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Supporting customers globally as they manage complex data science and clinical operations activities requires a long-term talent strategy. When one of the world’s largest CRO’s needed a partner to help navigate challenges in their talent management program for data sciences, they turned to Virb.

The institution’s leadership was accustomed to partnering with organizations to supplement their teams. This time, the organization needed much more than a staffing agency. They needed a strategic talent enablement partner to help solve four critical issues. 

Feedback from our client was threefold:

  • Virb was able to hire 25% faster than their own staffing teams.
  • Virb was able to hire at 65% compensation ratio compared to 80% with their own staffing teams.
  • Virb training was faster and more effective. (9.25 weeks versus 13 weeks of formal training and reduced on-the-job training (OJT) from 2 months to only one month).

Challenge 1: Accelerating time to revenue

This CRO was looking for ways to reduce costs, but most importantly, to accelerate their time to revenue for new hires. 

Solution: Virb’s Approach to speed and accelerated revenue

Immediately upon transferring training to Virb, we were able to assess the CRO’s sourcing and training approaches.  

Sourcing of new talent required a significant investment of time.  Using Virb to source, screen and interview a high volume of quality candidates significantly reduced the time to select the successful trainees by 1-2 months.  In addition, only ~1.5 interviews per selected candidate were needed for the CRO, vs ~10 when screening and interviewing by themselves, thus improving utilization for billable interviewers, and allowing non-billable interviewers to focus on other areas. 

Much of the training was being delivered by billable SME’s that simply did not have the time to deliver training nor did they have the expertise to take a hard look at their learning pedagogy.  We were able to increase learning assimilation, added more comprehensive testing and reduced their training program time from 13 weeks to 9.25 weeks. This resulted in the new hires generating revenue almost 1 month sooner.  Additionally, billable SME’s were returned to working full-time on billable work. Virb was also able to standardize sourcing and training globally, which resulted in less complexity and better use of internal resources.

Challenge 2: Building more talent in complex data science skills 

The CRO required a partner that could deliver emerging data science talent within the scope of the business’s requirements globally with a heavy focus on the US and India. This means that emerging data science talent needed to be trained on a complex curriculum that aligned to their exacting requirements and that the partner must be set up to work within their business requirements and do it around the world. Virb delivered on both fronts.

Solution: Virb’s Source-Train-Deploy Program

Using our proprietary sourcing AI, Virb delivered over 1500 applications for the first 100 roles. At the height of our sourcing engine deployment, we were generating well over 100 applications per week of candidates that met this client’s discerning needs for talent, without needing to ‘turn up the dial’ anywhere close to sourcing capacity.

With trainers ready to lead cohorts through courses on multiple tracks in the US, EMEA and India, assembling a training program that met the CRO’s exact needs was seamless. Additionally, Virb’s model allowed talent to be trained using existing client systems and SOP’s, ensuring Virb data science talent will meet their needs today and tomorrow. As a large, global organization, finding a partner that can work within the CRO’s specific requirements from a “doing business” point of view was critical to leadership. Through a deep understanding of the client’s business and a shared commitment to their success, Virb operates within the CRO’s requirements.

With these guardrails in place, Virb talent works on some of the CRO’s most critical projects. To date, they have worked on projects that a multitude of clients engage within the Data Management, Statistical Programming, and Biostatistics areas.

Challenge 3: Delivering on Diversity

For this CRO, a commitment to diversity is core to what they do. They found themselves unsure how to tap into a more diverse workforce, despite a strong belief that diversity leads to a more equitable world and better business outcomes.

Solution: Virb’s Approach to Hiring

Virb’s proprietary, AI-enabled sourcing technology creates opportunities for anyone with the aptitude and attitude for success. We also use proprietary technology that allows us to look for the personality and soft skills in high demand for our client’s roles. This approach also leads to a diverse, high-performing culture and talent because it democratizes opportunity. Virb’s model for hiring looks far beyond traditional places for talent, recruiting from over 200 colleges and universities in the United States. We embrace the belief that talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. By finding talent with non-traditional backgrounds, we’re able to open the door to people who aspire to have a clinical research career and are unsure how to get their foot in the door. Our rigorous training program prepares them thoroughly for long-term success with our clients. Through Virb sourcing and training, the client was able to realize a diversity ratio of more than three times that of their own previous averages for new hires. Diversity is not just a consideration for us. It is core to our business and a fundamental component of how we deliver on our mission.

Challenge 4: Building a Reliable Pipeline

As the CRO navigated their war for talent, they explored new models for hiring and retaining talent. Specifically, associate turnover at the 18-24 month tenure had been high. 

Solution: Virb’s Exceptional Retention Rates

The Virb model has allowed this CRO to have a globally sustainable, predictable and consistent process for securing billable talent. This in turn, has been instrumental in helping them capture lost revenue due to vacancies.  At this CRO, dozens of Virb associates have been brought on, showcasing the impact they are already having on the business. Virb talent is already taking on more responsibilities.  The talent is also sticking around to have a lasting impact on the CRO’s talent pipeline. 

The Virb Impact

The numbers speak for themselves in this source-train-deploy case study. This CRO has been able to keep their costs neutral while accelerating time to revenue and reaping the benefit of accessing previously stranded revenue. Dozens of emerging data science professionals are contributing to key projects at this CRO. This new workforce is already adding value and the outlook for their ongoing success is strong.

So, what’s next? The client is already looking to expand their partnership with Virb in new regions, such as China for data science roles and Japan for clinical research associate roles. They are also looking at having Virb take on their pharmacovigilance sourcing and training needs as well.


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