Cardinal Health's Focus On People-Centricity

The pandemic has made business leaders realize that adapting to the changing workplace trends and ways of thinking is paramount to ensuring a change in the mindset of the organization.


With the fast-changing dynamics of the employee landscape, which was propelled even more by the pandemic, our people strategy has also evolved. While they are closely tied to business objectives, there is a greater focus on people and their holistic growth. "At CHII, we proactively reach out to the team to understand the pulse on the ground. We strive to make deeper and sustained investments in our people for their learning and growth at all levels," states Mahima Tiwari, People Leader, Cardinal Health International India.


1. How have the needs of employees evolved after the two years of the pandemic?

With the fast-changing dynamics of the employee landscape, which was propelled even more by the pandemic, organizations’ people strategy has also evolved. The pandemic has made business leaders realize that adapting to the changing workplace trends and ways of thinking is paramount to ensuring a change in the mindset of the organization. There is a greater focus on people and their holistic growth as companies realize that employees are their most important assets. Organizations that focus on treating their employees with empathy and follow a people-centric approach, especially in tough times have better business results in the long run. Employees feel a sense of psychological safety when their needs are taken care of with utmost sensitivity, compassion, and care.

A people-first approach emphasizes empowering employees and building an employee experience that improves retention, increases collaboration, and fosters productivity. At CHII, we proactively reach out to different teams to understand the pulse on the ground. We strive to make deeper and sustained investments in our people for their learning and growth at all levels.

2. How has the people strategy at CHII evolved after the pandemic?

The pandemic has led to several fundamental changes with the way employees interact with each other. These changes run deep and will be long lasting. Employees’ personal and professional are not immune to these changes.

At CHII, we have a phased approach to encourage employees to return to work. We are sensitive about the new normal that employees have adopted during the pandemic and encourage them to find the right work-life balance.

We continue to invest and growth our most important asset – people. How we attract, motivate, and retain our best talent has been at the very heart of our people strategy. We continue to invest in reskilling and upskilling talent using a variety of meaningful methods to expand our talent pool. This has helped us create a workforce that is adaptable and agile.

3. What is CHII’s focus when it comes to employees and their holistic growth?

At CHII, we use a variety of methods for employees to focus on their holistic growth. We instil a sense of purpose by establishing a clear connection between work and the organization’s goals.

The nature of work and workplace have rapidly changed over time. We have redefined the concept of well-being of work to encompass all dimensions, namely career, psychological, physical, social, financial, and spiritual well-being, to make it more holistic.

We recognize that domain skills alone are not enough for our employees. Our investment in talent by conducting several training initiatives that include online and offline training, workshops, talks by industry experts and mentoring opportunities have been a part of our talent management strategy for holistic growth.

Mobility is another tool that we use to create opportunities for our employees to develop their careers.

4. What are some of the L&D initiatives that the company is undertaking?

Our L&D initiatives start with assessing training needs across the organization. We recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work and that there is a need to curate learning programs that cater to individual training needs.

Digital University is our inhouse talent development program with various modules that can be customized to the employee’s needs. The modules focus on domain training, technology training and soft skills.

We also encourage industry certifications for our employees to develop their personal profiles.

5. Please elaborate on the mindset shift that is needed to shift the focus of companies to the people.

In the pre-pandemic world, employee support schemes majorly focused on experiential benefits. However, the past two years have brought about a shift towards employee wellness programs. Organizations should look at a community-based approach to extend support to those affected during challenging times. The employee support schemes should be part of the organization’s DNA going forward where the initiatives are people-focused to help improve employees’ emotional and mental well-being.

Employees with a sense of purpose will be motivated to perform well. Focusing on long-term people solutions and creating authentic connections with them at an individual level is at the heart of the mindset shift that is needed currently, this also comes along with awarding individual contributions and creating a sense of belonging are vital as well.

The pandemic has taught leaders to embrace the fact that people are the most valuable assets for growth in a company. Leading a business transformation means adapting to the changing needs of employees and solving existing challenges for successful business transformation.

6. What are some of the benefits of a people-centric workspace?

A people-centric workforce emphasizes the ‘human’ aspect of human resources. It is the core of a healthy and successful organization. Some of the benefits of a people-centric organization include:

- Employees tend to be more committed and engaged when the focus of the organization is on them, and they feel valued and appreciated- Organizations that continuously focus on employee needs and concerns and address them with adequate support, information & tools required, usually result in more productive employees

- Creating psychologically safe environments where people can speak their minds and embrace their emotions leads to a healthy work environment where teams can collaborate better for improved business outcomes

- A people-first approach can also boost the employer’s brand and help attract top talent in the industry in the longer run

- Empowering employees with the right tools and technologies can help build long-term relationships with clients and in turn lead to better client retention

- An engaged and productive workforce means that the company’s customers are also happy which in turn reflects on organizational growth and profit

7. How can an organization successfully create a culture of people-centricity? What has CHII done to bring its employees to the forefront?

Key differentiators for talent in India are not only cost but access to high-quality talent that is adaptable, innovative, and inclusive. Organizations need to focus on upskilling and reskilling talent with effective learning and development programs. At Cardinal Health, we provide our employees access to learning programs anytime and anywhere. We believe that easy access to learning modules helps improve employee efficiency significantly. We have used gamification methods to drive greater engagement in learning modules. The game mechanics to reward learners with points and badges coupled with publishing leader boards have made learning very competitive and engaging.

At CHII, we continually assess skill gaps through surveys and expression of interest in various areas. This data gathered and analysed has helped us proactively address skill gaps hence encouraging a culture of continuous learning. The disruptive challenges created during the pandemic must be converted into opportunities that require organizations to equip the existing workforce to solve.

With the fast-changing landscape of the industry, we need to be innovative to address the many challenges in the most efficient and effective way possible.

8. How do DE&I initiatives factor into people-centricity at an organization? What is CHII doing to promote such initiatives?

CHII stands apart with diverse representation at all levels and a strong culture of inclusion across the organization. Our overall gender diversity ratio is at a very healthy percentage as we continue to target a higher gender diversity goal. At the leadership level, we have exceeded our goal of 50% and this stands as a testament to that commitment.

We are true champions of diversity, equity and inclusion that fosters a safe environment for people to bring their authentic selves to work. We focus on sensitization workshops that foster an environment of equality.

9. How can people-centricity eventually lead to organizational success?

The current crisis has reaffirmed the need to put human beings first. Showcasing compassion towards employees is the only way to ensure that organizations manage and come out stronger from a crisis. In today’s environment, where the world is shifting towards a hybrid workforce, employees can easily feel disconnected from their employees. But this is also proving to be a blessing in disguise as hybrid working brings in the flexibility factor and greater flexibility leads to an increase in productivity. Understanding the employee drivers is crucial to a people-first approach in order to understand employee needs and enable them to perform their best.

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World