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What Role Do Managers Play in Creating a Collaborative and Safe Environment for Employees?

What Role Do Managers Play in Creating a Collaborative and Safe Environment for Employees?

When it comes to company morale, it is crucial to consider how management affects your companies overall work environment. If a manager shirks their responsibilities or micro-manages everything your employees do, it will lower office morale and often cause a rise in turnover. On the flip side, if a manager encourages collaboration and a fair workload, employees will feel more valued and produce a better work product. Take a look at some key factors that contribute to healthy work environments and strong teams.

How do your employees work with your manager? 

Do they feel they can approach him or her with ideas and questions? It is essential to see how your staff work as a team with their supervisor. If the manager is approachable, your team will work together well, and things will run smoothly for the most part. When your employees feel their ideas are heard and that their manager has their back when dealing with a tough situation, the office community will be stronger and employees are empowered to take appropriate risks that drive results farther. Everyone will be more motivated to do better work. If your manager is unapproachable, overly rigid, or micromanages your staff, you will find the team doesn’t work as efficiently, and it will often affect their work ethic as well. They may try to find employment in a more supportive work environment. The old saying that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, can be very true in this case.

Does your manager have clear roles and expectations for each employee?

When your employees know their role in the company, it is easier for them to excel in their position. They will come in, knowing exactly what they need to do and how it is expected to be done. They will know which responsibilities are theirs, and which are their colleagues. Without this clarity from management, positions can become chaotic, confusing, and frustrating. Projects can be started and re-started as different employees struggle to carve out their own niche, and inadvertently step on each others’ toes. Constantly changing expectations can cause uncertainty for employees and will affect their work performance in many cases. If there are clear, consistent expectations set for everyone, it is easier for them to become experts in their position and focus on their projects, which will lead to increased morale and productivity.

How your manager treats your employees as a whole.

The politics involved in managing your staff can be precarious. You need to make sure your manager treats all of your staff equally and doesn’t show favoritism towards anyone or group in particular. Everyone in the office should feel secure that they don’t need to try to “brown nose,” the manager to be treated with respect as an equal. Your employees will appreciate your manager more if they know they are respected for their hard work and dedication to the company. Not because they made “friends” with the boss and became a “favorite.” It is imperative that all employees feel respected by and confident in the management.

It is crucial your manager makes sure the whole staff is doing their job.

Unfortunately, those team members who work the hardest or fastest are often leaned on more than those who don’t may not consistently put in the time and energy. If someone is not pulling their weight, it needs to be addressed, and it shouldn’t be assumed that those who always work hard are the ones who should bear the brunt of making up for their coworkers’ laziness. Your manager should make sure to address the issues with anyone who is not contributing as expected and provide backup support to those who are doing more than their own jobs. It can be very easy for the manager to keep going to the people he or she knows will always show up, and will never say “no” when asked to do extra work. Still, the best way to keep your hardworking employees working for you is to make sure everyone is doing their fair share, and all employees have adequate time to step away from work and rest.

Business owners and managers need to make sure employees have safe working conditions.

Providing a safe, clean environment has become more important than ever. Now that Covid-19 has become a part of everyday life, following the CDC guidelines and regulations to keep everyone safe has become a management responsibility. Managers need to make sure employees are completing a health screening and have all of the PPE they need to stay healthy. If someone in the office does come down with Covid-19, your manager needs to follow protocol and make sure testing and tracing are in place with the state. All employees also need to be notified along with any customers who may have had contact with the person who was infected. Additionally, managers should be sensitive to the added stress and uncertainty that all employees are juggling outside of work. We are living through a “new normal,” and unless everyone feels physically safe and emotionally supported, your work environment will suffer. You want to keep the morale up in your office. It will promote employee well-being, which in turn allows employees to work better for your company.

Is Work Taking Over Your Life? Here’s What to Do.

Is Work Taking Over Your Life? Here’s What to Do.

A career in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries can be very rewarding and fulfilling. But it often means working long, stressful hours.

Professionals in these industries are often mission-oriented, and aware that what they’re working to create, or manufacture can change lives. But what happens when there’s a significant amount of work that consumes everything else you do with no end in sight?

When your Job Becomes your Life

While it’s admirable and sometimes necessary to work whatever hours it takes to complete a project, it can be increasingly easy to forget to take time for yourself. As a life science professional, doing anything but work can seem like laziness or self-indulgence.

However, burnout is real, and if you’re not operating at full capacity because you’re exhausted, your work and personal life will suffer.

