October 2017

Should I Stay or Should I Go:
Why Employees Quit and How Employers Can Retain Them

For some, quitting a job is a well-thought-out, decisive career move.

For others, it’s a split-second reaction to an adverse situation.

Either way, leaving a job can be closely followed by confusion and regret.

Did I make a huge mistake? What if I hate my new job? Was I truly unhappy? Was there something I could have done differently? Would my boss have been willing to work to find a satisfactory resolution? Would my old company take me back? Why did I feel that quitting was the only option?

These are all common questions following the strategic (or emotional) decision to change jobs. In an earlier article, we concluded that regardless of the job or individual, the reasons for quitting are consistent across the board:

Reason #1: Toxic Work Environment
Reason #2: Limited Work/Life Balance
Reason #3: Poor Compensation
Reason #4: Rare Recognition
Reason #6: Zero Mobility
Reason #7: Unfulfilled Goals
Reason #8: Inept Management

Furthermore, it’s worth noting: it doesn’t matter if these reasons are true, only that they are true for the individual who has decided to quit. Now, let’s assume these past employees are genuine workers with honest motivations. If employers know the reason for the resignation and value the employee who is leaving, the reasonable conclusion is this:

What can employers do to retain these employees, or incentivize them to return after they’ve already resigned?

We all have doubts. Even the individuals who are most certain of their decisions second-guess themselves at one point or another. In fact, “a recent survey polled 4,505 U.S. job seekers and found 76 percent of full-time employees are open to new career positions.” Wow — 3/4th’s of employees could leave at any point in time, even the happy ones.

There are two huge clichés particularly fitting in this situation:

Cliché #1: The grass is greener.

Cliché #2: Hindsight is 20/20.

At one point or another, every single working individual will wonder if there’s a better opportunity elsewhere. The way to effectively retain — or win back — winning employees is to acknowledge these common causes of quitting and address these grievances with creative, actionable solutions.

An organization’s greatest assets are its people. If the people are unsatisfied or malcontent, it will negatively impact the organization. So, it comes down to one thing: retention, retention, retention (so much so, it merits repeat). Strive to preemptively change negative mindsets by doing the following:

Solution #1: Keep lines of communication wide open.

The decision to quit is a personal one, but as an employer or boss, don’t take it personally. It isn’t a personal affront (usually). The relationship between the manager and the managed will not spiral into resentment provided that a good manager always leaves the door open to discussion, free from judgement. Ensuring open communications from the get-go provides a foundation for the relationship and encourages employees to speak up about any frustrations and allow managers to offer solutions before the situation becomes a problem.

Solution #2: Reset expectations.

Expectations play a huge role in the decision-making process. So, when it comes to the day-to-day demands of a job, it’s important that the expectations of the employee line up with the expectations of the employer.

Anna Sidana, VP of marketing at Simply Hired, agrees. “I believe the biggest reason someone would regret changing careers or jobs is because they expected something other than what they got,” she explains. (Forbes)

Employers should make sure to periodically reevaluate expectations between the employer and the employee and adjust for any discrepancies between the two. Above all, people crave stability and consistency in their daily lives. When everyone is on the same page, surprises (especially unwelcome ones such as a “sudden” resignation) are less likely to happen.

Solution #3: Give them what they want, but also what they deserve.

If an employee feels they deserve a reward, recognize it.

If an employee consistently does exceptional work, reward it.

If an employee feels overworked and underpaid, evaluate it.

If an employee feels ignored, address it.

If an employee feels stuck, change it.

If an employee wants competition, encourage it.
To keep employees both happy and motivated sometimes requires concessions on the employer’s end. This could mean higher compensation, shorter hours, overtime pay, a promotion, or even a more difficult problem. To perform and grow, employees need to be challenged. To evolve and exceed expectations, employees need to innovate. Like any relationship, it takes two. The employee and the employer must work together, problem-solve, and periodically reevaluate based on the needs of the individual and the organization, respectively.

As Entrepreneur so aptly put it: “No one likes to see a quality individual leave for another organization. And, in many cases, this is preventable.”

What does it take? Work.


July 2017

When some employees quit, we heave a sigh of relief. But when valued employees quit, bosses panic. What made them want to abandon ship? Why didn’t I see this coming? However, what may seem like a sudden employee departure can be easily explained.

Regardless of the job, the reasons are consistent across the board:

Reason #1: Toxic Work Environment

You don’t invest in companies. You invest in people. People and culture are one of the most important aspects of any job. It doesn’t matter if the job role, the title, or the compensation is a perfect fit. As social beings, we need positive, daily interaction with others. At the very least, for spending 40 hours per week in an office, it should be in good company.

Reason #2: Limited Work/Life Balance

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Employees seek flexibility in the workplace that will allow them to manage other responsibilities on the side like family, health, and personal goals. Even the most successful and career-driven individuals understand the importance of balance.

Reason #3: Poor Compensation

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” James Goldsmith—financier and political crusader—famously said. If you’re not willing to pay for top talent, you will be unable to retain or recruit top talent. In this instance, it’s beneficial to compare yourself—and your business—to others. Consider: What do your competitors offer that you don’t? How can you level the playing field?

Reason #4: Rare Recognition
It comes down to positive versus negative reinforcement.
While negative reinforcement is more effective for sparking behavioral change and breaking bad habits, positive reinforcement influences whether you get the job done and how well you do it. Employees need to be rewarded for good performance, otherwise they’ll lose motivation.

