Everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts – especially when those rewards bring measurable value to their lives. And once rewarded, most people are extra motivated to keep putting out great work.
This is especially true when it comes to the modern workplace. Not only do job benefits attract high-quality talent, but they motivate employees to work that much harder at their jobs. If you’ve been looking for that extra little something special to inspire your team, you might consider adding a few more perks to their work experience.
As we’re all aware, the pandemic has radically shifted the kinds of benefits employers will consider offering. Some, like health coverage, have been standard since the inception of the modern workplace. Others, like the flexibility to work from the living room couch, are more of a hot new development. To give you an overview, here we’ve outlined some of the most important job perks to the workforce of 2023.
Traditional Benefits – The Indispensables
Health, dental and life insurance, sick days, vacation days… these benefits have been around for a while, and for good reason. Who wants to worry about where their next filling or pair of eyeglasses is coming from? And heaven forbid they should have a health emergency, candidates will want to know that you’ve got them covered. As for vacation days, it’s 2023 and we all value our leisure time. So the more of them you can offer, the better!
Another job perk never goes out of style: growth opportunities. Candidates won’t want to feel like they’ve hit a ceiling, especially not if they’re just starting out in their career. Make sure to have regular meetings with each team member in which you present them with options for how they can advance within the company if they’re interested.
Work From Home – How Important is it?
As of December 2022, nearly 30 percent of workdays were completed on a work-from-home basis. According to a recent survey, employees value part-time work-from-home opportunities (2-3 days per week) in a position at 8 percent of their wage. Flexibility is the currency of the modern workplace – so offer as much of it as you can.
Millennials, in particular, prioritize flexibility much more than previous generations. In fact, 67 percent of them feel that working on a remote and flexible basis promotes good work-life balance. If you can offer your younger candidates a schedule they jibe with, they’ll be likely to perform well in their roles, enjoy their work, and speak highly of your company to their peers.
The Fun Stuff – Job Perks
Office parties, work socials, group escape room excursions: these social perks might seem a little excessive to some, but others can really thrive on them. With workplace culture a more and more important driver of where quality candidates choose to work, it may be worth it to invest in a social scene for your employees.
If team-building retreats aren’t your style, though, you can focus your efforts on creating a positive workplace environment. Full-time employees spend a huge chunk of their waking hours at work – more than ever, they want the atmosphere to be pleasant. Luckily, there are tangible ways you can help to foster a friendly workplace.
One simple, easy to implement idea: creating a “social spot” as a designated area for employees to relax. This could be something as simple as a staff room, where team members can reheat their coffee, run into each other, and even sit down for important one-to-one chats when needed.
And speaking of fun: what about coffee? Turns out that when coffee isn’t offered for free at the office, 25 percent of employees will leave the workplace to get it for themselves. On average, these trips take 14 minutes, and probably longer when you consider their full impact on the flow of the workday. So keep in mind… coffee is always a plus!
Benefits That Work Both Ways
With the ideal benefits package, employees won’t have to feel burned out from too many days in the office – or lonely and isolated from their fellow team members. The right job perks will reassure your top candidates that if they choose to work for you, they will feel valued, heard, and fully equipped to deliver top-notch work in their roles.
Motivated recruiting. Let’s face it – it’s hard for any of us to do our best work when we’re not feeling motivated. Sure, the work can still get done, but it won’t have that magical touch that comes naturally when we’re inspired to complete the project at hand.
Maybe you’re recruiting for a highly specialized lab position without many qualified candidates. Or maybe you’re trying to fill a key role at a biotech startup. Recruiting can be challenging – but when your team feels driven to succeed, they’ll be more likely to round up a roster of exceptional candidates. As their leader, knowing how to keep motivation high is essential.
Empower your team: Motivated Recruiting
An empowered employee is a motivated one. Employees feel empowered in their roles when they feel that their contribution is important to the success of their team, and that they have the power to make meaningful decisions in their jobs.
One tangible way to empower your employees is to offer training where possible. A little extra learning will help your employees feel competent and qualified in their roles. And of course, it’s an opportunity to give them new skills that they can use to level up their performance.
That said, in the present day, workplace empowerment extends beyond the office. Millennial employees particularly appreciate flexibility, which often means hybrid workplace models and customizable schedules. When your employees feel that they have control over their work-life balance, they will come to work happier and more motivated to shine in their roles.
Don’t skimp on communication
When you experience a setback – tell your team. When the scope or nature of a project changes – tell your team, and make sure you’re all on the same page moving forward. To that end, if you, as manager or boss, make a mistake… don’t be afraid to own up to it! If you’re willing to admit you missed something, your employees will likely follow suit when they make an error themselves.
