By Stacey Porter and Ana Lucia Jardim-Evans, BOLD Research Committee
The life science industry “has weathered the worst financial crisis of modern memory” in 2009, according to BioPharm Executive - and as one life science industry executive reported "We have hit bottom; it can only get better from here".
The good news is that as we start 2010, there are signs of a gradual economic recovery forecast through at least the third quarter of 2010 and hopes of the IPO window opening wider.
With this as a backdrop, we have identified three main areas of change where Human Resource professionals can make a greater an impact on business results this year.
As the US government continues to promote generics and approval pathways for follow-on biologics and the economy strains employee engagement, HR needs to be nimble, agile and provide strategic guidance to the business. Strategic initiatives need to be fully committed to, expertly developed, and visibly supported and lived by leadership.
Furthermore, the costs and risk of health care are being transferred from employers to employees. The HR role will be to assist employees in bearing more of these costs, while implementing “total rewards” approaches that help employee’s better value pay and benefits, and manage expectations in a slow economy.
Technology and Web2.0
Technology is changing the way we work every day. Pharma and biotech companies, as well as investors, are starting to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to communicate with and engage customers. HR can incorporate social networking for employer brand messaging and recruiting, and rely less on traditional processes.
OD/HR can also take advantage of technology to streamline and perfect the process elements of people practices (benefits administration, on-boarding new employees, HRIS system, performance management processes). Transactions that require customization (relocation, employee relations, education delivery, benefits counseling) should be done by staff that are experts in their discipline and have exceptional communication and consultation skills.
Global work, generational diversity and flexibility
With mergers and acquisitions comes an increase in transnational teams. OD/HR must meet the need for developing cross-cultural communication skills and sensitivity, and online collaboration to realize efficiency gains and improve productivity. HR will also continue to see an increased demand for workplace flexibility and telecommuting. Additionally, phased retirement will enable organizations to take advantage of the expertise of older employees who want to remain in the workforce.
To dive deeper into these topics and access original resources, click on the following links:
BioPharm Executive: Top 10: 2009 In Review
SHRM Future Insights: SHRM's HR Subject Matter Panel Expert
Fast Forward: 25 Trends That Will Change the Way You Do Business
Futurist Patrick Dixon – industry trends
HR Magazine- Challenges and opportunities for HR
Biotech Trends in 2010: Top 3 Reasons Why Biotech Should Use Social Media