Once upon a time a Contract Services Organisation (CSO) was regarded aded as the natural habitat of the trainee sales representative seeking a stepping-stone to a ‘proper job’ in pharma. Over the past few years however, the squeeze on profits and the raft of mergers and acquisitions within pharma have shifted perceptions of employment security, and have elevated pharma’s own relationship with quality CSOs from the tactical to the strategic. These days the gap in employment security between pharma and CSOs has all but disappeared, whilst pharma’s increasingly strategic use of outsourcing means that CSOs of standing have a burgeoning range of specialist opportunities on offer. Small wonder then that at the Bracknell head office of the country’s largest and most established CSO, the phones ring continually with former employees seeking the opportunity to ‘come home’ to Innovex.
Akin Sawyerr, Innovex Regional Business Manager (pictured left), is a classic example of this phenomenon within pharma. Akin’s working relationship with Innovex began back in 1995 when he returned to the UK from his home in Nigeria, looking for an opportunity in pharmaceutical sales. “At that stage” says Akin, “Innovex offered me excellent training and a foothold with our pharma customer, to whose headcount I transferred some eighteen months later.” It was Innovex that provided Akin with his next step up the pharma sales ladder too, when the company welcomed him back in 1999 and gave him his first line management opportunity. “The experience I gained as a regional business manager with Innovex was particularly attractive to pharma,” Akin explains, “so I had no difficulty finding the management opportunity I wanted in pharma when I left Innovex next in 2003.” Within a year though, Akin decided to follow his heart and chose to come back to Innovex, rejoining for the third time in 2004. “I’ve come home to Innovex because it is fun, exciting, varied and resultsfocused,” says Akin.“
Innovex is uniquely peopleoriented because people, rather than products, are at the heart of its business.
Innovex invests heavily in its people and prioritises their development and welfare, which is why people who have worked for this company never lose their loyalty to it.” Innovex is uniquely people-oriented because people, rather than products, are at the heart of its business The people and the culture at Innovex are the constant theme underpinning former employees’ desire to return to the company’s fold. It’s a message echoed by Caroline Barlow who joined Innovex as a trainee sales representative before moving across to customer headcount, and finally returning to Innovex as a nurse adviser in 2001. “I did learn a lot from the year I spent in pharma,” Caroline confirms, “but I never felt as at home there as I do in Innovex. The thing I missed most was the personal touch,” she adds. “Overnight my environment completely changed and I really missed the feeling of being part of something unique.”
This personal touch is steeped in Innovex’s culture and comes right from the top as both Innovex’s trans-national parent Quintiles, and the company’s UK Managing Director Alison Clough, are passionate about recognising and rewarding Innovex’s outstanding people. Whether it’s hosting anniversary breakfasts, treating the company’s outstanding performers and their partners to dinner and an overnight stay at a country house hotel, or simply meeting and greeting them in the corridors, Alison and her Leadership Team ensure that they are always personally involved. “There are no closed doors within Innovex,” confirms Paul Herrington, an Innovex Regional Business Manager who spent ten years working in big pharma. “The company abounds with nice personal touches that make you really feel at home – such as a card on your birthday, the company’s five and ten year awards, the Employee Appreciation Day – and this recognition and celebration of success permeates the whole company. When my colleagues and I recently won the team award at the PharmaTimes RBM of the Year, for example,” he adds, “I was stunned to receive an absolute wad of emails from Innovex colleagues I’ve never even met, expressing their delight and pride in our success.”
Innovex is passionate about recognising and rewarding its outstanding people
Whilst there can be no doubt that Innovex comes up trumps every time on all the soft measures of employee satisfaction, very often this is the ‘icing on the cake’ that tops off the exceptional opportunities and the quality of managerial support that draw people back to the company. Innovex has dominated the outsourced pharmaceutical services market for the past twenty-six years: a feat which the company has achieved by successfully anticipating pharma’s evolving needs, and ensuring that its people and its services are continually developed to meet them. Long gone are the days of ‘rent-arep’ as Innovex’s unique range of analytics, its customer focus, and the sheer quality of its performance have earned it a place in the strategic plans of the majority of big pharma. This translates into an unparalleled depth, breadth and variety of opportunities for Innovex people, across the whole of pharma, in both primary and secondary care, and in all therapy areas. So it is no coincidence that these days 60% of the company’s annual intake are experienced representatives, whilst its rates of attrition are at an all time low.
Fast and furious change is part and parcel of the Innovex experience. As Akin Sawyerr explains: “Things move so much faster in Innovex, which makes for a ‘buzz’ about the business that is addictive and hard to replicate elsewhere. The pace of change at Innovex not only accelerates and extends our individual learning and development, it also continually throws up new opportunities throughout the company for can-do, competent people.”
It’s a measure of Innovex’s unique culture that the company will let you go with a smile, and welcome you back with open arms.
Akin Sawyerr, Regional Business Manager, Innovex
Ensuring those people are fully supported and adequately equipped to take on new challenges is critical to Innovex’s sustained success, which is why the company is renowned for its focus on, and investment in, training and development and the quality of its first line management. Structured career pathways, individual career development plans and rapid redeployment between projects are the everyday fare of this highly people-focused business. As Innovex’s PharmaTimes Representative of the Year finalist, Gill Nicoll, comments: “My Innovex managers have provided me with such outstanding support that I once turned down an extra £10,000 to leave Innovex – I’ve learned at first hand that the quality of your manager makes or breaks your job and your career development.”
The last word on coming home to Innovex though goes to Akin Sawyerr who says: “The energy of this company and the commitment and quality of its people are irresistible. It’s a measure of Innovex’s unique culture that the company will let you go with a smile, and welcome you back with open arms.”