5 Questions with Ed Radwinsky, MA, SPHR, Biohealth Human Resources Expert

“5 Questions With…” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome 5 Questions with Ed Radwinsky, MA, SPHR, Biohealth Human Resources Expert.

Ed Radwinsky is a seasoned Human Resources professional with extensive experience in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Radwinsky has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Maryland as well as a Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Tulsa. Additionally, he possesses a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute.

1. Please introduce yourself to our audience with a look back at your education, training, and career.

I first became interested in studying psychology while pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland. After taking an industrial and organizational psychology course, my interest in combining business with psychology was piqued, and I decided to obtain a Master’s degree in the field.

From there, a natural step was to begin a career in Human Resources. I have worked in multiple industries, but most of my career has been in the biopharma/biotech space. The impact these industries have on improving and saving lives has always resonated with me. I prefer to work for mission-driven companies that work towards improving the human experience.

2. In your experience, how has the Human Resources world evolved in Biotech

I think now more than ever; Human Resources professionals are being embraced as key business partners who can significantly influence the success of an organization. Sure, we often still need to ensure certain administrative and compliance-related activities are handled. Still, the greater contributions come in areas such as strategic workforce planning, organizational design, organizational development, and competency building to ensure the workforce is appropriately sized and skilled to meet current and future business needs. We’ve also seen increased and improved utilization of technology, data, and metrics to support Human Resources and business decisions.

In biotech, there is a huge demand for all talent but especially those in scientific disciplines. Human Resources has become more creative and resilient than ever to establish and maintain these critical talent pipelines. Offering a competitive total compensation package is only part of the equation nowadays. Human Resources is evolving recruiting strategies to also focus on areas that resonate with today’s candidates, such as DEI, sustainability, flexibility, and fun in the workplace.

3. What do you see as the next wave in hiring for this industry after COVID?

Well, it seems as though most companies in this industry are hiring at a frenzied pace. It has been fantastic to see so many companies expanding and/or opening their operations in our geographic area. This region is becoming more of an industry hub every year, which is great for the local economies and workforces. However, I would anticipate hiring to slow down as more COVID vaccines, treatments, and tests reach the market. A key challenge will be to retain talent in this region if and when the hiring pace slows.

Work location flexibility? How do you work from home if you are a lab or manufacturing worker? When is permanent remote work an option? Just some of the questions companies are and will continue to face. The best and most successful companies will be those that can implement flexibility as a competitive business advantage and not just as a one-off perk that may or may not benefit the business.

4. What are the biggest gaps when it comes to hiring and talent retention?

As stated, many companies in our region are hiring, including those outside of the biotech industry. Realistically, this area does not have enough workers to fill all the posted vacancies. With so much competition for talent, it is vital for companies to retain the talent they worked so hard to hire in the first place. Companies need to determine what makes them most appealing to current and prospective employees.  

Are they mission-driven? Do they drive amazing cultures (this does not involve just buying a token ping pong table)? Do they provide flexibility to juggle life’s demands? Can they articulate defined career paths? However, there is no “one size fits all” approach or simple answer to address these types of workforce challenges. I feel one of the best things companies can do is solicit the voice of their internal customers (i.e., their employees) on a routine basis to ensure they are taking steps to address specific needs to enhance the work experience and not just rolling out new programs, process or training to check some boxes.

I also feel companies that demonstrate a focus on employee health and wellness while providing a more hybrid approach to work will be better positioned to attract and retain talent. We have learned many lessons over the course of the pandemic thus far, and one of the main takeaways is that people can remain productive when not working in a traditional office environment. Flexibility will be a critical competitive advantage in attracting and retaining a satisfied workforce. It can also provide business, and environmental advantages, including lower real estate and utilities costs and reduced emissions into the environment if fewer people are regularly commuting.

5. Travel is opening up again, but many people still aren’t flying for vacations. Where is one place you’ve never been but would love to visit after the pandemic? Why?

I’ve always heard wonderful things about Hawaii and plan to visit with my family in the not-so-distant future. I want to experience the islands’ natural beauty and unique geology and hopefully get some mountain biking in too! Plus, I’m a certified BBQ judge and am definitely looking forward to sampling the local cuisine.

Thank you to Ed Radwinsky, MA, SPHR, Biohealth Human Resources Expert. for participating in the 5 Questions with BioBuzz’ series, and stay tuned for more interviews with others from across the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond.