Astellas Americas | Gagen MacDonald

Our Impact

Astellas Americas

Activating a unique culture to accelerate strategy execution.

Astellas Americas is a regional division of a Japanese-based global pharmaceutical company. The organization consists of regional and global operating units. Its 4,000 employees are located in the U.S., Canada and Brazil. Leadership recognized culture as a critical success driver and source of their competitive advantage. Culture was deemed essential to attract, engage and inspire the very best talent.


A culture initiative had been launched but was not gaining traction. Astellas needed help to define its unique “Astellas Way” behaviors to build beliefs and inspire action. While people felt the culture was special, they were unable to articulate what makes the organization unique.


  • Conducted a culture diagnostic using our strategic culture change roadmap to identify high-impact opportunities in order to create a culture movement and accelerate business results
  • Employed an interactive, creative process to create and validate an emotionally and rationally compelling culture narrative that embodied the global messages
  • Developed a creative campaign that articulated why living the Astellas culture was so critical to the health of the organization as well as the patients they serve. The campaign included videos, environmental signage (including floor graphics, stairwell graphics, elevator wraps and wall graphics), posters, digital signage, a culture week experience, a “commitment wall,” a leader toolkit, a desk drop for employees and more
  • Equipped leaders and culture champions to be the catalysts of the culture movement by designing two waves of training to clarify expectations, build capabilities to tell personal stories, use team conversation guides, learn how to lead culture change and train facilitators. We also developed plans and tools to integrate the Astellas Way across all business initiatives and priorities


  • A compelling Astellas America’s culture narrative that is used in all culture training and communications activities. “It is truly inspiring and captures why we are special,” said an Astellas HR manager
  • Leaders and champions sparked the culture movement by engaging their teams in culture dialogue and action sessions
  • Senior leaders continue to show commitment to a strategic, milestone-based culture evolution roadmap, engaging employees at all levels
  • Employee experiences and beliefs were built into the One Astellas culture — including a “commitment wall,” which visibly demonstrated employee commitment to the One Astellas culture movement
  • The commitment wall was so popular, that it was almost completely full on day one. It then went on a road show to other offices and regions with great success
  • Leaders and champions and the Culture Team are better able to lead culture and change behavior: knowledge was transferred, and capabilities were built
  • A validated set of observable behaviors for each Astellas Way value were identified as culture metrics that drive business results
  • Astellas America's culture work became a best practice model for other global regions. Gagen MacDonald was recommended internally as a “strategic partner” to help other global culture efforts


  • 2017 North America In2 Sabre Awards
    • Best in Employee Engagement