March 25, 2016

Looking Outside the Box
In a growing and vibrant industry like Life Sciences, where high-quality, trusting relationship are important, staffing can be a challenge. The perennial shortage of job candidates with experience or critical skills means that organizations must either run short-staffed or engage in a bidding war to hire their ideal candidates.
However, under the rubric of Talent Optimization, a movement in HR that seeks to get more ‘bang for the buck’ through a range of smart strategies, some organizations are asking whether it might be possible to fill jobs with slightly different skill sets. Instead of just going for prior experience, for example, companies are considering related or applicable experience coupled with harder to find attributes like “drive” or great team building skills.
This is by no means a matter of throwing out the rule book; instead it implies a balance of imagination and diligence in considering a wider crop of job candidates. Listening to the results at a few organizations, it sounds like the approach is yielding a lot of positives with some caution thrown in.
The organizations trying this method of talent optimzation are looking at job descriptions and considering what an absolute is and whether substitute criteria could work. Perhaps more importantly, they are asking where and when a slightly different set of attributes could help energize, refocus or reinvigorate the organization.
In fact, the “breath of fresh air” that this kind of experiential diversity can provide to an organization almost seems to make the experience worthwhile. For example, sometimes ideas or attitudes brought in from a more consumer-oriented field or an entirely different industry can really make a difference.
For example, Life Sciences companies must deal with regulatory compliance in most areas of their business. Adherence to laws, timelines and being continually subject to government scrutiny is part of everyday reality. What other industries have similar challenges and landscape? Financial services is obviously one. What knowledge and innovation can we glean from that vertical and are their compliance practices in any way transferable?
Although we don’t know of any specific examples of compliance skill transfer, some companies trying this out-of-the-box approach to staffing seem to be getting the talent they need without resorting to excessive compensation. And, for those committed to building truly successful, open and trustworthy organizations, that more equitable arrangement is good for everyone.

Contributed by:

Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership, Demand Generation and Solution Design.