What (Really) Makes Your Life Sciences Company A Great Place To Work

What (Really) Makes Your Life Sciences Company A Great Place To Work

by Chris Atkinson in career
With the race for talent accelerating as the skills shortage bites across the life sciences sector, including the MENA region, there’s a lot of talk in leadership circles about creating ‘a great place to work’ to attract and retain quality candidates.  

Perceptions of what makes a workplace exceptional differ between individuals: where one person will love the idea of a highly collaborative workplace with breakout rooms and lunchtime yoga classes, another might cringe at that high-octane group atmosphere and seek a quiet, minimalist workplace where they can work autonomously and with interruption-free productivity.  
So how do life science employers navigate different workplace culture preferences to create a place where everyone wants to work while taking into account that the scientists developing a drug often have different needs and wants from a workplace than the salesperson selling the end product? 

The truth is that creating a great workplace that suits everyone is not really about having bean bags in a chill-out room where staff can go for afternoon naps. (Although that sounds rather nice.)  
What makes a life sciences company great to work for is not primarily about perks, but about giving employees the resources and support they need to thrive.  

Work and Life Alignment 

Any life sciences, pharmaceutical or medical devices related roles tend to be demanding, with long hours and high pressure being the norm. 

Whatever your company can do to improve the connection between work and creating a fulfilling life will make a significant difference for the wellbeing of employees’ personal lives - and that’s the kind of thing that builds loyalty.  

Even if it’s a matter of arriving home half an hour earlier to have dinner with all the family together because flexibility in work hours allows them to start early, finish early, and miss rush hour traffic.  

This simple, tiny step (which doesn’t lose man or woman hours) is the kind of thing that leads to employees commenting at a bbq with ex-colleagues, “ ‘My new job’s great. I’m home for dinner, and I don’t sit in traffic.” 

Opportunities for Career Progression 

When someone’s doing a stellar job, it can be tempting to keep them in the same role, knowing it’s in safe hands. 

Keeping talented employees who want to progress in a role they have already mastered is a dangerous tactic, as it can lead to employee boredom, disengagement, and dissatisfaction surprisingly quickly.  
It would help if you were making career progression a topic for discussion right from the first interview, and incorporating career path planning into each yearly performance review.  

Training, Development, Training, Development! 


Offer as much training as you can. Stagnation is the enemy of employee retention. Many life science professionals have inquisitive minds, and those minds need to be challenged with new things to keep motivated and engaged over the course of their career with you.  
Remember to train those who don’t want to become managers as well, as this cohort is often ignored in training schemes. 

Great Flexible Leaders Who Understand People  

Many life-science employees crave autonomy to get on with the job without unnecessary interference, where others like careful guidance and regular feedback. Rather than creating a company-wide ethos of one or the other, communicate to candidates and employees that your managers can adapt their leadership style to what the candidate responds well to.  
By implementing this strategy you avoid the scenario where a new employee leaves, telling everyone who’ll listen that ‘There’s no support in that company, I was just left to work it out on my own’, or conversely ‘It’s a micromanaging culture, I wasn’t allowed to do anything on my own!’  


Most people want to do a job that matters, and this figure rises dramatically with Millennial-age employees, with 50% saying they’ll take a pay cut in exchange for a job which matches their values.  

Inspired employees are up to three times more productive, so it’s very important to couch all opportunities in a wider framework that shows how the work they’re doing matters.  

Think about how you can include employees in a vision larger than their own. This doesn’t necessarily have to be about improving health outcomes; it could be a business goal such as wanting your employees to help you take the company international.  

A Workplace That Adapts  

If you are creating a dynamic, collaborative workspace with open plan offices and a ‘Google-like’ ethos, then be sure to cater to your more introverted employees, with plenty of quiet working rooms and an absence of pressure to participate in any group work that’s not strictly necessary. 

A positive company reputation travels fast on the grapevine, so you can make a rapid difference with a few key changes and see the impact it has on your candidate pool.  


About Kinetic 

At Kinetic we pride ourselves on being the leading regional experts in the full range of recruitment solutions for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industries. 

Kinetic understands the niche requirements for all specialisms of this ever-increasing regulated industry. Wondering if your salary structure is correct in today’s market? Then download The Kinetic Salary and Employment Survey here.

To find out more about how we can support you in your recruitment campaign or help you land your next career progression contact us here.
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