Strategies of pharma HR: Recruiting and retaining the right talent

Posted: November 19, 2013 in All Posts, Articles / Discussion

Due to increasing competition many employees succumb to the pressure job change at regular intervals. It is important for a company to spot the problem and find solutions to ensure that they can retain their employees. We discuss the various challenges faced by employees and also the retention strategies adopted by various pharma companies.

Being happy and satisfied at work is a rare combination. For the employee, it not only gives the feeling of being worthy but also helps him/her give their best to the company. However, there are a few problems being faced by employees today in terms of compensation, a healthy work environment, a support team and many more that ultimately lead to attrition. Being a highly organised and knowledgeoriented industry, pharma sector requires employees who are highly skilled and talented; the loss of an employee may affect the company negatively.
Core of the problem
As globalisation has kicked in and a number of MNCs have entered the Indian pharmaceutical industry space, resulting in increased exposure for the employee. This in turn has increased the expectation an employee has from an organisation. Due to these expectations, a number of issues have come to the surface. “Though there is ample skill available in the market, the sole problem of finding the right candidate for the right job still remains. Pharmaceutical companies today are not able to find the best candidate for their positions due to the same reason,” informs D G Rajarshi, Managing Consultant, Pharma Resource.
The production or R&D experience required for one company may not be the same everywhere, and hence, it is important that the candidate is extremely specialised in his/ her field. Due to which it is also important that recruitment is done after a close look at the candidate’s profile.
Inspite of being aware of this a number of companies rush through the process of recruiting a fresher. “At the entry level, companies are in a hurry to recruit people as they believe they can train the employee as per their requirements, so whichever is the quickest recruitment they go ahead with that. But in my opinion the entry level recruitment is the most crucial of the lot. As the employee is a beginner it is important to ensure that the candidate is hired for a department he/she has an inclination towards; only then will they be in a position to produce the desired results. Today, manpower is available and India is churning up a lot of qualified graduates, but the required importance to technical skill is not given; the focus should be technical skills and not soft skills. It is only when the outlook towards this changes, will the entry level problems wash away,” explains Rajarshi.
One of the topmost problems being faced besides entry level recruitment is the increasing attrition rate. Several factors aid to this; right from the work environment, promotional avenues, compensation, etc. Another factor is redundancy; with fast developing technology even the most experienced people in the industry are overpowered by the feeling of being redundant as they do not have access to the latest upgradation programs and lack training. “The work environment also plays a major role. The work environment of a company depends on the culture of the particular company, which varies from one company to the other. It is found that most of the new recruits tend to compare the work culture of the current company with that of their previous one. As no two companies can be the same; there is always a difference and this comparison forces people to get into a shell and not produce the desired results, or sometimes even think of a job change,” says Rajarshi.
Also, companies in the pharmaceutical sector do not involve the family as much as the other industries do. Motivation from within the home is very poor. “A few challenges are also being faced in terms of sourcing profiles for unique positions, ie, bio analytical, FDA auditing skills, lack of good communication skills, lack of domain knowledge, frequent job changes by candidates – low on employer stickiness and absorbent salary expectations at senior levels and more offer drops,” informs Suresh Anubolu, Chief Human Resources Officer, GVK BIO. Though these factors play a vital role in making an employee leave an organisation, there are various ways in which these can be worked upon and exits can be restricted.


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