5 Reasons to Have a Learning and Development Strategy for Your Team

Advice for leaders in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries


During my time supporting the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical devices industries with training I have encountered a variety of different learning and development plans. They range from complex and sophisticated to minimal and ineffective. For an industry that is knowledge intensive (reliant on the knowledge of the professionals working within them) few organisations, departments and teams have development plans in place. This means they are reactive when it comes to training and are more likely to ‘waste’ resources.

Below, there are 5 reasons you should be creating a learning and development plan for your team.

1.       Develop your team’s capabilities

If your business has any plans to grow and develop over the coming years, there will inevitably be a disconnect between current resources and what is required to ensure they hit these targets. Some of this gap can be filled by new strategic hires or bringing consultants with specific expertise onboard. However, this needs to be balanced with nurturing and growing the capabilities of your current workforce. This approach is also far more cost effective in the long run and provides other benefits which are discussed below. 

2.       Attract and retain talent

There have been some significant shifts in working behaviours over the last few decades. Employees are less loyal and more willing to seek opportunities elsewhere to accelerate their careers. Gone are the days where you  remain with one employer for many years. Nowadays one of the top criteria listed by people looking for a new role is ‘opportunities to learn and develop’. Conversely, regular criticisms when leaving a company are the lack of ‘growth and learning opportunities’ or a lack of ‘investment in them’ as an individual. It is simple, if you want to attract the best talent ensure you have an excellent learning and development programme, with opportunities and learning pathways to offer. Likewise, to retain the talent you have, make sure everyone is getting the opportunity to grow and develop new skills.

3.       Staying ahead of the competition

The pharma, biotech and medical device industries are in constant flux with new regulations, new products, new technologies and new methodologies. This is not an industry which sits still and if your team are still doing the same practices or working in the same way as 5 years ago, you are already out of date and behind competitors. Organisations, along with their employees need to be constantly developing in this industry and an effective learning and development plan can provide the stimulus needed to ensure your employees stay at the sharp end of the industry.

4.       Learning leads to employee happiness

Research has shown that lifelong learning contributes to happiness. One of the most effective ways of achieving your business goals is by motivating and engaging your employees with the development of effective learning pathways. Learning pathways are specifically designed to align with long-term business objectives. This ensures your team are enthusiastic to advance their career whilst also supporting the growth of the business.

5.       Building upon your brand, values and culture

An effective learning and development strategy provides a consistent message around your organisations message, values and culture. Through an effective learning and development plan you can instil the core values that are critical to your business and culture. For example, if your organisation is focused on ‘innovative therapies’. All your learning and development (regardless of the topic) could be angled towards new, novel, blockbuster treatments, cutting edge. Each training course would link back to the company belief and mission in ‘innovative therapies’. Over time the organisations behaviour and ethos would change. 


Written by Daniel Harding

Daniel is a Director at Educo Life Sciences and has experience developing team training solutions for (bio)pharmaceutical and medical device clients. He has helped clients achieve business objectives with learning programmes that meet their specific needs and requirements.


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