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How an FSP Model Can Ensure Business Continuity During COVID-19

Employees with masks sitting around a desk.

Dave Agrella, vice president of functional service partnerships (FSP), discusses FSP rebadging as a means to address pandemic-driven staffing challenges in a way that mutually benefits both your business and your employees.

Under the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, drug development organizations are facing difficult decisions about keeping staff employed and productive. Even as utilization concerns cast shadows of uncertainty, emergent situations across your programs demand expert guidance and real-time problem-solving to maintain patient safety, study integrity and business continuity.

An FSP model can help you navigate these unpredictable staffing challenges. But rather than bringing in a whole new team, you may prefer to retain your current staff – not only for the benefit of their experience and training, but also out of your dedication to treating them right. Before making any decisions on layoffs or restructuring in response to COVID-19, first talk to PPD about FSP options under a rebadge model.

What is rebadging?

Rebadge staffing refers to the practice of transferring and rehiring staff from the sponsor to the FSP. This model offers immediate staff engagement with an assurance of secured employment. Instead of being simply dismissed, your employees would be offered new positions at PPD. You can then contract the rebadged employees to continue in the same roles on the same ongoing programs. Those without current assignments will find new projects at PPD.

What is the value to the sponsor?

A rebadge model offers you numerous benefits. It’s an effective way to manage capacity and labor uncertainty, giving you the option to retain your knowledgeable, proven personnel. You maintain continuity on key development programs while avoiding costly severance packages and payouts.

Above all, rebadging gives you a way to show good will to departing employees and make the best of an unfortunate scenario. You can greatly minimize the risk of harm to your reputation spread by negative word of mouth in professional circles and job search forums.

If you have employees in Europe or Latin America, outsourcing arrangements must comply with applicable Acquired Rights Directive (ARD) regulations, which stipulate employees’ rights to retain their jobs when work is transferred to another company. A well-managed rebadging model represents an ideal pathway to full ARD compliance.

What is the value to the employee?

Obviously, staff members appreciate the opportunity for continued employment and income security. For many employees the rebadging transition presents minimal disruption, as they resume the same tasks on their familiar projects.

What is the value to PPD?

The best business arrangements are those that mutually benefit all parties, and certainly PPD stands to gain from a rebadge model as well. Bringing in talent from our clients makes PPD stronger. It helps us understand the sponsor perspective and ultimately serve your needs better. Transferring qualified employees is also much easier and more economical than the typical recruitment and new hire process.

What should you look for in an FSP rebadging partner?

  1. Experience – Rebadging can be an attractive win-win proposition, but the implementation is no simple matter. It can easily turn into a minefield of significant challenges and legal quandaries, especially in countries with ARD regulations. FSPs need deep knowledge in order to handle all aspects of each staffing transfer properly and compliantly. Our PPD FSP experts are well-versed in both ARD and non-ARD rebadging models and best practices.
  2. Dedicated team – Confirm that the FSP has a focus on change management and business continuity, which is especially vital when transferring staff. Some FSPs may not have a specialized team for this. The staff transfer process must be handled like the major project it is, with a project manager coordinating interactions with HR, legal and the employees.
  3. Scale – Look for an FSP that is growing and has plentiful business aside from your own work, to assure they can readily absorb your employees and promote a positive outcome for everyone involved.

In the ever-changing global environment during this pandemic and beyond, PPD FSP can help you manage significant transitions while maintaining continuous high-quality service. We are here to help you calibrate your capacity and ramp up quickly across any function and service, including pharmacovigilance, regulatory, on-site and remote monitoring, and clinical supplies to marketed products.