And remember, good communication doesn’t just mean explaining what’s going on with a project – it means thanking your employees when they’ve been exceptionally helpful or professional in their roles. Acknowledgement of a job well done goes a long way!
Communication, good or bad, forms a huge part of a company’s overall culture. Consider this: a whole 47 percent of jobseekers cite poor company culture as their reason for wanting to leave their last role. It’s worth making sure yours is a good one.
Lively workplace, lively team
Whether your employees are remote or in-person, creating a lively workplace often comes down to the design of the work environment. Ask yourself: is your office furniture comfortable? Does your setup lend itself to easy communication between employees? Are your spaces and interfaces appealing and cheerful? These little details go a long way in livening up the work experience, which will make your team happier and more motivated.
Another way to liven up the workplace is to encourage friendships between your employees. According to research by workplace software company OfficeVibe, seventy percent of employees say that having friendships at work improves the quality of their workplace experience. And according to other data they compiled, work friendships actually boost productivity. That’s a win for everyone!
To encourage friendships between your employees, consider buying large tables for communal lunches, assigning groups for collaborative work, and/or organizing retreats.
Invest in the right tech
In the field of recruiting, the right hardware, online tools, and software subscriptions can all make a difference. Nowadays, AI and software solutions have a greater and greater role to play in recruitment – so don’t be shy! Letting the tech take care of the small stuff frees up time for your team to focus on the bigger picture.
Consider getting your team a subscription to a recruitment service like Linkedin’s Recruiter Lite subscription plan, and investing in a project management software like Asana or Monday.com to make team communication and strategizing as seamless as possible.
The secret formula
Growing a standout recruiting team is not just about assembling the group with the best credentials. It’s about consistently motivating your team so that they naturally become a powerhouse of superstar recruiters.
The takeaway is this: strive to listen to your recruiting team, and treat them like the valuable employees they are. As a result, they will be happier, more motivated, and better able to aid you in the search for ideal candidates.
Let’s discuss good hires. To attract and retain the best, most life sciences companies offer such benefits as flex time, remote or hybrid working options, and year-end bonuses. Far fewer capitalize on a perk that virtually all employees value highly: career development support.1 This can take the form of professional development (PD) opportunities or individual mentoring.
A push up the ladder
Climbing up the career ladder, whether reaching for that tenured professorship or medical director role, takes years of hard work. By offering PD services, you make the ladder just a little less steep for ambitious new good hires. Here are some options to consider:2
Career coaching services: These services are likely to attract ambitious and self-motivated candidates (i.e. people you want to work for you).
Leadership training courses: Such courses will allow your best good hires to develop the skills they need to take on new and more challenging roles. When developing or selecting these courses, consider the increasing importance of soft skills in the life sciences.3 Leadership and emotional intelligence are hot commodities in today’s world.
Support for further academic training: Your employees’ career ambitions may depend on pursuing further university education or other relevant credentials. There are different ways you can help with these goals, such as providing financial sponsorship, granting time off work to complete schoolwork, and offering educational guidance.
Research opportunities: For employees whose positions involve research, provide chances to practice and refine research-related skills. Find out if they’re interested in a particular area of research, presenting research findings to others, or something else—and offer opportunities based on their answers.
The magic of mentoring
The dictionary defines a mentor as an experienced and trusted advisor. Within the context of a career, a mentor is someone who shares their knowledge and expertise to help a less experienced employee (sometimes called a protégé or mentee) achieve success.4
Just how much do employees value mentoring? The numbers speak for themselves: Nine out of 10 workers with a career mentor report being happy in their jobs, while more than 4 in 10 workers who lack a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months.5 Given that happy employees consistently outperform the competition,6 it’s fair to say that mentoring benefits not only the mentored, but the employer. The mentored employee performs well, which makes them happier, which further increases their performance, in a positive feedback loop that raises satisfaction all around.
When developing a mentorship program, start by creating a profile for every employee who participates. To get a sense of your good hires strengths, weaknesses, and professional goals, you can give them a questionnaire with such questions as:7
What skills would you like to cultivate or improve on?
What skills do you feel proficient in already?
What are your long-term career goals?
What qualities are you looking for in a mentor?
Provide your mentors with a similar list of questions to assess the areas in which they have the most to offer their future mentees. Ideally, a mentor and mentee will have similar backgrounds
and career trajectories, but the mentor should be farther along and thriving in their current role.
Hot tip: to ensure your mentorship program achieves its objective, periodically solicit feedback from mentees and be prepared to make changes based on what they say. Maybe they would like more networking opportunities from their mentor or maybe they don’t feel totally heard. You won’t know what needs improvement unless you ask.
