Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Eli Lilly and Co. / Health Care & Insurance / Workplace Issues

Lilly as an employment destination

September 14, 2009
The news out of Eli Lilly and Co. in recent years often has been as discouraging as encouraging.

Settlements of Zyprexa lawsuits. Patent expirations. And a string of layoffs, once unthinkable in the paternalistic organization. Just today, Lilly announced that 5,000 more would have to hit the streets.

Lilly has long been considered one of the best places to work in Indianapolis. Is it still?

Definitely yes, says Marc Drizin, a business consultant who spent a number of years at Walker Information helping companies improve relations with their workers with the ultimate aim of improving customer loyalty.

In addition to consulting, Drizin is on the speaking circuit and writing books. His latest, tentatively titled “Designing Rewards Programs,” is due out in a few weeks.

Lilly shouldn’t be knocked because it’s taking drastic measures to thrive in an industry with lots of challenges, Drizin says. In fact, he believes current and prospective employees should be impressed by Lilly’s determination to stay viable as it hunts for its next blockbuster drug.

Drizin, who says he owns no Lilly stock or has no other ties to the company, also notes that it’s unusual to find former workers criticizing the organization. Current employees seldom complain to the media or in online forums.

In fact, the anecdotal evidence suggests to Drizin that existing employees have confidence in Lilly leadership.

“Employees who work there should still feel very strong about the organization,” he says.

How would Drizin advise a young MBA who is considering Lilly?

Run the usual traps. Talk to Lilly suppliers and customers. Study the direction Lilly execs are taking the company.

Then take the job and start learning and prepping for your next move. If Lilly wants to keep you, fine. If you see a better opportunity elsewhere, you’ve gained valuable training you take to your next position.

That’s Drizin’s take. What’s yours? What’s your perception of Lilly as a place to work?

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