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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.

3 Ways to Fix a Flawed Interview Process

3 Ways to Fix a Flawed Interview Process

As a life sciences professional, interviewing candidates is an important final step in what may have been a long hiring process. Getting the right hire can mean the difference between building a “good” team vs. having a “great” one.

However, at many companies, HR leaders and team managers haven’t updated their hiring procedures or taken the time to customize the recruitment process.  In the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” guise, many organizations go through the same basic routine they’ve done for years and fail to make the changes that would result in more effective interviewing and, therefore, stronger teams with less turnover.

While it’s not necessary to completely start from scratch when it comes to your interviewing techniques, it’s important to understand that markets shift, applicants change, and, especially during COVID-19, systems for interviewing and onboarding have become more flexible.

The following are three danger signs to watch out for – with suggestions on how to remedy your processes:

     1.      Your Interviews are Too Short and you’re all asking the same questions

A short interview – of 20 minutes or less – is not only insufficient to learn all of the necessary information about a candidate, it’s also disrespectful. Candidates spend weeks researching organizations, filling out applications, and doing their due diligence. To arrive at an interview only to walk out of the door less than half an hour later is anticlimactic at best, and harms your company’s reputation at worst. Adding to the insult of a short interview, interview teams are often not assigned to focus on areas of competence or skill and default to redundant, predictable, questions that fail to uncover a candidate’s true capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Solution: Try not to rush things. Learn a little bit about them and their interest in the role before you dive into prepared questions. Candidates should have time to ask questions throughout the interview, not just as it’s wrapping up, and you should ask follow-up questions to gain a deeper understanding of their background and skills. You’ll learn more about the candidate and be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Develop a Behavioral Based Interview format where interviewers are assigned competencies and values that resonate with the role. This will allow useful assessments that can be benchmarked against other candidates.

 

     2.      The Interview is Your Only Hiring Tool

Interviews should not be the sole basis of a hiring decision. An interview shows managers how candidates behave in a professional setting, but they provide little evidence of what each individual brings to the table. Some people may interview well and be a great fit on paper, but they may not fit in with the team culture. Others may interview poorly, but have great technical skills that your team needs. This is especially true for highly skilled positions in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences industries.

The entire application and interaction process from first interaction through references should be used as an opportunity for evaluation of candidates.  Attention to detail, timeliness can be assessed through email interactions as an example. Carefully worded reference questions can reveal weaknesses that may have not been apparent: ”Is there any additional training or development that candidate name  could benefit from in his/her development?” or “Why do you think candidate name wasn’t promoted, or left?” both allow opportunities for the reference to supply details you may not have uncovered yourself during the interview process.

Solution: Once you’ve narrowed down your selections to a handful of qualified individuals, you should find multiple ways to assess their skills and experience.  For example, if you’re hiring a life sciences writer, it doesn’t make sense to judge them purely on their personality or conversational skills. Examining each candidate’s portfolio of work or asking them to do a brief writing example would demonstrate if they’re right for the job. Similarly, if you are hiring a lead Scientist who will need to present data, ask them to prepare a short presentation and Q&A session.  Assess written follow up emails for both timeliness and attention to detail. Don’t ask cookie cutter reference questions that “check the box.” Instead ask questions that probe at the heart of candidate competency.

 

     3.      Only HR Personnel Conduct Interviews

Counting on only the HR department to interview and recommend the final candidate could lead to a poor hire. As capable as they may be, HR won’t know as much about the job as someone who has hands-on experience.

Solution: While HR can do the initial screening, hiring managers should conduct the follow-up interviews since they have the best understanding of the position’s requirements and the current team’s strengths and weaknesses. Most human resources professionals recommend that at least three company stakeholders become part of the  interview process, including the position’s direct manager, the manager’s boss, and the team’s relevant members.

 

Conclusion

Not every interview technique and process works for every company.  No two job applicants are the same, and no role is identical because a company’s needs change over time and so do roles and responsibilities. By being willing to look at your systemic flaws and adapting to what works and what doesn’t will help you attract and hire the best employees.

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!

Taking the Confusion out of Working with a Recruiter

Taking the Confusion out of Working with a Recruiter

If you’re a candidate looking for a career in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and Life Sciences industries, recruiters can help you locate and land the position you’re looking for. They can match you with employers and roles that are perfect for your skills, interests, and values. They also have access to open positions that you won’t find on job boards and can help prepare you for the interview process.

