AstraZeneca Ethics

With over 70,000 people working around the globe, AstraZeneca needs to deliver key messages in a way that everybody understands. Using the best practice learning science and design principles, Sponge were able to turn the tables on people’s expectations of compliance training and embed an ethical culture.

Far from what can often be thought of as ‘boring’ compliance training, AstraZeneca wanted a creative learning solution that would transcend physical and cultural barriers to engage its employees to live and breathe the company’s values and ethical principles, regardless of their role, department and location.

Director of Sustainability: Education and Engagement, AstraZeneca

Louise Vamvoukaki

"When we set out to find a new supplier, we looked at a lot of vendors, but Sponge shone out from the rest; from the outset they understood what we were trying to do and shared our passion."

What stands in the way of embedding an ethical culture?

AstraZeneca approached Sponge with a few key challenges:

  • Ensure all workers in all roles are empowered to deliver to the same high standards
  • Limited access to certain devices among sections of the workforce
  • Exceed training targets of 90% completion rates within 30 days
  • Convey key compliance messages in line with business objectives
  • Engage and motivate people to support innovation as well as ethical behaviour

How do we embed an ethical culture at AstraZeneca?

Sponge used engaging, interactive digital learning, connected to everyday decision-making, to bring AstraZeneca’s Act Right Now values to life. The message was also refreshed with a new focus. Diversity, accountability and resilience were interwoven into the learning, with the ‘golden thread’ of sustainability, to educate people around the care of patients, society and the planet long-term.

The 2018 Code of Ethics was also made more conceptual so that the audience, regardless of job role, location, culture, experience or device, can apply them to a broad range of situations.

Sponge’s innovative learner-centric approach was based on the sound learning science and design principles:

  • A structure that promotes layers of engagement
  • Convey key concepts through video scenarios that prompt an emotional response
  • People learn better when multimedia learning is presented in small, user-paced segments
  • Spaced retrieval to embed long-term learning
  • A thread of familiarity using strong visuals, and recognisable characters
  • An appropriate amount of playfulness
  • The inclusion of conversation-based tasks to promote real-world discussions

Exceptional engagement and positive results

Completion rates were up 13% in 2018 compared to the previous training in 2017; there was a 21% increase in the number of employees who completed the training on Day 1; and 23% completed the training on mobile devices.

2,226 employees completed a feedback survey which showed:

  • 94% were likely or very likely to recommend the training to a new colleague
  • 90% felt very or extremely engaged with the learning
  • 86% said their understanding of AstraZeneca’s values had increased or greatly increased




"This has been the best Code of Ethics Awareness I have ever taken."

Let's talk.

Fill out the form below and let us demonstrate how we might be able to support you...

Find out how Sponge can support your organisation.

Are you looking for a bespoke learning solution that empowers your people?

Start a conversation today