Research Leaders Bullish on the Future Landscape for Clinical Trials

Brad Sibbald, Kelly Science and Clinical

As regional pockets of clinical trial activity begin to inch toward a new normal with onsite visits once again in the mix, practitioners heard road-tested advice and helpful insights from thought leaders during the ACRP 2020 Virtual Conference’s “Leadership and Career Growth” track yesterday (May 28).

“This sector will come back full force” with heavy demand for trials, said Brad Sibbald, national director of sales at Kelly Science and Clinical. “There is still a need to retain talent and be ready” for the resumption of trials in the next few months, he said. In the meantime, he advised listeners to consider using any relative downtime to focus on training current employees. Showing them love via mentoring and training is a great retention tactic, he noted.

Training advocate Carolynn Jones, an associate professor of clinical nursing at The Ohio State University, agreed that investing in the workforce is a good way to keep your best and brightest onboard. “There’s a difference between natural attrition and turnover,” she told attendees.

Attrition is inevitable change, such as an employee moving or having a child and deciding to become a full-time parent. However, turnover is when good employees are leaving because of frustrations the employer might be able to address, such as through a defined organizational career pathway or by training them in additional skills, Jones said.

Another way to attract and retain talent, says Edye Edens, senior research consultant for First Class Solutions, is the often-unheralded standard operating procedure (SOP) document. Crafting a good one is “your opportunity to set yourself apart as an organization, and show how you operate,” Edens said. If well-written and thought out, SOPs can serve as a powerful introduction to potential partners, personnel, and regulators, she said. “SOPs help you frame the conversations,” Edens said.

Writing powerful SOPs isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort, Edens maintained. Further, you might have talent to produce them closer to home than you might think, she advised. Look around your shop for an employee with solid writing skills and a knack for operations, she said. Don’t get hung up on titles in your search. “SOPs are judged on the content and on who signed off, not the author,” Edens said.

The ACRP 2020 Virtual Conference continues June 11 with part two of the “Study Management and Conduct” track. It ends June 25 with all-day virtual sessions on the “Workforce Development” track.

Author: Michael Causey