Our purpose to invest to enhance and extend human life is a core part of what attracts the best talent to Syncona.
People with specialised expertise, highly motivated by making a difference, are attracted to our platform and the opportunity to improve the lives of patients and their families.
The life sciences investment team members have deep technical scientific backgrounds, supplemented by strong commercial experience ranging from venture capital investment to pharmaceutical launch and the operational expertise required to found and build companies around exciting innovation. This multi disciplined skill set is fundamental to our business model and the team’s track record has resulted in a strong network in life science, enabling the best talent to be attracted to our portfolio companies.
Employee welfare and well being
We seek to invest in our people and to develop our future leaders. Our structure lends itself to small teams with shared responsibility, allowing junior staff to learn on-the-job with significant exposure to the senior team and senior industry leaders outside Syncona. Team members receive increasing exposure to the facets of the role ensuring progression is attainable and unrestrained. Each team member is trusted and empowered to progress their own development within this structure.
Working at Syncona
We believe providing a supportive working environment is crucial to the wellbeing and satisfaction of our team.
In line with our desire to attract and retain our talented team, the team are provided with competitive remuneration, including a long-term incentive scheme linked to the performance of our investments. Employee benefits include:
- Life assurance
- Income protection
- Pension contributions
- Private medical insurance
- Family-friendly benefits (maternity and paternity leave, bereavement and compassionate leave)
We also strive to have flexible working policies that meet the needs of our people and support our business. During the last year, the COVID-19 enabled us to understand the positives and negatives of remote working, leveraging technology to understand what work is better done remotely and what work is better done face to face. Our people are provided with the tools to work remotely and we are now assessing how to develop a hybrid model which enables our people to retain the positive elements that they have enjoyed from remote working blended with the in-person collaboration, which we recognise is both critical and fulfilling.
Mental health and employee assistance
We place increasing importance on mental wellbeing and have been acutely aware of the strains on our people during the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing home-schooling, full-time employment and caring for others. Throughout the pandemic, senior leaders across the business have had regular interaction with all team members and colleagues have been encouraged to check in with each other on an ongoing basis. In addition to this, we have also offered our team members access to professional support, as needed, from our private medical insurance providers.
Within the business, there is a culture of open communication across the team. The business benefits from being a 30-person team operating with a flat structure and limited hierarchy. The senior management team know everyone on the team personally and engage with everyone regularly, often seeking input into strategy and providing updates on key business initiatives.
Key business initiatives where the team have been engaged and provided significant input has been into:
- Development of our values
- Development of our Sustainability Pollicy
- Initiation of our diversity and inclusion initiatives
The Syncona Board of Directors regularly meets members of the investment team alongside Board meetings. Gian Piero Reverberi, the non-executive Director who leads employee engagement and our Chair, Melanie Gee, have met with wider team members remotely during the last 12 months and plan to meet with the team members in a more informal setting in-person, when COVID-19 restrictions allow.
Equal opportunities and diversity
We are an equal opportunities employer and aim to recruit, promote and reward based on merit. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team is vital to our success and aim to create an inclusive culture that promotes diversity.
Syncona has more work to do in this area but we have embarked on our journey by supporting a number of important initiatives.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives
We are aware of the positive influence that Syncona can have within the UK life sciences industry in driving positive action to increase diversity within the sector. The underrepresentation of ethnic minorities within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers in the UK is striking and it is also a pertinent issue in the venture capital space.
Specifically, we have recognised that research consistently highlights black minorities as being the least represented within STEM and Venture Capital and our desire to combat this trend is reflected in our choice of charitable partners.
Our diversity and inclusion (D&I) approach aims to target the underrepresentation of minorities within life sciences, through partnering with organisations who provide pathways at school, undergraduate and postgraduate level. Ultimately, our aim is to implement a long-term programme which can guide young people through their education and into a possible future career as life science investors.
In doing so, we aim to expose those involved in the programmes to many of the values which drive performance at Syncona, as we aim to build the next generation of data driven, entrepreneurial leaders in life sciences investment.
We actively encourage our employees to participate in our partnership schemes, either as advocates, mentors or buddies, with our D&I strategy also aligned with the goals of the Syncona Foundation.