A conversation with ImprovementatWork

“Finding the right employer starts with getting to know yourself”

“If we don’t do our job well, that might lead to the default of a company”

ImprovementatWork is a consultancy firm from Belgium with a branch in the United States. It is specialised in assisting pharma- and biotech firms with the submittance of their first product files to the American and European authorities, to receive clearance to put the new medicine on the market. One of its owners tells us: “Bringing a new medicine on the market is a long and expensive process”. On average, it takes almost seven years and costs $2.6 billion from the start of the clinical tests (and then you’ve already been working in the lab for several years) till the submittance of the file to the authorities. For new firms that have not yet placed products on the market, it is crucial to be fast, as you are burning large amounts of cash, without receiving any income.  Therefore, time is money can be taken literally here. As soon as the clinical tests are running, you do not have much impact on that timeline as a firm. But the last steps, from the end of the successful clinical tests to the submittance of the files, are completely in your own hands. The more prepared you are, the faster you will be able to finalize the documents without having to hand in on quality. And that is exactly what we focus on.”

That seems like a firm with impact! Twelve years ago, the firm was founded by Johan and Anne-Marie, at first in Belgium, but the focus shifted to the US quite quickly. They built the firm up together, until they got so busy five years ago that they decided to expand their team.

Finding the perfect fit is nuanced

“All our projects are the result of mouth-to-mouth advertisement. Our company hinges on our reputation. In a firm like ImprovementatWork, finding the perfect fit is crucial’, says Anne-Marie. “The right person for your company possesses a mix of the right competencies, fitting qualities and is able to carry the same mission and vision, while also being able to connect to you as people”.

Hiring a new worker; Only by asking the right questions you will be able to know what to look for

With the use of the tested nine step process of Next Step Talent, we started our assignment for ImprovementatWork. Loek Vandebroek, owner of Next Step Talent, says: ”When you are searching for a new employee, it is important to get all the expectations of the employer to the surface, even if the employer is not even conscious of those expectations themselves”. We often only see the tip of the iceberg when the question to search for a new employee arises. We hear the answers that come to mind first, such as loyalty, drive, and eagerness to learn. Yet, to find your perfect fit, you need to dig deeper than that. We started our conversations with Johan and Anne-Marie, a lot of conversations. “Who are they?”, “What are their allergies on the work floor?”, “Which knowledge do they lack now and then?”, and only by conducting these thoughtful conversations and asking these deep-going questions, you will be able to sketch out what is actually being asked for in a new employee.

After we had set up a clear function profile with clear motives, character traits, and qualities, we started the executive search for ImprovementatWork. Next Step Talent delivered five qualified candidates, based on work experience and an interview. They were able to introduce themselves before the client. Anne-Marie and Johan saw potential in three of these candidates. The three remaining candidates were invited by Next Step Talent for an assessment, in order to fully map out their personality, motives, and qualities.  After a well-considered decision, a first employee, with more than fifteen years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnical market and motives that Anne-Marie and Johan were looking for, got the chance to start her new adventure at ImprovementatWork.

 ”The method Next Step Talent uses to find your perfect fit, is refreshing and extremely well thought-out.”

Meanwhile, 4 years later, that first employee is still working for ImprovementatWork and Anne-Marie and Johan have not regretted their decision for a moment. In fact, Next Step Talent was able to bring on additional employees that are a good fit. Johan tells us: ”we are very happy with the entire process to the point that Next Step Talent has become our sole trusted HR business partner”.

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