PharmExec Blog

Roche: New Hires Needed

Cheer up, pharma, not all the news is bad! Amidst the worst national job market since the early 1980’s, Roche Pharma Research in Nutley, NJ is looking to hire. Efforts are currently underway to find scientists and support staff in areas such as screening, safety, and bioanalytics.

In addition to inflammation, the Nutley operation serves as headquarters for Roche’s oncology disease biology area, as well as RNA therapeutics—an emerging area based on increasing understanding of how genes are activated in cells. Pharm Exec recently got the opportunity to speak with the facility’s Director of Human Resources Marcie Geremakis, who shared her thoughts about the ongoing recruitment process.

Pharm Exec: What are the biggest challenges for HR during these times?
Marcie Geremakis: One of the challenges we’ve been addressing is that on the Roche Nutley site there are some functions moving to San Francisco as part of our acquisition of Genentech. It’s a growing mode, so we have to make it clear to the external world that we’re growing and looking for people to come in. We always want to represent ourselves truthfully to a candidate that this is happening.  

Another challenge when recruiting a candidate is to present the mission of research at Roche, making it very clear that this is what we’re all about, this is what the job is about, and this is what their responsibilities would be. In a time of organizational change, it’s very important to do that with a clear and consistent message to a candidate coming into any organization.

PE: How is Roche creating a work environment that encourages innovation, and vouching for job security in midst of such a challenged business model?

MG: By being committed to clarity as a message and purpose as an organization. We are committed to delivering and communicating news to employees. In the research world, we’ve made the mission of our research very clear, including our goals for 2010 and 2011.

I think that people find stability in our message. They also become aware of the type of work environment we have here at Roche, at Nutley in particular, and how we value talent and how we take care of talent. So, I think that’s the message [potential employees] get both when we interview them and when they come on board.

PE: What is being done at the company to address corporate reputation?
MG: It’s a very exiting time for the people we’re bringing to Roche for the first time. With the acquisition with Genentech, we are forming a new relationship, so the research population is very excited about Roche’s prospects for the future. The message has been a motivating factor.

I don’t want to leave out the other units at Nutley that have been affected by the transitions. However, in this time of organizational change, we as a company have handled it very well.

PE: How do you envision the human resources role at pharmaceutical companies in the near future?
MG: Roche is a company that embraces the HR function. In these times of organizational change, it’s a key part of the business, and one thing we’ve maintained is our focus on talent management. We work very hard at developing employees and giving people an opportunity to broaden their skills. At this time, we have to be even more diligent in helping our current employees to develop and remain productive in a stable environment. We also have to acquire the right type of talent as the initial step in [seeding] the talent pipeline.

That is where HR has served the business well at Roche research. HR is part of every leadership team on the Nutley site and globally. We have a strong presence in how the organization functions and will continue to lead new initiatives to move the business forward.

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