Best employee engagement 2016

Roche and the pipeline laboratory

Roche UK

Agency: Virgo Health

Roche, the global healthcare business, is the UK's largest investor in research and development, with a current pipeline of more than 70 potential medicines focused on addressing today’s biggest health challenges. To maintain such a powerful pipeline requires attracting and retaining extraordinary talent.

But within the UK, where Roche employs more than 2,000 people, there was a lack of awareness about the pipeline. Fewer than 25 per cent were knowledgeable about its power and potential.

Agency Virgo Health was tasked with improving employees’ knowledge about the pipeline, in turn boosting their pride in its potential, thereby creating brand ambassadors who would be able to communicate about this valuable asset.

The solution was to create a Roche and the Pipeline Laboratory day, which invited employees on a voyage of scientific discovery. Save the Date notices promoted the event, which adopted the strapline This is only the beginning. The fast-paced interactive agenda included a talk from Roche UK’s most senior leader, who explained the value of the pipeline to patients, explained the company’s role in shaping healthcare systems and outlined its ambitions.

Break-out sessions featuring commercial and science representatives were designed to generate excitement around three main pipeline areas: oncology, immunology and neuroscience. A series of ‘fireside chats’ allowed attendees to quiz experts on the most topical issues in the industry. An exhibition room featured giant poster boards, detailing the pipeline history, which were supported by quiz cards which the attendees could use to talk to the experts ‘manning’ each poster. Videos on molecular pathways and medical advances also played.

All scientific information was simplified to make it accessible to all, and nowhere was this more obvious than in a film that demonstrated how each Roche employee has a role to play in creating and supporting a pipeline. Doctors see patients, employees don’t – but the film juxtaposed a patient’s life with that of a doctor.

The film emphasised that more than seven million hours of work, 6,587 scientific experiments and almost 12 years of work are needed to create one new drug. More than 300 employees attended, against a target of 80, and 84 per cent said they felt more knowledgeable about Roche’s pipeline molecules while 90 per cent better understood the disease areas.

Prior the event, just 36 per cent understood its pipeline disease areas. Similarly, while only one in three employees  felt confident in their ability to articulate Roche’s scientific ambitions prior to the event, afterwards this had risen to 83 per cent. And 68 per cent had an improved understanding of Roche’s commitment to research and development.

The judges described the event as ‘an original programme focused on specific outcomes’. They added: ‘This was creative and well executed, and clearly moved the dial.’