  • Try Keeping One Day Meeting-Free
    Often, meetings take time from being productive. Try establishing one day a week (or two afternoons) as “meeting-free.” Setting aside a day to get work done will do wonders for your productivity. You’ll get more accomplished during the day and take home less work (and stress) at night.
  • Don’t Always Be the First Person in or the Last Person Out
    Punctuality and a good work ethic are important. But professionals who spend ridiculously long hours at work may only be demonstrating poor time management. Make an effort to prioritize tasks and leave on time at least three nights a week. One tactic is to put an appointment on your calendar for the end of the day, so you have a reason to leave.
  • Learn to Say “No”
    Every time you say “yes” to another task, you’re increasing your work time, and decreasing your “me” time. Set a list of priorities and make decisions accordingly. Obviously, there will be times when “no” is not the right answer, but in those cases, ask which project is more important and set your priorities.
  • Protect your Time Away from Work
    If you have to take work home, make sure you set time limits for yourself, so it doesn’t eat up all of your personal time. Triage the important stuff. Respond only to the most critical emails, then leave the rest for when you’re back at your desk.
  • Make Family a Priority
    The people you love and who love you aren’t expendable – and your job should be built around that. If family emergencies happen, show up. Consistently make time to be there for the people that you love and count on you.
  • Take a Vacation (or Staycation)
    Remember: Vacation and personal time exist for a reason. Take the day’s you’ve accrued. You’re supposed to use these days, and you (and your manager) will ultimately be glad you did. Let your coworkers know you’ll be offline until you return. Your work and attitude will improve after taking a break.

As a life science professional, your work is important. But it’s also important to recognize that you can operate much more effectively if you regularly take some time for yourself. No one can survive for long – or perform at their best – by running at 100 miles an hour all the time!

7 Steps to Getting the Salary You Deserve!

7 Steps to Getting the Salary You Deserve!

Feeling overworked and underpaid?

Whether you’re a full time, part-time, or temporary employee, it’s important to know your worth when accepting a job or seeking a raise.

Feeling underpaid is a predicament that many people find themselves in, whether at a new job or an old one. In fact, not negotiating your salary because you don’t know your worth could cost hundreds of thousands from your lifetime earnings.

Here are seven negotiation suggestions to get the salary you deserve:

1. Know Your Value

To get the pay you deserve, you need to know the going rate for your specific industry and your area. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who can control the conversation. Do this by doing an online search on sites such as Payscale or Glassdoor, or by asking others in your field.

2. Talk to a Recruiter

One of the best ways to discover your true worth is to reach out to a recruiter in your area. They know what people with your experience and expertise are worth, so use it to your advantage! They may not be able to give you a specific number, but even a range is helpful.

3.  Know When to Ask for a Raise

If you’re otherwise happy at your job, but your salary has remained static over a period of time, you’re likely underpaid. It’s time to ask for a raise! You may think your hiring manager should know when you deserve an increase, but that’s not always the case. Talking to your employer about a raise can be tricky, so be smart and cautious about it.

4.  Present your Accomplishments

It’s important to make sure your boss knows about the great things you’re doing. One way is to prepare a one-page summary that highlights your accomplishments. List things since your last review, such as positive sales numbers, increased responsibilities, successful projects, etc.

5.  Engage in Discussion

You should be prepared to discuss your pay with your hiring manager, HR director, or whoever can give you a raise. Understand what your boundaries are. How much flexibility are you going to allow? What are you willing to accept or not accept? Listen to what your employer proposes, and if not satisfied, come back with a compromise and other suggestions.

6.  Don’t Rush It

It’s a good idea to consider an offer depending on how close it is to what you want. If you’re asked how long you need to think it over, say you’ll let them know in the next day or two. Even if the offer seems perfect, it’s usually good to not commit right away.

7.  Consider your Options

If your supervisor won’t (or can’t) improve your salary, try negotiating for flex time, more vacation, a better title, or plum projects. It’s important to keep the conversation positive so, don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get a raise. You can, however, quietly begin your job search.

A Final Thought

Whether it’s a new job or an existing one, negotiating for the salary you want can be stressful. The good news is, with the proper preparation, research, and attitude, you can make it happen.

Sci.Bio is a leading recruitment and search firm based in Boston. We specialize in finding and hiring the best talent to fill temporary openings, long-term positions, and executive roles in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries.  To learn more, visit our website today!

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts  Part 3: A Recruiter’s Point of View

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 3: A Recruiter’s Point of View

In the first two parts of this series we recapped and analyzed MassBioEd’s 2019 Massachusetts Life Science Employment Outlook. In this final part, we’d like to offer our take on the matter.  As recruiters, we are conduits between these employers struggling to find the best talent and the talent pool. Our job is to not just place candidates into somewhat suitable roles; we want to make the best match for both client and candidate. Yet, with the narrow pool of candidates that can be a challenge.

