houseCompanies across the country face the same challenge: recruiting and retaining employees who possess the skills and talents their organizations need to succeed. While this is indeed an old problem, it has a new twist: Today, there are fewer skilled workers available, and the values of many of these workers differ from those of previous generations.

When we at MannKind Corporation considered what it would take to place the right people in the right roles at our headquarters, we decided to do something different.

Different, but quite basic: We moved our headquarters closer to where our workforce was coming from.

At MannKind, we are proud to have some of the best people in the biopharmaceutical industry. However, to achieve our growth plans, we know we needed more. We were aware that there was an impressive concentration of biopharm professionals in California’s Conejo Valley and adjoining areas. This was all the justification we needed to move our headquarters.

The 50-mile difference between our old location in Valencia and our new headquarters in Westlake Village has changed things in three ways:

1. Integrating Work With Life

Today’s professionals work at all hours of the day. With a 24/7 office and technology that makes any workspace mobile, minimizing commute times helps improve employees’ quality of life without sacrificing productivity. The shorter commute also makes it easier for our employees to enjoy all the facets of their lives – their families, friends, recreation, passion projects, etc. Effective work/life integration is necessary to achieve the right work/life balance.

2. Reinforcing Our Internal Company Culture Through Participation in the External Community

This is a variation of the old “location, location, location” axiom in real estate. Likeminded and like-motivated individuals tend to congregate. At MannKind, we aspire to be a tight-knit community where each member plays a critical role in the organization’s success. Extending that sense of community beyond the corporate campus is easier when employees work closer to the neighborhoods where they live.

3. Living Our Corporate Values

There is no better way to do what you say as a company than by behaving according to the values that are foundational to your success. At MannKind this means we courageously stand up for what we believe in.

We believe in the contributions of our employees, which allow us to deliver products that help make patient lives measurably better. Being nearer to the communities where they thrive as individuals helps workers thrive in the workplace, too.

No matter the environment, we strive to always display excellent listening skills and seek first to understand. Understanding the features and amenities that attract our employees to certain communities is a worthwhile investment of time. It helps us understand where we need to be to connect with both our current and future employees.

The importance of building and maintaining constructive relationships cannot be overemphasized. We know that work life is not the most important life lived by every professional. Positioning ourselves to support our team members beyond the office walls is an example of teamwork that not only attracts new colleagues, but also builds workforce loyalty.

Some may argue that being closer to talent sources is not a good enough reason to move a corporate headquarters. It might seem like a gamble, or more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, it is a complex maneuver that can easily interrupt workflows if care is not taken, but the long-term benefits of this decision more than justify it.

Stuart A. Tross, Ph.D., is chief people and workplace officer at MannKind Corporation

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