HR Transformation case study

Transforming GlaxoSmithKline’s HR Service

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  • Case Study
  • March 09, 2023

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) helps to improve the health of millions of people by discovering, developing and manufacturing innovative healthcare products. In 2020 the company delivered 2.2 billion packs of medicines, over 580 million vaccine doses, and 3.8 billion consumer healthcare products.


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)


Pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products

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Workday optimisation and ServiceNow implementation


Global project covering 90+ markets

Chapter 1 Our role

Global HR transformation implementation partner.

Chapter 2 Challenge

GSK was in the process of splitting their organisation into two separate companies. One exclusively focusing on pharmaceuticals and their development, and the other focusing on consumer healthcare. At this point their Human Resource (HR) operations were spread across over 70 markets, and were managing 100,000+ people. They wanted to future-proof their HR function so that their teams could better support their people, and improve the employee experience through technology. As part of this, GSK needed to evaluate and redesign their HR structure and location strategy, to streamline their processes through standardisation and automation.

This was a complex global project spread across 90 countries, as well as a tight timeframe of only two years to complete the transformation, something that would normally take approximately five years.

“This was an important digital and functional transformation project for GSK with board level visibility. It was extremely complex, global and sensitive, so we brought in expertise from across the network to work collaboratively with GSK to create team and community of solvers. I’m extremely proud of the firm and team and how we worked together through the pandemic to deliver high priority sustained outcomes so that GSK can carry on this journey transform their people experience and continually improve and deliver high levels of HR services.”

Anthony Bruce,GSK Global Client Partner and UK Health Leader, Partner, PwC UK

Chapter 3 Approach

PwC brought together its community of solvers from various capabilities and territories around the globe to work with GSK to re-imagine the entire employee experience for both the new consumer health products company and the established pharmaceuticals company.

Firstly, PwC worked with GSK to design and consolidate its main service centres to four locations around the world. 

PwC then looked at all of GSK's current pain points that were experienced during HR touchpoints, from an employee, manager and HR lens utilising our EX platform accelerator. This helped PwC determine what steps could be removed because they weren’t adding value or were causing pressure in the system, and what could be automated or made ‘self-service’. 

PwC determined that two pieces of technology would help GSK in future-proofing its HR function, and achieving its end-goals. The first was Workday, which GSK already had in place as its core HR system, but wasn’t being optimised for its employees. PwC’s process & Workday specialists were able to identify opportunities to automate certain steps and processes to make the tool more impactful to the employee experience. The second technology was Service Now to support all GSK’s HR services, such as technology, procurement, finance and even legal. PwC supported GSK to establish how these two technologies intertwined with GSK’s HR service offering for employees and managers to deliver the optimum HR service delivery.

There were over 80 processes that we redesigned in the HR transformation, which always had the employee experience at heart.

Ultimately PwC wanted to embed within GSK an HR function that was able to deliver against the strategic elements that the business had: talent, leadership and culture. But also to create an efficient and effective operations excellence centre that could deliver daily HR services to its employees.

PwC's intent was to help GSK get to a point where they would be self-sufficient, and able to build on this internally because transformation doesn’t just stop once you've gone live. Our aim is to always create sustainable outcomes for our clients so they make a lasting impact even after our project is done.

“PwC didn’t just come in and design something on a sheet of paper that we weren’t going to be able to sustain beyond implementation. They took a lot of time and care to make sure that everything that we were deciding to do, every impact to the organisation’s structure was going to be something that stood the test of time, or would take us into the future.”

Cindy Alisesky,Vice President of Human Resource Transformation, GSK

Chapter 4 Key Factors for Success

PwC took several key steps to make this project a success:

  1. Build a winning team through PwC’s global network of expertise. We had over 50 PwC professionals on board working on this transformation from around the globe, all with different capabilities
  2. Become a true community of solvers. GSK and PwC became a highly collaborative team, working together to drive quick decisions to achieve a common goal
  3. Create sustained outcomes. PwC worked with GSK to ensure everything we did had employees at its heart so that the operating model design was future-proofed and would continue to work in practice well after the initial transformation project was over

“It was like we were all one team that was driving towards a common goal and we were constantly just comparing notes about what we could do differently or what we could do better. It was just such a team effort and that’s what I try to get across to folks who are looking at PwC to help them do something similar.”

Cindy AliseskyVice President of Human Resource Transformation, GlaxoSmithKline

Let us be part of your success story

Reach out to start a conversation

Prasun Shah

Workforce Intelligence Partner, PwC United Kingdom

+44 (0)7483 365055


Anthony Bruce

Chair of Health Industries, PwC United Kingdom

+44 (0)7801 916767​


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