Using Employee Engagement to Drive Retention: Biotechnology

Engaging and retaining top talent during times of change at a Biotech Company

Client Case Study

Situation

This Biotech Company is an industry leader in the field of antibody discovery and development. Over the past 30 years the company has built strong intellectual property, technology platforms, and capabilities to engineer cutting-edge therapeutic antibodies that have the potential to transform medicine and reshape people’s lives.

To capitalize on a significant market opportunity that would have a major impact on the company’s future, the company launched a strategic initiative to develop its Leaders, Managers, and Management Systems. Shortly thereafter, the poor economic conditions affected the company, requiring a workforce reduction and increased workloads for the remaining employees.

The leaders wanted to quantitatively assess the level and breadth of commitment and engagement in the organization. Specific objectives included:

  1. Measure the level of engagement and commitment employees have to the company and strategy.
  2. Assess the effectiveness of investments in key Human Resource initiatives.
  3. Determine how effectively the company is managing areas that are most important to employees.
  4. Identify specific areas where leaders can take informed action to increase employee engagement.
  5. Benchmark employee engagement to assess the effectiveness of future Human Resource initiatives.

Complications

The biotech company recognized the importance of maintaining a strong, focused team during this critical time. They were especially concerned about:

  • Increasing employees’ level of alignment and commitment to the company’s vision and mission-critical strategies
  • Losing key talent
  • Improving the effectiveness of the current leadership practices and management systems vis-à-vis an environment that fosters commitment
  • Understanding key actions that leaders could take to maximize commitment and minimize risk

Approach

We used a best practices employee engagement survey that was initially developed in a landmark study to identify the key relationship between management practices and employee retention. Based upon ongoing engagement research, the employee engagement survey tool has continued to evolve and improve over the last 10 years.

Additional aspects of the approach included:

  1. Customizing the Employee Engagement Survey to provide feedback specific to the company’s culture, strategic objectives, business practices, and organizational systems
  2. Piloting the Employee Engagement Survey with a Test Group to ensure cultural fit and technical functionality
  3. Marketing the Employee Engagement Survey to the organization to encourage participation
  4. Assisting the company to analyze the results and identify key next steps
  5. Providing online and just-in-time reporting capabilities so the company can provide specific Engagement Feedback to its managers when needed
  6. Initiating action around “quick hit” items

Results

The feedback from the engagement survey confirmed that the organization is well aligned to achieve its key strategic objectives and that people are highly committed to the success of the organization. It also highlighted issues that could undermine the company’s pursuit of its objectives – especially if there was a shift in the economic conditions.

Key Drivers of Success:

  1. High survey response rate signifies a high trust environment where employees’ voices are heard
  2. Commitment to the company’s success was the most important survey item for 93% of employees
  3. 85% of employees were clear on how their specific goals contributed to the company’s success
  4. 82% of employees were engaged in “challenging and interesting” work
  5. Data also signified that the workforce is:
    • Charged up about the opportunities that lie head
    • Strongly bonded with their manager, team, and coworkers
    • Satisfied that they have learned and grown during their tenure at the company

Engagement Opportunities:

While the results of the survey showed a solid foundation for achieving company strategic objectives, there were areas that could impact engagement and retention if not addressed:

  1. Career paths, opportunities to progress, and support are not clearly visible to employees
  2. Visibility to career opportunities at the company is low
  3. Requirements for advancement in the company are unclear
  4. Employees do not feel that their managers know how they would like to be personally rewarded
  5. A lack of understanding of the business strategy impacts employee confidence in the company’s future
  6. There is a segment of employees who feel challenged to manage their workload

Taking Action:

The company wanted to show their commitment to employees with an immediate response to the key problem areas followed by more systemic approaches.

Quick Response:

  1. A career self-management class is being rolled out to enable employees to take greater responsibility for their career development and management within the existing system
  2. A workshop on managing pressure and workload is being rolled out for employees who are experiencing high workloads and levels of stress in their work

Systemic Response:

The leadership is in the process of developing more systematic approaches that provide greater focus on career management, communications, and personal rewards.

Human Capital Index

This is the first year that the company has a done an employee engagement survey. It achieved engagement scores that are extraordinarily high compared to a decade of LSA benchmark scores.

The survey results can be clearly attributed to the company’s significant investment in developing its managers, leaders, and individual contributors over the last 10 years.

