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Unforeseen Challenges For Working Moms During The Pandemic

Unforeseen Challenges For Working Moms During The Pandemic

Teacher, nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, driver, security officer, event planner, waitress, referee, entertainer, comforter or in other words, mom. Moms naturally perform a balancing act. Adding work to the intricacies of motherhood further fuels the complexity of family life.

The pandemic has brought many unforeseen challenges to women of the household.

“Study after study finds that women shoulder more of the child care, more of the housework in families… men are doing more around the house than a generation ago, but the Labor Department has found mothers still spend almost twice as much time on child care and chores. So you add to that virtual school, and women are just saying this is too much.”¹

It is too much. What are the options in this scenario? According to a recent article, 2.2 million women have left the workforce since the pandemic began² most likely feeling that they had no other choice. A supportive work environment is crucial to keeping parents in the workplace and SciBio is a company that understands this.

Founder & Managing Partner, Eric Celidonio’s goal is to create a flexible environment that values performance, recognize contributions and provides meaning. Eric says “We love the fact that we have a lot of working moms on the team. We have a need for flexibility and so do they.” How do moms on the team feel? We surveyed our moms and here’s what they have to say.

  • 90% of them say flexibility is provided by SciBio which is so instrumental to parenthood
  • 90% of moms who have worked in other companies agree that SciBio is a supportive environment for working parents
  • 100% of moms say the ability to work from home and create their own schedule has greatly benefitted them

Hear from some of our working moms:

Kerry C: “Sci.Bio is a flexible environment where having kids doesn’t mean putting your career on hold. Management prioritizes family and never makes you feel like your work should come before your family…I feel lucky to be here, working for this company that supports me and allows me flexibility.”

“Sci.Bio is a more supportive environment for working moms than other places I’ve worked in the past. It definitely alleviates some of the stress that invariably all working moms feel when doing the daily juggle”

Sandra T: “Working moms need flexibility and understanding. Sci.Bio does more than just permit you to make your own schedule and/or look the other way when an urgent family matter takes center stage; Sci.Bio encourages us to seek balance in ways that fulfill and restore us.”

“In previous companies, it seemed there was a divide between working parents and child-free employees who could dedicate 10 hours/day…Our leadership understands that we’ll get caught up as soon as possible, and they see the results we produce. It’s a much more nourishing environment.”

Allison E: “The majority of my colleagues are also working moms or parents, so they get it. It’s a relief to be able to juggle kids and work and not feel that I have to hide any part of my life. At Sci.Bio, we have always had flexible schedules and the ability to work independently, so I have always been able to work during the times in my day that the kids don’t need me (hooray for nap time!).”

“Without this flexibility, I wouldn’t be working. I would be another statistic, another mom who drops out of the workforce because it simply doesn’t support parents, and mothers in particular. I was never willing to sacrifice time with my children just to be in an office for 10 hours a day–it’s unnecessary. Losing women in the workforce negatively impacts all of us, and it’s past time to make changes to allow people a life outside of the office. The flexibility we have at Sci.Bio has allowed me to retain other parts of my identity besides being a mom, which so many women aren’t able to do–and maintaining those other aspects of who we are makes us better moms AND better workers”

Shereen D: “At Sci Bio the flexibility is an amazing benefit, I never feel pressure or guilt when I need to focus on my family.”

“I always considered myself to be very organized but being a mom has intensified this skill. Being a first time mom is challenging and actually remembering that you need to stay organized is key! Working at SciBio has helped me balance life as a doting mother and a dedicated employee.”

Between cuddles and conference calls, reading picture books and reading emails, working moms have a life filled with laser focus and optimal efficiency. Looking at these daily experiences, we celebrate the unsung heroes in the workforce, and look forward to continuing to meet their needs in a work environment.

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.

Resources:

¹ https://www.npr.org/transcripts/919517914

² https://www.abccolumbia.com/2020/12/01/mothers-leaving-workforce-may-take-toll-on-the-economy/

Concrete Steps to Recruiting the Right PhDs

Concrete Steps to Recruiting the Right PhDs

Top tier PhD talent have their pick of jobs. You can’t sit passively by and hope that they come across your job posting. You need to attract them. Here are six ways you can effectively recruit quality PhD-level talent for positions at your company.

 

  1. Emphasize Impactful Work – Something like assay design may not sound interesting or impactful, but in the bigger picture, it’s critical! PhDs want to know that what they’re doing is making a difference. Be sure to reference industry, patient, or scientific outcomes in the job description. PhDs don’t like doing the same thing over and over again – offer clear pathways for leadership and skills development. Not only should they be able to do the science, but they should be able to communicate as well. What professional development opportunities do you offer? If your company has different divisions or research areas, encourage the scientists to cross-collaborate to learn new skills and gain a broader perspective of their role in the company. Consider a conveyor belt model where senior scientists train the new scientists, who will later train the next set of scientists. Coupled with skills development opportunities, this will ensure that your company is keeping pace with advances in the field.

 

  1. Create and Maintain a Talent Pipeline – Building relationships with programs, schools, labs, or even specific candidates who might be a fit for a role down the line is a great way to get your company recognized as committed to developing qualified talent. Good, niche, recruiters who know the industry will have an advantage in knowing where to find candidates and already have some personal and working relationships to jumpstart the recruiting process. Attract graduate students at job fairs, offer career coaching services, or host networking events at universities so that when a specific position opens, you have a direct pipeline to PhDs who will fit. Consider sponsoring a scholarship or offer internship opportunities so that you can build those relationships early and nurture them down the road. This also ensures that the PhDs will be trained in skills relevant to your company. This allows you and the candidate to form both a personal and professional relationship, which will make you more able to demonstrate your commitment to fostering long-term relationships and will make them better able to tailor their application material to your job posting.

