Introduction


Beyond finding the qualified talent needed in order to grow and achieve business objectives, retaining high-performing employees continues to be a challenge for most. Although pharma has lower turnover rates compared to other industries, the cost of turnover is much greater. As the trend toward Medical Affairs (MA) becomes an even more significant part of biopharmaceutical companies, MA teams have emerged as key players not only in advancing the success of their companies, but also in helping to improve patient outcomes.1

Within Medical Affairs, the impact of high attrition can be particularly damaging, given the distinctive skills required, the considerable investment in developing MA leaders and their far-reaching and growing influence on internal and external stakeholders. HR leaders need to be aware of the reputation they are crafting in the talent market and ensure they’re supporting a top-notch employer brand. This starts with solidifying your employee experience through the onboarding process. Early employee departures are a considerable risk with 28% of executives deciding if they are going to stay or leave their job in the first week, according to Korn Ferry. Those who participate in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay with their organization after 3 years.


To stanch the flow of new hires prematurely exiting, organizations have to give more consideration, attention and resources to how they convert sought-after job candidates into committed, productive long-term employees. Otherwise, they are wasting the time and energy they expend on recruitment and selection.


The most critical time in an executive’s career is the first 100 days in a new role. We show how to make that time as impactful and high-performing as possible – a better experience for the employee – who is more engaged and loyal, while the employer demonstrates a commitment to the executive’s success, and mitigates the risk of losing an average aggregate cost of US$2.7 million when a new executive fails.2


New employees are successful right out of the gate when they are given the best-engineered equipment: clear goals and objectives; mentoring and coaching to help new hires learn the culture and address/preempt the early causes of turnover; helping and supporting new employees connect to and navigate company culture so they are fully versed on the business context (vision, challenges and opportunities), the cultural context (what is valued within the organization, how decisions are made, how problem solving is done and what defines success) and the situational context (clear expectations with the new employee about his or her role and contribution). It is time for pharma to move beyond orientation towards personalized, human-centered onboarding.