Unifying culture after a series of acquisitions
A company in transition
AMRI was undergoing a significant transformation into a preeminent contract research, development and manufacturing organization for complex science, acquiring seven companies in three years capturing five well-rounded and distinct market segments. With a CAGR of 20% since 2010, AMRI was well-positioned for sustainable profitability and looking to build momentum for future growth with a revenue goal of $1 billion by 2018.
AMRI’S rapid expansion enabled them to better serve the large pharma industry, which was increasingly turning to outsourced providers to address their drug discovery, development and manufacturing needs. The urgent need for nimble partners meant that AMRI could capitalize on this industry trend by quickly acquiring and integrating additional services and solutions not previously available in-house. Their market-focused structure soon gave the company a complete suite of development and manufacturing solutions and positioned them as a leader in their space and a partner of choice for many of their clients and prospects who before would have had to look elsewhere.
Aligning expectations for a company’s future
Like many companies that grow rapidly through acquisitions or mergers, employee integration and cultural differences presented numerous challenges and opportunities for the management team at AMRI.
By doubling their employee base and expanding their footprint from local to global in three short years, the company found themselves faced with the daunting task of unifying their network and creating an understanding of how it all fit together, and most importantly — why. People were working long hours and learning new systems of reporting, all of which was taking a toll on keeping employees focused, engaged and productive.
Creating a unifying culture
Baker hit the ground running conducting a competitive audit and facilitated enterprise-wide interviews and work sessions with key stakeholders. The results were illuminating and lead to an articulation of platform elements that were the common threads of the enterprise and rang true to all employees. Using Baker’s TIPs methodology, the employer brand elements seamlessly strengthened and aligned AMRI’s corporate brand positioning to create an integrated foundation for high performance.
Baker worked with top leadership to create a:
- Purpose statement: “We solve complex scientific challenges to make patients’ lives better.”
- Refreshed slate of five values — clarified and distilled down from the previous eight.
- EVP (Employee Value Proposition): “Be a part of a team doing challenging work that changes people’s lives.”
- Internal theme line: “Be the difference”
Employee Value Proposition
Internal theme line
AMRI understood the need to design a strong and meaningful employer brand composed of shared beliefs that existed across all their business units. The reinvigorated core values and platform elements reflected what surfaced again and again in interviews and work sessions. The emerging themes and timeless guiding principles were authentic to AMRI. Employees truly connected with them as they reflected how they felt about their work.
That emotional engagement jump-started a unified culture and renewed sense of commitment with both prospective and current staff members. Baker delivered the tools for AMRI to pursue the company’s original goal: build a sustainable culture in which the interplay of purpose (meaningful work), passion (a dedicated and caring culture) and people (thought-leadership with opportunities for professional growth and advancement) will produce class-leading performance and the ability to attract and retain the smartest minds in the business.
Getting out the global message
Launching an employer brand across the globe requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach, which addresses the strategic as well as tactical aspects of the task. It starts with unified messaging from management and continues through to the support materials distributed to the workforce, partners and even customers.
In AMRI’s case, the internal launch included: a brand spirit book that introduced the refreshed values and set forth the reasoning and expectations around same; a set of environmental facility posters (one that summarized all of the values and a set of five that featured one value per poster); and a short video that featured imagery and voices from each of the major countries and cultures that make up their enterprise. All materials were translated into French, Italian, Spanish and German and shipped worldwide to coincide with the launch of the refreshed values at AMRI’s global employee meeting.
The first step of the company’s ongoing journey to unify and strengthen its culture has been well received and AMRI looks forward to weaving its refreshed values into a number of initiatives in the coming years.
“It’s one thing to put a list of values on a wall, but another thing to personalize them for your culture and bring them to life. The Baker team really helped us distill what was important and personal for employees. Our work to unify our culture has just begun and this project has been a great start.”
Head of Investor Relations and Communications
Brand spirit book
EVP Promise statement
Internal theme line
Core values development
Brand spirit book
Brand spirit video