But did you know there are many types of recruiters – and recruitment firms – out there? Knowing the right one to engage with can be confusing, and understanding their roles can go a long way toward ensuring a successful and timely job search. One thing to keep in mind: you should work with a recruiter that understands and is experienced in the type of position you’re looking for.

Here are four types of recruiters to consider depending upon your specific need:

  • Contingency Recruiter

When a job candidate gets hired, the recruiter gets paid. That’s how it works for contingency recruiters. Their fee is “contingent” upon one of their candidates being successfully hired. So if a contingency recruiter finds you a job, he or she is paid either a flat fee or a percentage of your first year’s salary by the company that hired you. Normally, you don’t have to pay a fee.

Remember, recruiters are NOT working for you – they work for the client with the job opening. However, if you’re the right fit for the position, they’ll work hard to get you in the door.

  • Retained Recruiter

A retained recruiter has an exclusive relationship with an employer. They are hired for a specific period of time to find a candidate for a job, generally for senior-level positions in a company or for positions that are difficult to fill. They are paid expenses, plus a percentage of the employee’s salary, regardless of whether the candidate is hired. As a job seeker, you don’t have to pay a fee. Retained recruiters work very closely with the client to find the best person for the job with exactly the right skillset and experience.

  • Corporate Recruiter

Corporate Recruiters work in-house for a company’s HR department and are paid a salary and benefits just like any other employee. They often have titles such as HR Manager or Hiring Manager. Their job is to find new employees for the company they work for – usually large companies with many hiring needs.

  • Temporary / Contract Staffing Agency

Temporary (temp) agencies find employees to fill temporary jobs for their clients. Temps are often hired when companies have a rush, short-term projects, or to cover vacations or illnesses. When a temp agency places you in a position, they pay your wages, taxes, insurance, and benefits and charge the employer an hourly rate for your time. Many temp agencies are set up so that if an employer wants to ultimately hire a temporary worker full-time, the agency can handle that as well.

Summing it Up

Working with the right recruiter, who’s experienced working with job seekers in pharma/biotech, can help take the stress out of your job search. By understanding your skills and experience – while also having a firm grasp of the job market,  industry, and open positions – a skilled recruiter could be exactly what you need to further your career.

How Science Grads Can Get Hired by Biopharma Companies

How Science Grads Can Get Hired by Biopharma Companies

A career in Biotech can be very rewarding. It’s an industry that develops cleaner energy sources, furthers medicine and cures, and develops higher-yielding crops to feed the world’s growing population.

Whether you’ve spent the past few years working on a Ph.D. or are about to finish your first degree, entering the biotech industry is an alternative to the more conventional life-science paths that lead through medical school or end in academia.

But it can be tough to know where to begin. And with the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, it can be hard to identify current job opportunities. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin your new career:

  • Do your Research

With any job, it’s important that candidates do proper research – not just about the job they’re applying for, but about the company they’re hoping to work for. Target companies you’re interested in reaching out to and check out their websites. See if you know anyone who may work at the companies and reach out. Get an understanding of what the organization does, their corporate culture, the leadership group, etc.

  • Find a Mentor

Whether it’s a professor or an established professional in the field, a mentor can go a long way toward helping new grads get their feet in the industry door. Identify one or two potential mentors that you feel you can build and nurture long-term relationships with. Mentors can be advantageous in advancing your career, providing sage advice and guidance based on their experience and expertise.

  • Build your Network

Just like doing good science takes collaboration, so does building your career.  Build a strong network for both career growth and increased learning.   A network of peers can be a valuable group to brainstorm with, glean best practices from and learn about new technologies.

  • Be Aggressive but Be Patient

It may be difficult for new grads to do, but not jumping at the first job offer can be the key to finding a great job. Students with STEM degrees are in the driver’s seat in the current economy and don’t need to settle for an immediate job offer. Pharma/biotech companies aren’t always the first on campus, so be patient and use due diligence to find the right role. When you arrive at the interview, ask questions about the job expectations and responsibilities to get a good feel for the position.

  • Accept an Internship

As a newly minted grad, what you’ve done (work experience) is often more important than what you know (degrees, awards, etc.). An internship that allows you to work in your chosen field will enable you to gain a practical understanding of what it’s like in the real world. It can also provide opportunities to build relationships and show potential employers that you have work experience – giving you a head start vs. the competition. Lastly, some companies hire interns once their term has been completed.

A Final Thought

If you know a biotech career is right for you but aren’t sure what type of position would be best, it’s important to reach out to the industry professionals. Creating a network of working professionals can help you decide on your career path. Also, working with an experienced biotechnology recruiter will remove a lot of the time and stress in finding your first job – and the right one.

