Hello there bloggies!

Once my colleagues and peers learned I had decided to take a position in industry, I was repeatedly told over and over again that the turnover there was massive. And let me tell you. Even just after a couple months in industry, I can tell you that it is entirely true.

The movement of people in and out of companies is crazy!

People have left, new positions have been posted, and new people have joined. Some departures were driven by the company–through lack of performance or alteration of organization goals–and the individual–new opportunities and practical concerns.

It is one thing to hear about the high turnover of industry; but it is truly another thing to experience it firsthand. I was prepared for these events actually happening, but not so much to be there when it happened.

Here are some things I noticed about turnover in my first months in industry:

Loss institutional memory

When someone leaves a company, particularly if they have been there for a bit of time, they also take all of their skills and knowledge with them. Not only that, they take some of the details of why decisions on projects have been made. Why was this target not pursued? Who is the point person with this academic collaboration? What is the best vendor for this product?

Such loss can stagnant a specific project progress as well as lead programs down paths that have already been explored and ruled out. Maintaining constant communication with your colleagues and good records can be really helpful through all of this.

You must watch out for yourself 

It’s as simple as that. You are your own best friend in the professional world. I think this goes across all job sectors from academia to industry to government. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and address those as much as you can. Keep tabs with others in your group and those outside your organization. Your networking inside your workplace and outside of it doesn’t end when you get it job. It’s a constant process.

Importance of organizational goals and objectives

When you enter industry, you quickly realize the importance managers put on your group’s and your own personal objectives for the year. Not only do they keep you focused but they allow you to know how you and your group will be evaluated. As personnel shifts, the group has an idea of what is important to accomplish and who may be able to step into roles as are necessary.

Huge impact on team efficacy and morale

With people coming and going, there can no doubt be a psychological effect on the workforce and team. Continuous departures and arrivals can make others question the standing of the department and even company. The questions of whether I will be next or should I think of leaving too can begin to sound in everyone’s head.

There are other opportunities out there

People leaving invariably means that other opportunities exist out in the workforce. There is a constant need to develop new therapeutics and need for more medical knowledge (at least right now). If this current position isn’t working out (whether it be fit, managerial issues, wanting to move up, or the health of the company), there are other opportunities out there. It is just figuring out what they are and building your skills to fit those opportunities.

Realizing the reality of turnover in industry was a bit jarring for me. I joined my company during a reorganization, so the company’s mood was interesting to say the least. But after a bit of settling in, I have realized that turnover isn’t the end of the world. It keeps groups agile and productive. On an individual level, it is reassuring to see that this position isn’t necessarily the end and be all. In the chance it doesn’t work out, I know I could build my resume and skills in order to find another position that fits me more. And let me tell you, that is empowering.

What are your thoughts regarding turnover in industry? What about in academia? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Dr. F

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