.

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