Employee turnover rates across the CRO industry are incredibly high. In 2014, the overall CRO turnover rate was 19.5% and was even higher (25.4%) among CRAs. At Rho, we recognize that team stability is a key factor in meeting our Sponsors’ expectations and in doing high quality clinical research. In order to maintain team stability, we have to keep employee turnover low—significantly lower than industry average. How do we do that?
As is frequently said by Rho co-Founder Ron Helms, the goal should be that we are all happy at work 19 days out of 20. While everyone has an occasional bad day, we strive to make Rho a place where people are excited to come to work each day. For starters, we have an intensive hiring and on-boarding process that ensures that people who come work here will be a good fit here. Every prospective employee is interviewed by a senior leader whose job it is to protect the culture we’ve built. It is amazing how much more enjoyable work is when your co-workers are smart, fun people who are good at what they do.
The physical work environment is important too. We constantly look for ways to improve the work environment. Recently, we’ve added a game room with TVs, video games, and ping pong; the RhoHUB which is a central gathering place for co-workers to grab a cup of coffee or sit and eat lunch from one of the food trucks; and a meditation room. All employees have the option of a standing desk, and we’ve experimented with some other alternative arrangements like treadmill desks and stationary bike desks.
We also encourage employees to connect with the community at large. Last year, in addition to a significant corporate gift to DonorsChoose.org, each employee received a gift card to donate to a classroom or school project of their choosing. Each year, we have a BBQ and raffle fundraiser to support the March of Dimes and numerous employees participate in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies.
Finally, no discussion of Rho’s corporate culture would be complete without mentioning our core purpose and core values. Our core purpose is to improve health, extend life, and enhance quality of life via corporate and research excellence. Our core values are integrity, stability, innovation, quality, to think critically & creatively, profitability, agility & adaptability, a team culture, and great people. These aren’t just words on paper—they regularly come up in meetings and are used in decision making.
Competitive Compensation and Benefits
This probably goes without saying, but offering competitive compensation and benefits is a crucial component of any employee retention plan. We regularly review market data on salaries to ensure not only are we bringing people in at appropriate levels, but that throughout their tenure here employees’ compensation keeps pace with the market. We also offer a generous benefits package that includes standard stuff like healthcare and retirement plans, but also some nice perks like a concierge service that runs personal errands for employees.
Opportunities for Growth and Advancement
Rho has a comprehensive career path system that is designed to reward both the breadth and depth of skills that employees acquire during their time here. We encourage all employees to explore areas outside their existing area of expertise because it makes them more valuable to Rho and more valuable to our clients. We prefer to promote from within when possible, and the majority of our senior leaders came into their current positions this way. Entry level employees are exposed to a broad set of functional areas and skill sets, and most spend at least a year or two in generalist roles before becoming more specialized in an area of interest.
We believe our employees are most effective at work when they have a fulfilling life outside of work. In a world where many people never disconnect, we discourage checking email at night and on weekends unless truly necessary. We want people to take real vacations where they don’t take work with them, call into meetings, or constantly respond to email. We also realize that life requires flexibility, and we trust employees to make good decisions when setting their hours or deciding to work from home rather than come into the office.
Work That Matters
Last, but definitely not least, is the opportunity to do work that matters. The research we do solves real problems. From breakthroughs in preventing peanut allergy, to getting a new product to market that extends the lives of cancer patients, to life changing improvements for organ transplant recipients, Rho employees know that the work we do here matters.