Quintiles ensures workforce is fit for purpose

Case study: Getting fit and saving money at Quintiles

Minna Sheehan, territory manager for the Nicorette team with Johnson and Johnson at Quintiles, has worked for
the organisation for 13 months. Her job involves visiting GPs, nurses and smoking cessation services to talk about the range of products and to organise training and meetings on smoking issues.

Sheehan has joined Quintiles’ physical activity reimbursement programme, which reimburses staff for taking part in activities such as gym membership, sports clubs and classes, and up to 50% of the cost of gym equipment, up to £360 a year. She uses the programme when booking tennis courts or using the gym. Last year, she took part in a charity bike ride and needed to buy a new bike. Sheehan explains that without the reimbursement programme, she would not have been able to afford to do so.

“Being able to play tennis and get reimbursed is great,” she says. “It is a way of helping me keep fit and is making me do things after work and at the weekends that I might not do otherwise.”

Clinical research organisation Quintiles is focused on the health and wellbeing of its own employees, says Tynan Barton

As a global clinical and pharmaceutical research organisation, Quintiles strives to ensure the message of health and wellbeing flows strongly throughout its own employee population, an initiative led from the top by its chief executive Dennis Gillings.

As a business involved in human clinical drug trials, Quintiles believes the patient is the central focus, so everything it does is aimed at supporting the health of that individual. Debra Corey, senior director, compensation and benefits, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), explains this philosophy translates through to the organisation’s benefits, which are aimed at supporting the health of employees and their families. “We have developed our own in-house wellness scheme, Healthy U Healthy Q, which offers a wide range of support to employees and their family, including health risk assessments, health challenges and contests, and flu immunisation,” she says.

The programme also includes a weight management reimbursement scheme, through which staff can be reimbursed up to £75 a year, and a physical activity reimbursement scheme, which enables staff to claim up to £360 a year on the cost of helping them to get or remain fit. For example, an employee could be reimbursed up to £30 a month on the cost of gym membership, sports clubs or classes, and up to 50% on the cost of gym equipment, up to the annual maximum.

So far, 9,000 staff globally have taken part in the scheme. In a benefits survey conducted in 2010, 79% of staff said they highly valued the physical activity reimbursement scheme.

Holistic approach to wellbeing

The organisation’s holistic approach to health and wellbeing is a global initiative that resonates throughout Quintiles’ benefits strategy. Gillings’ idea for the Healthy U Healthy Q programme was implemented in the United States in 2006 before being rolled out in the UK and Ireland in 2008. It is currently being introduced to other countries.

Jacqui Riches, associate manager, employee wellness EMEA, says: “To truly deliver a leading service in health, the health and wellbeing of employees need to be valued and enhanced also.”

All components of the programme can be accessed through a website, which offers employees online wellness workshops, webinars, wellness tools and inspirational stories. “Employees are invited to share their story no matter how big or small, whether it is running a marathon or taking small steps in their wellness,” says Riches.

Corey adds: “During our UK benefits roadshow in March, we introduced employees to our new health and wellness benefits providers. Other benefit providers were on hand for additional queries.”

Riches says one of the biggest challenges is to engage employees who need the health programme the most. “You will always get a core of people who will look after their health, but we really want to reach those who may not be as exposed to it,” she says.

With support for the programme coming from the very top of the organisation, Quintiles is now concentrating on gaining support from middle management to ensure the staff who report to them feel supported to look after their health.

With 23,000 staff working in 64 countries, providing a competitive benefits package is no easy feat, but Corey and her team have made great strides in the past few years.

Regional teams work in partnership

Quintiles’ benefits teams in each region work in partnership to ensure appropriate benefits schemes are in place in each country and that employees have the information and knowledge they need to make the best choices for them. The company has a diverse employee base in terms of job roles and business lines, with staff working in laboratories and in consulting, for example.

The pharmaceutical industry is currently experiencing significant change, with Quintiles’ customers under pressure to increase productivity and streamline development processes without sacrificing safety. To meet these demands, the sector is extremely talent-centric and competitive, so it is vital for Quintiles to attract and retain top talent.

“From a benefits perspective, this means we need to ensure we have a competitive package that can meet the diverse needs of our employees,” says Corey.

In the past year, Quintiles has made a number of changes to its perks. An employee benefits survey conducted by Mercer in mid-2010, which included analysis of employee preferences and focus groups, gave Quintiles a better understanding of what its staff valued and what drove engagement. “We used this data to develop a benefits roadmap, mapping out what needed to change and what needed to be introduced to increase satisfaction and better drive engagement through our benefits offerings,” says Corey.

