Two global contract research organizations—Quintiles Transnational and Kendle—have been named to the Training Top 125 list, which recognizes excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs.
French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-aventis also received the award.
The Training Top 125, sponsored each year by Training magazine, provides one of the leading benchmarks for training and development programs across all industries. The award recognizes the financial investment organizations have made in their employees, best practices, use of technology and how well companies align training and development to their business goals.
Quintiles, which has won the award three years in a row, was recognized for its overall employee training efforts, ranging from human resources-related training to role-based training. In particular, the CRO was credited for its “Managers’ Edge” effort, which uses video vignettes to provide tips on how to be a better manager.
“The way in which Quintiles’ role-based training is connected to leadership development and organizational effectiveness is unique to our organization,” said Tim Bray, vice president of global learning and development at Quintiles. “These connections keep us focused on the big picture and searching for better outcomes for our customers and business.”
Role-based training at Quintiles includes specific instruction for areas including project management, clinical research associates (CRAs), clinical team leads, labs, phase I, electronic data capture and data management. “Quintiles provides role-based training for essentially all key roles in the company,” said Bray. “One of the reasons Quintiles has been recognized is that in a worldwide economic environment where companies are cutting back on training, we have continued to invest more year over year.”
At Kendle, which has been named to the Top 125 list for two consecutive years, training is delivered through Kendle College, an international network of learning resources available to all employees. The college is organized around a flexible curriculum, which allows employees to take online courses and participate in live sessions led by experts in various therapeutic and clinical research disciplines. The company currently offers 1,340 classes to associates at all levels across the organization.
“We focus our training on primary learning objectives—those most important to the process or procedure being learned—and eliminate excess content so as not to distract from critical points,” said Esther Daemen, manager of global training and development at Kendle. “We also organize our training using recognized and approved professional procedures like the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) procedure and deliver the training in a simple, concise, straightforward, timely, flexible and fun way.”
Sanofi-aventis declined to comment for this story.
Throughout the industry, there has been an increased focus on training staff involved in the conduct of clinical trials in order to improve the efficiency and success of the process. “The better training we provide, the better our personnel perform,” said Quintiles’ Bray. “We operate in 60-plus countries. In many parts of the world, we work with investigators who may be new to clinical trials or are less experienced. It helps tremendously for Quintiles to have highly-trained personnel, as they tend to be more successful in conducting trials.”
In particular, as the number of oncology and central nervous system trials has increased, Bray said a high degree of specialization is required to operate in these areas. To address this need, Quintiles developed a customized program to upscale CRAs with no oncology training; the CRAs are required to complete an e-learning course, hands-on experience and testing before they are certified to monitor oncology trials.
At Kendle, Daemen said that a clinical trial is successful when the quality of service delivered is in line with the client’s service expectations. “Our professionally-designed training programs help impact the success of a clinical trial by ensuring clinical associates have all of the knowledge and skills they need to succeed,” she said. “But training alone is not enough to ensure compliance in the field at all times. Leadership support, resources and required tools, mentoring and coaching all need to be in place to make sure clinical associates can transfer the knowledge and skills learned in the training to the desired behavior and performance.”
— Karyn Korieth