The survey also highlighted areas where the company has under-invested. Moving forward, the company now has visibility to manage its human capital investments with greater precision and with the ability to measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

Related Information

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

LSA Global has been a great partner in helping us move toward being “the leading developer of talent in the service performance management industry.” I have engaged LSA to help develop best-in-class programs in the areas of: Executive On-boarding, Manager Training, Sales Training, Employee Engagement and Instructional Design. They have consistently met or exceeded my (very) high expectations and are always responsive to my needs.

Mike Normant
Senior Director, Training & Development

Service Source

We partnered with LSA to help custom design, deliver, and measure an advanced new employee on-boarding process. It well thought out and bought into by sales leadership. The combination of targeted sales tools, technology, coaching, performance plans, training, and reinforcement made all the difference.  The solution quantifiably improved new employee and hiring manager satisfaction and increased the speed to sales quota for new hires. I would highly recommend LSA Global for any sales enablement team looking to increase the engagement and speed to productivity of their sales force. We are excited to implement the program globally as we continue to scale.

Rochana Golani
Director, Global Field Readiness

The quality of LSA’s Leadership Training Programs and facilitators is always top notch. We recognize and appreciate the hard work LSA always goes through to align to our unique culture and meet our specific requirements. Thank you for regularly going above and beyond. Your support and dedication, both on the strategic and tactical side, have been outstanding!

Anna Meyer
Leadership Development

Intuit

The experiential New Employee Orientation was an incredible success for 2,500+ new hires over 4 years spread across the globe. They partnered with us to create an innovative solution on very short notice and added a huge amount of value. We could never have done it without their unmatched combination of expertise, professionalism, and creativity that aligned everything with our unique culture. Even our experienced hires were blown away!

Brenda Wagner
Founder and President

Proxicom

LSA Global brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for key executive positions that we needed to fill.  They helped us to develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.  Thank you!

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

LSA has a very unique and powerful methodology regarding learning. Their ability to overcome skepticism, obtain executive support, and create an aligned learning strategy that provides measurable business impact is second to none. They understand your goals, flex to your needs, and solve problems. They certainly help make my job easier and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend LSA to anyone trying to connect the dots between strategy, skills, knowledge, and results.

Noelle Van Vlierbergen
Human Resources Director

AKQA

As a Training Outsourcing Partner, LSA consistently saves me time and money by understanding what matters to our strategy and what works in our unique culture. Their methodology and resources are fantastic and allow us to deploy better solutions faster. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to raise the talent bar with a true strategic partner.

Tim Bonnet
Director of Training and Organizational Development

Dimension Data

We turned to LSA Global to help take our behavioral interviewing process to the next level in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. LSA quickly understood our unique culture and challenging requirements.  They immediately helped us to improve our ability to continue to hire top talent that fits our culture and talent management strategy as we rapidly scale.

Julie Pearl
Technical Program Manager

Google

We have had a very beneficial partnership with LSA. Their recent Leadership Development Program helped us to identify, develop, and retain top leaders. It was instrumental in helping take our company and our key people to the next level. I would recommend them to anyone looking to truly develop and retain top talent.

Steve Janowsky
Vice President of Operations

Proxicom

LSA brought a very effective training design and implementation approach to help us create a common language around our corporate training. As a fast growing company with a geographically dispersed workforce, their expertise in this area was invaluable to us in driving consistency, creating a sense of belonging for our employees, and developing a common language for all of us to use.

Binod Taterway
CEO

Blue Canopy

We partnered with LSA years ago.  Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased, decreased, and increased again. The beauty of LSA’s business model is its flexibility and depth of their expertise.  When we need strategic or tactical outside help, we use LSA knowing that we can depend on outstanding quality advice and targeted solutions every time.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling stuff. Their experts are an invaluable resource that help me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

LSA asks the hard questions, listens, and understands our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise ranging from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. LSA provides great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance on how to get the most from your talent.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

Having a training outsourcing partner like LSA to support our talent management needs has been a real blessing. In an emerging company where typically you can’t afford the infrastructure necessary to provide a full range of offerings to meet the changing needs of an organization, having an external partner who understands our business and our culture and offers everything from a wide range of open enrollment programs to customized organizational development consulting is almost as good (and in some cases better than) having your own internal Training and Organizational Development function.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

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