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By Laura Melghem, HRM
Director of Human Resources at Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. (CTT)

Turnover rates in the clinical research industry have risen in the past years to 50% and continue to negatively impact enrollment and study conduct at the site level. At CTT, we have a five-prong approach to ensuring a comprehensive human resource department that encourages excellent hiring and retention practices.

1, Hiring the Right Person for the Right Seat
CTT’s workforce development efforts start at the beginning with attracting the best workforce possible centered on the company’s core values. Our in-depth interview process includes screening applicants not solely on their experience and skills but is rooted in finding the right person who complements CTT’s core values. In addition, interactive interviews are conducted that allow prospective candidates to get a first-hand look at expectations and responsibilities of the job and provides the opportunity to interact with team members, ensuring team compatibility.

2. Initial Onboarding
Onboarding begins before the employee’s first day. Once a candidate accepts our employment offer, our team works diligently behind the scenes setting up computer and email access, training and orientation schedules and work stations.  New employees receive a welcome email listing what they can expect on the first day including arrival time, dress code and pertinent information such as a pay and benefits package. We understand a new employee’s first day can be stressful, so we try to make it as organized and engaging as possible. We provide new employee resource binders that include human resource materials, training information and reference material. New employees also tour the entire facility and meet all employees.

3. CTT Academy
All new employees go through the CTT Academy which is a comprehensive department orientation and training program. We have a dedicated training development coordinator who, from Day One, is the new employee’s advocate and walks him or her through the entire process while keeping the new hire’s manager(s) updated.  Over the first 10 weeks, the new employee meets with all the different departments to learn how the company functions as a whole.  He or she is also taught our core values, SOPs, data systems and job specific responsibilities using training spreadsheets to ensure consistency.  Our focus on the new employee allows sufficient time for the employee to become acclimated to the new role as well our culture at CTT. The program allows for continuous feedback resulting in a new employee who feels valued, productive and engaged.

 4. Continuous Professional & Personal Development
CTT understands that not having a well-trained staff can negatively impact the success of a study (data captured, subject safety). It may also compromise our business/financial processes. To ensure successful compliance, we verify that study coordinators fully understand protocols, GCP and regulations. All staff members receive continuous professional development facilitated by our training development coordinator. Training opportunities are tailored to specific job roles as well as personal development (annual skills/non-skills training, customer service, time management and stress reduction for example). Not only are webinar and in-person trainings available, paper materials are also provided to read as time allows.  All employees are kept “in the know” using the many whiteboards found around the clinic that display training opportunities for the month.  Suggestions from managers and employees for specific training resources are also welcomed. CTT understands that Human Resources are our greatest asset, and that providing ongoing and continuous education is a vital part of identifying pathways for internal promotions

5. Annual performance reviews
CTT’s annual performance review process is modeled after an EOS tool* for providing honest and regular feedback.

  • Annual company goals are defined then individual team goals are set to align with the company’s annual goals.
  • Managers conduct quarterly one-on-one meetings with individual team members to discuss “what’s working” and “what’s not working,” as well as assess job specific functions and core values.


Laura Melghem is Director of Human Resources for Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. (CTT). She has worked in human relations for more than two decades. Her areas of expertise are talent and performance management and employee relations.  Her efforts at CTT have improved employee retention by 15% during her three years at the site.

CTT, formed in 2001, has a highly-equipped and versatile 19,000 sq. ft. facility capable of conducting Early Phase – Phase IV studies in a multitude of therapeutic areas. CTT’s Medical Director, Douglas Denham, DO, CPI along with 16 other board-certified physicians, who practice in the San Antonio area, work with CTT to conduct studies in their respective medical specialties. This network of investigators has helped create one of the largest and most capable research sites in the United States.

Learn more about CTT at SARESEARCH.COM or by calling 210-949-0122.


*EOS is the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a system that helps businesses achieve better results. CTT’s entire staff utilizes the system for meetings, goal setting and reporting.