Reason #5: Bad Benefits

Similar to Reason #3, you must pay to play. Further, employees need tangible assurance that their well being will be attended to on-the-job.  This means competitive 401(k) plans with matching, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, etc. Competitive benefits will allow your business to recruit and retain top talent.

Reason #6: Zero Mobility

If employees can’t grow, they’ll go. Not everyone is content with coasting, especially young and hungry candidates—the ones who will work hard, long hours driven by passion and personal goals. If there’s no career trajectory, or employees feels themselves topping out and becoming overburdened by redundant job duties, they’ll seek opportunities elsewhere.

Reason #7: Unfulfilled Goals

Almost everyone has an imagined career path and goals. Sometimes, the path and goals change subtly. Occasionally, they change so dramatically the current job or career path no longer fit the desired destination. It’s up to management to tune into their teams and find ways to integrate company goals with an employee’s personal ones.

Reason #8: Inept Management

Unsurprisingly, the number one reason employees quit is due to bad managers: “According to Gallup polls, 50% of employees who quit cite their manager as the reason.” People join companies for compensation, benefits, and opportunities, but they can’t always anticipate how a future manager will impact mentality and performance and eventually, they leave.


Filled Positions

While your instinct may be to slow down job searches during the summer months, now is a perfect opportunity to regroup on your goals and ramp up your efforts before fall!

The life sciences industry encompasses a myriad of subcategories and potential positions. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), life sciences occupations are projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024.

We’ve recently helped candidates fill the following positions:

  • Clinical Trial Associate
  • Clinical Project Manager
  • Clinical Data Manager
  • Bioinformatics Engineer
  • SAS Programmer
  • eTMF Specialist
  • NGS Engineer


June 2017

As we enter the Summer season, both the contract and permanent staffing market are HOT as we see the following trends:

  • Data-led patient engagement has led to more roles in software and data management.
  • Growth of genetics/genomics as the emphasis moves towards a personalized medicine treatment has led to an increased demand for data science skills.
  • Emphasis on cyber security as an increasing number of companies are connecting their devices and apps to the cloud, cyber security.
  • Changing regulatory environments as continued regulatory uncertainty continue with healthcare reform and drug pricing remaining hot topics, regulatory professionals are in demand.

In this market, our recruiter tip for this month is especially relevant.

Recruiter Tip of the Month

Contemplating a job change? Already submitted a resignation? Can’t wait to quit?

There’s just one problem. While you’ve got one foot out the door, your boss is tempting you with an attractive counteroffer.

It would be so much easier to stay at your current company, with a pay hike and potentially greater or varied responsibilities.

But you’re forgetting one very important detail: why you wanted to leave in the first place?

Counteroffers should never be accepted….EVER!

If you finally made the decision to jump ship, it’s because there were issues or deal-breakers that couldn’t be fixed by a chat with the boss.

Qualms with a current job can be categorized in 3 ways:

  1. Issues within your manager’s ability to control
  2. Issues within my ability to control
  3. Issues that fall outside my manager’s and my ability to control.

If #3 is the case, then it’s likely a new job is the solution, because the issue cannot be solved by either you or your manager. According to a Pittsburgh staffing firm, “More than 50% of all employees who accept counteroffers change companies within the following 24 months.” So, whatever the initial issue was, it will likely persist regardless of the counteroffer.

Believe it or not, most employees do not leave solely for a higher salary; they leave for an all-around better opportunity that fits their future career goals.

Accepting a counteroffer is a bad idea because:

  • It doesn’t address the underlying issue.
  • It may damage the relationship with your current employer.
  • It undermines your value, since you probably deserved more, sooner.
  • You may regret it later, having forfeited a new opportunity for professional development.

What type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?


May 2017

Flynn Life Sciences Group is in the middle of an evolving time in the Pharma community from Digital Transformations to Big Data to Drug Pricing. We see successful trials marked by collaboration, digital knowledge, and patient engagement. Better recruitment, contractor engagement and employee retention is a major ingredient to this.

We sponsored the Boston Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (BCBB) Meet Up at Meadhall in Cambridge last month which had a tremendous turnout. We are excited to be a part of this community that is shaping the future of research for our industry.

Every interviewer asks some variation of the same three questions:

1. Can you do the job?
Questions involving strengths, weaknesses, specific skills, and experience fall into this category. For life sciences professions, be sure to incorporate technical expertise, demonstrate science proficiency, and highlight understanding of regulatory standards. Also, take this opportunity to explain how you handled a variety of situations in current or past roles that are applicable to the new position.

2. Will you like the job?
Questions involving the job role and the company fall into this category. Do your research on the company; its origins; and past, current, or upcoming projects that are relevant to you and your experience. Don’t forget a healthy dose of positivity, whether it’s reflecting on your old role or highlighting your motivations for securing this new role.

3. Will we like working with you?
This is an alternative to “why should we employ you?” or “what will you do for our bottom line?” Insert tangible examples of how you have contributed in the past and will contribute in the future.

Similarly, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers are testing 3 things: your technical proficiency, your personality and ability to fit in with the team, and your communication skills (written and verbal).

Recruiter Tip of the Month

When on an interview, use your inner “DREAMER” to share a professional vision about yourself in the future. Your interviewer has read your resume. The interview is a time to shift your focus from your past to your future.
Paint a picture of how you hope to make a difference: in your work, in your life, at their company or organization. Inspire them with your aspirations for the years to come.