Talent Management
Case Studies

Designing Career Architecture

23 Jan, 2018
people strategy agile scaling


Pharmco is a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to being a leader in their therapeutic area. It has been growing rapidly since its existence and has retained the elements of a start-up culture that mattered the most in its early days—empathy, care and an entrepreneurial spirit.

However, being based in a hypergrowth talent market for Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies, it faced the usual challenges of attraction and retention that all Pharmaceutical companies in that region were facing. Being relatively lean and flat was also making it harder to offer the type of career progression that employees, more so Millennials, are seeking today.

With a new Leadership team in place, Pharmco decided to embark upon a journey to create an engaged workforce where its 400+ employees are passionate about the Mission and Culture and feel that they are growing and developing in their Careers.


We worked with the Executive team and diverse employee groups to identify the core issues of the culture that worked well, what needed to change and the overall philosophy of how careers needed to be managed in a flat organizational structure.

Through this process, we identified and defined five Core Values for the organization, keeping them simple and focusing on what mattered the most for the business strategy and would be sustainable. We also defined Leadership Behaviors/Competencies for the organization, clearly outlining expectations for VPs, Directors, Managers and Individual Contributors.

We then launched the Core Values and Leadership Behaviors at an organization-wide senior leader meeting to ensure there was good understanding and ‘buy-in’ to what these were and how they would be used. These were received with great excitement and energy by the senior leadership team. We continued to drive organizational engagement and buy-in through these senior leadership teams for multiple sessions following the launch.

We then integrated the Core Values and Leadership Behaviors into selection, performance, career development and talent review processes. We also designed a simple yet robust career pathing structure to support growth and development of employees that integrated the Leadership Behaviors while mapping out roles, career journeys and technical skills required in each job family.


The program was very well received by employees who felt a strong sense of pride and ownership with the organization’s Values and Culture. As it continued to get integrated into different areas of the experiences people had from the time they joined the company, it became part of the way of working. Their engagement scores continue to trend high, as do their business results.