Panel Discussion with
New Employee, OJT Coach,
As a part of our human resource development, Chugai Pharmaceutical assigns each individual new employee to their own OJT coach (mentor). These OJT coaches give their charges support and guidance in their first year with the company.
Taking the Clinical Development Division as an example, we asked a new-graduate employee who joined the company in 2019, his OJT Coach, and his superior about that year of mentoring.
Clinical Study Management Dept.,
Clinical Development Div.
Prompted to join Chugai Pharmaceutical by the great potential he saw in its strategic alliance with Roche.
Assigned to the Clinical Study Management Department after twelve months’ practical training.
Clinical Science & Strategy Dept.,
Clinical Development Div.
After joining Chugai Pharmaceutical, worked in planning of clinical development projects. Currently working as project’s clinical function leader. Tanabe’s OJT coach.
Clinical Science & Strategy Dept.,
Clinical Development Div.
After building up his career in various areas of clinical development, now works as a manager. Tanabe’s superior in the Clinical Science & Strategy Department during his initial training period.
Existence of various training programs for different periods,
such as Common Introductory Training
for all new-graduate recruits and CLOVER Training.
YamakidoAt Chugai Pharmaceutical, new-graduate recruits first undergo the Common Introductory Training Program, after which they are assigned to their respective divisions and undergo OJT. How was your initial Common Introductory Training, Tanabe-san?
TanabeI enjoyed it. It was a residential training camp at the company’s facility in Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture. All new-graduate recruits of the Chugai Pharmaceutical Group stayed at the facility for about two weeks. It helped me to switch my brain into working person mode. Also, encountering the passionate enthusiasm of other people in my cohort about the kinds of challenges they wanted to take on at Chugai Pharmaceutical made me even more motivated. I think that spending time together at the training camp with colleagues we respected helped to strengthen the bonds in our cohort.
YamakidoThe Clinical Development Division has its own original education program for new employees called CLOVER Training, where the new people do rotations to gain experience in the different departments related to clinical development. Isn’t that right?
TanabeYes. In my case, I experienced the Clinical Study Management Department (department that manages and promotes clinical study operations) for several months, after which I spend about two weeks at a Group company, Chugai Clinical Research Center (responsible for monitoring of clinical trials, data analysis, quality control, etc.), where I worked on the ground in clinical trials. From the second half of my first year, I underwent OJT training in the Clinical Science & Strategy Department (department that proposes and considers development plans and trial design, etc.), where Yamakido-san and Morioka-san both work.
YamakidoA major feature of the CLOVER program is the way it gives new employees an overall picture of clinical development in their first year, isn’t it?
TanabeI requested an assignment in the area of clinical development because I wanted to be involved in actually sending new drugs into the world, but to be honest, I did not really know about what the work actually entailed before I joined the company. I was a little nervous, but thanks to the CLOVER Training, I was able to obtain a hands-on understanding of the overall flow of clinical development, which helped me to get off to a good start after I received my official assignment in my second year.
OJT coach and superior are
serious about new employees’ growth.
MoriokaI was assigned as Tanabe-san’s OJT coach when he came to the Clinical Science & Strategy Department in the CLOVER Training program. He looked like he would engage in his work very seriously, so I was looking forward to working with him.
TanabeActually, Morioka-san, I was a little frightened of you when we first met (laughs).
MoriokaOh, really? That’s a bit of a shock (laughs). Why was that?
TanabeI first met you and Yamakido-san in a meeting room at the office, and when I entered the room, you both looked so serious...(laughs).
You had a particularly tense air about you, so I thought you seemed a bit scary.
MoriokaOh, I see. At the time, while we were waiting for you to arrive, Yamakido-san and I had been discussing how we would train you. I only had a little under six months to be your OJT coach, so I had been thinking hard about it. I wanted you to experience as many different tasks as possible during that time, so maybe that was why I had such a serious aura about me (laughs).
I had past experience as an OJT coach, and I know that those six months pass by in a flash. I remember regretting not doing more for my previous charge, so I wanted to do the best I could for you.
YamakidoI felt the same. I also wanted you to have as many different experiences as possible. Those experiences would eventually serve you well in your later career, so I was telling Morioka-san that we should ask you to do a broad range of work and let you experience working with a variety of people.
TanabeI only felt frightened for that single instant, and once I had talked to you both, I realized how friendly you both were, so I was able to fit in with the team immediately.
Creating an atmosphere in which even
new people can express their opinions freely.
YamakidoYou were a little hesitant at first, though, weren’t you, Tanabe-san?
TanabeMy training in the Clinical Science & Strategy Department had just started, so I was nervous about experiencing new tasks in a new team. Seeing me in that state, Yamakido-san told me to feel free to say whatever I was thinking.
YamakidoThat’s right. Tanabe-san came to me for advice, saying he was finding it difficult to communicate with the other team members. Our company adopts a total flex-time system with no core time requirements. It is entirely up to the employees what hours they work, so it is okay if they want to leave the office early, say, three or four o’clock in the afternoon. They can also leave the office for one or two hours during their work. It is the company’s style that, as long as each employee is fulfilling their work responsibilities properly, it doesn’t matter what working hours they keep. Naturally, new employees are also entitled to adopt the same working style, but Tanabe-san said that he was feeling a gap.
