Jazz Pharma Exec Shares Tips for Improving Employee-Employer Relationships

March 14, 2016
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com

Do your employees love their jobs? The answer, whether yes or no, has a lot to do with the relationship you’ve built with them. Poor relationships often lead to lower productivity and higher turnover. Good relationships can reduce absenteeism, foster loyalty, increase productivity and boost revenues. They can even improve employee wellbeing. According to a 2015 survey of US and Canadian employees by Virgin Pulse, an employee health and engagement company, nearly 60 percent of workers say a good relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus and productivity on the job. Forty-four percent say it positively impacts their stress level as well.

John Buergenthal, global head of talent acquisition at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (JAZZ), says creating a positive employee-employer relationship is important to the international biopharmaceutical company. “We feel strongly that a collaborative and positive corporate culture is the key to our success,” he explains. “At Jazz, we have worked to establish and build an organization that respects each employee and what they bring to the organization. This allows everyone, regardless of level or background, to work together and interact in a manner that allows for creativity. This in turn allows us to be more responsive in overcoming the challenges that face us.”

If you’d like to reap the benefits of improved employee-employer relationships at your biotech or pharma company, consider the following suggestions.

1. Keep the lines of communication open.
If you want to build strong, positive relationships with your employees, open communication—in both directions—is essential. Never “hide” important news from your team—whether it’s good or bad. Instead, share company performance, product development and project details in a way that will enable your employees to better understand how their individual roles play a part in the success of the organization. Encourage them to voice their concerns and ideas freely—and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

2. Make feedback a habit.
An understanding of expectations is essential if you want your employees to perform at their best. Give feedback—both positive and constructive—every time you have the opportunity to do so. While frequent feedback is best, even a monthly check-in can be beneficial. Make the most of annual performance reviews as well. “At Jazz Pharmaceuticals, our performance appraisal measures employee success on goal attainment, living our values and leading others,” says Buergenthal. “In this way, people are rewarded for accomplishing things as they work to support a team-oriented environment. This in turn fosters a positive culture.”

3. Show your gratitude.
Without your employees, your company wouldn’t be able to function, whether you’re developing new life-saving drugs or manufacturing the latest biotech products. As with giving feedback, it’s important to take every opportunity to say “thank you.” Sometimes a simple email is enough. Other times you may want to publically recognize a team member’s great work at a meeting or other company gathering. “Jazz Pharmaceuticals has a program that rewards individual contributors and teams that accomplish objectives in a manner that supports our values and culture,” Buergenthal explains. “For individual contributors, we have several types of awards from peer recognition to the Jazz Master, an award that recognizes one individual each year who embodies all the best our values have to offer.”

4. Support work-life balance.

According to the Virgin Pulse survey, employees rank supporting work-life balance as the number one way employers can show that they care about wellbeing. Nearly 40 percent of workers say that they wish their employer cared more about their work-life balance, and 44 percent want a job where they can have a flexible work arrangement. In fact, work-life balance support ranks higher than appreciation and core benefits. You may want to consider offering alternative work schedules (such as 4/10 work weeks), flex time or telecommuting opportunities when positions allow.

“Jazz was founded on the premise that a great place to work is the type of company that always remembers the patient who ultimately gest the products we develop and works hard to develop and support our employees,” Buergenthal concludes. “These two beliefs are central to our values and help us remember that without our terrific team, the company would not succeed.”

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