RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Resource Guide -Recruiting, Staffing, and Search Case Study

Can’t sleep at night because of job vacancies? Sepracor found the panacea for its staffing woes through recruitment consulting outsourcing.

by Joe Lyons, Staffing Director, Sepracor

Sepracor Inc. is a research-based pharmaceutical company dedicated to treating and preventing human disease by discovering, developing, and commercializing pharmaceutical products directed towards unmet medical needs, specifically with a portfolio of pharmaceutical products and candidates with a focus on the treatment of respiratory and central nervous system disorders.

Sepracor relies heavily on its 1,750 sales professionals to successfully market its three major drugs: LUNESTA, XOPENEX HFA, and XOPENEX. In 2003, Sepracor realized it needed to hire a strong and knowledgeable staff of sales professionals in anticipation of the launch of LUNESTA, which was then under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review. Knowing that it had limited internal resources, the company outsourced its strategic recruitment efforts to BrassRing Consulting to leverage its industry expertise, knowledge of technology developments, and access to strategic partnerships.

The BrassRing consultant managed four internal project managers each supporting separate sales regions and managed the activities of two administrative staffing coordinators. BrassRing also maintained all reporting metrics, presentations, and internal communication activities, partnering with Sepracor’s HR and sales teams to track progress against goals.

Sepracor began engaging, screening, and interviewing candidates in October 2003, and by November, 400 candidates had been qualified for open sales positions. However, it was also in early November when Sepracor was informed by the FDA that its ruling would be delayed until February, three months later than had been anticipated. BrassRing and Sepracor then faced a greater challenge: keeping 400 qualified candidates engaged for 90 days or risk starting recruiting efforts again—an issue with both timing and budget implications.

The BrassRing team launched a major communications campaign to keep all candidates engaged and interested in the LUNESTA opportunity. As a result, the company was able to retain 90 percent of the candidates through February 2004, ultimately hiring more than 800 sales professionals for Sepracor.

Sepracor then retained a BrassRing consultant as its interim staffing director. He worked closely with the internal HR teams to develop a recruiting infrastructure and was involved in the hiring of a full-time staffing director, creating a staffing handbook, and the development of a recruitment process and policies to ensure hiring compliance with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Sarbanes-Oxley regulations. With the new policies and procedures in place, Sepracor was able to reduce agency fees by 13 percent and passed all Sarbanes-Oxley audits with a 100 percent success rate that same year.

Once a permanent staffing director was brought on board, BrassRing remained the recruitment services outsourcing provider of choice, responsible for managing the recruitment team and making process improvements, which included a makeover of its manual, paper-based candidate management. To maximize talent ROI, Sepracor needed to centralize all its candidate data into an applicant tracking system (ATS) that would enable the company to better manage candidates and new hires. Sepracor implemented Enterprise, BrassRing’s best-of-breed talent management software, to help manage the flow of candidate information on a single, global platform.

By 2004, Sepracor was on the verge of launching another new drug and needed to expand its sales team. In July 2005, the company set out to hire 250 sales representatives in a 12-to-15-week timeframe. By the final week, Sepracor filled 98 percent of the openings with BrassRing’s help. But growth continued. In March 2006, 450 additional sales representatives were needed. By working closely with recruiters, staffing agencies, job boards, and internal HR to attract quality candidates, the BrassRing team filled all 450 positions in less than eight weeks.

BrassRing’s consulting team plays a large role in Sepracor’s hiring events—a strategy to bring candidates through the door during large sales expansions. BrassRing works with Sepracor to facilitate the programs and coordinate all internal resources to ensure the events are designed to attract candidates. In the regions where creating a talent pool of the best sales representatives is more difficult, BrassRing’s project managers have implemented a program to maintain strong relationships with vendors; leverage past submissions; modify candidate profiles; maximize regional advertising sources; and utilize internal marketing-based communications.

Today, the provider continues to support Sepracor with both technology and consulting capacities. The team is currently rolling out more pieces of the company’s Enterprise solution to the organization and building and developing programs to improve the quality of services. It is also assisting Sepracor with the rollout of a corporate-wide employee referral program by designing the program rules within HR and integrating the solution with best-of-breed solution Enterprise. The BrassRing team is even being tasked to work closer with Sepracor’s advertising vendors to help design the look and feel of its candidate marketing collateral as well as to assist Sepracor’s HR team with the development of baseline recruiting metrics to measure their success, and to help improve the relocation program that Sepracor currently has in place. 

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