Are You Investing Enough In Your Life Science Team?
October 10, 2016
In many life science teams training is often limited to onboarding new hires or those newly promoted, thereby leaving the majority of the team lacking development and stagnating at their current skill level. This is a waste of potential, given that investing in your entire team’s development not only increases engagement and reduces turnover, but also boosts productivity and ultimately impacts favourably on the company’s bottom line.
As a life-science manager your challenge is to continually develop your team towards higher performance by investing in them—at all levels, from the most senior to the new intern. By developing your people to their maximum ability, you are building your own internal talent pipeline, while a strong development ethic will also serve to attract the highest calibre of applicants to your team.
Some key points about developing your team
- Ask your employees what their ideal career path looks like and how they’d like to be developed. Which training courses would they like to attend in an ideal scenario?
- Sit down with everyone in your team for individual performance feedback. You should have already identified aspects of their work that could be improved, and ask them first if there’s anything they feel the need to improve and what kind of help they would like to enable them to improve.
- Track leadership potential from the beginning of the employee’s employment. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone wants to be developed to enter management, as according to a large American survey, up to two-thirds of people do not. If someone says they don’t want to pursue the management path, find other ways to develop them. Further, don’t make the mistake of rewarding good effort or performance with promotion: only promote those with clear leadership potential and
- Don’t pull everyone into a certain type of training if they don’t actually need it for their role. For example, while regulatory changes are a crucial training requirement for many in life sciences, it will serve no purpose to have your IT person sit in on the training as well. Plan out who needs it or you’ll just waste time and money.
- Development doesn’t always have to come at a financial cost. If a bigger training budget is not an option, then as a manager you can offer your time to build your team members’ skills, as well as enlist other senior figures in the company who can act as mentors.
- Make it clear that professional development is a core principle of your team. A further learning program, whether at a tertiary institution or on-site training, is one of the factors that attracts and retains good candidates, particularly Millennials who often gauge a role on its potential for clear career progression.
- Do some succession planning to ensure that the right people are sufficiently developed and conduct thorough exit interviews to find out what has led them to leave and whether further development may have convinced them to stay.
- Ensure that knowledge isn’t lost when people leave, or that it is simply not shared effectively. Put systems in place to ensure that valuable knowledge is shared across the team, rather than stored in one or two key people.
If your people remain stimulated by new challenges and amassing new skills, you will be rewarded with a higher-performing (and therefore more profitable) team.