In fact, we have people on staff whose entire job is to scour the web to widen that pool—they’re called sourcers. We do have a vast database of candidates who submit their resumes through our website and other sources, but still many of the jobs we are tasked with filling are extremely specialized. Thus, we look to our data wizards (the sourcers) to identify appropriate candidates with Boolean searches, plug-ins, and other complex methods. Through these methodologies and other candidate search tactics we’re able to find candidates who aren’t actively applying to jobs or candidates who may not have put the full extent of their experience on LinkedIn.

There’s no guarantee we can find local candidates, so sometimes we are quite literally plucking candidates from their lab elsewhere in the US to fill a role here in Massachusetts. Since life sciences isn’t exactly the most remote-friendly work, employers are then faced with providing relocation packages. For some of our smaller clients, it can be hard to compete with the larger companies in this area.

We’re also seeing more candidates have two or three good offers to choose from, which means our clients need to sell their company as a great place to work.  Again, this can be a challenge for some of the smaller companies who can’t offer the same benefits as larger ones can. Those smaller employers try to emphasize culture and hope that they can bring someone on board who really believes in the mission.

The need for stronger connections between academia and industry, and better career development is apparent in our everyday work. We see everything from poorly formatted resumes and ill-prepared interviewees to talented scientists simply lacking direction—all shortcomings that could be solved with some of the solutions mentioned in the report.

We have a unique vantage point of the industry and it’s pretty clear the talent shortage and the lack of industry exposure is causing a strain not just here in Massachusetts, but all across the U.S. We will work hard to be a part of the solution by continuing to speak about scientific career paths, by volunteering with science education programs, and by being an advocate for the industry in our professional and personal circles. What will you do to help? Let us know!

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts  Part 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Action Steps

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Action Steps

In the first part of this series we provided a quick glance at the top facts derived from MassBioEd’s extensive  2019 Massachusetts Life Science Employment Outlook. Before we go further into what appears to be a grim outlook, let’s take a step back to think about the bigger picture. The talent shortage is happening, in part, because the life sciences industry is growing so quickly.  Growth in the life science industry means more lives saved, healthier people, longer lives.  And even better news–Massachusetts is at the helm.

CBRE’s US Life Sciences Clusters Report states that Boston-Cambridge is the leading life science market in the nation.  MassBio’s Life Science Industry Snapshot offers a few other bragging points:

  • Four of the top five NIH funded hospitals are here in Massachusetts.
  • $4.8B in venture capital investments were made in Massachusetts life science in 2018 (an increase by five-fold since 2009).
  • 18 life science IPOs in 2018 were headquartered in Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts researchers are currently researching or developing products for over 400 medical indications.

The digital revolution has propelled the industry even further over the last two decades. With the introduction of new modalities, the industry is on pace to continue its rapid growth here in Massachusetts and across the U.S….unless there aren’t enough workers.

The Bad News

If the talent shortage continues, then that rapid pace of discovering cures and sending therapies to market will surely slow down.

The authors of the MA Life Sciences Report offer the following warning:

“In short, there is no end in sight to the talent shortage when only traditional means of preparing tomorrow’s workforce are utilized. The future of this industry depends on a robust pipeline of talented and passionate people to make the next generation of scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs.”

The Action Steps

The report does not end there. The authors provide clear action steps to help remedy the issue. The following recommendations were made:

  • Strengthening partnerships between industry and academia to help bridge the gap between what students learn and what employers are seeking.
  • Generating more awareness around the industry early on in students’ academic careers.
  • Creating more opportunities in industry exploration for college students studying a science-related field.
  • Providing more support to pre-and postdoctoral students, who often struggle transitioning between academia and industry.
  • Offering more professional development opportunities to existing employees.
  • Strengthening workers’ soft skills, which do not always come naturally to scientists.
  • Implementing different types of training methods that cater to non-traditional workers.

Also, just a note that while not identified under the list of recommendations the report does also say that we must continue to support immigration so that foreign-born workers can grow the workforce.

The report makes it clear that there is a real need to create more awareness around the industry at all levels. In The Boston Globe’s coverage of the report, Jonathan Saltzman hones in on the lack of exposure at the high school level. There is also a glaring need to pursue non-traditional training and development methods, a topic that was recently explored in depth by Biospace. The article offers an extensive list of ways for life science workers to enhance their professional development.

For an industry that is making such strides in technology, it’s being lagging in workforce development. The Baker Administration is addressing these concerns in its latest economic development plan. The plan focuses on workforce development and calls for steps to build on the growth in several sectors including life sciences and healthcare. Organizations like MassBioEd and Science Club for Girls are also working hard to be part of the solution.  Still, there is more to be done.

