7 HR Trends for Life Sciences You Need to Consider in 2024

BY Katarzyna Kusy
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HR is so much more than just forms, payroll, and compliance. It’s the bridge connecting employees and their company’s goals. While the day-to-day tasks are important, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s explore the cutting-edge HR trends shaping the 2024 Life Sciences industry landscape.

1. Employee Well-being and Mental Health

In the bustling world of Life Sciences and Health Care, we excel at safeguarding the well-being of our patients, ensuring their health is a top priority. We take pride in crafting solutions that not only shield but elevate their quality of life. Now, let’s shift the spotlight for a moment – do we extend the same meticulous care to our invaluable team?

Let’s discuss some fascinating findings from Saïd Business School’s study, Does Happiness Improve Worker Productivity? Turns out, happy workers are like productivity superheroes, producing a solid 12% more output than their less cheerful counterparts. Picture this—a team beaming with joy navigates fewer pitfalls and executes tasks precisely, like a well-oiled machine.

Interestingly, the UAE government also got its finger on the pulse with The National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031. The initiative aims to make the United Arab Emirates a world leader in quality of life, with one of the programs promoting health and well-being in the workplace.

Well-being and Mental Health are key HR trends in 2024
(©Pixel-Shot – stock.adobe.com)

So, how can you ensure your team’s happiness hits the right notes?

It’s all about the seven human needs of peak-performing employees: Well-Being, Connection, Clarity and Certainty, Significance, Challenge, Future vision, and Happiness. Be the calm captain steering the ship, and fulfill those needs to create an environment where your team feels valued and motivated.

Here are some simple ways to create and improve happiness levels in the workplace:

  1. Craft a seamless life-work balance.
  2. Share a quiet nod of appreciation and recognition.
  3. Embrace honesty like an old friend.
  4. Sprinkle some well-being perks for that extra touch.
  5. Infuse purpose into the workplace vibe.
  6. Invest in your teams with calm confidence.
  7. Sneak in a bit of fun – work doesn’t have to be all serious business!
  8. Keep the communication channels flowing. No stormy seas here.
  9. Dive deep, get to know your employees, and understand the unique rhythm of each of them.
  10. Build trust, the steady foundation of any successful partnership.

2. Flexibility and Remote Work

Imagine this: a workplace where the office feels like home, where talent flows across borders, and where flexibility is the name of the game. Sound too good to be true? Well, hold onto your hat because it’s happening, and it’s happening fast.

Check out the numbers: The Cigna Healthcare Middle East & Africa Vitality Study reveals that 47% of Middle Eastern employees are now working remotely.

In today’s globalized world, companies are embracing flexibility like never before. Hybrid setups are all the rage, catering to everyone’s unique work preferences and casting the talent net far and wide. And guess what? It’s a total game-changer.

“The transition towards flexible working arrangements is evident, with 47% of ME employees reporting a work-from-home (WFH) policy, slightly above the global average of 45%.”

Cigna Healthcare Middle East & Africa

Surveys show that pros are all about hybrid work styles: 46% of Middle Eastern workers prefer a mix of office and remote vibes, with another 19% opting for full-time remote gigs.

The best thing about remote work is that it’s a win-win for both parties: employees and companies. By tapping into the global talent pool, businesses are expanding their reach like never before.

Sure, the classic 9-to-5 setup still has its place, especially when it comes to keeping those social connections alive. But let’s face it: the demand for flexibility is off the charts. As HR professionals, it’s our job to tune into what our crew wants and roll with the times, teaming up with stakeholders and riding the wave of current trends.

3. Upskilling and Continous Learning

Gone are the days of doing the same old routine without room for improvement – AI has swooped in to handle those tasks now. People are all about seizing chances to learn, pick up cool new skills, and rev up their performance in fun and creative ways – and companies stand to gain big time from this shift.

So, why not arm your team with awesome skills and knowledge?

Let’s dive into strategy mode – it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get serious. By teaming up closely with department heads, we can suss out any skill gaps across the board. Together, we can zero in on the talents needed to drive the organization forward.

What opportunities for upskilling to organize for your teams?

  • Online Learning Hubs: Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, or Skillshare
  • In-house mentoring and coaching programs with experts / skilled professionals
  • Off-site training sessions at foreign company branches
  • In-house leadership and management development courses led by senior executives
  • University or independent institute certifications
  • In-house training platforms run by the company
  • Professional, industry-specific certifications
  • Industry workshops and events
  • Educational funding support – tuition reimbursement for high-performing employees

4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Diversities, Equity, and Inclusion are these practices that become a rule of thumb, creating spaces where all employees can truly thrive, boosting productivity, and ensuring everyone’s mental well-being.

Here in the UAE, the government is leading the charge by setting a 20% limit on workers from any single nationality. This isn’t just about following the rules—it’s about embracing the incredible diversity of talents from around the world, making our workplaces more vibrant and dynamic than ever before.

Why is diversity so vital in healthcare? Imagine a healthcare system where everyone has equal access to education and opportunities regardless of background. It’s not just about fair play—it’s about using a wide range of perspectives from often underrepresented social groups, including but not limited to people with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+ people, or national minorities.