The roadmap used a traffic-light approach to plan Quintiles’ benefits strategy globally for the next few years. Items that need to be addressed immediately or within the first year are flagged as green, yellow signifies something needs to be done in the next few years and red determines that no action is needed. The roadmap was rolled out in all 64 countries and the results collated to prioritise benefits issues.

Effective communication needed

The process highlighted the need for more effective communication. Although staff were fairly satisfied with the benefits they received, they wanted to understand them better. As a result, Quintiles introduced an online benefits portal, QChoices, at the same time switching its voluntary benefits scheme to a provider that offered more discounts.

It then introduced the first phase of its flexible benefits scheme in October 2010, offering salary sacrifice for pension contributions and childcare vouchers, and implemented a charitable giving scheme in December 2010.

Quintiles uses its benefits portal to communicate information to employees, in addition to carefully targeted roadshows, webinars and emails. “We have a lot of people who work in different locations, at different sites or are on the road, so we use email a lot,” says Corey. “We do webinars quite often because not everybody is in the office.”

The flex scheme has been well received by employees since it was introduced, with about 85% taking up pensions salary sacrifice, and 10% opting for childcare vouchers. The scheme will be developed further at its first annual renewal in October this year.

A further source of information for employees is Quintiles’ central HR administration team, which is the first point of call for staff requiring information on how to contact benefits providers, for example. Because it has separate providers for different benefits, Quintiles ensures employees have several avenues for information, as well as providing online resources.

Consultants support benefits team

It also uses consultants to support its benefits team when introducing or reviewing a scheme. “As an organisation, we value quality and innovation, and by leveraging the knowledge of consultants which can compare the experiences of other companies, we can increase our ability to ensure we have the best programmes in place,” says Corey.

Quintiles’ benefits strategy is therefore in perpetual motion, and Corey believes the pieces are coming together in the administration of its schemes. “We have developed our benefits roadmap and come up with a strategy for pulling things together,” she says. “We are on the path to do so through QChoices, together with regional pooling of coverages, vendors, insurance carriers and other resources. This not only creates a seamless platform for our employees, but an efficient engine for the reward team.”

After a wealth of changes taking place around benefits at Quintiles in the last few years, Corey and her team feel they are on the right track to provide a benefits programme that best fulfils the needs of staff and the organisation.
“I have only been here for two years, but the amount of things we have done in that time is amazing,” says Corey.

“I am really proud of what the team has done. I am proud not just of the pace, but also of the strategic aspect. We started with what is important to employees, and what is important to our business, and then created our roadmap to align with it.”

Quintiles at a glance

Quintiles is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical services firm that offers clinical, commercial and consulting services to organisations around the globe.

It was founded in 1982 by Dennis Gillings in North Carolina, US. The UK office was Quintiles’ first international
location when it opened in 1987.

The organisation is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, and has 23,000 employees located across 64 countries.

The average length of service among employees worldwide is four years. About 70% of the company’s global
workforce is female, with an average age of 38.

Career history: Debra Corey

Debra Corey, senior director, compensation and benefits, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA),
joined Quintiles in May 2009. She leads the team responsible for compensation and benefits in the EMEA region. Corey is also part of the global benefits team, partnering colleagues in similar positions for Asia and the Americas, and working with the global head of benefits to view emerging trends in the benefits market locally and globally.

Before joining Quintiles, Corey was interim head of rewards at Morrisons, and compensation and benefits director, EMEA at Honeywell. She has had similar roles in firms such as AS Watson and Gap.

At Quintiles, Corey and her team rolled out total reward statements across 10 EMEA countries in 2010, which she cites as one of her greatest achievements at the organisation. “It showed we could come up with a solution that supported both large and small countries equally, providing them with quality communication vehicles to ensure our employees felt valued and had an understanding of the reward packages at Quintiles,” says Corey.

As a multinational organisation, Quintiles’ employees link up daily with colleagues around the globe on joint projects and goals. “We think globally and act locally,” says Corey. “My team takes the global principles and strategies, and translates them into something that works locally.”

The benefits at Quintiles

• Stakeholder pension scheme for all employees. Employer contribution of 7.5% if the employee contributes at least 3%.

• Private medical insurance for all employees.
• Group income protection for all staff who join the company pension scheme.
• Critical illness insurance available through voluntary benefits scheme.
• Employee assistance programme.

Company car or cash for car option
• Two car/cash allowance schemes. One is for business use, for employees, regardless of job level, who require a
car based on business requirement. The other is offered as a perk for some staff based on market practice for their role.

• 25 days a year.

On-site facilities
• On-site canteen at three of Quintiles’ locations.
• A sports and social club called Fusion. Voluntary benefits
• Discounts at local or on-site facilities.
• Personal accident insurance.

Incentive pay/performance-related pay
• Performance incentive plan for all employees.
• Recognition scheme that awards vouchers or cash, based on an employee’s recognised contribution.

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