Speaking on the “New Norms” of HR at BayBio 2010
Posted on May 12, 2010 by Charlene Calica-Knight in News at TriNet
By Courtney Kiel
BayBio’s annual conference, held in early April, is a forum for the Northern California biotech industry to get together and discuss current challenges while brainstorming solutions and survival strategies. Alongside financial challenges and government initiatives that seem to compete with innovation, human resources was another hot topic identified as a potential hurdle for growing companies in this industry. The three CEOs on our panel talked with session attendees about the “new norms” in HR including growing health care and benefits costs, attracting top talent and the implications of mergers and acquisitions Each company had a different way of dealing with each of these challenges, and you can view a 3-minute snippet of the discussion in the video above. Some of our takeaways:
CEOs on Benefits
- All 3 CEO’s are thinking about how to spend money most effectively on benefits. They are personally engaged in company decision making, and they are looking for alternatives as costs continue to rise.
- They’re also looking for programs that reduce costs by “paying for prevention.” Here at TriNet, we encourage our clients to consider plans that hold down premium costs through incenting employee wellness.
- “Creative” options for helping employees while holding down health costs were of great interest. One CEO said that he has capped health benefit funding and is putting more into his employee 401K program. Another said that he is hiring fewer full-time employees and more contractors as a direct result of increased benefit costs.
CEOs on Talent Acquisition
- Each CEO had a distinctly different approach to managing talent acquisition and employee compensation, reflecting the stage of growth and business objectives of the company. For example, one CEO said, “We don’t go cheap; we want the very best people, and I don’t mind paying extra for them.” Another said, “I don’t want people who are primarily motivated by short-term compensation; in fact, we underpay, and we expect people to be here for the long haul.”
CEOs on the Role of HR
- All 3 CEOs see themselves as the “Chief People Officer” – they value HR support, but they know that human capital decisions are among the most important that they make, and they are deeply involved.
- One CEO pointed out that in biotech, where M&A activity is running hot, it’s very important to be compensating at market, and to have the right HR staff, to avoid valuation problems that can actually prevent a company from being acquired.
- Our panel also pointed out that M&A decisions have a “cultural” component – the prospective partners must be able to fit together from top to bottom, and misalignments need to be identified and dealt with decisively. They expect HR to counsel them on this cultural component, just as the CFO counsels them on valuation.
As you can see from these CEO comments, HR is much more than “administrative support;” it’s about helping CEOs of small companies make the most of their investments in people. TriNet’s clients understand this, and they expect no less from us.
If you’re interested in more details, check out the slide deck.
Courtney Kiel (email@example.com) is our wonderwoman in disguise, as she provides marketing support for Northern California. She is an avid dancer and Chicago White Sox fan.