Clinical trials suffer from a high rate of personnel turnover. High turnover causes trial costs and the time taken to complete trials to rise. It’s important both to address the causes of high turnover and be prepared to manage the changeover process.
Recent studies have shown that research organizations are taking an average of 32 weeks to become ready for enrollment. Despite technological advances in how clinical trials are conducted, this is a 15% increase from just 10 years ago. Trials that use familiar investigative sites with consistent staff take 10 fewer weeks, highlighting the need to maintain a low turnover rate.
According to the Contract Research Organization (CRO) Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey, those in clinical monitoring jobs in the United States are leaving at a rate of nearly 26%. The national average for professional turnover is less than 18%. Internationally, the numbers are far worse, with Taiwan experiencing turnover of more than 40%.
Increased selection criteria, which extends the length of trials; unrealistic timelines; and the heavy burden of adhering to very demanding procedural protocols are all contributing factors. The increasing complexity of selection and clinical trial conduction processes highlights the need for organizations to retain their best workers. However, trial personnel know they are in demand and are being lured away with promises of better working conditions and incentives elsewhere.
Additionally, the lack of staying-on incentives at CROs adds to the high rate of turnover. Only 6% of managers qualified for long-term incentives (LTIs), but only 2% received them. CROs cannot allow themselves to keep losing their best assets at such a high rate. They must take better measures to motivate their employees to stay and consider diverting their resources from signing-on bonuses to staying-on bonuses earned over time. At present, the annual incentive and long-term incentive levels in CROs are much lower than they are in other industries.
CRO human resources departments are finding the high rate of clinical trial personnel turnover difficult to cope with. Managing existing workers rather than having to find and train new ones is the ideal. That’s why employee retention should be a major priority. In today’s employment marketplace, however, companies must also be prepared for the reality of high turnover.
Efficient and accurate communication is key. When an employee gives his or her notice, notify all applicable personnel as soon as possible. Ensuring all trial team stakeholders are notified of the personnel change is essential. E-mailing sponsors and other team members is a simple notification solution.
Training is a vital part of ensuring that new employees are able to perform well. Implement a system where new employees start before the exiting employees leave. This creates the opportunity for hand-off training and smooths the transition. New employees are able to hit the ground running and are able to deal with any potential issues that are not addressed in the employee handbook.
To keep trials running smoothly despite high rates of employee turnover, it’s essential to have a system in place for trial master file, information, and submissions management. Corementum is at the forefront of regulatory submissions and eTMF management for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. We also offer full-scale organizational change management support. We design, develop, and execute organizational change management communication and training strategies. For more information about how Corementum can assist you with your change management needs, contact us.