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Chugai Pharma Europe

A timely and engaging talent management initiative.

The challenge

Chugai Pharma Europe is part of an innovative Japanese pharmaceutical company. With around 200 employees in the UK, France and Germany, it has the agility of a smaller company with the established support of its larger parent. 

Sam Turner is Senior HR Business Partner at Chugai Pharma Europe. She joined the firm in 2022 and was given a key project to run. Her brief was to develop, launch and roll out a European approach to talent management. Previous work by the HR team, along with Chugai’s employee engagement survey results, highlighted why this was needed. As Turner explains, “It was clearly important to people, we were hearing that in the employee engagement survey and in exit interviews. We were losing people we didn’t want to lose. Some people were dissatisfied because they couldn’t see their potential next steps, which gave them a reason to think they would not want to spend a long time with us.” Turner saw a clear need for a practical, simple model, facilitating high-quality career conversations for all employees.

Turner recognised that she would benefit from external expertise. She had originally been introduced to Talupp in relation to succession planning, but quickly realised that the team could be very helpful on the talent management project, as she explains: “We’re a small HR team of generalists. I wanted to get the Talupp team involved for their talent expertise. With their input, we could sense check our proposed model and then work to make it stick.”


The solution


“We had previously used a nine-box grid talent identifier in some parts of the business, but wanted to move away from that approach to something that would clearly benefit all employees, not just those in a particular box,” explains Turner. “We needed to know what talent we had, and we needed to define what high potential means at Chugai. That meant looking at each person in the business and understanding their performance, skill sets and aspirations. We could then consider how to help them define their career with us. Talupp’s expertise in talent management was valuable in sense checking our approach and ensuring that it was clearly understood by employees and managers alike.”

In Europe, Chugai faced a challenge familiar to many small and medium-sized businesses, limited opportunity for career moves. “It’s not huge a business. Jumping up the hierarchy, as people may have done historically, is more difficult because we don’t have enough potential moves for people. That means we have to think more creatively, and that’s where Talupp helped”, explains Turner.

Talupp developed and ran training sessions and handouts for managers and employees, ensuring that they really understood our new ‘journey’ model of talent development. “We have a fairly long-serving workforce,” explains Turner. “Only a few of our European executive committee had previous experience of talent management and that meant many of our employees were unfamiliar with the concept too. 


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"Talupp created training sessions that explained what the new talent management approach was, why we were doing it and how it adds value. The new approach was not about putting people in boxes. It was about supporting constructive, two-way career conversations"

Sam Turner, Senior HR Business Partner, Chugai Pharma Europe


Talupp delivered the training in three languages in the UK, France and Germany. One-hour sessions for employees helped prepare them to get the most out of their career conversations. For managers, a slightly longer session explained how to identify what development was right for their employees at different stages (Maintain | Support | Stretch | Move) of the four-step framework. 

The HR teams also briefed executive teams in the three countries so they were aware of the process, the benefits, and what kinds of outputs they could expect. “We had quite a tight time frame,” explains Turner. “The executives wanted to have people reviews using the outputs of the individual career conversations by the end of the year. And we were only able to start the training and career conversations in September, an already busy period of the annual calendar. There was some push back from managers on the tight timeline, but we had strong endorsement from the top and that supported the completion on time.”

The results

The feedback on the training and associated materials from managers and employees at Chugai was very positive. The project secured a 98% completion rate for the career conversations. This meant that executives were able to conduct people reviews by the end of the year with accurate and timely data. 

Turner explains that the quality of the training and associated materials was a key part of the success of the project: “The communications, training and materials were appropriate and accessible. The collateral Talupp developed was of a really high quality. Everyone coming out of the training knew exactly what they needed to do, and they had tools to do it. The simplicity of what we had created was appreciated. The whole thing was really well received.”

“It was good to have an external expert in talent management involved in the project. It gave some extra polish and gravitas to what we wanted to deliver. Working with Talupp we got a better and more professional outcome, and they helped us move things faster. The Talupp team were collaborative and receptive to our input, but they also challenged us, which we really appreciated.”


The future


Following its initial success, Chugai is looking to embed the new talent management approach in its existing HR tools and processes. Turner is also scoping out the next project with Talupp which is likely to look at programmes that support the people development needs identified in the career conversations. 


"Working with Talupp was really flexible and centred on our needs. Their expertise and commitment helped us deliver something great"

Sam Turner, Senior HR Business Partner, Chugai Pharma Europe

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