Leading During a Crisis A Look at CONMED’s Success
(This article can also be viewed on MedReps.com by visiting the link here).
How are medical sales companies handling the pandemic?
Now that we are approaching a year into the pandemic, professionals in every industry are examining the events of the past year in order to learn from the experience. In some cases, the crisis magnified already existing problems. In others, the unprecedented times led to innovation and growth. What can we learn from those companies that came out of 2020 stronger?
In the 2021 Best Places to Work survey, we asked respondents to rate their employers’ handling of the pandemic, and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. However, a few companies stood out as shining examples.
Voted one of the best medical device companies to work for five years running, it’s not surprising that CONMED’s employees gave the company one of the highest average ratings for its handling of the pandemic. When asked to explain their rating, the individual comments were especially powerful:
“Our employer made sure we were still engaged and felt like our job was important. They made adjustments along the way that made sure we weren’t left in the dark and were able to take care of our families when they could have decided to furlough us. They kept providing creative new ways for us to do our jobs during a pandemic and get the job done.”
– CONMED TERRITORY MANAGER
“They ensured that the employees would still get a minimum compensation, and also lowered the quotas that were given to the sales representatives to align with the realistic expectations of the market and our customers.”
– CONMED SALES REPRESENTATIVE
“At a time when life was so unpredictable, they paid their employees full salaries. When other companies were furloughing people or firing them, they doubled down and showed what their employees meant to them!”
– CONMED DISTRICT SALES MANAGER
Curious to learn more, MedReps asked CONMED leadership to share, from their perspective, how they guided the company through the crisis. As it turns out, they relied largely on programs and policies that were already in place. As a Best Place to Work, CONMED values its employees and prioritizes their safety and well-being in every situation. While it may have taken a global pandemic to shine a light on it, the company’s well thought-out policies did exactly what they were designed to do—protect
and support the company’s most important asset, its employees. Keep reading for the details.
What’s the No. 1 change CONMED made to support employees during the 2020 crisis?
“CONMED’s first priority is employee safety and wellbeing,” says Julie Hall, Communications Manager at CONMED. When the pandemic hit, and the repercussions of the shut downs were becoming clear, the company encouraged employees to utilize resources and programs already available to them through CONMED’s Total Rewards package. She continues, “We also created new opportunities for our employees to benefit from company support. This spanned multiple areas, from implementing additional safety precautions in our facilities, to financial support, mental health resources, and more.
While the changes and new resources have been wide-ranging to meet the diverse needs of our global workforce, the number one change has been that many of our office support personnel are continuing to work remotely in an effort to minimize potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. During this time, we have greatly increased utilization of virtual collaboration and communication tools to continue to serve our customers.”
Given the many uncertainties presented by the pandemic, what were the primary goals of CONMED leadership in their communications with employees?
Clear communication is always critical, but especially during times of stress and uncertainty. Heather Cohen, EVP Human Resources at CONMED, had this to say about CONMED’s approach: “Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, CONMED Leadership has communicated with employees globally regarding decision making focused on benefitting our people and the long-term outlook for CONMED, aligned with the following priorities: Priority 1 – Employee Safety and Wellbeing; Priority 2 – Financial Security of CONMED; Priority 3 – The Future.”
The pandemic has forced sales reps to modify their traditional methods. How are CONMED reps in the US currently communicating with clients and potential customers?
“Our sales professionals really showed why they are top talent,” says Victoria Styles, VP & General Manager of the U.S. CONMED Endoscopic Technologies. She went on to explain: “Finding ways to communicate with all of our customers from physicians, to clinicians to administrative required thinking ‘outside of the box.’ In a world that is normally very competitive on the time you get to spend with your customers, that time was shrunk and even became harder to get.
“By defining the reason for needing the time, our sales team was consistently grabbing the small amount of in-person time that was available. However, our team went beyond that. They found alternative safe places and ways to meet…including but not limited to parking lots, outdoor spaces at the hospitals and ASCs, video chats and conferences, email, text, and phone calls. Every meeting had a purpose which allowed CONMED to
thrive and find a way to provide solutions for our customers. It is part of our company’s pillars, and that skill and cultural foundation proved to be the difference-maker during the pandemic.”
The challenges presented by 2020 forced companies to demonstrate the people-first values they professed, but not all could follow through. However, for a Best Place to Work like CONMED, the right course of action was never in question. CONMED’s commitment to the health and safety of its people, as well as that of the providers and patients they serve, remained the top priority and the guiding factor in every decision. This is just one of many reasons that CONMED continues to be held in high regard throughout the industry, not to mention a constant presence on the MedReps Best Place to Work list.