Managers: Preparing for the Year Ahead

Managers: Preparing for the Year Ahead

For managers, the new year is typically a mix of emotions. On the one hand, it’s an exciting time as people feel more energized after the holiday break and are enthusiastic about the year ahead. It can even bring a sense of relief–the prior year is rearview and there’s an opportunity for a fresh start.

On the other hand, the new year can be daunting with new initiatives and budgets, and the pressure to make it all happen quickly. On top of that, there’s the stress of reviews and hiring that typically come this time of year. In general, the new year brings a renewed sense of pressure to keep everyone above and below happy.

With some preparation, the New Year doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. You can harness that New Year optimism by making resolutions that will allow you to start on the right foot and stay there. Let us help you get started. We suggested a few resolutions for managers and pulled helpful links.

Give effective feedback during performance reviews. In 2020, think of ways you can give your employees more effective feedback on their performance. If there is something your employee needs to work on, remember to focus on changeable behaviors rather than personality traits and work together to brainstorm a clear action plan for improvement. Even if your review is positive, try to be as specific as possible so that the compliments feel genuine and personalized.

Show your team you appreciate their hard work. Research shows that people do more for people who appreciate them. Everybody gets busy with the fast pace of biotech, so try setting a monthly calendar reminder to bring in a treat for the team or add a final to-do list item after a presentation to thank the team members who contributed.

Update your job descriptions. In 2020, try adding a sentence or two to your job descriptions that give it some flair. Most job descriptions are fairly generic and don’t highlight much of what sets your company apart or give job seekers an idea of the company culture.

Plan the recruitment cycle for the year. Don’t get caught scrambling to fill a role during the busy season. Start the recruitment cycle ahead of time so you can give some thought to who you are looking to add to your team. You will be able to find better candidates by thinking about things like cultural fit ahead of time.

Make time to review the accomplishments and the goals of the department. In the fast-paced world of biotech, it can be easy to get caught in maintenance mode where you are constantly executing and not thinking about the bigger picture. The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on all that your team has done, and plan for the year ahead.

Do any of these resolutions resonate with you more than others? If so, why?

Good luck!

The New Year: Thinking about your next career move

The New Year: Thinking about your next career move

The other day we got a call from a candidate who wanted to get on our radar for an impending career move. When we asked his time-frame, we were surprised to hear him say 2021. Often times we hear from candidates when they’re long past this pondering phase and more into the get-me-out-of-here phase. So kudos to that young man for having such foresight. 

While that extended time-line is extreme, our candidate does have the right idea to “always be looking.” While no job is ever 100% safe, that is the name of the game in the life sciences and I’m sure he knows that. In our industry, it’s important to be cognizant that things could change at the drop of a dime. That being said, you don’t need to be unnecessarily submitting job applications every day. So if everything is seemingly fine, when should you start the process of thinking about your next move? 

The new year is always a good time to take stock in your current situation. Typically this is the time of year that everyone is doing a little self-reflection and making goals, including the companies themselves. It’s also the time that hiring managers post the majority of their openings and get ready for performance reviews. 

To really make this analysis successful treat it like an exercise in data collection. Consider even assigning each piece of “data” a number value. For example, if you’re happy with your manager then maybe you assign it an 8 because that’s a crucial part of your happiness. But if the commute is horrible then maybe assign it a 2 because that’s unlikely to change. For the more data-driven, assigning numbers might offer a more objective view. 

