The life sciences is a demanding field that carries the potential for a sense of great fulfillment. It is an industry dedicated toward shaping our perception of life and ways of coping with its challenges. A field with such high expectations can exert a severe toll on its workforce. Thus, it is crucial for scientific leaders and employers to implement a series of strategic incentives to optimize worker satisfaction and staff longevity.
Yet, incentives shouldn’t be solely focused on direct reward systems. Instant gratification (in the form of a bonus or travel package) is ineffectual in the long-run and may ultimately backfire (by causing unnecessary pressure to perform). Business analyst, Dan Pink, has proposed that the carrot-and-stick (reward and punishment) method has been succeeded by a model that runs on autonomy, mastery and purpose. This is especially relevant in fields that involve innovation and rudimentary thought processes.
And there are few industries that match up to the depth of intellectual reasoning involved in the life sciences. Under this modern management model, proposed incentives should empower and motivate workers by resonating with their intrinsic values. Workers should be provided with greater opportunities to improve their existing skill sets along with a steady path toward progression and self-advancement.
Some life science companies are known to attract new hires with enticing premiums. This may be an effective way to gain the attention of fresh graduates and individuals who are currently on the fence regarding a career in the life science field. These premiums are subject to multipliers depending on the company’s budget, economical and governmental initiatives – most importantly, they’re one-time off.
Although they may seem attractive at first sight, this sum is static, limited. New-hires will soon find themselves unmotivated and possibly feel as if they’ve been tricked into joining the force. Thus, although new-hire premiums can be lucrative and effective for on-boarding campaigns, companies will need to supplement them with something geared for the long-run – something that creates deeper meaning and satisfaction for workers.
Similar to new-hire premiums, bonuses are targeted at short-term satisfaction and may not drive long-term performance. However, this may still be considered a major catalyst to be paired with long-term incentives.
According to a Deloitte survey, only 56% of workers in the life science field are satisfied with their job placements, compared to 70% for all other sectors. That is a statistic that can be addressed and improved through long-term incentives.
Employers should also consider life after retirement funding for their workers. The Life science field is often a lifelong career path that can be made more cushy with improved 401(K) contributions. These contributions may go beyond standard matches, which are usually based on the age and length of service of the worker. Such retirement incentives can make a major difference in staff commitment and long-term planning.
The life sciences has been experiencing a surge in innovation breakthroughs. This is a trend witnessed across the globe, in countries like China (which is the 2nd biggest Life Science market in the world. ) This translates to increased sales, success and opportunities. And it is naturally so that workers would look forward to being a part of this dynamic movement. In fact, a great deal of turnover cases are linked to workers feeling “they’ve lacked a sense of challenge.”
Companies can fix this by offering workers the opportunity to head abroad for learning collaborations with overseas companies and partnered research. It is all about pushing forward and international learning opportunities at places like the recently opened AstraZeneca International Life Science Innovation Campus in Wuxi, Jiangsu province can make a huge impact in the lives of workers.
Based on Pink’s theory of autonomy, mastery and purpose – foreign exchanges may help charge up workers with greater motivation and performance.
Sometimes, workers are looking for something bigger than a career – they’re seeking to be personally involved with the growth of their company. For example, Tango Therapeutics offers employees with an annual Equity Grant program, which gives them stakes in the company..
Other companies such as Genentech offer scientists with the privilege of 20% time, where workers are allowed to develop their creative ideas and innovations using 20% of their work hours.
Ultimately, the life science industry can significantly improve performance and staff satisfaction by combining short & long-term incentives. The goal is to create a landscape where individuals are given the space to hone their craft along with better wages.
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