How a Culture of Inclusion Fuels Strong Performance
Northampton, MA –News Direct– CooperCompanies
By Lisa Fawcett, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and ESG at CooperCompanies
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020, businesses have had to find new ways of working. For the most part, this has meant developing new playbooks to deal with drastically changed playing fields. In turn, these manuals nurtured new mindsets centered on listening and learning from different points of view.
In other words, companies are moving towards more empathetic and inclusive cultures, whether they know it or not. This is good news, provided you stay on the path. Research shows that inclusive organizations are six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business results.1 They also have a 26% higher team cooperation rate.2
Such performance indicators are always welcome. But to achieve them, organizations must be deliberate and consistent in their search for new ideas. And that requires higher levels of empathy for customers and colleagues.
Inclusiveness by design, for a purpose
At CooperCompanies, our mission to improve the lives of one person at a time is founded on improving health and well-being worldwide. For us, it’s not just business. It’s deeply personal.
Health care can often be reactive and routine; but comprehensive health care is about more than the absence of disease. Today, people are looking for options to support the way they want to live at every stage of life. Of course, they want remedies that can restore health. They also want solutions that prevent or enable certain conditions. Our culture and our products are built around this intentional mindset.
CooperVision is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses, offering a full line of daily, bi-weekly and monthly disposable soft contact lenses featuring state-of-the-art materials and optics.
CooperSurgical advances care for women, babies and families with a focus on fertility solutions and preventive and therapeutic health care for women.
Both divisions are committed to addressing unmet needs.
We respond to these needs by putting ourselves in the patient’s shoes. Admittedly, this is not a big stretch. Our employees (and their families) experience the same medical conditions that we resolve every day. You could say that our staff provides an ongoing discussion group on patient experiences. It’s true; yet it is deeper than that. We have traveled the same path. We feel what they feel. And that guides us.
Our biggest contact lens brand, Biofinity, is a perfect example. The Biofinity family includes the largest number of “extended reach” contact lens prescriptions for people with severe myopia and hyperopia. Whether they have astigmatism or presbyopia, we meet the patient’s needs. In fact, these lenses can be made to order in over 243,000 settings.
Why accommodate so many prescriptions? Why not just focus on the general public, which could reduce the cost of doing business? Because minority patients also have needs. And we believe that providing them with solutions can be a game-changer on many levels.
Historically, patients with very poor vision have been told they cannot wear contact lenses. Biofinity offers them an alternative that not only corrects vision but also brings emotional benefits. A global consumer survey found that 89% of contact lens wearers believed their quality of life had improved and 82% felt more confident because they could wear contact lenses in addition to glasses. Another 79% said “contact lenses make me feel more like myself” compared to wearing glasses.
Biofinity has built a loyal following of millions of wearers and eyecare professionals. This success has given CooperVision the confidence to continue innovating, which leads to more efficient manufacturing, which leads to wider line prescriptions, which leads to more loyal customers.
Empathy moved the steering wheel.
Pursue the Possibilities
Through our vision brands, we have an ongoing goal to enhance the wearer experience. The closer we get to real-world experiences, the better our chances of improving them. We therefore seek the opinion of everyone, not just our specialists. The result is a mix of new ideas, big and small.
As you’d expect, the big ideas lean toward expanding categories or even creating categories. Our innovations in myopia management exemplify such cutting-edge thinking. MiSight® 1 day contact lenses are the first soft contact lenses proven to slow the progression of myopia in children aged 8 to 12 at the start of treatment.*3 But the ideas for incremental improvements, which spring from our workforce, are also of considerable value.
Take our Biofinity Energys® line, for example. It was created in response to digital lifestyles. Staring at screens for most of the day increases eye strain. Knowing first-hand how everyday device use affects vision, our researchers have created a lens that reduces stress on the eye muscles you use to focus and retains moisture so your eyes are less dry because you blink less often when looking at screens.
The same approach applies to portfolio construction. Within our CooperSurgical business, decisions about adding and expanding capacity are guided by respect for individual fertility journeys. The path to parenthood is different for everyone – young or old, gay or straight. Our culture ensures that we are ready to support all patients with the right solutions at the right time.
For example, many couples or single women want to prevent or delay pregnancy. To support them, we have added Paragard®, a hormone-free IUD, to our portfolio. It was a decision based on sensibility as well as science. Today, there are more women who want to live a hormone-free life and have a very effective and immediately reversible birth control option.
Later in the fertility journey, when people decide to have a baby, they may have special needs to conceive. It is a global phenomenon fueled by dynamics such as increasing parental age, single mothers by choice, same-sex couples, individual health issues and environmental factors. Appreciation of patient needs is what led us to recently expand our fertility services with new egg and sperm donation capabilities.
Of course, each of these decisions was based on a solid business plan. Nonetheless, the common thread that ties them together is a commitment to inclusion. A self-imposed duty to provide treatments that satisfy the whole patient – their lifestyle and emotions as well as their physical needs.
From a planning perspective, empathy and inclusion can be seen as unlimited resources. Align them with business priorities and you have a powerful growth accelerator. Professor Linda Hill of Harvard Business School summed it up well: “Innovation is not about individual genius, it’s about collective genius.” In our experience, these are words to respect.
Our mission to improve lives depends on the contributions of nearly 13,000 employees who come from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and regions. Their insights help us meet patient needs. Therefore, it is imperative that we commit to an inclusive, collaborative and forward-looking culture that thrives on understanding.
When we know better, we do better. It is the same for everyone.
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Lisa Fawcett leads environmental, social and governance initiatives for CooperCompanies. She also co-leads the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy and programs.
What is Paragard?
Paragard is a hormone-free IUD (intrauterine device) that prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years using copper.
Important safety information: Do not use Paragard if you are or might be pregnant, have fibroids, pelvic infection including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), get infections easily, certain cancers, unexplained bleeding, Wilson’s disease, or an allergy to copper. IUDs, including Paragard, have been associated with an increased risk of PID. Pregnancy with Paragard is rare but can be life-threatening and lead to infertility or pregnancy loss. Paragard can attach to or pass through the uterus and cause other problems. Tell your healthcare provider (HCP) if you miss a period, have abdominal pain, or if Paragard comes out. If he comes out, use a backup contraceptive. At first, periods may become heavier and longer with bleeding in between. Other common side effects include anemia, pain during sex, and back pain. Paragard does not protect against HIV or STDs.
Only you and your healthcare professional can decide if Paragard is right for you. Available by prescription only.
We encourage you to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For more information about Paragard, please see the full prescribing information.
1. Deloitte Insights: The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution: Eight Powerful Truths2. Gartner – Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performing Teams3. Chamberlain P, et al. A 3-year randomized clinical trial of MiSight® lenses for the control of myopia. Optom Vis Sci. 2019;96(8):556–567.
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