TalentHR Distinction Spotlight: Transforming talent management at GSK

HR Distinction Spotlight: Transforming talent management at GSK

HRD Connect looks at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare GB & Ireland (GSK) and their talent management journey. Their group talent team intended to evolve their career schemes, to be fully prepared for the future workforce.

Many organisations strive to go through a transformational journey and guarantee global success. To overcome these challenges, businesses must undertake numerous changes over many years. This can heavily impact culture, talent, and strategic focus.

Through these monumental changes, HR plays a key role in maintaining and aligning a consistent experience for their workforce in times of uncertainty.

This week, we look at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare GB & Ireland (GSK) and their talent management journey. Their group talent team intended to evolve their career schemes, to be fully prepared for the future workforce.


GlaxoSmithKine is extremely fortunate to have global talent programmes run throughout all areas of the business. This means, however, that each business unit requires its own unique requirements and developments.

Therefore, it was their main objective to identify the specific requirements of their future workforce. In doing so, they would successfully recruit and develop a pipeline of agile and motivated high performers. To fulfil this objective, they had to operate on 5 different schemes within their business, to develop a wide variety of talent from different backgrounds and experience. This would result in GSK creating and offering multiple opportunities to people from various backgrounds.

These schemes were:

Apprenticeships: A 2-year scheme, designed for A-level school leavers who didn’t intend to go to university.

Industrial Placements: A 1-year industry placement, making up the third year of a 4-year degree course.

Future Leader Programme: The FLP programme is a 3-year scheme operated globally across GSK. They offer 3 rotations in consumer accounts, field sales, and brand management.

Commercial Associate Programme: This 2-year commercial scheme offers 2 commercial rotations in Account Management and Marketing.

Esprit programme: This 4-year programme is designed to attract candidates with over 5 years of industry experience.

Having so many people partake in these different schemes meant that GSK needed to maintain consistency across all 5 programmes. To achieve this, they now operate a Quarterly Talent Board, where the leaders of these functions come together and review the methods of each scheme.

Recruitment was crucial in ensuring that these schemes were running successfully.

“Good recruitment is the key to a strong start. With up to 20 people per year to hire, it requires a lot of coordination to obtain the best people,” said a spokesperson from GSK.

“The line managers and department heads are heavily involved in the recruitment to ensure their buy-in on the candidates,”

“This autumn, we completed the whole recruitment process for 2019 by November 2018 which ensures we get the best candidates.”

GSK also made feedback and recognition a priority. Every single employee was reviewed quarterly to bring to light any successes or potential issues they had. Personal development was also prioritised.  Throughout an employees’ journey, they were offered unique learning experiences both online and face-to-face, to support their career advancements.

Through these developments in talent management, GSK has seen significant progress in further evolving their programmes.  Through these positive advancements, they have been successful in attracting a consistent pipeline of talent. Just recently, GSK announced that they successfully recruited 100% of their former placement students into roles for 2019, which is a testament to the positive experience they had during their placement.

Furthermore, early talent alumni continue to thrive within the business. 60% of their workforce in 2018 originated from the alumni of their early talent schemes.

“We are extremely proud of our Talent Management programmes which attract superb individuals into GSK Consumer Healthcare from both outside GSK as well as from other areas within”, said Gavin Rees, People Development Lead, GSK.

“We are supported by the excellent global GSK schemes on offer, but have also evolved as business needs change”, Gavin Rees continued.

“Introducing the Apprenticeship and Commercial Management schemes to the Consumer business have been a huge step in the right direction.”

“We believe that we have a very strong Early Programme which delivers against our objective of supplying a pipeline of agile, motivated high performers who are ready to grow into and lead our ever-evolving business.”

For organisations looking ahead to the future of work, talent management and retention are key to ensuring that workforces are developing and growing both individually, and as a collective. If companies aspire to succeed in this new work landscape, offering enticing and useful career schemes could be key to succeeding in the competitive talent market.

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