When asked why inVentiv Health is a great place to work, my mind first turns to the thought of cocktails. Not because it has been a long, stressful week (I just had two days’ holiday), nor because the weekend is fast approaching (it’s Monday as I write this).
It might be something to do with the fact that our last office social involved a cocktail-making class with a hot bartender to rival Tom Cruise, but really it is because inVentiv makes great cocktails.
We know that the fundamentals of good cocktail-making involve understanding the relationship between citrus and sweet, ensuring that strong spirits don’t overpower other flavours, and we appreciate that some of the more unconventional ingredients can help to create something quite spectacular... and then we apply this to our staffing model.
We are staffing mixologists. It all begins with hiring the right balance, not just for client and account support but also the right personality fit. This does not mean the office is full of clones, far from it; the result is an eclectic mix of scientists, storytellers, creatives and tech geeks (to stereotype a few) who all share a common goal to work hard, combine their strengths, do a great job and have fun in the process.
But it doesn’t stop once you have the ideal colleague cocktail. The staffing mix needs to be nurtured so that it matures and strengthens over time. InVentiv prides itself on its flat structure: no walls and no titles. This makes inVentiv different from other agencies: employees of all levels take on challenges and responsibilities according to their ability, not a title. This model also gives the teams the flexibility to respond quickly and creatively to clients’ needs, so that they are less of an agency and more an extension of the client’s team.
Maintaining the ethos
In the same way that you would not combine Baileys and lime, we don’t try to force-fit people to do things they aren’t good at ? you get an upset mess. Instead, careers are shaped according to an individual’s needs rather than by corporate imperatives. In this way, inVentiv gets the most out of its people, who in turn get the most out of inVentiv.
In fact, whole business units have been born from the drive and determination of a high-flier who was cultivated and in turn delivered growth for the company.
To be a true mixologist and blend a perfectly balanced cocktail takes experience. InVentiv trains its senior employees in the art of staffing mixology to ensure the ethos is never lost. There is also a solid development programme and mentoring scheme that nurtures staff of all levels to flex their core strengths and eliminates concerns about hitting a glass ceiling.
Keen to collaborate
I am not biased and I believe this view is shared by the majority of my colleagues here. Ali, for example, started as a graduate trainee in August 2012 and is still here because "from the word go there have been opportunities that far exceeded my expectations, allowing me not only to work on projects where my interests lie but to explore completely new avenues that I hadn’t even thought about. I feel supported and am constantly learning and growing in a vibrant culture, from a unique mix of people who are passionate, genuine and keen to collaborate… oh and there’s also the free company lunch each week."
Fittingly, you should know that Ali is our resident cocktail maker, which makes for creative socials as well as inspiration for this article.
Throughout my career, I have always sought a role that helps to grow office culture; to create the best working environment that will empower staff to do their job effectively and have fun doing so.
In some agencies this can feel forced as pressures of deadlines and long hours take priority over any extracurricular activities. At inVentiv my task has been made easy as work and fun are not regarded as mutually exclusive; they coexist and people seem genuinely happy to be here.
They stay because they enjoy being part of one of the most dynamic healthcare consultancies
in the UK.
Sabrina Gomersall is a consultant at InVentiv Health