Scientists are People Too: Life Science Employers are Putting the “Human” Back in HR

I recently had the privilege of attending The BioScience Network’s latest event: “Journey to the Top: How a Biotech Becomes a Top Employer” where senior leaders representing small, mid-sized, and large biopharma firms that have been recognized as “Best Places to Work” gave an insider’s perspective and the steps their organizations took to achieve key milestones and success. The panel included:

  • Sharon Cload, Ph.D., Vice President, Adnexus Therapeutics
  • Lisa Kelly Croswell, Vice President, Human Resources, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Mark Leuchtenberger, CEO, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals
  • Alex Constan, Vice President, Toxicology and DMPK, Infinity Pharmaceuticals

In addition to the fantastic Broad Institute venue and lively networking, the event boasted the fabulous hors d’oeuvres that I’ve come to see as the signature of TBN events.  Of course, while some may have understandably flocked to the Cambridge event for the refreshments, the real reason for the gathering was this intriguing panel discussion.  Being known as a “top employer” is a reputation that employers covet, especially those of us within the company who are doing the recruiting!  A commonality among top employers is that they are all seeking to attract and retain top talent.  For the cream that rises to the top of the life sciences talent pool, competitive salaries and health insurance are not what’s being sought; as those items are expected, like desks and pens.  The panel discussion reflected what seems to be a growing trend: when it comes to employers, top talent is looking for top company culture.

Work and life bleed into each other more often than we’d like, and more and more studies are popping up tying overall happiness and quality of life to a healthy work/life balance.  At Maxiom Group, our culture has always been one of flexibility and we have long benefitted from using that flexibility to cater to people rather than policy: accommodation of working mothers helps offset the increasing cost of childcare, supplemental insurance options ease the burden of someone falling ill, individualized bereavement leaves allow those in grief the time to mourn their losses and tend to family.  As a result of this, we enjoy loyal employees who know that they are valued and who feel a real sense of community.  I would be hard pressed to find a former Maxiom Group employee who would not look back on their time with us fondly.  That’s unquestionably the mark of a top employer.

However I won’t neglect the most crucial item that employers need to provide to truly be tops: generous vacation time.  Because no matter how successful we are in building a culture of community, flexibility, efficiency, etc… palm trees just don’t grow in Boston.

Justine Luttrell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>