 

 

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.

Conclusion
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!

The Art of Persistence: Overcoming 3 Common Recruiting Objections

The Art of Persistence: Overcoming 3 Common Recruiting Objections

In January of 2018, I was prospecting potential recruiting clients in Minnesota and I saw one company already in our system that looked interesting. I revisited previous messages between my company and the client, and I noticed the hiring manager was not only very defensive but also had declined recruiting assistance in the summer of 2017. Plenty of time had passed since then, so I figured that it could not hurt to check in and see how things were going with the client. Months later, I had successfully filled all four of the openings on the hiring manager’s team.

It is easy to give up all hope when the word “no” resonates as a sense of failure. Admittedly, I have been there before and left potential business on the table because I walked away. This was an insidious mindset that I had developed early on in my career. It wasn’t until January 2018, that I realized “no” is temporary when it comes to recruiting new clients. Just because someone tells you a working relationship cannot be developed does not mean that it will not. As my current manager often says to me, “a no is a yes waiting to happen” in the context of contingent business development. Over time, I have learned how to navigate a “no” in a way that still proves my value as a recruiter.

Objection: “We are all set for right now and don’t need any recruiting services.”

Overcome By: Monitoring company activity and checking back in one to two months later.

This is the most common form of “no” in the hiring process. Just because a hiring manager mentions they are all set, it does not mean the hiring process is complete. Give the hiring manager some time, but circle back soon to see how things went with their hiring. Even if they completed the search, you’ve now initiated a professional dialogue between another professional in the field by actively building a relationship. Checking in goes a long way because the next open role could very well be at the front of their mind and here you are, readily available to lend a hand. To maintain that relationship, I strongly advise making consistent small gestures such as wishing happy a holiday or congratulating company successes. It may seem unusual at first, but I can promise you that the small effect may ripple into larger ones in the future. If you care for your prospect, then you will receive care as well.

Objection: “We already work with another firm/agency/recruiter.”

Overcome By: Proving your value

It is a rarely straightforward process to become an approved vendor with a prospective client when you factor in agreement negotiation and the process of signing documents. In a similar vein, it is easy to feel like the cards are stacked against you as a prospecting business. But, don’t give up!

For recruiters that focus in specialized niches, this is your time to shine. Allow time for the hiring process to continue, and if the position remains unfilled, go to your best prospect who is available and looking, and showcase highlights from the candidate’s resume to the hiring manager. Loyalty can be a double-edged sword in business. For hiring managers, it is a great feeling to know that you can rely on someone to get the job done. However, some roles are not linear, and even the strongest recruiters can overlook an unturned stone. This is a frequent dilemma. So, hiring managers who are not finding success must turn to alternative solutions – you.

Not only are you coming to the rescue, but you are also proving your value by walking the walk. Hesitant hiring managers are only hesitant because all-day solicitation from multiple recruiters can seed doubt into any other new recruiter approaching them. If that is the case, then do not tell them what you can do. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. Be respectful and thoughtful, and do not send over unwarranted candidates. Maintain professionalism by explaining you are associated with active candidates who possess the hard-to-find skills that they’re so vehemently pursuing. Take small iotas from a resume only with a candidate’s consent and highlight why you think that candidate’s background can solve the hiring manager’s dilemma.  If you can persist through the objection, not only will you be rewarded for filling the difficult role, but you will also be considered for future opportunities with the same company. So, do you still wish that you just walked away….?

Objection: “We’d rather not pay a fee for this role.”

Overcome By: Explaining your practice.

Most recruiters will hear this objection and think that it is the end of the road. Although it can seem like a roadblock, many hiring managers are simply not familiar with agency recruiting structure and its benefits. For a contingent recruiter, this is the perfect opportunity to explain your plan on filling a role through various sourcing methods. Once the hiring manager understands, you can then describe how contingent recruiting works. Personally, I clarify to hiring managers that they can review as many resumes and hold as many interviews as they want at absolutely no cost. For hiring managers who have only worked with retained searches, this exposure to another creative options serves as a huge benefit. By offering more flexibility with a payable or a guarantee can turn the initial rejection from a hiring manger into a long-term opportunity. Without jumping to assumptions, understand your client’s dilemma and then offer a flexible option. You will start to see more work come your way.

Ultimately, always keep in mind that a “no” is beneficial to you. Maybe it is not of benefit right now, and maybe it will not be a benefit for more than a year, but people and situations do change. Do not let objections get you down! Ask questions and understand why someone is in the hiring predicament they are in. You’ll quickly realize that doing all the little things makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.