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  • Date posted:19/09/2022
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With Brett Lofthouse

Recruitment. An area that many businesses struggle with, regardless of their industry. Finding the right people can be challenging; after all, there are multiple factors to watch out for.

After the pandemic, recruitment and hiring trends in pharma have started to change dramatically — and they’re not showing signs of stopping. Do you want to stay ahead of the curve?

In this article, we’re going to explore these five trends:

  • Candidates Gaining Power
  • Creating a High-Performance Culture
  • Increasing Recruitment Agency Usage
  • Developing a Tailored Work Experience
  • Pre-Boarding

Interested? Then keep reading.

1. Candidates Gaining Power

Traditionally, companies interviewed candidates. It was up to the individual to prove why a business should hire them, but that’s no longer the case.

Thanks to the talent shortage, the scales are quickly tipping in favour of the candidates. Especially in the Pharmaceutical sphere, people typically have several job offers at the same time. This means they have more choice than ever before, and companies need to prove why their offer should be accepted.

“People have got a lot more choice and are saying ‘why should I work for you?’”

This power shift towards the candidates also affects how clients progress through their hiring process. For example, if clients spend too much time contemplating a potential hire, they might find that a competing offer has already been accepted.

With this in mind, Pharma companies have to adapt their hiring practices if they want to continue sourcing the very best talent available. If there are any issues in the candidate experience, this can create a barrier and prevent the people you really want from joining.

It’s also worth thinking about what you can offer a potential new worker, instead of what they can offer you.

2. Creating a High-Performance Culture

It’s no secret that corporate culture drives financial performance; that’s one reason why top-performing businesses invest in maintaining it. Of course, this is much easier to manage when people are in the office.

“Your culture is shaped by the worst behaviour you are willing to accept.”

As more of the workforce shifts towards remote or hybrid working, this will undoubtedly become harder to manage. How do you promote a positive culture when your people aren’t in it?

Tracy Brower notes, “culture has always been a challenge to strengthen and sustain”. Focus on what makes you unique, and concentrate on reinforcing that through newer work systems.

This is doubly important for any new hires. Integrating them into established teams is much more complex when it’s not in person — but there are some simple tricks you can use.

Offer Trust

When people are working remotely, you have to trust that your employees will get their job done. Open and transparent communication can help, but frequently requesting updates can feel like micro-management and destroy morale.

Focus on Employee Wellbeing

It’s no secret that working remotely can severely impact an employee’s mental health. Humans are social creatures, so in the absence of an office, specific systems may be needed to ensure proper wellbeing. Consider hiring a mental health professional for your team to talk to as and when they need to.

Develop Team Bonds

Try having scheduled online ‘coffee breaks’, giving your team an excuse to get together and chat. Throw in some extra online events, like a whisky tasting or cookery class, and you can help develop the type of friendships that only arise outside of work hours.

Any of these points can easily apply to an office, so figure out what’s best for your team. If you want more ideas, why not check out what Forbes has to say?

It’s also crucial that you continue to recognise and reward hard work, as this can easily fall through the cracks. For example, Fraser Dove International holds weekly highlights meetings to recognise their employees’ hard work and achievements.

3. Increasing Recruitment Agency Usage

If you’re unaware, the peak of the Talent Crunch is fast approaching. It’s predicted that by 2030, we’ll have a worldwide talent deficit of 85.2 million workers. As the effects become more extreme, it’ll become harder for firms to fill roles — which is where recruitment agencies and talent consultancies come in.

We’re already starting to see the Talent Crunch in action as Pharma companies shift towards a significant reliance on executive search and recruitment agencies.

Fraser Dove International, for example, has seen rapidly increasing demand for its services.

“Clients are now using more of a blended model, a mix of in-house and specialised external recruiters.”

Currently, head hunters are being used to source the most challenging of pharmaceutical roles. Since it takes about 100 hours of search, outsourcing the recruitment for these roles can be cost-effective and time-efficient.

Using head hunters for the most challenging searches unblocks bottlenecks, and gives internal talent teams time to fill less specialised positions.

What Solutions are There?

Leaving a position open for too long puts added strain on your current team, since they’ll have to pick up the extra workload in the interim.

If your business is hiring itself, this added workload usually includes the extra work of finding, assessing, and onboarding the new hire on top of an employee’s standard workload.

Outsourcing your recruitment to a reputable executive search firm can be much more cost-effective. With the right recruitment firms, you’re benefitting from their experience in finding optimised talent for your team.

Often, the upfront cost of using a recruitment agency is a lot lower than the hidden costs of an unfilled (or poorly filled) role. These costs can include:

  • The vacant role’s loss of production
  • Offloading the vacant role’s responsibilities onto existing employees
  • Loss of revenue from the vacant role

So which would you prefer? To outsource your recruitment and keep growing, or to overload your TA teams?

4. Developing a Tailored Work Experience

If creating a high-performance culture is one side of a coin, then ‘The Great Resignation’ is the other. But what is it? Essentially, if people are unhappy with what’s being offered by their current place of work, then they’ll quit and find something else.

“People want to work in a way that works for them. They want something more tailored that suits their lifestyle.”

This poses a major threat to businesses, since workers aren’t even waiting to have another job lined up before they leave. According to the World Economic Forum, 20% of workers plan to quit in 2022. This is a huge portion of the workforce, and it highlights just how imperative it is to make your employees feel valued.

In fact, a significant portion of workers are choosing to become self-employed — especially since it offers more day-to-day freedom. This further reduces the talent pool, and hiring a freelancer long-term can prove far more costly than onboarding an employee.

So how can you overcome this?

Simple. Offer your employees a tailored work experience.

Flexible working systems should be implemented to allow your talent to find a harmonious work-life balance. It’s worth remembering that your people are individuals with entirely different lives. As such, you’ll find better success with a system that can be tailored to each person, rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy.

This specificity can help your employees feel seen and appreciated, instead of just another faceless number in your organisation.

Personal lives, especially when it involves looking after family, almost always come before a work life. If you penalise workers for having a life, you won’t have them very long.

5. Pre-Boarding

Companies are starting to wise up about how best to retain their talent. When employees hand their notice in, their current employer solves their problems before offering them a counteroffer. This has led to new starters deciding to stay with their current employers, rather than continuing with the switch.

If you want to improve your chances of bringing an employee onboard, you’ll need to implement pre-boarding strategies. This helps make your new starter feel like they’re already a part of your team, and limits their previous employer’s influence.

“Whatever the notice period, don’t let them forget the reasons why they wanted to join your company.”

Wondering what pre-boarding techniques you can use? Try some of these:

  • Keep in touch with candidates until they’re on-site with your company
  • Get them involved in any company days out
  • Integrate them with their team
  • Get their laptop/equipment ready and sent to them before they start

When you think about it, most of these pre-boarding suggestions shouldn’t be too difficult to implement.

Consider this: 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they encountered great onboarding. From a purely financial perspective, it makes sense to give your employees the best experience possible from the moment they sign the contract.

Considering a Change?

Implementing all these changes yourself can be a challenge, especially if other areas have required your attention.

If you’re interested in changing up the way you recruit, send a message to Brett Lofthouse, Head of Pharmaceutical Business Unit.

While you’re at it, why not give him a follow too? That way, you’ll stay up to date on the latest Life Sciences info.