Building brilliant culture in Biotech: image depicts 3 scientists wearing lab coats and safety goggles working together in a lab space. One lady looks through a microscope, with another lady is taking notes on a clipboard.

What does a brilliant culture in Biotech look like?

People who have worked for a company that’s developed a brilliant culture will find this question very easy to answer. Those who haven’t, may find it more challenging. In this blog, Tom Froggatt, Founder and CEO of Singular, explores how Biotechs can create an amazing experience for employees. 

You can also watch our latest webinar on the topic here.

So, what are the characteristics of an exceptional culture? 

While every culture is different, and companies achieve excellent culture in different ways, there are several distinctive earmarks of a brilliant culture. These include:  

  • A high level of discretionary effort  
  • Low levels of turnover 
  • Lots of examples of career progression 
  • Excellent performance 
  • A happy and productive team 

 But how do you achieve these things? We’ve compiled a list of six elements based on what employees look for from their work in the Biotech sector. 

1. Career development 

Not only do you need to provide opportunities for development, but those opportunities need to be clear, and employees need to understand exactly what they have to do to take them. 

We often see people leave companies not because there isn’t opportunity, but because they don’t understand what it is or how to take it. Clarity around career development is therefore imperative. In a small Biotech, it may be difficult to provide people with a long-term career trajectory, simply because it can be tough to plan that far out in the future. But crucially, your employees need to at least know what their next step up is and how they can take it. 

2. Learning is a key part of work 

In brilliant cultures, learning becomes one of the key parts of your employees’ work life. There’s not an expectation that everybody’s perfect all the time; instead, leaders understand that their people are always trying their best, and accept that in doing so, mistakes may well be made along the way as employees push to perform at the very top level.  

This ultimately creates a working environment where there is a constant focus on improvement, embracing failure, and learning valuable lessons and skills. As a group, if you can foster that environment, you will continually improve. 

3. Daily activity contributes to the mission 

In a great culture, everybody’s daily activity contributes to the mission, and they fully understand how. This helps employees to feel connected to the big picture. Check out our recent blog on defining your mission, purpose and vision here. 

The famous NASA story is a perfect example of this. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy visited NASA for the first time. During his tour of the facility, he met a janitor who was carrying a broom down the hallway. The President then casually asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” That’s how aligned all the activities at NASA were with what they were trying to achieve, and proves the janitor fully understood the purpose of his work. That’s what you want to aim for in your Biotech as well. 

4. Personal Values are aligned with company Values 

It’s important that people’s personal Values are aligned with the company Values. This should be taken care of during the hiring process, if you’ve done it correctly.  

Employees need to feel that they identify with the company and how the company operates. It can still be a very diverse workforce, but one with a common ground in Values and that way people work effectively together. Find out more about implementing meaningful Values here. 

5. Respect, fairness and compassion 

It should go without saying, but people need to be treated with respect, fairness and compassion.  

Difficult situations can arise in the workplace, for example when someone has had a bereavement at a time where you have vital deadlines to meet. But treating that situation with compassion, when everyone’s under pressure, will really pay out in the long term in terms of loyalty and commitment from that individual. Above all else, it’s just the right thing to do. 

6. Autonomy and input 

In a brilliant culture, people have autonomy and input. As a Biotech, you’re going to hire smart people. While it’s crucial to outline the goals you want your team to accomplish, try to avoid constraining them with rigid methods. Instead, encourage your employees to bring forth their own ideas and strategies; you may find that they uncover more efficient ways of achieving your Biotech’s objectives. 


How we can help

At Singular, we believe in the power of outstanding teams. If you’d like help with building a brilliant culture in Biotech that will help you attract, engage and retain the right people for your business, consistently and repeatedly, please get in touch with our team today.