Talent Acquisition

Transforming Talent Acquisition in Life Sciences, Part 2

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Succeeding as a talent leader has never been more important. Consider:

As mentioned in my previous blog, we created IBM Think Talent for healthcare and life sciences organizations to share experiences and explore pertinent topics impacting talent acquisition. Our first co-host was Merck & Co., Inc., a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in the United States. We were joined by external talent leaders from across the healthcare ecosystem. Participants co-created an operating model with revised role segmentation and shared insights on talent strategies to enable business transformation.

We also heard the talent acquisition transformation story of Merck & Co., which has chosen the right mix of partnerships and technology to recruit the talent it needs.


A new TA model at Merck

Merck’s two-year transformation project began in late 2017. With a decentralized TA approach, the organization could not scale fast enough to meet the significant increase in global hiring demand, according to Ajay Patel, director of Talent Acquisition, Global Recruitment Solutions & Employer Branding.

The TA team identified markets that they considered critical to the success of the transformation project. The transformation included:

  • Partnering with two recruitment process outsourcing vendors (one being IBM)
  • Additional training and development for an in-house team of TA advisors
  • A new internal Executive Search function to bring proactive sourcing and talent pooling capabilities to support the organization’s business critical and niche roles

Merck also adopted a new TA model along with tech tools and processes for recruiting in 80% of its global locations. In a significant technology shift, the organization is implementing a new ATS, CRM and Recruitment Marketing Platform within the next 12 months.


Measurable improvements

Through its RPO partnerships and internal upgrades, the TA team is delivering Merck more through best-in-market talent. (You can read the entire transformation story and results of a benchmark study in “The Future of Talent Acquisition in Healthcare & Life Sciences.”)

One of the goals that Merck wants to achieve through its TA transformation is to increase satisfaction among candidates in the process, as well as new hires, talent advisors and hiring managers. (In part three of this blog series, my colleague Tim Wagstaff, a recruiter in life sciences, discusses the importance of engaging hiring managers.)

“We aim to improve satisfaction for all our customers including candidates, hiring managers and talent advisors,” Patel says. “At the same time we expect to have truly hired the best candidates in the industry, not just the best candidate who applied. There is a subtle but big difference.”


Life Sciences & Pharma

Client Solutions Executive

Andrew Bercich

IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization Solutions and Sales Executive

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