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The Best of Both Worlds

The Best of Both Worlds


Imagine the benefits of working for a global organisation which turns over over £4 billion per year worldwide but is primarily family owned and complete with family values? This is exactly what Merck offers.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010
Company in View

The best of both worlds – A global Organisation with family values

Imagine the benefits of working for a global organisation which turns over £4.5 billion per year worldwide but is primarily family owned and complete with family values?  This is exactly what Merck offers.

Merck, (not to be confused with MSD) is a company with over 34,000 employees, working in 55 countries, producing a financial output which places it as a major player in the world wide market.  The future pipeline is impressive with new products to be launched in key growth areas of Oncology, Diabetes and Women’s Health over the next three years.  The company is set for significant expansion which is envisaged to move it into the industry’s Top Ten.  2001 was the most successful year in the company’s 333 year history and globally, Pharmaceuticals grew well above the industry average at 14%.

Due to the Merck family’s influence, a key element to achieving the organisation’s goals is people.  This is demonstrated by their vision statement,

“Merck will be number one in its core businesses through innovations created by talented entrepreneurial employees”

As far as corporate statements go, this one in interesting on two accounts.  Firstly, it is brief and, secondly it is refreshingly people focused.  In an industry committed to large sales teams working to pre determined patterns to ensure optimum delivery of call volume, encouraging individuals to be innovative and full of entrepreneurial spirit may provide managers with a challenge.  David Gammon-Jones, Head of Sales, explains how the statement translates into reality in the field.  “Our philosophy on selling is possibly very different to most companies.  We believe in people being accountable for the sales in defined areas.  To be successful you have to want to sell and take responsibility for your actions.  To be an outstanding sales person in this environment, you need the talents of an entrepreneur coupled with innovation.  It is my role to ensure that each of our sales people is provided with the support to fully implement these skills and to reward the successful people accordingly.”

Soeren Hermansson, Managing Director, reinforces David’s views by explaining that a major priority for Merck is to ensure that the salespeople who take responsibility and gain the results are significantly rewarded.  As Soeren explains, “It is my aim to pay serious money to those sales people who have given serious work and delivered serious results.”  In 2002, this had resulted in a dramatic review in the potential earnings from the bonus scheme.  Key achievers this year can expect to be rewarded as well as the very best in the industry.  The scheme has been designed to offer the same opportunities to both existing and new employees.  A representative told Company in View, “This is only the second company I have worked for and have been here just six months.  In that time I have made a significant impact on sales and I am really pleased that not only am I eligible for bonus but also the amount that I can earn.”

But a generous bonus scheme isn’t all. There is also “The Gold Club” which is designed to recognise the very best performances in the field.  It provides additional reward and recognition as well as membership of an exclusive club.  The awards occur once a year and are followed by celebrations which take place at a prestigious venue.  The extra remuneration includes travel prizes which compliment the feeling of achievement and the memories of an extremely successful year.

Besides the premier achievers, it is fair to say that the subject of reward and recognition is taken very seriously.  Instilling family ethics in to the packages, employees benefit from:

·          Flexible car policy with opt-out scheme

·          Enhanced maternity and paternity Benefits

·          Employees Assistance Programme – family and employees

·          Free life insurance

·          Private Healthcare

·          Long service bonus

·          New employee introductory bonus

·          Financial assistance for new employees

·          Final salary pension

·          Innovation & Customer Service awards

·          Late working allowance

·          Generous packages of allowances ie. Evening, lunch and weekend

·          Relocation support

In 2001 Pf undertook the Company Perception, Motivation and Satisfaction survey, which established Personal Development as one of the key motivators for medical sales professionals. After spending time with the head of HR, Training & Development, John McIlree, it became clear that personal development is also a clear priority for Merck and the philosophy of the business really comes into play.  The company considers its initial priorities to be the provision of solid foundations, delivering core knowledge and skills as well as preparation for the ABPI Medical Reps’ Exam.

Once this first phase is complete, personal development carries much more emphasis and members of the sales force are encouraged to become involved in the planning of their development programme.  “We talk about Partnership Development”, explained John, “recognising tat working together in this area ensures that both the employee and the organisation are more likely to meet their respective needs.  It’s a classic win:win!”

“We have an extensive range of opportunity in our development programme,” continued John, “some of it is designed to allow individuals to take, for example, recognised diploma courses in marketing or business studies, whilst others join groups of colleagues in gaining accreditations, in skill areas such as field coaching as their first possible step to their chosen career pathway.”

One of the most significant opportunities is becoming involved in the Key Account Management Programme.  This programme, jointly developed with the , consists of a series of modules running over more than 1 year at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and offers the chance to gain an advanced diploma qualification.

The success of Merck’s Training & Development policy is underlined by the fact that as much as half of the sales force is involved in the programme at any one time and also by the fact that a significant number of the company’s first line managers started as medical representatives and have all reached their positions having followed internal promotion pathways.

Company in View asked Dr Jim Golby, HR Manager, what type of people would enjoy working for Merck?

“Each year we take on a number of new employees ranging from experienced medical representatives to recent graduates as well as those from other industries.  Those that achieve within the organisation are always people who passionately enjoyed selling and thrive on being recognised for their efforts as an individual.  At the end of this year we will be starting our exciting major expansion for the new field force”.

Jim told Company in View that in the interim period all current and forthcoming vacancies can always be found at or through contacting Jim on 01895 452209