Our industry needs to embrace truly flexible working in a myriad of ways
Since 2020, the whole of the working world has changed. The pandemic has amplified demands and pressures which have long assailed healthcare communications: the need for flexibility, diversity and sustainability, and the twin evils of burnout and bore-out. All this comes at a time when the Health and Pharma industry has never been more vital to the health of everyone across the globe.
It’s unlikely the world will return to how it was before, with everyone recognising – and many embracing – what will eventually become a “new normal”. So what does this mean for all of us in the healthcare communications industry? Healthcare and pharma organisations need a communications workforce that’s fit, flexible and motivated to step up to any challenge they face. That means creating a hybrid communications capability made up of in-house teams, agency support and, increasingly, independent and freelance resources.
Different kinds of talent and working practices are good for everyone, giving clients unfettered access to the whole gamut of brilliant comms specialists who can meet their specific needs, when they need them, in a wide range of ways. Diverse voices, experience from different backgrounds, expertise from long careers, global perspectives… they’re all needed now more than ever with the profile of healthcare comms having never been higher nor the demand for it greater.
But brilliant people won’t stick around when the future isn’t flexible enough to meet their needs. This means our clever, influential and innovative sector risks a talent exodus if the opportunities aren’t there for resourceful communicators to flourish professionally and personally in this changed world.
Here at The Difference Collective we have nearly four years of successful virtual operation behind us and a track record of virtual clients and projects that we’re all proud of. So, for us, the ‘new normal’ is just business as usual. Our purpose-built virtual model has liberated talented healthcare communicators to work wherever they want, when they want, without limits. This year, we’ve made ‘A World of Difference’ our core theme, because we want talent diversity to remain front and centre in all our decisions.
But proud as we are of our Different, agile model, which retains a pool of Collective talent in our industry, we know that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There’s more proven and potential talent in our industry than our Collective ever could hold alone. So what can we do to support current and future talent growth, development and retention, and to facilitate a truly diverse population of colleagues to work in whatever way they wish?
Together we need to show professionals and clients the value of the Collective’s freelance and hyper-flexible model as well as championing hybrid ways of working across our whole industry. We believe we can all thrive by championing talent – nurturing people with all kinds of experience and backgrounds, encouraging creative, productive ways of working that bring the best to our clients and give room for aspiration and evolution among healthcare professionals, whatever their preferred current or future workstyle and lifestyle.
What are your views? How can we help our industry make the best of the rich resource of diverse and flexible talent at its disposal? Talk to us on social media or by joining our upcoming virtual roundtable.
This blog was written for The Difference Collective’s newsletter, A Different View. Click here to read more articles from the May edition or subscribe to the newsletter and receive one roughly every quarter.
Angie Wiles, Founder of The Difference Collective, has worked in healthcare communications for over 30 years, ultimately building one of the most successful UK healthcare consultancies. Throughout her career, she has constantly looked to do things differently and make a difference to the healthcare communications industry.