5 Effective Onboarding and Training Strategies for Life Sciences Companies

5 min Minutes

In the ever-evolving landscape of Life Sciences, the key to success lies in groundbreaking r...

By Guest Author

sharing industry expertise

In the ever-evolving landscape of Life Sciences, the key to success lies in groundbreaking research and the people who make it happen. From researchers and scientists to regulatory experts and support staff, Life Sciences professionals are at the forefront of making innovative discoveries that improve the health and well-being of people across the globe. 

To ensure that these much-needed professionals can achieve important milestones and advance healthcare solutions, it’s imperative that Life Sciences companies invest in robust onboarding and training strategies. 

These strategies are the linchpin in nurturing talent, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources required to thrive, all while boosting talent retention, satisfaction, and productivity rates. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into why it is vital for Life Sciences companies to have effective onboarding processes and explore five of the most important onboarding and training strategies your organization should implement. 

Why is Having an Effective Onboarding Strategy Essential?

An effective onboarding strategy is paramount in a candidate-led industry where multiple companies are vying for the same highly skilled candidates. Companies without a finely-tuned, proactive onboarding plan run the risk of high staff turnover, lower employee engagement, and failure to meet compliance obligations. 

See, onboarding is far from a mere box-ticking exercise, and if done correctly, it can bring an array of benefits both for your business and your new hires. 

It’s no secret that due to the specialized skills and competitive nature of the field, Life Sciences companies can experience difficulties with retaining top talent. In fact, the turnover rate in the Life Sciences industry is a staggering 20%, with 45% of that turnover taking place within the first year of employment. 

Although these figures are stark, there are many ways businesses can overcome this industry-wide retention problem, one of which is having a successful onboarding and training plan. 

Simply put, onboarding and training strategies are crucial for ensuring new employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles. 

With an effective onboarding program in place, your organization can expect better employee retention and an uptick in productivity. In fact, according to Brandon Hall Group, organizations with effective onboarding and training strategies were able to boost productivity by 70% and new hire retention by 82%. 

So, What Are the Top Onboarding and Training Strategies?

From up-and-coming MedTech firms to multinational companies specializing in pharmaceuticals, Life Science companies of all sizes need to ensure that their onboarding and training processes are top-notch. 

That’s because numerous research reports show that onboarding plays a pivotal role in retaining the best and brightest talent, with data showing 69% of employees who’ve enjoyed superlative onboarding experiences remain at their respective companies for at least three years. 

By learning and implementing top onboarding and training strategies, your company has a greater chance of assembling a team of satisfied, high-quality professionals with the skills to deliver long-term success. 

Let’s explore five of the most effective onboarding and training strategies today: 

1. Create Customized Onboarding Plans

Providing your new hires with personalized onboarding experiences is a great way to establish a fruitful relationship with them. 

With customized onboarding plans that are informative and engaging, brand-new employees are likely to acclimatize to their positions relatively quickly. To get things started, ask them to take an initial assessment that evaluates their skills, experience, and knowledge of the role. This assessment will identify key areas where the employee may require additional training or support. 

After getting an idea of your new hire’s abilities and understanding of the role, it’s time to establish goals and objectives you’d like them to achieve. Set clear, measurable targets that are easy for your employees to follow, ensuring that they are in alignment with your company’s mission. Be sure to outline timelines for these targets so they are fully aware of your expectations, whether it be 30 days, 60 days, or even longer. 

Once this initial phase of the onboarding process is complete, you can provide them with a tailored training curriculum that covers general topics and role-specific subjects. 

It’s important to bear in mind that onboarding should never be a one-size-fits-all endeavour and that tailoring onboarding plans to suit an individual’s specific needs is a far better way to prepare them for life at your organization. 

2. Prioritize Onboarding Activities that Involve Participation

When you have presented your new hire with their customized onboarding plan, you can begin the onboarding activities. 

At the outset, a key priority should be to create a sense of belonging for your new staff, and that’s why prioritizing onboarding activities that involve participation is so vital. Given that new employees are generally expected to complete 54 activities in the onboarding process, it is your responsibility to ensure that a significant portion of these tasks include some level of participation and collaboration. 

Holding group orientation and ice-breaker activities is a great way to promote interaction between new hires. You can start by asking each participant to provide a short introduction about their backgrounds, roles, and something interesting about themselves before initiating team-building exercises like scavenger hunts, escape room games, and quizzes on Life Sciences trivia. As well as conducting informal, fun team-building activities, you could get your new hires to work on mock collaborative projects inspired by real company initiatives. 

