How pharma can attract and keep talented, employees

SUMMARY: I believe the biggest challenge facing pharma companies doesn’t come from legislation or R&D. It comes from being able to recruit and hold onto people who have a passion for the industry and get discouraged by a culture of endless meetings and matrix decision making. Here are some suggestions on how, I believe, pharma can attract and keep great employees.

new survey from remote and flexible jobs site FlexJobs asked over 4,600 workers about their career paths and what they’re looking for in a job. Of those surveyed, 68% said they’d “consider changing careers” — and they’d rather change careers to have a better work-life balance than getting paid more. But that’s not enough.

I talk to many people in the industry, and I’m finding that they are burning out and that their jobs are taking a toll on their personal lives. I routinely get emails from clients well into the night and have several email me at 6 AM. It’s not because they love their job; they have too much work and spend too much time in meetings.

So what can senior pharma executives do to make their company a great place to work for employees?

1ne: Make it a goal to reduce meetings – No meetings on Friday and only have meetings when there is a clear objective and need.

2wo: Empower employees to make a difference – There is a difference between going rogue and taking a calculated risk. Teach people to understand the differences.

3hree: PLEASE! Get rid of the open office concepts. Employees hate them, and studies show that they actually lead to less productivity.

4our: Remove managers who are consistently rated low by subordinates. The number one reason people start looking for new jobs is that they feel their manager doesn’t appreciate their work or is a poor manager.

5ive: Change the recruiting bureaucracy – Taking 5 weeks to get hired and forcing candidates to go through many interviews is a great way to lose potentially great people.

6ix: Reward good work – Remember the days of getting an American Express certificate for great work? Some companies give employees points that can be used to buy popular products from an online catalog.

7even: Give raises that matter – A 3% raise doesn’t mean a damn thing if health insurance costs go up 5%. A 3% raise for a good performer is an insult.

8ight: Teach managers to become mentors. Managers need to teach people how to work within the company, become better employees, and get better.

9ine: Please stop with the team-building exercises – They don’t work and employees hate them.

The pharma industry is competing for good people now, and they are losing the battle. Too many companies are hiring, and employees have a lot of options. When you lose a good employee, you lose the experience that can’t be made up with a new hire.