Talent Profiling


Astra Zeneca

Business Need: AstraZeneca is one the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and employs over 50,000 people across the globe.

Within the Clinical Research area, there was a critical succession planning need to identify which internal applicants possessed the potential to fill the Project Co-ordinator Director roles. These critical individuals are tasked with navigating new pharmaceuticals through the development and trialling process.

Solution: A thorough job analysis and competency development project was initially undertaken. After consulting widely with key stakeholders, we developed a new set of business relevant competencies, and linked these explicitly to their global leadership framework.

From these competencies a bespoke development centre was created, which incorporated a range of new, fresh exercises designed to replicate the demands of the role. We trained AZ’s managers to assess effectively and then supported them to deliver the centre smoothly and professionally.

We then helped them collate the results, make appointment decisions and develop key feedback messages for all of the participants.

Outcome: As well as identifying suitable applicants for this challenging and important role, it also involved making the client self sufficient to deliver the process in the future. This resulted in buy-in early on from all stakeholders as well as the business seeing the benefits of recruiting the right people into the roles (increased productivity, motivated and engaged employees, reductions in staff turnover for this role compared with previous statistics).

“Excellent in-depth knowledge and experience of this kind of activity, including the preparation in terms of testing the skill requirements of a particular job, assessment techniques and interpretation. This was combined with a focus on our needs and views as a customer, and a willingness to adapt approaches to make the event work for us (eg, our desire to make it feel not too stressful for the participants – you did a superb job of listening to this wish and adapting the programme very successfully to achieve it).”

Kate Gibb – Product Co-Ordination Director


Yorkshire Water

Business Need: Yorkshire Water is one of Yorkshire’s largest companies, and provides water and waste water services to over 4.7 million domestic customers and a further 140,000 businesses.

The HR team required assistance in improving the key skills and competencies of their graduate intake. In particular, the objective was to help the business understand and develop the strengths and development needs of graduates nearing the end of the graduate development programme. At the same time, the project also helped the graduates transition between the supportive graduate environment and the business.

Solution: Using Yorkshire Water’s key competencies as a structure, we created a development centre that replicated many aspects and experiences that would be faced by the graduates in their ‘substantive roles’. The two day centre was fun, interactive and stretching, but at the same time designed to reveal their strengths and development needs. The assessors were Yorkshire Water’s own managers, providing them with a developmental opportunity, as well as controlling the cost of the centre.

At the end of the centre, the performance of each of the graduates was summarised into a in-depth feedback report, which also featured their personality profile. Within a week, one to one feedback of the report explored their strengths and development needs in depth, and led into a series of coaching sessions to support them in making the changes to their performance levels.

Outcome: Over a period of 6 years, Yorkshire Water commissioned Actualise to run their graduate development programme. A number of our ‘early’ graduates from that programme are now on the verge of senior leader positions.

“Actualise supported us with our graduate development programme for a number of years, and have played a key role in the development and implementation of the graduate development centre. The development centre has a real impact on our graduates and plays a key role in their personal and professional development, this adds real value to the business.”

Shauna Purdey – Talent Manager, Yorkshire Water