Hiring the Best Life Science Staff in SMEs

Unfortunately, it’s common for SMEs to struggle with hiring even though they comprise 99% of private businesses in the UK and hire 60% of employees. Amidst the range of skills, competence levels, market cost and location of candidates, it is not easy even for big businesses to find top reliable talent, especially in a life sciences sector that lacks sufficient skills following the end of free movement post Brexit. SMEs often find themselves between a rock and a hard place with not having significant funds to invest in staff but requiring highly qualified life sciences talent. As a result, they must spend wisely and ensure they are hiring the right candidates. In this article we consider the biggest recruiting challenges they face.

Competing with Big Businesses to Attract Top Talent

SMEs in life sciences must compete with some giant international pharmaceutical companies when looking for top talent. Big businesses have the brand, higher salaries, and incentives to attract talented employees. With tight budgets, often SMEs can’t put up the same attractive offers as big businesses. Many SMEs do not have a brand that is widely known or a beneficial presence in media, universities or on hiring platforms. So, in order to stand out, SMEs must make use of creative and modern ways to attract talent. There is an opportunity to build a strong brand through the creative use of social media. Now that hybrid working is more commonplace, a more flexible approach to working practices may enable vacancy to appeal to a wider geography of candidates that would otherwise not be able to apply. In addition, it is easier for a smaller, more close-nit team within an SME to share their passion about the organisation’s mission and this in turn, may attract candidates that are more driven and determined to succeed.

 

Not having a Good Hiring Process

Do not underestimate the importance of a good hiring process. Often owners or managers in SMEs must wear many different hats and carry out a lot of the work themselves. This results in less time and resources to devote to reviewing CVs, holding interviews, vetting candidate backgrounds and ultimately, selecting the best candidates. In a candidate led market, often SMEs that are slower to respond lose good candidates to more agile competitors. Knowing where to go to obtain expert hiring advice and finding agencies that can understand the roles and businesses they recruit for can result in a lot of time being wasted while SMEs try to fill vacancies themselves.

Settling for a less than Ideal Candidate

Once the hiring process is complete, the intention is that there’s a strong candidate in place. However due to smaller staff budgets or weaker selection processes sometimes SMEs end up compromising on candidates to get vacancies filled. With the cost of a bad hire being up to 15 times their base salary, this could result in not only an costly mistake but added stress, reduced morale within the team and lower productivity for the business. If budget is the only reason for not investing in a more expensive, more suitable candidate, it probably makes good business sense to spend more on the salary of the stronger candidate in the long run.

Struggling to Retain Valued Employees

Another key problem SMEs face is that once they gain a talented employee, they face the risk of losing them for any number of reasons. Mainly employees leave due to frustrations over ineffective management, overwork, or lack of growth opportunities. A solid onboarding experience and relevant on the job training therefore play a vital role. Retaining good talent requires strategic management and mentoring so employees are closely allied to the company’s mission and feel valued and appreciated. Incentives and rewards may be provided in a creative manner where costs become an issue. Flexible working practices may also provide employees with the feeling that their needs and concerns would be addressed with greater care from smaller businesses rather than in larger businesses where their issues and concerns could be lost in bureaucracy.

However, there are efficient, effective, and creative ways out for SMEs. You can address these with the efficient and effective use of hiring funds, investing in a good hiring process, people centred management and by using creative and modern tools to attract and maintain valued employees.

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Contact

Hotley Bottom Barn,
Hotley Bottom Lane,
Prestwood,
HP16 9PL

+44 7977 988 000

neil.burns@georgejamesltd.com

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Contact

Hotley Bottom Barn,
Hotley Bottom Lane,
Prestwood,
HP16 9PL

+44 7977 988 000

neil.burns@georgejamesltd.com

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