Creating an Effective Compliance Talent Strategy for the Life Sciences Industry

When it comes to having the right compliance talent, everything’s at stake.

By Matt Yeager, Vice President, Global Solutions - Life Sciences Vertical  |  June 20, 2017

Social, technological, and economic trends continue to drive rapid growth in the global life sciences industry. While a changing of the guard in the U.S. could herald a new era of deregulation, overseas, companies still face strict compliance requirements at the local, regional, national and international levels. According to the report “2017 global life sciences outlook” by Deloitte, the focus will continue to be on drug and device safety, IP, cybersecurity, corruption, and counterfeit drugs.

While the ability to comply with regulations in a timely manner can significantly boost a company’s bottom line, failure to comply can be detrimental. Depending on the transgression, a company could be responsible for remediation costs, government fines, and legal fees—and the damage to its reputation could be even more costly due to loss of business. Clearly, when it comes to having the right compliance talent, everything’s at stake.

Unfortunately, the shortage of compliance talent that has plagued the industry for the past years isn’t likely to end soon. That’s why it’s critical for companies to create an effective talent strategy that ensures they have the right skills in place at the right time. Keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Determine the core compliance functions. It’s critical to attract experienced talent to ensure you have a strong first line of defense and a robust control function. While this talent is expensive, it’s worth it to protect your company.
  • Enlarge the talent pool. Due to the skills shortage, employers need to broaden their search beyond candidates with exact qualifications to include talent with potential. Recruiting talent with significant regulatory experience in another region or even another industry can be a practical solution. While these professionals will need a longer ramping up time, they’re well-equipped to make the lateral move into the life sciences sector.
  • Provide training for lean talent. For lower-level core functions, consider recruiting inexperienced or underqualified talent whose psychographics indicate they have the required qualities and abilities. It can also be effective to recruit talent with experience in another area of life sciences, since they possess a more relevant frame of reference.
  • Recruit at the local level. When recruiting for overseas positions, consider candidates who are from the region, have established networks, and understand local legislation. This can help provide visibility of your operations, which in turn helps safeguard compliance.
  • Use contingent talent. For functions that aren’t a part of core operations or when you need specialized talent for a limited amount of time, use contingent talent. Bringing in compliance consultants with specific expertise or external teams for audits unburdens your core talent while simultaneously ensuring top performance.

Building a strong compliance function is about more than just finding a pipeline of qualified talent. It’s also about creating a robust yet flexible talent strategy that broadens the talent pool, ensures wise allocation of funds, and facilitates hiring contingent talent when necessary.

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