Managing Talent through M&A in Life Sciences

In a Life Sciences world that seems to be in constant flux how do you maintain a consistent approach to talent? Kristina Djokic explores this complex issue following the 2019 BIO Convention.

July 09, 2019

By Kristina Djokic, Vice President, Global Solutions  , KellyOCG

The 2019 BIO International Convention once again brought together some of the world’s most innovative and influential Life Sciences leaders. I was lucky enough to be attending this year in Philadelphia and met some great people from across the industry. It’s always a pleasure to connect with old faces and meet some new ones too! One of the panels that captured my imagination was a session on De-Risking Life Sciences Mergers and Acquisitions, moderated by Frank Goudsmit from Chubb.

M&As are a fact of life for the Life Sciences sector as larger companies look to strengthen their product portfolio or increase innovation by acquiring smaller ones. This comes with a whole host of benefits and risks, from loss of intellectual property and quality control headaches to managing complex supply chains. But what does it mean for talent management? And how can you ensure that you retain and continue to attract key employees?

Choosing the Right Talent Supplier

When two organizations become one it’s not unusual for two (or more) talent providers to be brought to the table. So, how do you choose who to retain? Or should you keep running multiple suppliers concurrently? There is no easy answer to this question, and it can come down to a range of factors including costs, relationships, and access to vital talent pools and pipelines. It’s something that should always be considered as part of the risk identification process.

Maintaining a Consistent Employer Brand

Culture clash. It’s a real problem, often for both target and acquirer in M&A. This flows into a whole host of areas but one of the key ones is employer branding. Do current and potential employees know who you are anymore? Have you lost authenticity? In an industry where opportunities are often focused in specific geographical areas and where candidates are in high-demand, positive employer brand can be the deciding factor for a potential employee.  

Retaining Top Talent

M&A can be a stressful and uncertain time for employees. Morale can suffer. Employees may have questions over the vulnerability of their role, what the shift might mean for future career plans or if there is going to be a change in how they are expected to get work done. That’s why it’s vital for organizations to agree and deliver consistent messaging and communication. Keeping hold of top talent can be a strong differentiator for Life Sciences organizations but being left in the dark may see vital employees beginning to look elsewhere.

M&A is a time of immense flux and with so many spinning plates it can be easy to overlook people issues. Don’t. People are at the heart of every Life Sciences organization and having a clear plan for all-things talent could be one of the defining factors in a successful transition process.


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