Best Article Series

Drug development company spotlights employees who have participated in clinical trials

‘It’s Personal to Us’ adds a close-to-home element to the work employees perform.

In most organizations, the vast majority of employees never interact with customers or other external stakeholders who have dealings with the organization and its products or services. 

For PPD, a drug development contractor that (among other things) manages clinical trials for new drugs, those external audiences include the patients participating in the trials. Confidentiality regulations prevent communicators from telling those stories. 

However, when production of a video for external use led to a request for personal stories from employees, the number of stories submitted inspired communicators to develop a series of first-person stories from staff members who either participated in a trial or had a family member who did. 

These emotionally charged stories were packaged under the series label “It’s Personal to Us.” Published on the intranet, each article covered how the employee learned about the trial, how it affected them or their loved one, and whether the experience led them to work for PPD or taught lessons they could apply to their work. 

Considering the company employs 13,000 people, the 11,500-plus article views for five articles (an average of about 2,300 per article) outpaced the popular “Ask the CEO” column, which tallied only 4,818 views for three columns, an average of about 1,600 per article. 

Positive feedback poured in from around the world, all of which made PPD’s series a clear choice for Best Article Series (Electronic and Print) in Ragan’s 2014 Employee Communications Awards. Congratulations to Elizabeth King Humphrey, Brenda Riegel, Bert Kittner, Louise Caudle, and Elizabeth Kuronen.

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