Over the past 3-4 years the pharma industry has seen a huge loss of talented marketing people. Some have been forced out due to layoffs while others have simply thrown up their hands and had enough of stringent bureaucracies that ignore empowered patients. If the pharma/biotech industries view marketing as an essential to their success than they have to anti up by recruiting and paying for talented marketers.
It’s not always the best and smartest person who gets hired today. A lot of people are afraid to hire people smarter than them and want people who just “fit in” and check off boxes like someone working on a production line. This type of hiring philosophy is killing innovation at biopharma companies and is turning some biotech companies into big pharma organizations that are doomed to fail.
Hiring managers should be aware that as the housing market comes back, and according to CNN it’s already back, consumers are going to spend more which is going to have a ripple effect leading to more jobs. The bad news for hiring managers is that it’s going from a buyers market to a sellers market and a lot of good talented and passionate people don’t want to work where they have to deal with tons of meeting to get even simple things done.
If biopharma companies want to excel in a new era of empowered patients and believe marketing is the key to success than they need to spend the money and hire talent. They need to ask themselves a basic question “does this person make our organization better ?” If the answer is yes than for God’s sake do whatever it takes to get them to say yes.
Here are some of my thoughts on hiring for biopharma:
(1) Hire people who are passionate about helping patients and love the challenge of marketing to empowered patients. For passionate people it’s no about the title or compensation it’s about succeeding in a patient centered environment and then wanting to share their successes with the whole company.
(2) Ensure that compensation and relocation packages are flexible so that you can hire great people. If you find someone that is “that good” than do whatever you have to do to hire that person. Don’t let your competitor outflank you.
(3) Don’t hire people who will just “fit in”, hire people who are game changers and challenge people to really think about what they are doing and how they are doing it.
(4) Hire people who believe in servant leadership. The servant-leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. Servant-leadership is a group-oriented approach to analysis and decision making that strengthens institutions and society, since it does not use profit as the sole motive.
When you interview people look at them as though you own the company and ask yourself if this person can add value to customers, patients and shareholders. The talent wars are coming and right now a career in biopharma marketing is the last choice for a lot of very bright people. We need these people because our marketing has to get better and be more innovative.