A Mission to Change Lives

In a year where so many lives globally have been affected by the pandemic, Director of People and Performance Leah Naffah says London-based i-Pharm’s mission to provide world-class staffing solutions for the life sciences sector feels particularly impactful, and recognition as a Best Staffing Firm to Work For in the current climate is particularly validating for its employees.

Part of what makes i-Pharm a great place to work, Naffah believes, is its employees’ pride and motivation in their work as they truly live by the company’s values — integrity, excellence, ambition and work ethic. Business Manager Ciara Noble, who has been with the company for four years, adds that the positive, energizing atmosphere at i-Pharm comes from not just one key element but a combination of the training and development, the people and the culture and how these both lead to career development opportunities.

It Starts with Great Leadership

Naffah and Noble were both initially drawn to i-Pharm by the leadership — specifically, CEO Stephen McAnaney. “For any company to be successful in both business and employee engagement, I think it comes from the top down. Behavior breeds behavior and Stephen has shown integrity in everything he does for his company and his staff,” Naffah says.

Noble agrees, adding, “I instantly believed in the vision that [Stephen] had for i-Pharm long-term and I could see and understand how I could be part of that.” She feels the leadership understood her needs and circumstances and followed through on opportunities initially offered, and that has cemented her commitment to the company.

Oliver Mackie, a 360 consultant for the Benelux region who’s been with the company for a little longer than a year, says that he, too, has been greatly motivated and inspired by i-Pharm’s leadership. He was passed down a “longstanding culture of honesty and collaboration” from his manager, and he now enjoys sharing this positive way of working with the consultants he mentors. He adds, “From the first interview I felt welcome and that my ambitions and skills were understood. Since then I’ve seen myself learn so much about the industry, and day by day I continue to grow.”

Support = Success

Not only do i-Pharm employees highly value the robust and ongoing support leadership provides, it translates directly to their success. Noble credits leadership for providing the trust and autonomy she sought in her role while always being there to help and supporting her career choices. Keen on employee development, they encourage internal moves all the time, whether that be a lateral move in a current office or the potential opportunity to be part of the growth and opening of a new office. “I know the options are there for me and my colleagues,” she says. “It is inspiring to be part of a company that goes above and beyond every day without even realizing it.”

“For me, this comes down to dependability and the feeling that my manager here really cares about each individual in the team,” Mackie says. “This has been shown in so many ways and makes a huge difference.”

And as a manager, Naffah takes great pride in watching her employees’ lives improve as a result of the opportunities offered them by i-Pharm. “I’ve been lucky enough to see this in many forms but the proudest I’ve been is when I speak to my employees about the financial security they’ve achieved by paying off debts, moving into their own residences and saving for the first time as a direct result of what they’ve achieved working at i-Pharm.”

Competitiveness and Camaraderie

And of course, support among colleagues is key as well. Noble describes the work environment as “a unique, high-performing culture where we are not just colleagues, but very good friends who push each other to succeed.” As is typical of people in recruitment, she says, everyone at i-Pharm is very competitive and that competitiveness helps them to be successful in their jobs. The company encourages its employees to utilize that trait but also to support each other and celebrate their own and their colleagues’ success. “We want to succeed not just for ourselves but for our teammates, our managers, our CEO and for i-Pharm,” Noble says.

Mackie, too, feels culture plays a significant part in making i-Pharm a best place to work — not only in terms of honesty and collaboration, but also in the sense of inclusive social and sporting activities outside of work. The company has formed cricket and football teams, has lunch clubs and holidays together, and even holds Covid-friendly virtual quizzes. Just as important, Mackie sees a direct correlation between the hard work he puts in at i-Pharm and the results and rewards that follow. “If you’re ambitious and willing to work hard to achieve your goals, you really do see the fruits of your labour — along with encouragement and recognition from your colleagues!” he says, adding that he genuinely looks forward to seeing his colleagues each day — whether in the office or virtually.

Learning & Development

Perhaps one of the greatest differentiators at i-Pharm is the top-notch learning and development opportunities available to all staff, at every level, nurturing support at each stage of their career, Naffah says. “We believe in providing bespoke training to each individual. We do not adopt a one-size-fits-all mentality.” It offers a variety of training programs, one-on-one performance coaching, executive coaching, online knowledge tests, workshops and more. It’s a unique opportunity, she believes, for i-Pharm employees to learn skills they can take with them in any career path they choose.

Noble agrees: “The incredible training and development program enabled me to start managing a team after two years, which was something that I wanted to achieve when I first started working at i-Pharm,” she states. She cites class-based training, on-desk call coaching, and even virtual training due to Covid as just a few ways she has been able to develop her skill set.

In addition to the development opportunities, Naffah mentions other perks the company provides, such as work trips to New York, Michelin star lunches in London, as well as financial benefits to employees.

“Their hard work is consistently rewarded and it’s motivating to watch their careers flourish, providing them a platform to leap into executive level roles,” Naffah says. She also mentions i-Pharm has an interactive HR platform that is used on a daily basis to recognise colleagues for their achievements, which staff interact with through comments, likes, sharing and engagement.

Bottom Line: A Focus on Quality and Improving Lives

All of these perks feed into i-Pharm’s mission to change lives for its employees, which in turn helps with changing lives for  its customers and their patients. “Through our quality of service, we could be placing the next researcher who will find the cure to a disease that will save lives,” Naffah says. “What could be better than that?”