Great people are the foundation of any successful company, and particularly when it comes to bioanalysis. Laboratories critically need the right blend of talent—including not just scientists, but also quality personnel, project leaders, etc.— to produce high quality bioanalytical results for their clients. But our ever-evolving field, combined with the realities of today’s job market and increasingly discerning preferences of job seekers and employees, can make talent management a challenge.
So what practices are leading CROs using to attract, retain, and enrich talent today? Recruiting the best new people, while also retaining and continually expanding the skills of existing team members, is a top priority for BioAgilytix, and in a recent panel discussion with Bioanalysis Zone, myself and several leaders from other CRO organizations shared our thoughts on this very topic. I have included some key takeaways from that discussion below.
Recruitment: Emphasizing Opportunities for Growth
There was a time when all drug development involved only small molecule drugs, and students went to school for analytical chemistry and then moved on to work in an analytical lab on relatively isolated and straightforward projects for the majority of their careers. However, with the increasing focus on much more complex and complicated large molecule biologics, today’s bioanalytical teams must be truly cross-functional. These modern teams include scientists that come from a variety of backgrounds, including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and immunology.
This means that more and more young professionals are being exposed to large molecule bioanalytical work early in their career, and can gain early experience working as part of a multi-disciplinary team. We have found that these scientists are very excited for the chance to be integrally involved in the diverse discussions and decision making processes that are necessary in bioanalysis, and a key to recruiting passionate talent is to make clear to them that such opportunities are available. It is important for CROs to convey the immense opportunities for growth in this ever-evolving field, and that new hires will have the ability to grow both their depth and breadth of expertise across areas that best fit their skill sets and personal interests.
Retention: Encouraging Valuable Mentorships
Once great talent is onboarded, retaining them becomes the focus—and much of that relates to empowering them to continually grow in their roles. One way to embolden early career scientists to become more involved in their chosen profession is through strategic mentorship. Oftentimes the veteran insight and guidance of an appropriate mentor gives them the ‘leg up’ they need to reach the next level of success in their field. Facilitating connections between our young professionals and veteran mentors is critical, as both parties can learn a lot from each other in these relationships.
I’m particularly proud of BioAgilytix’s 95%+ employee retention rate (an industry-leading rate), and believe that a large part of that is due to how we foster collaboration and mentorship among our team. We view bioanalysis as an integrated, multi-discipline process, not an assembly line. We assign a cross-functional team to each project that is made up of scientists with different experience and skills, who are at different points in their careers, so that they can learn from each other and gain visibility into all aspects of the project from start to finish. We have seen that this produces the best scientists who are committed to their work and ever-curious about continually expanding their knowledge.
Enrichment: Supporting Diversity
We operate in a truly global world, and as such it is important to ensure CROs are recruiting, mentoring, and supporting employees of all different backgrounds. Having a diverse company culture, including people of all cultures, races, and genders provides an environment that encourages the development of ‘soft skills.’ Yes, we are scientists, but we are also managers, directors, and businessmen, interacting with many types of people internally and externally. Taking time to hone relationship skills is extremely valuable in a scientist’s career. It is also critical to a CRO as a company, as it provides people from different minority groups and cultures with the opportunity to progress beyond entry and mid-level roles to create balance and diversity at the executive level.
Watch part 2 of the “Business of Bioanalysis” panel series below to learn more about managing the pipeline of bioanalytical talent and staff.
You can also learn more about BioAgilytix’s approach to talent development at our Careers Center here.