Broadcasting your PD services
Start by mentioning your PD and mentorship services in your job description. This shows that you care about your employees’ success and will pique ambitious candidates’ interest. By the same token, mentioning your PD and mentorship services during an interview will invite a candid dialogue about a candidate’s career goals. Through these discussions, you can identify which talent will fit best into which projects—and which candidates have the greatest interest in advancing within your company.
If you’re working with a recruiter, be sure to inform them about your career development services, as these offerings will help the recruiter pull in high-quality candidates. The recruiter may also suggest adding other offerings to your current list. That’s another reason to work with a recruiter specialized in the life sciences: they’ve talked to hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates, so they know what motivates the best and brightest to come around and stick around.
It’s hard to overstate the benefits of offering career development opportunities to your good hires — so don’t wait to get started!
Searching for your first biotech job? Much of the career advice for aspiring scientists focuses on creating and polishing tangible documents: CV, cover letters and a LinkedIn profile. Less discussed, but perhaps more important than anything else when it comes to job hunting success, is the creation of your personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is composed of the qualities, values and strengths other people associate with you. It is both the image you actively promote, and the impressions of you people get from your online and in-person presence. The author Cynthia Johnson identifies “personal proof, social proof, recognition, and association” as the four pillars of a personal brand.
Why does my personal brand matter?
The biotech job market is competitive. A biotech company may receive hundreds of applications for every entry level scientist position advertised. Not only will a clear personal brand help your job application stand out, but it will give time-pressed hiring managers and recruiters an immediate sense of who you are as a candidate and what you can bring to the role.
How do I cultivate and market my personal brand?
1. Be authentic
Although it might take time to discover your personal brand, you should never pretend to be something you’re not, or misrepresent your accomplishments. A ‘strong’ personal brand is not a reflection of how impressive your accomplishments are, it’s about the consistency of your messaging, and whether the broad strokes of the brand you promote matches the evidence showcased in your CV, website, etc.
2. Identify your strengths and accomplishments
When starting their career, scientists are often taught to be modest about their achievements and present work experience in a ‘neutral’ fashion. In the world of personal branding, you are allowed to brag a little! Your wins and your talents should take center-stage on LinkedIn and your other professional websites and social media accounts. If you win a research award…post about it online. If you’re great at working in cross-functional teams…point that out in your job application.
Once you’ve written down your technical and personal strengths, it’s easy to translate the former into your area of expertise. Recruiters and hiring managers definitely want to see your achievements, but even more important is a demonstration of cohesive expertise in your research field. That expertise is what will get you an industry job.
3. Focus your brand
There are two meanings of the phrase ‘focused personal brand’ – and both are important. You want your personal brand to be concise: it should boil down to a couple of sentences and adjectives. An example might be “Creative microbiologist who specializes in E. Coli.” It shouldn’t take you five minutes to explain to a recruiter who you are and what you do.
In the other sense, your personal brand should be focused into a sub specialty, with a defined target audience. While it’s understandable that you don’t want to narrow your career opportunities down to nothing, your personal brand can’t be so broad that nothing about you stands out to recruiters and hiring managers. For instance, saying you’re “a medicinal chemist” may be true…but it’s less helpful than saying you’re “a medicinal chemist who specializes in oncology drug development and has experience using solid NMR.” Now you’ll attract the attention of recruiters seeking to fill oncology and solid NMR-based medicinal chemistry roles.
4. Build an online and in-person presence
Once you’ve decided upon your brand, it’s time to market yourself. Update your professional website, job application materials and LinkedIn profile to highlight your core skills, values and career objectives. When you aren’t posting about yourself on your professional social media profiles, you should be sharing and interacting with content that reflects your personal brand (e.g. breakthroughs in your area of expertise, news from the kinds of companies you wish to work for). You don’t have to produce a lot of content or be active on LinkedIn 24/7: but you should make a commitment to posting or sharing content on a regular basis, be it once a week or once a day.
Of course, you can also publicize your personal brand through in-person and virtual networking [insert link to networking blog]. When networking with recruiters and peers within your field, your elevator pitch should encapsulate the strengths and expertise already outlined in your personal brand. Once developed, consider engaging in professional activities that reinforce and publicize your personal brand, such as presenting at conferences or taking on leadership roles in professional societies.
When looking for your first industry role, the biotech job market can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Fortunately, the experienced specialist recruiters at Sci.Bio are here to help. Get in touch with us to discuss your career goals today.
As the number of COVID-19 cases drop and social distancing measurements relax, in-person networking events will start returning. For many scientists and science students, their understanding of ‘networking’ is at best a foreign concept with no applicability to their career path, and at worst they think there’s something almost underhanded about schmoozing your way into a job.
