Pharma’s golden handcuffs

People who stay with a company just because of their salary and benefits are not the kind of people that are needed to make the leap from good to great.

This week a friend and colleague I have known for over ten years decided to leave her current position where she was a top performer for a position where her expertise would be more valued. No one tried to stop her from leaving or asked if there was anything they could do to keep her. This is an inherent problem of big pharma.

Big pharma companies seem to think that to hold onto people, all they have to do is pay them well. That’s myopic thinking and can lead to your company’s downfall.

Katie started her career in pharma on the commercialization side, launching two drugs with her teams. She then moved to HCP marketing and finally became a Director of an MLS team. Her depth of knowledge was nothing short of outstanding, but even with all her knowledge of getting things done and a great salary, her expertise was often ignored to the point she said she felt “unneeded.”

Today the best organizations don’t just pay competitive salaries they make their people feel valuable as part of integrated team. However, as big pharma becomes bigger they often don’t have the time to nurture their best people and they wind up leaving.

Katie was recruited by a friend she used to work with and even though her move was a lateral move they hired her for her expertise in launching new drugs. “I immediately felt like I was part of the greater good,” she told me she continued “they actually look to me for leadership and that makes me feel like a valued employee”.

People are going to an open door, conceptual business illustration.

Katie was recruited by a friend she used to work with and even though her The biggest mistake Katie’s employer made was that, with her experience, she was underutilized because her employer held the strict requirement that people had to be in a position a certain time to get promoted even if they showed advanced capabilities.

Too many pharma companies pay their people well, pay for their internet and cellphone use, and think that makes them competitive. It doesn’t. In big organizations, there are too many people protecting their jobs by building empires to protect them.

Those people who work strictly because they are paid well might do the job but are they really the people you want to help build your brand/company?