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Cephalon's story

Client Profile

Founded in 1987 as a biotech start-up, Cephalon is one of the world’s top ten biopharmaceutical companies, with an impressive roster of first-in-class products, a deep and diverse pipeline and annual revenues of over $1.77 billion. Cephalon has over 3000 Employees globally.

LEADERSHAPE SUPPORTED CEPHALON and key personnel during an acquisition and reorganisation, helping manage the restructure proactively, ensuring high levels of motivation throughout the process.

The Challenge: To provide 50 key personnel with an offline support and coaching mechanism to help them to clarify their personal goals and aspirations and to be in a position to ascertain how these could be best served; whether by taking redundancy or applying for a role in the merged organisation. 


  • A merger was concluded between two bio-pharmaceutical companies, Cephalon and Zeneus.
    Cephalon in the UK moved from Guildford to Stevenage, where Zeneus was already located.
    Head Office functions and two sales forces were consolidated.
    This resulted in a voluntary redundancy programme; individuals had to apply for roles in the merged organisation (and potentially relocate), or seek alternative employment.
    Cephalon’s leadership recognised that these elements all bring significant uncertainty, which puts strain on individuals and can have a negative impact upon personal relationships and work performance.


Desired Outcomes/Goals

Coaching support was to enable participants to feel they had better control of their personal circumstances and ensure a high level of motivation and engagement during the process.

The programme was set up to ensure that, whilst some individuals would choose to take redundancy and move away from Cephalon, the remainder would be enabled to make a positive choice to stay and be helped to minimise the disruption.

By providing off-line support individuals would be free to express concerns and feelings that would have been disruptive if expressed elsewhere. These could be fed back to the leadership of the organisation in a measured and anonymised manner, should a theme or trend emerge.
Performance = Potential – Interference. The coaching programme would minimise the negative factors affecting individual’s performance in their professional and domestic roles.

Cephalon would demonstrate the importance placed on the pastoral care of its employees. 



Preliminary Briefings: The MD & HRD of Cephalon met with all the programme’s LeaderShape coaches. Given their understanding of the personalities of the participants, they were able to identify the most appropriate coach for each employee.
Face to face sessions with each participant, of up to 2 hours’ duration, took place at the start of the programme. These meetings had the following objectives: -
    1.    To fully understand the individual,
    2.    To draw out their key challenges and concerns and
    3.    To kick-start the coaching process.
Each coach undertook 3-4 sessions per day, to make the intervention as cost-effective as possible and to maximize the number of participants who could be introduced to the scheme in the shortest time frame.

Tele-Coaching. Each participant was allowed an average of 3 – 5 x 1-hour telecoaching sessions (dependant upon individual need) to follow up their individual objectives. These dealt with matters such as:-
    1.    Evaluating their motivation to apply for roles within the merged organisation.
    2.    Preparing them for the changes that would inevitably characterize the merged company and enabling anticipation and acceptance of these differences.
    3.    Enabling them to identify and prioritise the other options available to them.
    4.    Assessing the impact on their career and families of the options open to them.
    5.    The primary objective of the final Telecoaching session was to dissolve the coaching relationship in such a way that the participant felt equipped and motivated to move forward without further dependency on a coaching relationship.
Email and Additional Telephone Support. If any participant required ad hoc support during the duration of the programme, they were able to contact their allocated coach by email or phone. Typically those who did make contact had the following issues:-
Review of CV and preparation for the internal interview process.    ◦    Share interview experiences and get input.    ◦    Discuss any decisions made. 

Desired Outcomes

Feedback from participants was that this was a very valuable format in enabling them to remain focused and productive in a time of change.

Individuals were empowered and supported to make the best decisions for themselves. The organisation benefited from the retention of key people, who remained with the Company and delivered on target results throughout the transition process.

The Company continued to hit its financial targets despite the disruption of the merger.
The Company delivered on its commitment to effective care of employees.
An additional benefit was that the process also diminished any risks of potential Tribunal cases being brought by staff.




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