How the all encompassing interim package can be a win:win solution for both pharma/healthcare companies and employees

by Admin 1. June 2003 05:00

The resourcing requirements of pharmaceutical/ healthcare companies have greatly changed over the last 2-3 years.

This, in the main is due to:

  1. New employment legislation allowing employ ers greater flexibility regarding such aspects as maternity leave, paternity leave etc.
  2. Increased periods of absenteeism from work due to long term sickness by employees
  3. Increased demand by companies to keep 100% coverage of positions at all times so as to achieve their annual objectives
  4. A greater desire by the workforce for flexibility in their roles
  5. Other industry sectors offering more competitive packages and favourable opportunities, luring candidates away from the pharma/ healthcare industry
  • In an average year 5% of pharmaceutical employees will suffer from long-term sickness
  • 6-8% will go on maternity leave
  • 27% will change companies

Total cost of absenteeism to British industry has reached 10.7 million - 80% of this figure due to short-term absenteeism

Figures provided by Activity Benchmarking Ltd

In a competitive sales environment, where every second counts, pharmaceutical / healthcare companies can ill afford to allow the “gaps” to remain even for a relatively short period of time.

Maintaining a full effective team during initial periods of a products promotional life is key to the success of the sales and marketing effort. Often when particular areas fall behind due to lack of cover they never have an opportunity to recover their full potential. Consequently as companies strive to maintain full productivity, to meet their business objectives interim/flexible resourcing is emerging as a matter of great strategic importance. Many of the leading pharmaceutical healthcare companies will agree flexible resource management is becoming increasingly important, far more important than it was a decade ago.

The availability of the all encompassing interim package to the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry in the last 2-3 years has allowed the industry the flexibility to ensure it is well positioned to cope with the increased degree of absenteeism in its workplace.

Interim cover can now solve the problem for such a diverse range of eventualities, whether they be expected or unexpected.

- Maternity cover
- Long Term sickness
- Secondment Cover
- Merger transitional periods
- Headcount Freezes
- When difficult to fill positions are taking a much longer period of time to recruit for

Also in times when it is proving more and more difficult to find that perfect candidate to fit into your existing team, the option of interim transfer is becoming a more desired approach.

This allows companies to employ someone on an interim project, monitor their progress and success over a given period of time, with the opportunity to then transfer them onto permanent headcount. This degree of flexibility can also apply when companies are looking to launch or test market a new product, for a controlled period of time. In this scenario interim resourcing is the ideal solution.

So what has changed over the last few years to enable a niche resource provider like The Vacancy Management Company to offer this all encompassing interim/flexible solution to the pharmaceutical /healthcare industry?

“A change in mind-set of the workforce”

The onset of a candidate driven market is such that for many, interim work is steadily emerging as the preferred option and can now be a career choice. Candidates are now not always attracted to the ideals of permanency, but instead are seeking employment that suits the overall needs of their lifestyle.

A high percentage of the workforce, both male and female now want to spend more time with their families and do not want the demands that permanent roles often impact upon them.

Other individuals want to pursue further education, travel, pursue other hobbies and therefore look to build part-time work around that desire.

An ever increasing pool of people are seeking part-time term time opportunities so as to spend more time with their children.

In all cases, high calibre candidates are looking for varying degrees of flexibility in their working lives to support their lifestyle choices. This has produced a pool of highly experienced professionals with a diverse range of skills.

  • Primary care and Secondary care sales people
  • 1st and 2nd line management
  • Senior and junior marketers
  • Nurse Advisors

Thus allowing specialist interim resource providers to offer a database of highly skilled candidates, to the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry for interim type positions.

So what makes a successful interim employee?
Irrespective of the level and type of interim cover it is imperative that the employee has:

  1. Current and relative experience in the position that they will be working
  2. A commitment to complete the contract
  3. If a sales role- good territory knowledge of their preferred location, a range of therapeutic knowledge
  4. Good relationship with their customers

Many resource providers offer interim/flexible cover as an additional service to their portfolio. However only a few companies offer interim provision as an exclusive service. So, how does the all encompassing interim package differ from just supplying a CV.

It starts with the time and dedication the resourcing company spends working with its customers so as, right from the outset, developing a clear understanding of their individual business and cultural needs.

It is then applying the different set of skills, recruitment and administration wise to ensure the right candidate and their individual requirements are matched with the appropriate client.

Another key factor is the training and development. To make this service as effective and impactful as quickly as possible for the customer, the interim employees need to be trained in the relevant therapeutic areas, which can all be part of the package on offer.

It’s not only the initial training that is important though, ongoing development is just as crucial for interim employees as this is sometimes their chosen career path. Consequently in a sales role, it may involve putting the employee through the ABPI examination.

From when the interim employee commences on a project they can now feel just as much an integral part of the team as a permanent person.

  • Good remuneration and benefits package
  • Receive initial training and induction and ongoing development
  • Have regular contact with the interim resourcing company
  • Work towards agreed objectives set down by themselves and their manager and
  • Receive recognition on completion of these targets

How does this benefit the customer? It means they have a highly motivated individual, to cover a gap which they can ill afford to have. There is no need for them to get involved in the recruitment process- this can all be done for them by the specialist resourcing company.

Also once the project has commenced- it is completely hassle free for them. The all encompassing package ensures all administration, project management i.e expenses provision, maintenance of car etc is completely taken care of.

So whether you are the pharmaceutical/healthcare company or the employee, the name of the game is securing a return on investment.

With the all encompassing interim package the pharmaceutical/healthcare company can be assured their business objectives can at all times be kept on track.

On the other hand the employee can keep the flexibility they desire to suit their lifestyle choices, but also have a career where they receive a good remuneration package and are continually developed in their role.

This must be a win:win solution for both the company and the employee.

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