From our CEO & Co-founder, Matt Jones:
Recently, Veramed achieved certification as a B Corporation®, joining a growing group of companies reinventing business to balance purpose with profit. During the process of becoming B-Corp accredited, I’ve reflected a great deal on what it means to be a good business, how we can become even better, and our role in the community in the future.
I launched Veramed in 2012 alongside my wife Emma Jones, following a long career working in pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs. My experiences were often mixed. I noticed a worrying tendency among CROs to expect very long hours from their staff and not protect their work-life balance. On the other hand, working in oversight roles for pharmaceutical sponsors, I regularly experienced a variable quality of work from vendors, poor communication, and lack of visibility if things were going wrong with timelines. These failings often had severe consequences for the studies and study teams.
I had always been interested in entrepreneurship and realised there was a better way of doing business in the biostatistics and clinical programming marketplace. When we founded Veramed, we wanted to create a different kind of organisation with a commitment to rewarding and developing our team while maintaining a positive work-life balance. We also wanted to be a company where we delivered exceptionally high quality work to our customers. If you do an excellent job for your customers, they will tend to come back. Importantly, employees gain pride and satisfaction when working in a successful team, getting excellent feedback. It’s a virtuous circle.
Knowing who you are as a business is essential to driving improvement. A robust set of company values are not just words on a page but also principles that we live by each day. This premise is foundational to breeding success and thriving as a business. Whenever new team members start in the company, they too become custodians of the culture and share responsibility for ensuring that our decisions and actions reflect our core values of Integrity, Collaboration and Excellence (ICE).
When we first created Veramed, we developed our ethos and led by example to instil our values as leaders. As the company has grown, the creation of our values has become much more of a dialogue, and other people within the business carry the torch for our business principles. To build a truly better business, it is essential that leaders enjoy being challenged and listen to perspectives from across the team.
Business is never static, and as the company has grown, our philosophy has evolved to an extent. Over recent months, we have developed an even deeper appreciation for the value of community. A year ago, the onset of the pandemic heavily impacted many businesses, some of whom struggled severely. I was awed by how our whole Veramed team responded, and we experienced a paradigm shift from a predominantly office-based company to a virtual culture. Everything we have done since, from mental health support to virtual social events, has had an overwhelmingly positive, heart-warming response. During this extraordinary year, we’ve seen those shared values come to the fore. The investment we made in establishing those strong bonds has repaid the business extensively during this time of adversity. In fact, despite the difficulties, we probably had one of our best years as a business.
Beyond the immediate experience and life of a business, we also have to consider the legacy we can leave behind and the footprint we can make on the community around us. With that in mind, one of the initiatives we are most proud of is our graduate training programme.
We’ve invested heavily in it and have given several cohorts of graduates entering the workplace a solid base of skills to enable them to become excellent Statisticians and Programmers. In turn, we know that these individuals will become technical leaders, innovative business figures and contribute to new advances in the future. As they develop their careers, they’ll also pass their skills on to the next generation. That gives me a sense of pride.
The concept of legacy also suggests new opportunities for us to leave more of a footprint by sharing our techniques for speeding up the clinical trial process with others. As we become better as a business, I’d like to share our learning with others and find ways to disseminate that invaluable, hard-won knowledge across the wider technical community so that other companies, and ultimately patients can benefit.