I couldn’t imagine not wanting to be part of the stability function, but there were times when I could imagine doing it for a different employer (and sometimes vice versa). Nothing knocks a hole in the (pardon the pun) stability of your operations like losing a Stabilitarian that knows their projects inside out and all the tweaks and nuances that go into making the system work without major delays and detours. So what can we do retain good stabilitarians? First, be realistic in calculating capacity on an individual basis. Saying that a group of 5 can handle 500 studies, allows a wide open door for someone to assume that the group could easily handle 550. They can and do, at the expense of dinner, Saturdays, marriages, health and children, leading to a transfer to a better division or employer. If you say rather, that each individual can function at 80% of their capacity, you leave room for the emergencies, understaffed periods and some creative improvements that needed to be addressed. Maintaining and vigorously defending the buffer can keep your happy campers on the campus.
Second, all drudge and no creativity start the stabilitarian staring over the fence toward QA and regulatory affairs. Find a support function for each group member to call their own and allow them to innovate and expand their assigned task to the overall betterment of the group and stability operations. Consider responsibilities like training development, audit preparedness, equipment and space forecasting, team building initiatives, and liaison roles with IT, Quality, Statistics, Maintenance, and Health & Safety. Get their ideas about what they would like to do to add value and work towards their next merit raise or promotion.
Best of luck to all of you in extending the shelf life of stabilitarians.