If you choose to conduct a virtual onboarding process, you can utilize online collaboration tools specifically designed for professionals in scientific fields, like SciFlow and Benchling. 

The significance of collaboration among Life Sciences professionals cannot be overstated, as it plays an integral role in igniting innovation in modern science. As such, incorporating team-based activities into your onboarding strategy is an ideal way to foster a collaborative environment. 

3. Provide Regular Feedback and Support 

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your new hires are well aware of the progress they are making. 

Regular feedback is essential, especially for Life Sciences professionals, as their roles often require considerable technical expertise. You should facilitate frequent check-in sessions where you can share your insights or concerns with your new hires while giving them the opportunity to ask questions about how they can develop. 

As well as one-to-one meetings with your new employees, you can implement a recognition and reward scheme to acknowledge their achievements in front of their colleagues. 

Before introducing such a scheme, you should identify the performance metrics that will measure success. For instance, pharmaceutical companies’ KPIs may include project deadlines, ensuring product quality, or achieving regulatory milestones. There are various types of recognition, including verbal praise, certificates, or employee of the month programs. 

In addition to offering praise and regular feedback, you should also provide personal and professional support for your recent recruits. Mentorship programs are a tried-and-tested method of achieving this, as they allow new hires to learn from the expertise of more experienced staff members. 

In fact, research from Gartner suggests that mentorship schemes are extremely beneficial for employee development. In a five-year study of 1,000 employees, 25% of those who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary increase, compared to just 5% of workers who chose not to participate. 

4. Facilitate Hands-On Practical Training 

 Amid a backdrop of constant technological evolution and an ever-more complicated regulatory landscape, it is imperative Life Sciences companies provide new staff with in-depth technical and regulatory compliance training. 

With the emergence of innovative technologies like AI and virtual reality, professionals working for pharmaceutical and MedTech firms require plenty of upskilling opportunities to keep their skills relevant. 

By incorporating hands-on training into your onboarding strategy, not only will your business be able to retain top talent in the long run, but you’ll also ensure that your team possesses the right skills to produce outstanding results. 

Rather than merely providing your new recruits with assessments that evaluate their theoretical knowledge, you should offer hands-on training sessions to test their practical skills. These sessions will allow newer team members to work alongside experienced professionals, making them ideal for knowledge transfer. 

If possible, it would also be advantageous to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into your training program. For example, you could utilize virtual reality to simulate laboratory experiments. By providing training like this, you’ll be demonstrating that you are invested in nurturing your employees’ skills. 

6. Conduct Regulatory Compliance Training 

One of the most essential onboarding and training strategies in Life Sciences is regulatory compliance training. 

While your new recruits will possess the professional qualities to thrive in their new roles, they may not be fully aware of the latest regulations affecting the industry or how to achieve regulatory compliance. 

Life Science companies in the UK are obligated to comply with regulations laid out by numerous agencies, including the European Medicine Agency (EMA), the International Organisation for Standardisation, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. There are numerous training methods for ensuring adherence to regulations and standards that pertain to the Life Science industry. 

Although traditional, instructor-led classroom training sessions can be effective, leveraging digital tools to deliver in-depth training may be more convenient and cost-effective. For instance, you could ask your staff to complete online learning modules or participate in webinars and virtual workshops. Conducting mock inspections and audits is also a good way to assess your staff’s regulatory expertise. 

Key Takeaways

Well-crafted onboarding and training strategies are undeniably important in the dynamic world of Life Sciences. Investing in your employee's growth and development is necessary in an industry where talent is highly sought-after and often hard to retain. 

By customizing onboarding plans, prioritizing participation in activities, offering regular feedback and support, conducting technical and regulatory compliance training, and fostering a culture of continuous learning, Life Sciences companies can set their teams up for success. These strategies not only contribute to higher retention rates but also lead to increased productivity and innovation.

As Life Sciences companies continue to pave the way for groundbreaking research and innovative solutions, remember that your investment in people drives your success. With a robust onboarding and training strategy in place, you're not just building a team; you're cultivating a future with limitless possibilities.

Our Dedication to Life Sciences Recruitment 

At Meet, we are passionate about sourcing the best and brightest candidates for our clients. We recognise that the Life Sciences industry plays a fundamental role in improving global health, and that’s why we are committed to supporting businesses in their search for exceptional talent. Our consultants have been providing candidates and clients with award-winning recruitment services since 2009, and we are dedicated to maintaining our success. 

Reach out today to discover more about how we can help you with your Life Sciences recruitment needs. 

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

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