Pharma cos dole out sops to retain talent

Chennai, July 12 | Updated: Jul 13 2005, 05:30am hrs
Indian pharma companies, dreaming to make it to the big league in the off-patent deluge, are on an HR (human resource) overdrive to retain talent. The sops and freebies coming on the way for pharma professionals are not just stock options or a holiday in a beach retreat, but different prescriptions such as career planning, counselling, multi shilling and job mobility within the organisation.

For instance Ranbaxy, which has close to 10,000 employees, has formulated a new human resources concoction seeking to attract and retain the best talent available with the company. As part of the new initiative, the company provides intensive training for its staff for their career development.

Besides, its HR managers make succession planning for every staff on its rolls. Job rotation, on the job training, training programs and workshops are other strategies followed by the company to keep the employees career graphs moving up. The total number of training man-days during 2004 were 40,412, a substantial increase of 70% over the previous year, reflecting our commitment towards people development, the company says.

Dr Reddys, which has close to 6,000 staff, has also dished out a comprehensive man-management policy to ensure that the company does not face any exodus from its ranks at critical milestones. It is running a number of HR projects addressing various aspects of man management including ensuring job mobility to employees besides providing different platforms for transparent and enhanced information flow from top to bottom and from bottom to top across different departments and geographies. It is also sending its staff back to schools to refurbish their memory as well learn new tricks of the rope. Dr Reddys has also offering stock options to its key employees to ensure that they stay with the company in the medium-run.

Pharma companies on overdrive to retain talent
Career planning, counselling, multi-skilling, job mobility are new buzzwords
Job rotation, on-job training, workshops also resorted to
HR managers make succession planning for every staff
Ranbaxy, others chalk out plan on intensive training
GSK India Ltd is in the process of readying a motivation program for its employees that would trim the attrition rate among its ranks. It also has a career planning scheme for its staff that ensure upward mobility of its staff.

Some other pharma companies like Orchid Chemicals, Biocon and Venus Remedies have also copied the IT companies way of retaining key employees by providing generous stock options. Orchid has recently decided to offer 10 lakh options to its employees recently.

However, head hunters and analysts feel that stock options and fat perks are no longer sufficient to retain staff as it used to be. Options are of a one off kind and is not very much in the reckoning now. What ultimately matters is what you get in the end as well as career opportunities. Like IT firms, pharma companies now will have to find out ways to curb attrition as the projects they are doing are of person specific and require intimate domain knowledge.