By: Danielle Greenidge, Human Resources Manager
Interest in working in clinical research has grown immensely over recent years. There was a time when you could not get a college degree that prepared you for a career designing and managing clinical trials. Nowadays, people can graduate college-ready for a job in research. This has created a highly competitive industry, where a growing number of companies, large and small, are vying for the best talent. In addition, millennial and Gen Z candidates are demanding the workplace be engaging and supportive, and the company hold a mission in line with their own values and goals.
That can be a tough challenge for a lot of healthcare companies struggling to attract young talent. Their size and often politicized workplace cultures can make employees feel like a cog in wheel with little chance to advance.
But that’s never been the case at Health Decisions. Health Decisions isn’t a traditional healthcare employer – for a lot of reasons.
1. Our mission: improve women’s health around the world. Heath Decisions is the only CRO that specializes in supporting women’s health research. We’ve been actively involved in nearly every recent advancement in contraception, including Ella emergency contraception, the Annovera vaginal ring, and Nesterone, a contraceptive gel for men that is currently in development. In addition, we are championing efforts to recognize women’s health as not only sexual and reproductive wellness, but inclusive of any and all health conditions that may impact women disproportionally or differently than men. Our employees get to work on trials in indications that have a profound impact on women, including contraception, infertility, sexual transmitted infections, migraine, and women’s oncology. Our employees believe that improving women’s health should be a priority for the healthcare community, and they are proud to support this work.
2. More opportunities to advance. Health Decisions has stayed intentionally small. We have fewer than 500 employees, which means everyone on the team is viewed as an important contributor, and has many opportunities to participate in the work. It’s not uncommon for entry-level contract research associates to find themselves in meetings with our CEO and department heads, or to be asked their opinions or given tasks that advance their skills.
“Part of the reason we’re able to be so supportive is because we are small enough to really know each other,” says Holly Rollins, Clinical Trial Lead. “If you start off in clinical but think you might be interested in data management, you can seek out a colleague and learn about it. A new employee could also ask for additional tasks, even if those tasks are outside of or above their current role.”
3. Create your own career path. We understand that not every employee wants to follow the same career journey. We help employees to identify their own career aspirations, then look for or create opportunities to help them achieve those goals.
For example, the typical progression for a CTA is to go on to be a CRA, then clinical trial lead, followed by a project manager. But as a senior CRA, Jamie Duffy realized that she wasn’t sure this path was right for her. Working with our leadership team, she was given the opportunity to explore alternatives, ultimately becoming a manager of our CRAs. Her talent and instincts were recognized, and she’s now offering even further value to the company in a role where she can thrive long-term. Additionally, we’ve created a Program Director position, which allows project managers looking for new responsibilities to serve as subject matter experts and client relationship leads, further supporting our clinical services team. These are just two examples of how we try to create choices as well as opportunities to keep our staff engaged.
4. Opportunities to do more. Along with training and mentoring programs, our leaders encourage employees to pursue projects that can help them build skills while adding value for the company. For example, Annie McCoy, who joined Health Decisions in 2019, quickly found her place as a member of the team. By expressing an interest in supporting and mentoring her fellow SAS Programmers, she’s been empowered to take on a newly created managerial role within the Biostatistics and Programming team. Annie says, “Health Decisions is different. At Health Decisions, you are treated as an individual, actively contributing to the improvement of women’s health. Employees are valued as contributing members of a hard-working team, successes are celebrated, efforts are appreciated, and professional growth is supported and encouraged.”
Health Decisions employees get these kinds of opportunities because they have managers who value their skills and are willing to give them a chance to succeed.
5. Work/life balance. Most companies say they support work/life balance, but our leaders reinforce this commitment by modeling the right behavior. Studies have shown that employees won’t take advantage of flexible work programs unless they see their managers and leaders doing it themselves. From having the occasional child in the background of a virtual meeting, to encouraging team members to leave early for a soccer game or to pick their kids up from school, our leaders show employees that it’s okay to have a life and to prioritize the people you love. We know life happens during business hours, and we work as a team to find ways for people to participate in life outside of work while still achieving in the workplace.
For anyone interested in a career where they can, chart their own path while improving the lives of women around the world, Health Decisions could be a great fit. Our work contributes to important healthcare issues, and our employees have opportunities to participate in that work and develop new skills under the careful guidance of managers and mentors. That is why they think it’s a great place to work, and we think you will too.