Take Pfizer, for example. They’re not just talking about diversity—they’re actively making it happen. Through programs like the Leadership Program for Aspiring Future Talent (LAFTA), they’re nurturing diverse talent and giving them the chance to shine. By embracing different voices and considering various perspectives in decision-making, Pfizer isn’t just promoting diversity—they’re driving innovation and improving their workplace.

5. AI Tools Implementation and Digitalization of HR Processes

You have probably already noticed that AI is everywhere these days. Although many people are still worried or cautious about implementing it into the daily workflow, let’s look at it this way: it’s all about eliminating the boring stuff, making everything run smoothly, and letting us humans focus on what matters – our teams.

So, how is AI used in HR?

  • Resume screening and candidate matching
  • Recruitment process automation
  • Onboarding
  • Employee performance
  • Personalizing learning and development for the team members
  • HR Analytics and Reporting AI

But hey, we get it. With so many tools out there, it can feel overwhelming. The trick is to pick the right software, get your team trained, and make sure everything’s working well together.

Thanks to AI, the future of HR looks seriously bright. Some companies in the Life Sciences field are already using it to automate tasks, and we can do so much more. So, what do you say? Are you ready to jump on board and embrace the digital future to revolutionize HR? Let’s make it happen!

Take a look at a few cool examples of digital tools that can help you automate and revolutionize your daily work:

  • HireVue – Revolutionize your hiring process: Say goodbye to the endless tide of traditional interviews! Candidates simply log in, face their webcam, and tackle pre-set questions with practice rounds to ease their nerves. This talent-spotting tool analyzes body language, tone, and keywords to find your next super talent. Candidates can join from a mobile device, laptop, or any device they like. It’s like having a virtual talent show at your fingertips!
  • Hyparcare – Spark joy in onboarding: Boring emails, be gone! This AI-powered onboarding tool allows making engaging, personalized video messages, creating an unforgettable welcome experience for your new hires. Besides making a good first impression – it also boosts your employer brand building from day one.
  • Leapsome AI – Feedback made fun and effective: Transform feedback sessions from snooze-fests to inspiration fests! With that tool, leaders can effortlessly craft constructive comments infused with improvement ideas, empowering team members with actionable insights for growth.
  • LearnWorlds – The training superhero for your team: LearnWorlds saves the day with its comprehensive and personalized training features for the teams. From assessments that pinpoint training needs to certifications that celebrate achievements and advanced analytics that measure ROI, the tool equips your team with great skills. Plus, its responsive design ensures accessibility for remote teams, making training and learning easy for everyone involved.

6. Navigating Regulatory Compliance in the Middle Eastern Life Sciences

Feeling overwhelmed by the constant shuffle of regulations? Life sciences companies here in the Middle East are navigating a maze of strict rules and quality standards that seem to be getting more tangled by the day. Keeping pace with these regulations and ensuring compliance remains a priority:

  • Emiratisation quotas: By aligning recruitment efforts with nationalization goals, companies are expected to meet regulatory requirements and contribute to the development of local talent. Learn more about the official Strategy of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in UAE.
  • Cultural diversity – In a melting pot like the UAE, with a real mix of nationalities, building a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a legal requirement. With a 20% limit on any single nationality within our workforce, fostering multicultural teams isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential.
  • Employee Mobility & Visa Regulations: As companies cast the nets far and wide in search of international talent, setting clear policies for expatriate workers is paramount. Every aspect must be meticulously managed, from visa and work permit procedures to compliance with local labor laws.

7. Change Management and Agile Performance Management

Let’s face it—change is inevitable for progress. We know that, but at the same time, it may also be overwhelming. When it comes to big changes in life, we tend to stay in our safe comfort zones rather than opt for something new because “unknown” is often understood as dangerous. Well, organizations thrive on change. That is exactly why proper Change Management is needed: to lead teams through the changes and move forward with objectives to keep the company up with today’s rapid global progress.

It’s like managing a project: identifying, planning, and implementing necessary changes. With multiple areas to cover, such as people, processes, tech, and infrastructure, many departments need to collaborate.

Key Middle Eastern Life Sciences Insights from Arab Health & Medlab

Key Middle Eastern Life Sciences Insights from Arab Health & Medlab

So, what exactly is the HR’s role in the process?

HR guides the team through the process and makes sure that everyone is aligned with the planned change objectives, such as changes in policies, procedures, or organizational structure. Clear communication builds trust and credibility for the project.

On a different note, Agile Performance Management may sound enigmatic as a term, but it’s all about open communication and collaboration with employees. Rooting for your team, prioritizing their continuous learning, providing regular feedback, and trust-building—with the generational shifts and employee expectations—improving people-centric strategies is currently the top priority for HR worldwide.

How can HR professionals navigate this cultural shift?

Engaging employees in meaningful conversations and guiding managers and team members on implementing this in their work culture. The agile approach boosts employee satisfaction, retention, and organizational success in dynamic environments.

So here it is—our comprehensive guide on current Strategies shaping the HR world in the Middle East. We hope that your company already implements some of them—now let’s roll up our sleeves for more! Good luck with your people-centric, modern HR game full of fun AI tools, aligning with Middle East regulations!

Published: 12 March 2024

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