Unfortunately for those scientists, networking is critical to securing jobs inside and outside academia. For STEM students and postdocs who are uncertain about their future career path, networking can provide opportunities and insight that academic mentors are unavailable to provide. But the good news is networking doesn’t have to be awkward or embarrassing. In fact, it can be informative and fun.
Here are some tips and tricks that any scientist – or introverted person – can use to help network more effectively.
What is networking?
A common misconception about networking is that it’s all about trying to get a job. Networking is a conversation. It’s about forming a mutually-beneficial professional connection. When defined like that, you can see networking takes place all the time on a large and small scale. A 5 minute conversation with a visiting lecturer is networking, but a 5 minute conversation at a family BBQ can be networking, too! Presenting a poster at an international conference is definitely a networking situation. Research collaborators and colleagues within your department are network contacts, but any people you meet and interact with have the potential to be network contacts as well–you never know who other people know.
Networking rarely yields immediate results: it can take months (or years) for the benefits of networking efforts to show. Recruiters at the mixer you attend may not know of suitable job openings right then, but several weeks later when a job opportunity arises they may – if you networked successfully – remember your name.
Because of this, it’s helpful to begin networking 6-12 months before you finish your PhD or postdoc, the earlier the better. It takes time to build connections and become comfortable networking with others.
Getting the most out of networking events
While a lot of networking can happen organically, dedicated networking events are a great opportunity to meet new people you wouldn’t otherwise encounter within an academic research setting. These events might take place in conjunction with symposia and conferences, or be organized by professional societies.
Before arriving at a networking event, think about your career goals and how other attendees could help you. Are you actively looking for a job? Or still trying to figure out what you want to do? Distill your objectives into a couple of sentences and get comfortable explaining them.
“During my first networking event at a career fair, I was nervous and not quite sure what to expect or talk about. After a few interactions I realized that all I had to do was introduce myself, have a candid conversation, exchange contacts, and then I had a networking connection.” Carter Lewis, Sci.bio Recruiting Associate
Despite the fact you need a game plan, it helps to go into networking events with an open mind. Everyone in the room has the potential to help you meet your career goals, or introduce you to new opportunities you hadn’t considered. Show the same level of interest and courtesy to everyone you meet, and find out what you can about their job. What do they enjoy about their work? How did they get into the field? What advice would they give to someone looking to break into the field? While you may not be interested in biotech consultancy, perhaps a labmate is considering such roles and would benefit from any insights you can relay.
As scientists, we tend to be very detail-orientated and thorough when talking about our work. In networking situations, people may not be familiar with your field and could be pressed for time, meaning you must be concise. Develop a ‘high-level’ elevator pitch that describes your work quickly in broad strokes. If the other person wants to learn more, they’ll ask follow-up questions.
When talking to someone new, avoid monopolizing the conversation. Pause and ask questions. It doesn’t sound like much, but simply seeming interested in other people is one of the best ways to leave a good impression. Don’t forget to think about what YOU may be able to offer THEM; networking and building connections goes both ways.
The great thing about networking events is that everybody who attends wants to have a conversation with you! Even if you’re naturally more reserved, there are many people in the room, such as recruiters, who enjoy meeting new people and are experienced at navigating these kinds of social interactions.
Business card and follow-up
“Thanks, it’s been great talking to you – here’s my contact information.” You don’t have to devote a lot of time to any one person at the networking event. If it seems like you don’t have much to say to each other, it’s fine to politely bow out of the conversation and look for someone else to talk to. Be sure to collect the other person’s contact information and share yours. Business cards are the traditional hallmark of networking, but some people generate QR codes that link to their LinkedIn profile or online CV. At virtual events all you need to do is drop your contact info in the chat. Most people who attend networking events are open to connecting electronically afterwards. You can also send a short email the next day thanking them again for their time and re-emphasizing how much you enjoyed talking to them.
“Even if [recruiters or my new connections] didn’t have an immediate job opportunity for me, I still had someone that I could reach out to in the future.” Carter Lewis, Sci.bio Recruiting Associate
As mentioned above, networking doesn’t immediately bear fruit. You want to cultivate your network over several months; interacting with new connections on LinkedIn (e.g. commenting on their posts) and keeping your name fresh in their minds without becoming a nuisance or spamming them. Maybe this new contact knows one of their contacts has a job vacancy, or perhaps they can help you with something unrelated to your job search? Either way, you won’t know until you’ve made the connection!
Networking can appear daunting, but recruiters at Sci.bio are happy to help you expand your circle of contacts and take your career to the next level. Get in touch with us today.