Future-proofing the pharmaceutical workforce with innovative HR

March 14, 2018 | Thought Pieces


The Philippine pharmaceutical industry has been growing steadily, with its market predicted to hit P164 billion in 2018. The government’s increased budget allocation for healthcare is expected to further boost the sector’s development as it opens more opportunities for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers.

Despite these advancements, the industry is not immune to the workforce challenges felt across sectors. Shifts in customer profiles, increasing digitalization, and the war for talent have prompted companies to transform their HR strategy, yet the pharmaceutical sector has been slow to implement internal changes. This traditional mindset not only limits the career growth of employees—thus contributing to the loss of valuable talent—it also affects hiring. In fact, 51% of industry executives report greater difficulty hiring, and only 28% believe they can attract top talent.

To compete in today’s changing landscape, pharmaceutical companies must drive innovation within their ranks. Research and development has proven to be a crucial component in building their business, and HR can adopt a similar mindset in shaping a strong, dynamic workforce.

Exploring the lay of the land

HR must first identify the gaps in their current strategy within the context of their key business objectives. This involves assessing the effectiveness of their existing programs and getting to know their employees better. Multiple generations comprise today’s workforce, and HR must understand their varied needs and motivations in order to create relevant solutions. Engaging with employees will also help them determine the key people they can further develop and the new talents they need to hire.

Developing the talent pool

To ensure that their employees are equipped to respond to new customers, technologies, and demands, HR must give them access to necessary trainings and materials. It is important for them to provide opportunities for their key people to explore different roles and grow their career within the company, thus giving them more reasons to stay.

Building the workforce also entails hiring new talents with specialized skill sets. As the competition for the best recruits intensifies, companies are challenged to position themselves as the employers of choice by offering attractive salaries, benefit packages customized to the employee’s needs, and flexible work arrangements when possible.

Implementing new programs

The relationship of employees and their managers affect motivation and retention. This affects employee motivation and retention. Aside from promoting communication between managers and team members and providing relevant rewards for employee milestones, it is important for HR to initiate a culture of recognition. Recognizing employees’ efforts—not just their achievements—helps boost morale and encourage them to do their best work.

HR should also consider bringing departments together for community-building activities and socials that encourage collaboration and engagement within the company.

Tracking and improving

As with the development of new products, HR must review the results of their initiatives and constantly find ways to refine them. Performance appraisals, employee engagement surveys, and other data-gathering tools help managers gain a better understanding of their people. By using analytics, HR can identify areas for improvement and adjust their programs to better address their employees’ concerns.

If companies are to ride the country’s economic growth, they must adapt to the sector and its people’s evolving needs. HR leaders are called to be more agile in addressing current issues and to work closely with management in promoting changes that position their company as industry leaders.


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