Training roundup: what we learned in 2020

15 December 2020

The past year has been a tumultuous one across the globe, and it will forever be synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when historians look back at 2020 in years to come, they will also see it was a year of transformation.

At Fishawack Health, we have taken a look at our skills as medical writers, consultants, marketers and creatives, and adjusted to a new way of communicating both internally and with our clients, patients, and healthcare professionals. Our internal training programs have been central to ensuring we are not just adapting to the new normal, but we are thriving.

For us, thriving does not mean that we are just developing professionally, although this is a big part of our training at Fishawack Health. It means every employee continues to feel included, represented, and supported and can develop holistically – a key theme of our courses this year. Here we reveal how training has made a difference this year.


  1. We became mental health first aiders

The last year has been challenging for many of us. Global and local lockdowns have prevented many people from seeing their families, friends, and loved ones across the globe, leaving many people feeling isolated.

When Fishawack Health partnered with MHFA England to provide Mental Health training, many of us jumped at the chance to learn how to support our friends and colleagues during this challenging time. The response was overwhelming, with the company running extra sessions to accommodate over 60 additional employees who wanted to take part.

The training consisted of 2 different levels. The half-day, MHFA Mental Health Aware training equipped the 50 attendees with a greater understanding of mental health and mental ill-health. A key theme was ensuring employees felt confident when talking about mental health issues.

The more in-depth Mental Health First Aider course consisted of a mixture of live, group learning, and an online qualification. A new cohort of 16 Mental Health First Aiders completed the full certification course in November and have joined the existing team of 8 in the UK to form an extended Mental Health support group for the business – at a time when the need is a high priority.


  1. We made strides in medical communications

Fishawack Health has continued to grow during the past year, and we have added many new medical writers to the team. In August, we launched our new virtual writer training program – Making Strides in Medical Communications – to help our recruits get up to speed in a virtual environment. Our Senior Scientific Services team designed the bespoke course, and a combination of internal and external trainers delivered it with aplomb.

The 10-week training helps our recruits to meet others from across the company, which we know can be challenging when working remotely. It also includes an introduction to the pharmaceutical industry, details our Fishawack Medical processes, and gives attendees the medical writer skills needed to deliver projects to a high standard and on time.

Our new writers who joined in the first half of 2020 attended the course, and we are already running the training course for a second time – this time with our latest intake of 18 new writers. Next year, we are excited to be offering an advanced program to help our more senior hires – those with a year to 18-months of experience.


  1. We became more educated about diversity and inclusion

This year people across the globe united to stand up for the rights of minority populations. An estimated 15 million to 26 million people participated in the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, making it one of the largest movements in American history. Simultaneously, COVID-19 hit minority communities hard, signifying that we must all do more to ensure healthcare equality.

At Fishawack Health, we cemented our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace by taking part in several e-learning modules hosted by The Hobbs Consultancy. The courses covered Racial and Ethnic Diversity, Gender Diversity, Neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, and Disability in the Workplace. The modules ensured that all employees understood why these groups are unfairly excluded, why the participation of these groups is so valuable, the barriers they experience, and how we can all improve diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Each session promoted empathy and understanding, inspiring  us to be changemakers in our organization.

Our Talent Team also presented an important workshop about neurodiversity and our commitment to eliminating unconscious bias.

Additionally, our rare disease specialist agency Dudnyk carried out their diversity dialogues, where we were lucky enough to hear our colleagues’ personal stories and learn what it is like to be a minority in the advertising industry.


  1. We lunched and learned

A crucial part of training is knowledge sharing. Throughout the year, our colleagues hosted Thursday sessions at lunchtime, where they shared their knowledge and skills with the organization.

The sessions covered topics ranging from case studies on exceptional client work to introductions to customer journeys, web design, and typography. Often, we invited external speakers to tell us about the latest innovative technology and industry trends.

Our most popular session to date explored the best Christmas adverts, with our Creative team revealing the best-of-the-best from this year and looking at their all-time favorite festive ads along with what made them great. From Amazon to Disney to John Lewis – there was a variety of heart-warming adverts to inspire us, even on the gloomiest of December days.

This year we also reorganized and re-positioned the company as a leading global commercialization partner for life science industry in response to client demand for more agile, integrated services. However, to be truly integrated, we need to ensure every member of our 850+ organization has a deep knowledge of their colleagues expertize, so we can prevent silos, enhance collaboration and provide innovative solutions for our clients across the product lifecycle.

One way we’re achieving this is through a series of webinars hosted by colleagues from across the business. The series has so far covered topics such as scientific engagement, insight, media, and empowering the sales force. Each webinar identified innovations in our service set and helped spark ideas for novel solutions for clients. The Training and Growth teams will continue to run the series next year to ensure we are all continuously learning and providing cutting-edge opportunities for our clients to connect healthcare professionals and patients with the knowledge needed to save lives.


  1. We became leaders in the workplace

This summer, we were lucky enough to take part in 7 virtual training sessions covering a trio of topics – Negotiation skills, Presentation skills and Leadership skills. Our training partner, Inspire Change, led the sessions, and employees from across the company attended the workshops.

The training provided practical tools to help employees become better leaders, presenters and negotiators, from tips for improving confidence to advice about how to structure winning presentations. The trainers also offered follow-up sessions, which provided valuable tailored support so we could apply the learnings to our real-life challenges.


Our training is just one way we support our employees’ personal and professional development. Learn more about life at Fishawack Health, along with our latest job opportunities here. Are you ready to join the pack?

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