The training and development of employees, particularly more junior staff, should always be a top priority for organisations. Yet, whether through budgetary or time constraints, or a lack of retained in-house knowledge, people often don’t receive the development they need.
The Life Sciences sector is no different – the training of staff and succession planning is critical to organisational performance. The last thing you want is to be left in a position where there is no one competent enough to take over when an experienced colleague decides to leave. And as you may know from experience, finding someone with specific niche skills can be a headache!
Authority and empathy
That’s why it’s imperative for life sciences companies to have a comprehensive career progression plan in place. Let’s take the example of a junior lab technician. While testing and checking product samples might take up the vast bulk of the their time as they learn their craft, moving up to lab manager will require a different skill set.
But the question is, will they be ready? Will they have the project management, commercial nous and troubleshooting experience needed to succeed? This is the type of exposure they need to be getting early on. Their technical credentials won’t be up for discussion – lab workers will tend to have a chemistry, biomedical science, pharmaceutical science or immunology background – it’s in other areas where they will need to develop their knowledge.
Continuing with the same example, lab managers will need to submit reports and liaise with various departments, such as operations, quality and production. They’ll need first class stakeholder skills. They will also have to demonstrate a level of authority, knowing how to deal with different personalities and how to get the best out of each individual. Today’s managers are expected to show empathy as well as provide mentoring and coaching to their teams.
Life sciences roles can be extremely pressured and results driven, so employers require people who can create a good working environment and who have their teams’ best interests at heart. The employee wellbeing and mental health of individuals should never be overlooked either.
It’s a tall order. Think back to our lab manager who has team management, budget management and project management responsibilities! If organisations want to build from within, a clear and defined training and development programme is paramount so that junior staff receive the right blend of training.
If they don’t, they may find themselves struggling with retention and above all they’ll lose that priceless knowledge, which is so difficult and time consuming to replace.
If you’re looking to hire for your next Life Sciences role, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org