Rapid changes in employment trends, propelled by digital transformation; as our roles and responsibilities change, so must our working models. Take a look at KVALITO’s flexible approach in placing highly skilled workers to client projects in Ireland:
In 2019 KVALITO Ireland has the same challenge as a lot of companies; finding skilled people to run and execute their projects.
The normal requirement from our clients has been to place a consultant, or several consultants, with the required expertise to lead or be part of the project team for a client project. Usually, the consultant(s) would work 100% in a particular role for the duration of the project.
We had a challenge in a recent project in the West of Ireland where we urgently needed to find a consultant with Science, Data Integrity, CSV and GMP Lab Experience to manage a validation project for a client. One of our German team (Anna-Lena Hurter) was available immediately and the project started well with the consultant relocating to Ballina to run the project. Anna-Lena kicked off the project but after about 6 weeks another client in Germany had a request for a large project which Anna-Lena was familiar with, so we decided to find local resources for the Irish project to free up our German colleague to move back home.
This was not an easy decision due to the potential impact on the client project, and our colleague absolutely loved being in beautiful Mayo near the beaches, and she was having a great time during the best summer in decades, so was really disappointed to leave Ireland. Anna-Lena had some great things to say about Ireland: “Irish people are very open and welcoming therefore it is a great country to go abroad. Irish people are open minded, have good humour, are very welcoming and it’s easy to make friends, even if the Mayo accent was a challenge! I will also miss the good food (scones and cider specifically!).
Replacing Anna-Lena was more challenging than we had expected due to the location, specific needs, short notice and seniority of the person required. No immediate solutions were presenting themselves.
By chance, I was discussing the situation with a friend who mentioned that she had a science degree, had worked in the HPRA, and many Pharmaceutical companies before relocating from Dublin to Westport to start raising a young family. Working full time would be difficult due to her partners’ work commitments and business travel.
Also, for this project a part-time resource would not be possible due to the timelines and interaction with the other client team members.
Coincidently, another friend in Mayo was in almost the exact same situation, raising a young family in Westport. She had relocated from Dublin and had extensive experience working in senior quality roles in global pharmaceutical companies. Her partner was also away frequently with business travel. Working full-time was not an option.
Was this a potential solution to our problem? Two people working part-time on the same project, sharing the workload to provide the same service to the client as one 100% resource?
There were some challenges:
- Onboarding two new Life Science Consultants to the client’s processes and systems and ensuring both get up-to-speed quickly on the instruments and the project objectives.
- Handover of the work completed so far.
- Agreement of the client.
The solution we presented to the client included a free crossover and handover period for onboarding and training. It didn’t take much persuading for the client when we presented the new impressive consultant profiles and the fact that the wider KVALITO team (in Ireland and across Europe) would support them fully during the project, we would have local senior management oversight and weekly project meetings with the client.
Once we started the project, we also discovered other consultant candidates in similar situations:
- A senior database specialist who was working remotely for a global leader in Westport but when the company disbanded the team his opportunities for similar work in the area did not materialise, all similar opportunities would require travel to Dublin or Galway.
- A validation manager in the area looking for more flexible working options with her employer, a global Pharma company, decided to resign as they could not offer part-time working. She would be happy to work part-time as a consultant and continue to utilise her skills and expertise.
Once we started looking into the situation, we could see that there were a lot of people who had either relocated to Dublin for work or were commuting weekly, some even working in London but with families in the West. The common theme was a desire to be able to effectively work and live in the West.
This solution we put together for our client offers companies the ability to flex-up and flex-down quickly in a project where our consultants would be available to join a project team and would be quite flexible on hours and project durations. It can work both ways as a benefit for the consultant and the client.
About a month into the project we also brought an additional part-time IT Specialist for the integration and security configuration of the systems. This Ballina native had moved back from Berlin to find work in Ireland and was available immediately. It was an ideal situation for us as they would benefit from the experience of working in a regulated environment and we could add more value to the project as the client did not have the local resources for this important task.
We are now working with a global Pharma company to provide a small team to complete validation activities for a new facility, all working part-time, on-site and remote. Now that we have a network of skilled people, we are actively looking for the right projects to utilise this untapped potential.
While there seems to be still some resistance from companies to adopt the “consultant as a service” approach, some clients are seeing the benefits. They get people with the right skills, locally, and are focused on the job. I can see efficiencies in working this way which make up for the additional time and effort it may take to onboard additional people, you more than make up for it in the additional expertise, experience, commitment and focus a small team can give.
Our experience has been very positive, and we hope we can grow and continue to provide rewarding and challenging roles to people who value their work/life balance but also want to maintain and utilise their hard-won education and experience.
Our Westport team in action.
Author: Mark Kavanagh, Country CEO and Principal Life-Science Consultant
Are you a company or a candidate who would like to benefit from our flexible services and professional solutions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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