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Top Three Hidden Costs of Data Management Churn

With the global pandemic came a surging phenomenon in the United States that’s being dubbed as “The Great Resignation”. According to the Labor Department, a record 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in August, a figure that expands to 20 million if measured back to April. Every industry has felt the strain of long-standing employees calling it quits on their current position in pursuit of something else.

The data management field, having already been strained for qualified resources pre-covid, is no exception.

On LinkedIn jobs, we see over 5,000 open data management (DM) jobs suggesting that plenty of companies are actively searching for experienced data experts. The problem your company may be facing is finding data managers to hire in general, let alone the right data managers who bring years of expertise, therapeutic area knowledge, and industry knowledge to your trials.

The question is, how can your company retain its best and brightest DMs in the face of this tidal wave of resignations in a very competitive labor market? In order to combat data management churn in today’s world, it helps to understand how a high turnover rate within your data management team negatively impacts satisfaction and retention.

Let’s take a closer look at three of the hidden costs that come from the dead-end cycle of data management churn. Then, we’ll discuss how your company can chart a clear path towards retaining more DMs by streamlining your data management efforts.

1. The Financial Fallout from Data Management Churn

While this cost may not be so hidden when it comes to your bottom line, addressing the financial fallout that comes with data management churn is something your company needs to consider.

Data from the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that replacing a salaried employee can cost anywhere between 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. So, if a DM that makes $100,000 a year leaves your company, it could cost $50,000 to $75,000 in recruiting, training, and onboarding expenses to replace them.

The time it takes to advertise, interview, screen, and hire for data management positions is unquestionable, but the costs associated with funding these efforts are often overlooked by companies. Naturally, the more budget that’s allocated towards recruiting and hiring efforts, the harder it is to advance important initiatives and ensure trials are being carried out properly.

2. Added Workload on Other Team Members

When it comes to volume, velocity, and overall variety, clinical trials are increasingly complex. Our 2019 Tufts-eClinical Solutions Data Strategies and Transformation study looked at how organizations are handling the influx of clinical trial data. The study showed 75% of companies are still relying on SAS and Excel as the main driver of their data integration and review strategies, and the manual work required by DMs and other team members is both time-consuming and tedious.

So naturally, when one or several team members move on to new opportunities, the workload for remaining team members skyrockets.

A team will have to work 15-30% harder in order to keep clinical data review progressing smoothly after one or several team members leave their position(s). With the increased workload comes the increased likelihood that your staff will burn out.

This is an especially relevant concern given the added pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. Data suggests that 67% of all workers believe burnout has worsened over the course of the pandemic, with 27% also stating that they feel unable to unplug from their work.

As you can imagine, asking your employees to take on more work will likely lead them to become more frustrated with their daily responsibilities over time. And as their frustration mounts, their desire to seek out a new position will likely grow as well.

Avoiding the self-sustaining cycle of high turnover rates resulting in increased workloads that lead to even higher turnover rates is critical to keeping your clinical trials on track and your DMs satisfied in their current positions.

3. Important Initiatives Have to Be Shelved

Your data management team likely brings years of industry experience and knowledge to your clinical data review process. As a cohesive unit, they enable your company to tackle critical work while still keeping an eye towards future initiatives and goals all while maintaining regulatory compliance. But when a gap is left in your team after an employee leaves, data management processes can slow down significantly.

We looked at 39 different clients who are using eClinical’s Clinical Data Management services to get a sense of just how impactful a high turnover rate can be on a biopharma’s ability to achieve its goals. Our research suggests that when a data management leader loses a team member, almost 50% of their time will now be spent on:

  • Transitioning work to other team members
  • Recruiting prospective employees to fill the open position
  • Training new hires for up to 4 months before they’re truly firing on all cylinders

This forces the manager to only focus on the most pressing critical work, and negates their ability to prioritize important initiatives, such as planning and data standardization. Needless to say, losing a valuable member of your team makes it difficult for DM leaders to do anything other than prioritizing short-term tasks.

How Do You Avoid Data Management Churn?

If you’re considering completely outsourcing your data management efforts in order to improve employee retention numbers, you may want to reconsider. Having your data spread across numerous vendors only further impacts data quality and timelines.

Luckily, there’s a better way forward. eClinical’s elluminate Data Central workbench enables data managers to automate and unify all data sources into a single source of truth. Allowing for projects to be more transferable within your teams for faster transitioning and ramp up for new DMs.

elluminate is proven to automate and reduce manual data review activities by 35% giving the data management team and key stakeholders access to higher quality data faster for better collaboration and reduced burnout to help improve satisfaction and retention levels.

If you want to see what better, faster, and easier data can unlock, don’t hesitate to get in touch with eClinical today.

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