Pharmaceutical Co. Avoids Nearly $1.2M in Attrition Costs

By Michael McGuire | October 2023
 Female scientist using pipette in modern research laboratory

Actalent's solution alleviates retention struggles; boosts morale, performance, and production.

Client Profile

The client is a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company and innovator of life-saving medicines.

Client Challenge

The client was relying on a traditional staffing vendor to augment environmental monitoring capabilities at one of its manufacturing facilities.

Among the products made at this facility is a therapeutic used to treat severe symptoms of Covid-19.

At issue, the client was struggling to retain the consultants their current vendor was supplying, incurring a 58% attrition rate over a two-year period between 2019 and 2021. As one can imagine, the situation was as demoralizing as it was expensive.

Make no mistake, environmental monitoring (EM) work isn't easy; it requires EM technicians to be onsite 12-hours a day split between two shifts. But that wasn't the problem.

The root problem stemmed from a trait inherent in traditional staffing models: a lack of engagement. Specifically, the key elements of a positive employment experience – things like first-day introductions, onboarding, proper training, regular touchpoints, performance feedback, career development opportunities, and basic perks, like PTO and holiday pay – were missing. Thus, in a labor market short on STEM professionals, including environmental monitoring technicians, the situation boiled down to this: why would a consultant stay if they could readily find better opportunities elsewhere?

Yet, unless consultant retention improved, continued shortfalls in environmental monitoring would eventually disrupt production schedules and risk delaying a potentially life-saving medicine from reaching the market.

That's when the client turned to Actalent.

Actalent Solution

Actalent, for certain, is not a traditional staffing company. We pride ourselves on the consultant experience and engagement which, at its core, is an action.

Into action, Actalent's first task was to build an environmental monitoring team by recruiting new hires and, if they were willing to stay, transitioning the vendor's remaining resources to Actalent.

Actalent's program manager rolled out the hiring process gradually to ensure two things (neither of which had been consistently executed in the past): first, that all Actalent consultants, new and transitioned, were fully trained; second, that the duties, expectations, and demands of the role were clearly defined and understood across the board.

Convincing the remaining resources to stay on the project was a harder sell. Many, having felt overwhelmed from day one, were burned out from the turnover and the ever-increasing workload. But rather than tell them relief was coming, it was better to show them. Actalent established, in full collaboration with the client, regular touchpoints, performance feedback and recognition programs, benefits packages with paid time off and holiday pay, and opportunities for consultants to earn promotions and gain valuable experience toward career development.

Trust eventually grew, along with retention. And as hiring, monitoring, and production unfolded – on schedule and with quality results – the client saw firsthand how and why Actalent's untraditional approach inspires the best performance from their consultants. Furthermore, on the strength of Actalent's proactive communication style and objective performance reporting, the client was reminded why Actalent remains a trusted partner, one that strikes the rare balance of protecting and advancing the best interests of both their clients and consultants – the ideal win-win.


Long term retention, team stability: Actalent has achieved 100% retention among all new consultants since joining the project eighteen months ago. This is a direct result of prioritizing consultant wellness and development, which has been essential in keeping this team excited about the hard work they're performing.

Cost Savings

The average cost to replace and train environmental monitoring technicians equates to $120,000 per technician in the client's local market. To date, the client has saved nearly $1.2M in total replacement and training costs.

Improved Culture: The client values Actalent's personal touch when it comes to engagement. Our approach of support and advocating for our consultants has improved morale and, by extension, performance.

Expanded talent pool: Initially the client wanted only candidates with a bachelor's degree and experience, overlooking anyone that had ample experience but no degree. Through collaboration and relying on data, Actalent was able to discuss and demonstrate to the client that removing the degree requirement and opening the role to candidates with two-plus years of experience would greatly expand the candidate pool. Furthermore, those without a degree seemed to be interested in a more long-term role in the environmental monitoring field, which has only strengthened retention.

Lasting partnerships: What was initially an 18-month contract has been renewed for another year.

On-time product delivery: Most importantly, the client was able to deliver life-saving medicines without any downtime or delay, improving the chances of recovery for the patients that rely on their products.

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