MoriokaCertainly, our department is like a cluster of sole proprietors, in which each member is in charge of their own project, so communication among the team members may be a little difficult.
YamakidoWhen Tanabe-san asked me for my advice, I felt that he might have a point... So I asked him to be more proactive in speaking to and greeting other team members. Once Tanabe-san started speaking to the other team members more proactively himself, I think the atmosphere in the workplace started to change a little, becoming one that was more conducive to members seeking each other’s advice.
TanabeEven though I was still new and in training, you both respected my views and created an environment in which I was able to work more freely. I am really grateful for that.
Taking on the challenge of work that is a stretch,
with the OJT coach’s support.
MoriokaTanabe-san, you were only with us for a short period, but you experienced a variety of projects and tasks during that time, didn’t you?
TanabeYes. I had many opportunities in those projects to communicate with experts in pharmacology and statistics and I was able to build up a network of contacts within the company. That network is now serving my work well in my current job. Also, when I made a mistake, Morioka-san saved me. If I recall, you were at an academic conference at the time, so you weren’t in the office. I had to deal with the people involved in a project by myself, and someone in another department had scolded me for not explaining things well enough.
MoriokaI felt guilty for leaving everything to you without enough consideration.
TanabeNo, not at all. But you followed up afterward, so it did not turn into anything serious. You have such logical communication skills, and I learned a great deal from that. Other than that, my best memory is from the latter stage of my training period, when I was asked to give a presentation to an expert about a certain project, which I managed to accomplish without incident.
MoriokaThat expert always guides us enthusiastically and we owe a great deal to him, but he is quite strict and can be unsparing in his criticism if there is anything wrong with our presentations. Even so, I was sure you could do it, which is why I asked you to do it.
TanabeWith your support, I was able to prepare all the relevant materials properly in advance, and we also did a simulation of the question-and-answer session, so I was able to answer all of the expert’s questions without problem.
MoriokaI sat in on the presentation and I was quite ready to step in and help if there was any trouble, but your presentation was very smooth, and I was able to listen to it with peace of mind. It was an excellent presentation.
TanabeThat task was really a stretch for me, but I was reassured that you would back me up if necessary, so I was able to take on the challenge. Accomplishing that task gave me a great deal of confidence.
YamakidoDaring to take on challenging tasks and building up experiences of success and, if things don’t go well, trying something new to get through it. All of these things lead to growth and confidence, don’t they?
Becoming a professional who will create innovation,
meeting the expectations of superior and OJT coach.
MoriokaAfter you finished the CLOVER Training and it came time for you to be formally assigned, I was sure you would come to our department, so I was a little disappointed when I heard you had gone to Clinical Study Management (laughs). I really wanted you to come and work with us. Even so, with your willingness to study hard and improve yourself, I’m sure you’ll be able to achieve growth no matter what department you are in.
YamakidoWhat makes clinical development special is that we ourselves drive the plan that we think is best from the various development plans and trial design proposals. With many diverse options to consider, the deliberation process can be quite tough, but we want young people like Tanabe-san to take on challenges without worrying about making mistakes. As their superiors, we want to support these young people fully in their challenges.
TanabeI was sad to leave you both, but my aim is to first become a leader in my current department so I can lead clinical development with my own judgment and responsibility. Also, with a view to my future career, I want to put more effort into studying English. I am currently taking advantage of the SIP (Self Innovation Program), the company’s in-house self-improvement program, to take online English lessons once a week. I have a feeling that my next project will involve meetings in English, so I am preparing now so I can handle it.
MoriokaCommunication in English will become critical in clinical development from now on. When I first joined the company, I had virtually no English skills and even today, I am desperately trying to acquire them in the course of my work. There is a group of employees who hold English conversation lessons on a voluntary basis, and there are even Chinese and Korean lessons available, so it is a good environment to hone your language skills.
TanabeI would love to do an overseas posting too one day. Also, because Chugai Pharmaceutical is brimming with innovative minds, I want to incorporate new methods into clinical development and change operations for the better.
YamakidoI hope you will take on more and more challenges. I look forward to seeing you flourish and succeed!
In addition to the training programs mentioned in this article, Chugai Pharmaceutical conducts a range of different training programs to ensure our new-graduate recruits can tackle their work with piece of mind. Examples of other training programs include the MR Introductory Training Program for MR positions, and the Follow-up Training Program, a combined program for employees in all positions in their second and third years with the company. There are other training frameworks for all employees, including grade-based training for different age groups, grades, and positions, as well as self-improvement programs. Through these programs, we help each individual employee to improve and achieve growth and independence, and we strive to enhance the vitality of the organization.
*The contents of this article, and the divisions
that the people featured in this article belonged
to and the names of those divisions
are current as of the time of the panel discussion.