There has always been a high turnover of staff within the medical communications industry – a recent survey on the MedComms Networking site revealed that in 2016, 31.55% of staff were definitely intending to move, or may move job if an opportunity arose. Research undertaken by XpertHR shows that this compares with just 15.3% who resigned from their jobs across all industries in the UK in 2014.

Most med comms organisations typically hire experienced professionals, even when filling entry level vacancies. Large sums of money are spent on recruitment and recruiter fees, only for some staff to move on after a short period of time. Among reasons for staff leaving, as reported by a responder to the MedComms Networking survey, is a desire for better training: ‘I intend to find a workplace where training and development are intrinsic to allow staff to develop their skills.’

The London-based med comms agency Synergy Vision boasts a high staff retention rate which is uncharacteristic of the industry. In 2015, 97% of staff chose to remain at Synergy Vision demonstrating a fantastic retention rate compared to the national and industry average. A key reason for this is the huge amount of resources, time and money that are invested in the training of staff.

In 2014, Synergy Vision ran a successful Development Programme for two account executives and two medical writers. The new staff received four weeks of training; from account and events management, to business development and medical writing. Staff then rotated between departments before settling in to their designated roles. Interestingly, an account executive and medical writer from this programme have recently permanently swapped roles.

Camille Burchell says ‘During my rotations I realised how much I enjoy the writing aspect of med comms, and, after much thought, I asked to move into medical writing. The company were incredibly flexible and supported my change.’

This is refreshing, and highlights Synergy Vision’s emphasis on bringing the best out of people by encouraging them to settle into roles where their talents and enthusiasms lie. Due to the success of the 2014 programme, Synergy Vision are currently running a second development programme (March 2016). Again, two account executives and two medical writers will receive in-depth training on all aspects of the business. The development programme offers opportunities to candidates who would otherwise find it difficult to break into med comms such as recent graduates and post docs new to the industry.

Ffyona Dawber, MD of Synergy Vision says, ‘We are really excited about the new development programme, staff recruited for the previous development programme quickly became an integral part of the organisation and have continued to grow with it.’ The new programme will build on the first one and offers great opportunities. The advantages will not only be felt by the new starters, but also by the organisation which will benefit from the increased trust and loyalty of its staff.