Why Workforce Visibility Can be Transformative in Life Sciences

Mike Berich talks about the complex but rewarding process of bringing a key section of the workforce into the light.

August 05, 2019

By Mike Berich Vice President, Global Client Lead, KellyOCG

I have spent the last 100 days at the center of a project that is giving a leading Life Sciences organization visibility over a key part of their workforce. Taking them a step closer to realizing total talent management.

This project has seen us partner with our client to bring their professional services and consulting supplier base into their MSP program. This is a huge section of their workforce – 12 to 15,000 people – sitting in every function across their organization, at a cost of more than five-hundred million dollars annually. Changing the way they approach this talent group is difficult. It’s complex to unravel the different ways these suppliers engage with their business. To understand how these relationships are administered and organized. But it’s a vital process to undertake in order to ensure our client remains efficient, flexible, and innovative in a highly competitive Life Sciences marketplace.

Today, I want to shine a light on the benefits of this type of talent visibility initiative, exploring why no Life Sciences organization can afford to be in the dark when it comes to their talent.  

Achieve Cost Savings

Talent visibility goes hand in hand with cost savings. By utilizing talent from various professional services organizations, you often face a far higher hourly rate or fixed fee for the same talent you can engage through a competitive bidding process leveraging your contingent labor suppliers within the existing MSP network. In some cases, a 30 percent premium on talent. Aside from the immediate savings, there is also the cost-benefit of leveraging talent visibility to rationalize suppliers by specialty or function. By consolidating spend with fewer suppliers you can increase volume and obtain lower contractual rates.

Drive Engagement

When you start to see your third party workforce more clearly, you can start to engage with them in a more meaningful way. You can ensure that you are treating these vital workers you need in ways that drive engagement and retention. The third party workforce is growing, and every large Life Sciences organization is dependent on the skills and services they provide. Visibility allows you to start to extract information from workers about what matters to them, allowing you to weave together key talent pools to create talent communities. It can help you to be a destination where great talent wants to be.

Improve Flexibility

The Life Sciences is an area where rapid change and M&A activity are the norm. Life Sciences organizations must be able to adapt to a different geographical area or clinical specialties at a moment’s notice. This can be very difficult to do effectively without visibility. Understanding who has the skills you need, who has transferable skills, and how to attract talent with similar skill sets in another location are all much easier when you have a clear view of your current talent pool.

It can be tough in a global Life Sciences organization to unravel the threads that go into making up a highly complex workforce. It can seem easier to do things because they have always been done a certain way or because the alternative appears too complicated. This is a mistake. True visibility over your workforce is increasingly necessary in a sector where the speed of change and the evolution of the skill sets required are so rapid. It can help Life Sciences organizations to be more agile, to be cost-effective, and to deploy crucial talent in the smartest way possible. It helps companies to gain their unfair share in a talent short market and to ensure that they can get on with the life-changing work that is their core mission.

It may have been one hundred days of discovery and problem solving for this client, and for others going through similar evolution, but the benefits of visibility are simply too important to ignore.


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