Clinics pop up in regional chains
There is no clearer evidence that retail clinics have become a vital component of community pharmacies than the recent proliferation in smaller, regional chains.
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“The industry data out there supports consumer acceptance of the in-store clinic model, whether it has convenient locations, flexible hours or the flexibility of accepting walk-ins,” said Pete Ratycz, VP pharmacy at Discount Drug Mart, which last fall opened five clinics in partnership with Cleveland-based MetroHealth. “Combine that with the benefit of processing a prescription — and quickly processing that prescription — and it’s no surprise that there’s been rapid adoption of the concept.”
“Access to convenient and affordable healthcare services is more important to [customers] now than ever before,” added Hy-Vee SVP pharmacy operations Kristin Williams when speaking about the company’s decision to continue to build on its base of 30 clinics.
Many regional players of all sizes also have begun incorporating clinics into their stores. Austin, Minn.-based Astrup Drug, for instance, has 17 stores; two with Smart Clinic walk-in health centers.
In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle-based Bartell Drugs has slowly been rolling out clinics since 2013 through a collaboration with Group Health Cooperative. Currently, the 64-store chain has five clinics and plans to add at least two more clinics this year.
Memphis-based Fred’s debuted its first health clinic last year in a store in rural Arkansas to help alleviate the primary care physician shortage in the area. Meanwhile, Fruth Pharmacy has teamed up with local healthcare provider PVH Health to open a pair of Express Care Clinics at stores in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and nearby Pomeroy, Ohio.
The Emerson Group uses its veterans while developing the next generation of leaders
The Emerson Group is passionate about making lasting connections between brands and their target consumers. That mission also mirrors the company’s goals when building its leadership for the future.
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“We look for people who have a love for the industry,” said Matt Poli, VP marketing for The Emerson Group. “We want people to be curious and have a passion — if you have those drives you will be successful.”
With a brimming portfolio of mid-size brands — from majors to emerging — The Emerson Group offers a wealth of opportunities. The company’s unique position as a conduit of business between brands and retailers offers the chance to learn the industry through multiple stakeholder points of view. Unlike larger companies with many layers, The Emerson Group is a lean, decentralized company. “We give autonomy and true decision-making capabilities to the front-line managers working directly with our clients,” Poli added.
Having an active role in an organization is among the top items on the wish list for the next generation of leaders. They want to make an impact and feel they have a say, which is something The Emerson Group continues to foster as it looks ahead.
The Emerson Group’s undergraduate summer internship program is an example of how future leaders are being groomed. The company hires six students each year. Typically, at least one is hired as a full-time employee.
The nature of its business also attracts seasoned industry veterans who love what they do. “Most of our team has at least eight to 12 years of experience in the business; we provide the environment for decision-making and action,” Poli noted. That has built a loyal team with less than 5% turnover.
That said, The Emerson Group’s management team realizes the need to “build a bench,” and efforts are underway to make the company a first career step. Although still in the early stages of gearing up for the future, Poli said the company’s first college graduate joins this year. The skill-set the younger candidates bring includes the knowledge of the digital world, which also is revolutionizing how products go to market. The Emerson Group will merge its sales experience with analytical tools. “We’ll teach college hires the business and marketplace through the lens of IRI,” he said.
In turn, the younger staff will help The Emerson Group understand the new generation of consumers. Millennials, for example, don’t get their information through TV — many don’t even have one. “Millennials are the largest cohort, and if you are reaching them through TV, you are using the wrong medium,” Poli said. Such knowledge will weave together with the rich knowledge of the seasoned team as The Emerson Group evolves.
Moreover, The Emerson Group isn’t just about getting into the door. The company continuously invests in the growth of its team. “Whether it [is] people, infrastructure or technology platforms, we will make the investment providing our people the tools needed ensuring we help our clients achieve their business objectives,” Poli said.
Pfizer offers many paths to a rewarding career
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare follows many routes to attract its next generation of business leaders. As one of the largest over-the-counter healthcare companies in the world, with a global footprint in more than 90 countries, they have ample opportunities.
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To appeal to millennials and groom them as the next generation of talent, PCH leverages grassroots methods, including sourcing through social platforms and references, according to Lisa Paley, chief customer officer.
In addition, the company has well-thought-out summer work programs and internships that offer participants visibility and exposure to different parts of Pfizer on a short-term basis. This allows them to network with other students and PCH colleagues. Recent participants shared their appreciation that they were given a chance to really get involved in the company and that they felt they were trusted as members of the team.
“At our Richmond R&D site, we are partnering with universities in new ways to ensure there is a bridge to this new generation of technical talent, including career days sponsored by our Women’s Leadership Program,” Paley added.
Employees are developed through a balance of formal training and skill-teaching fused with informal opportunities to quickly learn and grow through different work experiences. “Many take advantage of our mentoring program,” Paley said. “We pride ourselves on the access colleagues have to network with and learn from senior leaders early in their careers.”
PCH has an impressive retention rate attributed to the focus on overall engagement and efforts to foster an environment to enhance the company’s reputation as an engaging place to work. The features encompass everything from casual dress Mondays and Fridays to internal networking events. This empowers employees to have a voice and make a difference — something that is important to the millennial generation. Paley added that PCH fosters a culture of recognition through internal meeting venues and social platforms.
Passion is a word linked to the new workforce, and opportunities to be involved abound. “We create opportunities for colleagues to pursue their passions, practice creativity and participate in extra- curricular activities,” said Paley, citing such examples as volunteer days and co-ed sports teams.
PCH has an entire toolkit available and readily accessible to help its employees change and adapt to ever-changing business conditions. Among those to help empower and inform colleagues are digital tools, such as a robust online learning center and social forums, colleague resource groups and guest speakers providing an external perspective. These experts also help PCH stay abreast of emerging and future trends.
The characteristics of the emerging workforce present many benefits, Paley said. “Our biggest opportunity is to inspire this next generation of colleagues — show the higher purpose of healthcare companies to help people live healthier lives.” She added, “we also must find ways to unlock the entrepreneurialism in our colleagues so we can compete with startups.” The new generation tends to prefer input and immediate feedback more than predecessors, she noted, prompting the need to find a way to balance the needs of current and incoming talent by being adaptive and recognizing motivators.
“One of the challenges we have is to attract this ‘digital first’ generation — and soon ‘digital only’ generation — all while continuing to attract and successfully drive collaboration with other generations of talent,” she said.
Pfizer colleagues share a common passion for working in intellectually challenging environments to make the world a healthier place — no matter what stage in their career path.