Over the past two years of uncertainty and transition, executives have had to tap into their leadership toolkits to keep teams buoyed. As the pandemic wanes into an endemic and C-suite executives look ahead, they recognize that future success requires a renewed focus on talent development and retention to drive greater collaboration and innovation.
For this installment of our ongoing series, “PharmaVoice Forecast,” which features predictions and insights from our community of life-science executives, we asked leaders about their greatest concerns in the short term. In response, several C-suite execs noted that talent acquisition is a key component of their strategic objectives.
Here’s what they had to say about why it’s imperative to attract more talent from outside the industry, how to understand employees’ needs in a hybrid-work world and why prioritizing collaboration is a sound approach to encouraging innovation.
Greater flexibility will be part of the new normal
“As we continue to coexist with the coronavirus, the most immediate short-term strategic imperatives are improvements in office design that allow a more flexible work environment given the market's current needs. Hence, the new normal will require greater work flexibility. The ability to work remotely will require various virtual services to help make us as productive as possible.” ~Anthony Mack, CEO, Virpax
The industry needs to attract new types of talent
“My biggest concern is the need for more talent across the healthcare industry. We have incredible opportunities to accelerate clinical research and advance new treatments for patients, but we need healthcare professionals across all parts of our industry to be part of the solution.
Healthcare providers and sites are stretched to address patient-care needs, and this is creating more pressure on clinical research, too. We need to attract new types of talent and develop new training programs to support advances in clinical innovation.” ~Peyton Howell, president, consulting and chief commercial and strategy officer, Parexel, PharmaVoice 100
Employee priorities are shifting
“On the agency side, collaboration is at the heart of our business and now, collaboration is more important than ever between cross-functional expert teams and life-sciences clients. McKinsey issued a recent article entitled ‘Great attrition or Great attraction? The choice is yours.’ In it, analysts speak to the importance of workplace interaction vs. transaction. One short-term strategic imperative I’m focused on is exactly this — ensuring the agency is a collaborative, diverse and thriving post-pandemic organization.
Our efforts are increasingly concentrated on opening new paths to attract a broader, more diverse talent base to our industry. Additionally, trends suggest a widespread, growing push to allow for greater flexibility in how we spend our time, as well as a desire to be involved with, and contribute to, meaningful, purpose-driven work. Leaders should take note that the factors we may think are important to employees are shifting and therefore, workplace strategies must follow to adapt and thrive. Moving toward hybrid work environments, embracing location-agnostic roles and, importantly, being more intentional about our time together when in the office, all factor into the trends we are tracking and the reactive approaches we’re piloting.” ~Kim Johnson, global CEO, Ogilvy Health, PharmaVoice 100
Expanding beyond pharma for new talent
“We are looking at creating new pools of talent, as we are seeing many more leave the industry than those joining the industry. Without talent, drug development will be delayed and continue to be costly.” ~Julie Ross, president, Advanced Clinical, Red Jacket
Collaboration and innovation are melding together
“There undoubtedly will be a consistent focus on delivering solid business performance amid careful management of patent expirations, ongoing new drug discovery, as well as pricing pressures. That said, and as we evolve in a post-pandemic era, addressing supply chain stability and a fast and evolving change in customer needs with a digital framework in mind, coupled with a partnership mentality will, I believe, challenge the current leadership within the life-sciences industry.
There will be more of a focus on col-lab-o-vation (my word) to move toward a model where collaboration and innovation will yield far greater results and outcomes.” ~Donato Tramuto, CEO and chairman, Health eVillages, Red Jacket