Why people matter for organisations and their clients. A personal view.

In other blogs you can read about CHDR’s knowledge and expertise in early clinical drug development. In this blog I will share my view on how it happens that CHDR evolved from a business with a handful of scientists into one of world’s most innovative independent CRO’s, in less than 30 years. As a longstanding employee who experienced this growth I am convinced it is mainly due to the fact that CHDR attracts competent and dedicated staff. However – next to this – CHDR creates a work environment in which the best is brought out of people. It is the combination of hiring the right people and taking good care of them that brings a company further, no matter what the business is.

I started at CHDR right after my graduation as a medical biologist in 1999. CHDR gave me the freedom and responsibility to explore the role of motiline in upper and lower gastrointestinal discomfort. Johnson & Johnson had developed a motiline receptor antagonist and it was my duty to find a possible clinical target for this potentially new drug. It was mainly due to CHDR’s support and confidence in me that the research resulted in a thesis 4 years later. I really think that when you give people the confidence and freedom, it boosts their creativity and that they feel the responsibility to bring it to a success.

Besides supporting its personnel, CHDR puts effort in providing a pleasant and flexible work environment. The current custom designed building creates a spacious, flexible and enjoyable working space. And – if they wish – personnel can be equipped with an iPad to log in to the network from any location, either in- or outside the CHDR building. For me, this flexibility implies that I can continue my work from home in case of one of my children is ill or when I need work other hours, for example to catch a deadline. Even after they have left, CHDR still cares for its personnel. Many of our colleagues continue to get further medical specialist training but continue work for their PhD thesis. They can continue their research from home via the portal or at a desk in CHDR and they can always count on scientific and technical support. A good example is my ex- colleague and friend Marloes van Dongen. She accomplished to finish her PhD thesis “The role of glucagon in glucose homeostasis” while she was in training for medical specialist, being a mom and – last but not least – being pregnant. An excellent achievement.

Perhaps because of these arrangements people return like a boomerang back to CHDR. Both Martijn van Doorn and Gabriel Jacobs enjoy being hired again for their expertise in dermatology and psychiatry respectively, several years after they had completed their theses at CHDR. The creation of a community beyond the constraints of being an employee adds greatly to the services CHDR can provide to its clients.

All too often nowadays we hear from companies and universities that see their employees more as a cost item rather than an asset. In early drug development there is an enormous value in experience and commitment. Finding, developing and importantly retaining people is the key.

Ingrid de Visser – Kamerling

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