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Why Rho has Lower Turnover Rates than Most Contract Research Organizations

Posted by Jamie Hahn on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 @ 04:24 PM

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Jamie HahnJamie Hahn, Senior Director Corporate Communications, has worked at Rho for eight years.  In addition to corporate communications, she has worked in project management, data management, and proposals & contracts.  Here Jamie shares her personal take on why she, and many others, choose to stay at Rho. 

I’ve worked at Rho for eight years now, which might seem out of the ordinary for an employee of a contract research organization (CRO). In fact, it doesn’t just seem out of the ordinary, it actually is out of the ordinary. Based on preliminary results from the 15th annual CRO Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey*, U.S CROs continue to be plagued by a high employee turnover rate. 18.6% for 2012, to be exact. Wow. Clearly CROs are having serious trouble retaining talent, which is a huge problem in an industry that relies on human capital so heavily.

When I saw these numbers, I immediately called our HR group to find out our turnover rate for 2012. As I waited for the final numbers, I ran through some of the anecdotal evidence I’ve collected on this topic. On my walk to the water fountain, I pass four people who’ve been here for at least three years. There are always employees celebrating 1, 5, 10, and 15 year work anniversaries. And many of us worked in the basement of Ron and Mary Helms’s house in Chapel Hill when they first started the business. Certainly, we could beat a turnover rate of 18.6%.

HR sent me the numbers, and Rho’s turnover for 2012 was a mere 9.7%, just about half the percentage reported in the survey. They also let me know that more than 50% of our employees have been with the company for more than 5 years. I was stunned by these numbers, especially in light of the recent CRO survey results. Being in Corporate Communications, I was curious about the story behind the numbers and why Rho is so different from the rest of the CROs in the industry. Quite simply, I wanted to know why our employees stay at Rho.

So, we asked them. Through a survey that was sent to all employees (response rate of 77%), we received some wonderful and enlightening answers. Here are some of our favorites:

“I enjoy working with smart people.”

“Working in a stimulating environment with motivated team members.”

“Flexibility. Flexibility. Flexibility.”

“My colleagues are amazing.”

“Reasonable hours. This is a great company for family people.”

“Warm, relaxed atmosphere.”

“My work. I love what I do here at Rho.”

“Questioning the status quo is encouraged.”

“Being able to contribute to the greater good and using my brain 5 days a week.”

“Latitude to influence the makeup of my job.”

“My work is valued and my ideas matter.”


rho superheroAdditionally, we asked, “What do you do at Rho?” The top three answers were, “I solve problems,” “I make people happy,” and “I make the world a healthier place.” Not bad for a day’s work.

Around this time, we were also notified that Rho had been recognized by three organizations for our family-friendly, flexible, and all-around exemplary workplace in 2013. These awards included the Triangle Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award, the Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, and the Carolina Parent Family-Friendly 50 Award.

All in all, I’d say that Rho is a great place to work. As a communications professional who’s been charged with sharing Rho’s story with the industry, I’m glad to be able to back up this statement with hard evidence from the industry turnover survey, our employees’ own words, and our recent workplace awards. I love telling Rho’s story every day, but sometimes it tells itself.

*The CRO Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey was conducted by HR+Survey Solutions

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