Background and Challenge

A global specialty pharmaceutical company needed to define the competencies and behaviors needed to drive its market access strategy. The organization wanted a core set of competencies for the entire group, while also clearly defining the different behaviors for various roles. This competency model was to be the underpinning of other HR development planning efforts and learning curriculum redesigns.

Approach and Deliverables

When defining competencies, WLH takes a disciplined approach to data collection and model development. WLH interviewed leaders, high performers, and various stakeholders to understand how roles were evolving. WLH drafted various models based on the data input and its extensive competency database. To validate the model(s), WLH worked with leaders and subject matter experts to ensure clarity and accuracy. WLH completed competency models for the Account Management Role, State Government Role, and Reimbursement Services role.

Once the models were complete, WLH supported the roll-out by facilitating workshops. The models were turned into 180° assessments to support development planning. Individual and group needs reports were provided to Learning and Development to incorporate into their curriculum development efforts. Deliverables included revised role descriptions, competency-based interview guides, and development planning guides with customized on-the-job development activities.


WLH worked closely with the leadership team and field leaders to ensure the models reflected the evolving roles and would support the longer term strategy:

  • All groups within the function had updated competency models
  • The entire organization shifted its commitment to development planning and skill development
  • The Learning and Development organization incorporated group learning needs into subsequent national meetings and a revised Market Access curriculum
  • All hiring efforts utilized updated competency-based interview guides to identify talent with unique skill sets and experience to propel the organization
Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.

Case StudiesCompetencies