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The Amazing ROI of Mindfulness

April 28, 2011

I recently watched an interview at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference of Pamela Weiss, founder of Appropriate Response and Todd Pierce SVP and CIO Genentech-Roche talking about their successful Personal Excellence Program:

Inner Experiments at Genentech from Wisdom 2.0 Conference on Vimeo.

Here is information from the Appropriate Response website:


Since 2007, Appropriate Response has worked with over 650 employees at every level within the IT department at Genentech in South San Francisco through the Personal Excellence Program (PEP.) PEP offers a comprehensive structure of personalized development over one year, including facilitated groups, individual coaching, communities of support and feedback, and the cultivation of peer coaching skills.

View a five minute video of Pamela Weiss welcoming a new PEP class.

Click here to read a White Paper on the principles and practices of PEP.

The PEP Impact

Results from 2010 PEP participant surveys found that compared to before the PEP program:

First Year PEP Participants

  • 100% reported increased understanding of their critical development areas
  • 100% reported increased confidence in having the necessary tools and knowledge to develop
  • 99% reported being more engaged and productive at work
  • 87% reported increased meaning and satisfaction at work
  • 100% rated PEP as better than other training programs

PEP Graduate Program Participants

  • 97% reported increased ability to self-observe and self-correct
  • 91% reported improved listening and peer coaching skills
  • 80% reported feeling more responsible and accountable for their own development
  • 80% reported being better able to deal with change and ambiguity
  • 100% rated PEP as better than other training programs

Business Impact Study

A 2009 independent evaluation of PEP by experts who have studied the impact of hundreds of leadership programs reported that:

  • PEP led to significant business impact, more than doubling the typical impact assessed in other leadership programs (77% vs. 30%.)
  • PEP ranked in the top 5% of all leadership programs evaluated.
  • PEP produced an estimated $2 dollars for every dollar spent to deliver PEP.

International Coach Federation (ICF) Prism Award 2010

Genentech Awarded 2010 ICF International Prism Award

The prestigious International Prism Award recognizes organizations that have enhanced excellence and business achievement through their commitment to coaching as a leadership strategy. More information.

Here is an excerpt from an article on PEP from the International Coaching Federation:

Employee Satisfaction

 In 2004, Genentech’s IT department was at the bottom of the list of Genentech departments in terms of employee satisfaction, according to an internal survey. In 2009, it ranked No. 2 out of all departments in the company in employee satisfaction. When they merged with the Roche Group in 2009, there was a 20 percent workforce reduction and the HR department saw a three-fold escalation in complaints from every department, except the IT department from which there was zero. “We asked employees when the merger happened ‘how would you compare your IT at Genentech to all the other IT experiences at other companies?” Todd said. “About 86 percent of people said the IT was better here than they had ever experienced at any other company. So how can that be? These people primarily came from (in their past jobs) other pharmaceutical companies—comparable industry, comparable money, big IT departments. It’s not that we have something that other departments don’t have. I would argue that it’s about our people and the quality that we bring to our customer interaction.”

Customer Satisfaction

Satisfied employees are naturally producing satisfied customers. The impact report concluded, “Individuals had also improved their capacity to handle larger, more complex projects as a result of their PEP growth, thus enabling customers to be served more timely and effectively.” “We’re a service organization. So one of the ways we measure our success is how our customers see us,” Todd explained. “We have observed that satisfaction has increased with our services since we have had PEP. I just think that is incredibly profound.” Todd said he sees the emotional and social intelligence employees develop through PEP as part of the reason customers are more satisfied. “It’s such a valuable skill that cuts across how you work with customers, how you work with each other to deliver to customers and it just shows up in the final product,” he concluded. At the end of the day, PEP has become much more than Todd first envisioned. “I thought it might be a strategy for people to develop a skill or quality, but what I see is that it is a strategy to help them be life-long learners and just increase their capacity for personal development and personal satisfaction in every area of their life.

Return on Investment

Harder to measure but no less significant is the return on investment of PEP. In total, impact study evaluators believe that the program is conservatively producing an estimated $1.50 to $2 USD for every dollar spent to deliver PEP. “Through PEP, we have created a smarter, more agile and more responsive organization. There is greater collaboration across functions, customer relationships have improved, employee engagement is noticeably higher, and we are better positioned to respond to change and lead technological innovation.”

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