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Write down all of the things you like about the job. Some questions to consider:
    • Are you excited about going to work each day?
    • Do you like the research/product?
    • Do you feel challenged? Supported? Appreciated? 
    • Do you enjoy your colleagues? 
    • Do you believe in senior management?
  • Write down what you dislike about the jobs. When writing these down, also note if you see a course of action for these things to change, i.e. there may be no telling if a bad manager will leave, but lack of resources might change if the company just received funding.  
  • Write down your career goals, and frame them as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. 
    • Given the climate of your company, how likely you are to attain these goals this year?
  • Think about your performance review. 
    • How do you think it will go? 
    • What would you say for self-evaluation and company evaluation? 
  • Review the past year of company business:
    • Most life sciences companies have a section on the website for investors and media that include financials, filings, stock information, SEC filings etc. 
    • Also, take a look at the jobs board–a robust jobs board is usually a good thing. 
    • Did senior management turnover or did they stay? 
    • Did people get promoted and did jobs get added?
  • Be sure to keep company business on your radar:
    • Know when research readouts and clinical trial results are set to be revealed.
    • Chat with employees from other departments–they might have more insight into how their team is doing.
    • If your company is a service provider, keep a close eye on your clients and how they’re doing. 
  • Take a peak at what else is out there. 
    • Review job boards.
    • Stay on top of industry news, especially in your location. Is a new company  moving in nearby and are they hiring?   
    • Keep your eyes on competitors.
    • Is there a technology making headlines that you’re interested in? 
    • Chat with colleagues at other companies.
    • Attend networking events to meet folks outside of your usual circle.
  • Talk with a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes they can give you a better read on the situation than you realize. 

As you’re collecting this data, you’ll likely start to get a sense of how you’re feeling about things.  However, it’s important to also take some time to review it altogether. This is where assigning number values can come in handy.  

If you see lots of low numbers or any of your findings gives you red flags, then it’s time to think about next steps. Begin by reaching out to a career coach or a recruiter. Sign up for job board notifications and go to networking events. 

If you complete your research feeling good about your role and the future of the company, then maybe a job change is put on the back burner. Only you can make that decision. But if any of the above topics raise small red flags, don’t ignore them. You may not want to go into a full out job search, but put the feelers out there. Maybe you don’t make the move until 2021 or maybe you end up finding the dream job you didn’t realize you wanted.

Practicing Gratitude: A Game-Changer For Your Career

Practicing Gratitude: A Game-Changer For Your Career

Gratitude is an incredibly powerful, positive emotion that is seldom experienced by so many of us who are caught up in the day to day demands of life. The rise of consumerism, never ending to-do lists and the ceaseless pursuit of enhanced social mobility often means that gratitude is displaced by incessant ambition and this isn’t healthy.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we hear the words thankful and grateful a little more. From #grateful social media posts to customer appreciation pies, expressing gratitude is in the air this time of year. That’s part of what makes it such a special time.  At the same rate, practicing everyday gratitude has become a more prominent cultural paradigm. Perhaps it’s because of the rise in studies on the science of gratitude, or maybe it’s just social media. Whatever the reason, with 7,000 listings on Amazon for “gratitude journal,” it’s safe to say our culture is adopting the practice of gratitude. 

Why is practicing gratitude helpful every day and not just the last 6 weeks of the year? According to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, “gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more.” Gratitude helps people feel more optimistic, and it helps us slow down in this rapid-paced world of ours.

Taking time to acknowledge the things you’re grateful for can be a game-changer for your overall wellbeing and health, but it can also make a big difference in your career. Here’s how:

For the job-seeker: It’s easy to lose faith in a job search, but this is where a gratitude journal can come in helpful. Take time to write down the successes of your search. Try to view setbacks in a positive light. For example, if you went in for a second-round interview but didn’t make the next cut, remind yourself that you got farther than most candidates. Acknowledge that you are doing better than when you started the search. Here are a few more tips on staying grateful during a job search. 

For the manager: According to PayScale’s report on employee engagement and retention, feeling appreciated at work is the biggest influencer on employee satisfaction, and underappreciated employees are much more likely to leave the company. So taking a few minutes to show your staff gratitude year-round will improve company culture while also making you feel good. PayScale offers more insight into workplace gratitude here and here

For anyone at any point in their career: Regardless of your career status, take a few minutes to remind yourself of your accomplishments. Not only will it help you work harder, but it can also help you be better. This article from Peter Bregman at the Harvard Business Review says that “identifying the things we are grateful for mirrors the areas we are hoping to improve.” According to Bergman “your path to improvement is hidden in your pleasure, not your discontent.” The Muse provides a handy infographic of why gratitude is so important. 

Do you practice gratitude every day? If so, what do you do? Sound off below.