Mickey Shimp, President, Mix TalentMickey Shimp, President
Back in 2018, Mix Talent was founded on the idea to provide organizations with a client-centered approach to maximizing their most important resource – their people. Started by a group of veteran life sciences talent consultants, the organization serves a wide range of pharmaceutical, biotech, MedTech, digital therapeutics, and life science organizations. With services ranging from recruiting, workforce planning, total rewards/compensation advisory, and talent assessment and consulting— Mix Talent has emerged as a one-stop partner for life science companies.
In an interview with Manage HR, Chad Thompson, Ph.D., Head of Consulting and Assessment, along with Patty Adams and Amy Akillian, Co-Heads of Readiness and Optimization, provided insights into how the company’s comprehensive services align with client opportunities.

How does Mix Talent address the talent management challenges impacting life science clients?

Adams: Our clients come to us with challenges across the employee lifecycle, including recruiting, assessment, development, and retention of top talent. With that in mind, we aim to design, develop, and deploy a de-risked people strategy in alignment with a company’s business goals.

In the life science space, the advent of cutting-edge technologies such as gene and cell therapies has introduced a great deal of fluidity within the talent market. People are excited, of course,because these are revolutionary therapies for patients. To keep pace with these developments and thrive in the talent market, organizations are rapidly hiring, resulting in a highly competitive and dynamic talent market. From an organization’s perspective, this requires a detailed understanding of compensation to better attract and retain talent. Compensation and workforce planning need to be connected to budgets; however, high demand for certain skill sets or experiences can quickly lead to assumptions or projections being out of date.

At Mix, our experts help clients anticipate these challenges, align on a workforce and headcount plan consistent with their development or commercial strategy, leverage employment branding, and ensure companies can get the talent they need to bring these life-changing therapies to patients.

To that end, we provide our clients with a team of seasoned experts who have sat on their side of the table. Our team has partnered with executives to think about how to manage cash runways and asset development timelines. They leverage their experience to understand a client’s business strategy, identify and mitigate predictable risks, and prioritize their needs. We employ technology, internal expertise, and extensive market research to identify predictable risks and challenges in their strategies.

Akillian:
We see many of the challenges our clients come to us with as opportunities for them to create a competitive advantage. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a great example – when done well, it can be a key talent attraction and retention asset in addition to being the right thing to do. The talent market is speaking in this regard, and employees today want to be part of organizations that support their professional development and take DEI seriously. Our work in this space ranges from tactical, compliance-driven initiatives to developing and implementing talent acquisition strategies that leverage technology and assessment to building employment branding and value propositions. Employers recognize the importance of this work, and we help them translate their beliefs into action.
What are the core competencies of Mix’s talent management solutions?

Thompson:
More than anything, we recognize we are in the people business. When we started Mix, one of the first things we did was develop what we call our “MixOS.” These behaviors and mindsets reflect expectations we have of our teams and how we interact with clients and candidates. In terms of feedback we receive, the customized approach we take – putting a ton of time into understanding their challenges and building unique and bespoke solutions to address them – seems to stand out the most. This approach seemed pretty common-sense to us, as doing what is best for our clients (as opposed to what is best for us) seems the most likely way to ensure the best results for our clients and their businesses. Our teams are comprised of such a unique mix of experience and expertise that we are able to partner with our clients across the talent lifecycle and not be isolated to just one area. For example, we have a team of industrial/organizational psychologists who work with recruiting teams to design selection processes, build and design assessment tools, partner with HR teams to design performance management systems and maximize performance through one-on-one or group coaching. We recently launched an assessment tool focused on measuring perseverance and resilience called SPARQ – we are quite excited about the applications that tool has both in candidate selection and employee development.

Could you elaborate on a customer success story?

Akillian:
The last two years have certainly tested our client’s ability to adapt to an ever-changing set of concerns. Right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we partnered with a global biopharmaceutical client undergoing a franchise launch, and helped them to pivot from a 100% in-person to a 100% virtual hiring strategy, including all of the associated technology, logistics, and change management. Our understanding of their business, organizational culture, and the talent market were essential elements that allowed us to do this effectively. This pivot allowed our client to keep their current hiring timelines in place, under their original budget, and have their teams staffed for their commercial launch.

What does the future hold for Mix?

Thompson:
Our client’s challenges will continue to evolve and our intent is to listen to what they need and build the teams necessary to address them. Much of the talent management work we currently do came from a similarly organic approach.