 

  1. Personalize the Invitation to Join – Top tier PhD talent likely already have good jobs and are very unlikely to passively come across your job listing. They need to be recruited. Not only that, but they want to be recruited. They want to feel noticed, recognized, and desired. Consider holding virtual job fairs with a core focus (for example, bioinformatics or process development) to create personal connections. Or connect with them through LinkedIn and send a personalized message based on their profile and summary sections. What does your company have to offer that others don’t? Why do you think they would be a good fit? Just as job applicants are expected to do research on companies to tailor their application, do some research on the talent and tailor the invitation to apply. Recruiters can help streamline this process by having a conversation with the hiring manager and matching company values and required skills with PhDs.

 

  1. Focus on Company Culture – You want a team player, a leader, and a person who’s all around easy to work with, but also has a sharp eye for science. But does your company culture support this, and is it transparent? PhDs want an environment where they can learn, grow, mentor, and be mentored. They are curious people and want the freedom to explore and generate new ideas, not be micromanaged. Consider polling for sentiment and adapting company values to align with employee values, rather than focusing solely on leadership’s aspirational ideas. Demonstrate your commitment to well-rounded development by encouraging volunteering time to a cause congruent to company values. Allow flexible hours; after all, PhDs have track records of being productive in a flexible working environment. Hold team-building events to create a strong sense of community.

 

  1. Recognize Personal Achievements – Nobody wants to feel like a cog in a machine, and PhDs especially need to be recognized. Coming from academia, they are used to publishing papers and getting credit for their work. In industry, there are typically less opportunities to publish – so how are PhDs recognized? Consider regular promotions and/or raises based on a transparent salary scale, or merit acknowledgements for years of employment and other achievements. Generate a company newsletter that highlights what people are doing both in and out of the work environment. Include an employee spotlight section to highlight contributions to projects and other personal achievements. Make them feel unique and valued.

 

  1. Offer Compensation Transparency – Being clear about levels and associated salary ranges early in the recruiting process helps both your company and the candidate determine if the role is a fit. Articulate bonus structure, equity, and other non-monetary benefits clearly to help top tier PhDs evaluate their options. Recruiters can help here by having these conversations up front to ensure everyone is on the same page with regards to expectations. After all, there is nothing worse than finding the perfect candidate only to find out after several rounds of interviews that their salary expectations are much higher than what you can offer! Have your Human Resources department perform regular compensation and benefits analysis to make sure you’re offering a competitive and transparent package.

 

In conclusion, recruiting top tier PhD talent requires you to put thought into your company beyond a mission statement and job listings. Create a company culture that recognizes excellence while offering plenty of room for personal and professional development. Remember, it’s not just about the bottom line – it’s about building a sense of community grounded in professional and personal excellence to attract quality candidates to your company.

Why Is It So Important to Continue Acquiring Job Skills?

Why Is It So Important to Continue Acquiring Job Skills?

It is easy to become complacent and think you are the expert in your position, especially if you have held your position for some time. It may be tempting to assume that you have all the skills and knowledge you need to continue being successful. But in every field, things are constantly changing—new technology, techniques, and ways to make your field better. If you don’t keep yourself up to date on your field’s new developments, you may find yourself left behind.

Not all companies provide comprehensive professional development to keep their employees up to date on their knowledge of the field, so it is crucial that you seek it out on your own. Here are some reasons to stay up to date on advances in your field.

To remain competitive in your position.

Even if you feel secure in your position at work, you should make sure you remain competitive with new people coming into the company and that you are as knowledgeable about the advances in your field as your coworkers. The goal of any job is to be the best at what you do, and the only way to do that is to be able to master the new skills you will need to continue to be the best. If you haven’t taken the time to learn about the newest advances in your field, you may not be as valuable in your position as you aim to be, which could eventually put your job in jeopardy.

To increase adaptability.

You never know when things at work will change with no warning. Your company may have a new CEO come in, or you may get new team members who bring more to the team. If you are up to date on the advancements in your field, you will be able to adapt to changes that happen rapidly because you will already be aware of the new way of doing things. The new computer program at work? No problem, you did a training recently on the newest technology in your field. Now you can adapt and change your position to fit the new technology you need to use.

To get a promotion.

When you start working at a company, your goal for the future, your goal is most likely to be able to move up in the chain of command and get a promotion over time. The best way to impress your superiors is to keep yourself up to date, learn to adapt to new ways of doing things and stay knowledgeable about the advances in your field. Knowing the latest information and using the newest technology will make you more relevant in your position. You will have a better chance of being noticed and promoted by your boss because you present as the best in your position.

Prepares you for a new position.

Experience is important when applying for a new position, but knowledge is as well. When you apply for a new position, you want to look your best and show how knowledgeable you are about your field. Being up to date on your career training and knowing how to use the most recent technology in your field will show how much of an asset you will be to the new company. Make yourself stand out as the best and most qualified in your field so you can get the position you are looking for.

Knowledge keeps you sharp.

Continuing to learn about the field you are in will not only help you in your position, but it will keep your mind sharp as well. Being complacent with the knowledge you have is not the way to move forward in your field. Staying a “student” and continuing to learn the most recent advances will sharpen your mind because you will be learning and challenging yourself to be better.

It is so important to continue to learn about your field of expertise. You don’t want to be left behind when there are new advances in your field that you have not learned yet. The last thing you will want at work is having a new person hired that can do a better job than you because they know about the most current information and technology in your field. It is as easy as signing up for an online course and devoting a few hours to learning something new every few months. Consider it a part of your job that you can make fun and exciting! Learning new things is often enjoyable and you will be able to put that knowledge to good use at work!

 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.  

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!