How BioMedica Reached a 50/50 Gender Balance Without Trying

by | Mar 4, 2016 | BioMedica Diagnostics Inc., News

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BioMedica Diagnostics, a Canadian research and in-vitro-diagnostic solutions company based in Windsor Nova Scotia, has set out to do one thing: “help people live better lives.” This is the approach BioMedica takes with everything they do – from the development of its diagnostic patient-care technologies and solutions, all the way to its collaborative relationships with employees and partners.
When Brian Jeffers took the wheel in 2014 as BioMedica’s new President and CEO, he purposely aimed to build an environment that would attract and retain the best talent. He envisioned a high-performance company culture that enabled individuals to thrive under the concepts of empowerment and accountability. One such individual who understood and bought into the idea of a high-performance culture, and joined BioMedica in an essential role is Sheri Fitzpatrick-Poulain, Director of Commercial Operations.
Together Jeffers and Fitzpatrick-Poulain are building a leadership team of top talent that just happens to be 50% women. This feat landed BioMedica in the spotlight for its approach to gender diversity at BioTalent Canada’s Connecting & Advancing Women in Biotechnology events. With an increased focus in achieving a 50/50 employee gender-balance across multiple sectors, including the Canadian parliament, one can’t help but ask, what lessons can be learned from BioMedica.
The answer is surprising. BioMedica didn’t set out to hire women. Their focus is on talent. “We aim to go after the best talent out there with no internal or external barriers,” said Jeffers. “We focus on someone’s capability as an individual and as a team player, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.”
Do as you say
BioMedica’s vision of “helping people live better lives” is reflected in the way the company interacts with its team. Fitzpatrick-Poulain said, “we are driven to make the company more successful and in turn are given real workplace flexibility.” Team members can work from home across the country, a benefit that is appreciated companywide.  For example, the option to work from home during inclement weather allows everyone on the team to stay safe and focused on their jobs without worrying about issues like childcare and unsafe road conditions. In turn, BioMedica gains an engaged and productive team focused on achieving the objectives that have been set.
Reject artificial harmony
Employees are empowered to take initiative and lead. BioMedica has created an environment where it is safe to disagree and have spirited debates with the objective of getting things right. Office politics and artificial harmony are rejected; instead the focus is on obtaining different perspectives to reach better outcomes for patients and partners alike.
Groom to grow
BioMedica believes in grooming talent to propel the company forward, such as in the case of Fitzpatrick-Poulain, “whose next step in her career is definitely in a President’s role,” said Jeffers.  There is a focus on fostering leadership and team building skills, and everyone is given the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and new challenges within the objectives set out. Accountability is a strong pillar of leadership, and rather than point-and-blame, team members are encouraged to take ownership of their mistakes, and come up with solutions. In addition to traditional skills training, team members are actively mentored in every phase of their careers, with the goal of grooming them to grow into leadership positions.
BioMedica understands that its current and future success as a company relies heavily on attracting top talent and creating an environment where they can grow and be empowered to realize their full potential.
Jeffers has a simple answer to the attention BioMedica is getting, “In building our team, we go after the best talent – period. Gender balance is a byproduct of our approach.”
Newsletter Issue:
HR Microscope February 2016