Overcoming recruiting barriers to attract and retain top biosciences talent

By on April 9, 2019

The complexity of the biosciences (biotech and biopharma) industry from the drug development process (early stage development to clinical trials and commercialization) to the increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions – all coupled with historical unemployment rates in the US – has led to a difficult talent crunch in the biosciences space.

More skilled and qualified candidates are needed to keep up. Retention of key employees has become increasingly challenging due to the number of smaller start-up companies who promise an investment stake when results are achieved, including profits and drug trial approvals from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Outlined below are some biosciences recruiting barriers and our suggested strategies to overcome them as part of your candidate and employee journey.

  1. Retention of employees. It’s obvious that we all want to retain employees, especially those in the critical positions tied to product development, manufacturing and sales.
    • One of the best ways to personalize retention is to understand the motivators and triggers for why your employees joined and why they stay.
      • You can achieve this in a simple survey or a workshop-style approach of key job categories and analyze the results to build personas and internal insights based on research.
    • Develop career paths so they see how they can advance and what goals need to be met.
      • You can build learning and development tools to help employees achieve career success at each level of their career journey as they acquire new skills.
  2. Understand the “rules of engagement” with the Regulatory/Public Affairs teams at your company.
    • Meet with the Regulatory/Public Affairs teams to better understand what you can/cannot publicize in terms of job offerings. social media and public relations. Often these teams have very strict guidelines to share and may even offer training for you and your team.
    • Develop and build relationships with these teams so they understand your hiring challenges and the talent crunch you face. Tie these critical talent needs to business objectives and emphasize how competitive the talent landscape is. Turn them into advocates and consultative partners for you.
  3. Leverage product and people photos. While some biosciences firms won’t allow product and people photos in their recruitment marketing communications, there are often alternative solutions. You can capitalize on a content strategy and bring your stories to life through that content. In addition, use illustrations and as a last resort, perhaps stock photography to better tell your talent story.
  4. Find the talent unicorn. The need for highly specialized roles in data science and manufacturing has created a competition with other industries for scarce, tech-savvy talent.
    • Create a digital strategy that takes full advantage of programmatic ad buying where software uses machine learning to identify over time your ideal candidates and helps to focus your budget on the sites that perform best.
      • Meet your talent at the right time and the right moment online via streaming advertising and social media channels (if permitted by Regulatory/Public Affairs).
    • If you can’t measure it, why bother? Make sure that whatever strategy is implemented, that pixels or alternative tracking can be placed on your career site or landing page to help drive metrics that tell the story from source through to hire. And remember that numbers are just that until they are analyzed to inform future results to improve your return-on-investment (ROI).

The above hurdles and subsequent strategies should help your biosciences team to map out their successful talent journey. Learn more about CKR Interactive’s biosciences expertise here.

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