In the final section, we’ll wrap up by providing our commentary on the report and the outlook.

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 1: The Annual Massachusetts Life Sciences Employment Report Abridged

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 1: The Annual Massachusetts Life Sciences Employment Report Abridged

Several weeks ago, MassBioEd, the sister organization of MassBio that focuses on workforce development, released its Annual Massachusetts Life Sciences Employment Report. The 60-page report offers a look into the local industry’s impressive history of growth over the past decade while putting the past year under the microscope. The report paints a clear picture of an industry that’s growing faster than the workforce that maintains it—an issue that has become abundantly clear over the past several years. It’s an issue that doesn’t just impact one subsector of the industry—it reaches across verticals, impacting the most junior positions through the most senior leadership roles.

While we’ve made incredible strides in the name of science, we have not done the same for science education. The consequence is that the Massachusetts life sciences industry does not have enough workers to maintain the level of growth it’s experiencing, and the concern is real.   As recruiters, we are on the front lines of this issue. It’s a challenge that we face daily with all clients and all roles, giving us a unique vantage point.

MassBioEd offers a multi-pronged approach to remedy the issue, with the understanding there is no quick fix. The talent shortage is a deep-seated issue that requires far-reaching support.  For that reason, report author Karla Talanian, MassBioEd’s Director of Talent & Workforce Development, encourages readers to engage in conversation on “how to grow our talent pipeline and maintain the rate of advancement in the life sciences.”

In this series, we start by providing a cliff notes version of the report by highlighting the top facts. We then move to an analysis and broader look in the second part. We close out by following up on Talanian’s request to talk about the outlook with our take on the matter.

A few things to note. The report talks about life sciences employment, it’s not just talking about people working directly for biopharma companies (industry jobs). It’s also talking about employees that focus on life sciences in academia, corporations, or clinical labs (non-industry life sciences jobs). The research is primarily based on 2018 data, unless otherwise noted.

The Facts: There are many variables that have led to the life sciences talent shortage in the US and in Massachusetts. In order to fully understand the scope of the issue, we have highlighted 10 key facts from the report along with some additional research.

  • Fact 1: The effect of the life sciences on the overall labor economy is 2.5 times greater for Massachusetts than the next closest states.
    • How is this calculated? The data compares the number of advertised jobs with every 10,000 employed persons in the state. For every 10,000 employed persons in Massachusetts, there were 108 non-industry life science jobs posted in 2018. The runner up was Maryland with 42. For industry jobs the number was 80 jobs, and the runner up was New Jersey with 33.
  • Fact 2: The past decade has seen a 35% increase in life sciences employment in Massachusetts with the most growth being in R&D (up 53%).
    • For comparison purposes, in the past decade overall employment in Massachusetts has risen by 12%. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Fact 3: Job growth in the industry is projected to keep rising over the next 5 years–12,000 new jobs. That’s up from 74,000 total jobs today, which gives us 86,000 total jobs by 2024.
  • Fact 4: Data from The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) says that between 2009 and 2015, U.S. elementary and middle school students have only somewhat increased in proficiency in science, and high school students have pretty much stayed the same in proficiency. In essence, U.S. students are not receiving better preparation to pursue scientific careers.
  • Fact 5: Since 2010 the demand for High School and Associate level candidates in the life sciences has significantly increased both Nationwide and in Massachusetts (128% and 140%, respectively). Yet the number of community college graduates has not increased.
  • Fact 6: The demand for Bachelor level candidates in the life sciences has also steadily increased since 2010, yet lately the number of college graduates has become stagnant. Note that between 2010 and 2017 this number was steadily increasing.
    • The other issue is that while the number of students studying life sciences related majors has increased, it’s still nowhere near the demand.
    • And the other issue with this subsector is that many students with science related majors do not choose life sciences related career paths, rather they go into computer science or healthcare.
  • Fact 7: The trend continues at the Master’s level, where the demand far outweighs the supply. For this subsector, the number of students pursuing STEM related degrees has significantly increased, but these students still make up such a small number of students pursuing degrees at the Master’s level.
  • Fact 8: The industry is reliant upon doctoral level candidates to take on leadership roles, but the number of graduates pursuing the PhD level course of study is projected to remain the same if not possibly decline.
  • Fact 9: Foreign-born talent plays an important role in Science & Engineering Occupations in the US. In 2016, 23.3% of employees in those occupations were foreign-born (v. 29.5% in Massachusetts).
  • Fact 10: The report also featured the results from a comprehensive employment survey of life science companies of all sizes in Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, most respondents said that competition was their biggest obstacle in hiring and retaining talent.

So now we have the facts. What does this all mean? In the next part, we dive into a short analysis of the situation at hand.