Are People Really Your Most Important Asset?: A View from the Life Sciences Industry
By Alice Kwan, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
The current credit crisis provides an opportunity for large, cash-rich pharmaceutical companies to acquire smaller biotech businesses at low valuations. As the smaller biotechs struggle with private equity funding, they may need to merge or expand their alliances with larger players in order to survive. However, these M&A deals will add to the industry’s already full plate of talent challenges: an aging workforce; a shortage of science and engineering graduates; rising operating costs; a need to drive future R&D growth and innovation; and for some companies, a need to expand globally to reduce labor costs and increase the supply of technical, engineering and scientific talent.
Life sciences companies must recognize that the talent challenge is not just about supply and demand anymore. It’s about harnessing talent as a competitive advantage. To achieve this, companies must confront the changing needs and expectations of a new kind of workforce.
Give workers what they want. Today’s skilled workers want rewarding work, meaningful relationships, freedom and flexibility. Retention strategies, such as Mass Career Customization, can provide employees with flexible working arrangements and a wide range of options for professional development and growth.
Focus on critical workforce segments. In the life sciences industry, workforce segments that drive a disproportionate amount of value include the sales force, supply chain and R&D.
Prime the pump. To boost the talent pipeline, life sciences companies must increase their media awareness, implement outreach programs and work with academic institutions to generate positive interest in science and engineering.
Align rewards strategies. To motivate top talent and improve retention, rewards should be aligned with the stated needs of critical workforce segments, rather than with benchmarks and other external market data.
Emphasize career development. Compensation alone is not enough to retain top talent. Continuing education, leadership and advancement opportunities are essential to long-term success.
Now is the time to start turning talent challenges into organizational strengths. A comprehensive approach to talent management can help align talent strategies and talent solutions to drive improved business results.
Read the full Debate, Are People Really Your Most Important Asset?
Alice Kwan is a principal with the life sciences practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Join the Debates
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.