Hanwha Pharma will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2026. Hanwha Pharma was founded in 1976 as Yangji Pharmaceutical, and later renamed as Hanwha in 1982 as a joint venture with Organon of the Dutch multinational pharmaceutical company AkzoNobel Group. Over the past 50 years, the company has established a foundation for sustainable growth based on its family-friendly corporate culture and has been transforming its organizational culture through eliminating the seniority system, operating a merit-based compensation system and introducing a "New HR System" to foster employee growth and development. Hanwha Pharma's vision for 2026 is to become a talent-driven R&D company with first-class quality, double-digit operating margins and 100 billion won in sales. <Wikileaks Korea met Mr. Lee Hyo-sang, Head of the Management Support Division at Hanwha Pharma, on November 8th to learn more about the company's growth drivers and vision. Mr. Lee is a human resources professional with 22 years of experience and joined Hanwha Pharma in September 2022 from the career with Handok and then Wonik Group's Planning and Coordination Office.
- It's been a little over a year since you found your new home at Hanwha Pharma. How is the atmosphere?
“Hanwha Pharma is a traditional pharmaceutical company that manufactures and sells from prescription drugs to health products such as multivitamins. It is expanding its business through global partnerships and new drug R&D. Hanwha's strength over the past year is its corporate culture of continuous growth through change and challenge. The recruitment of external executives and the reorganization of the HR system have strengthened organizational capabilities, and all employees are aware of the goals and progress of the company and organization and aligned in one direction. All employees are challenging themselves to work toward a single goal.”
- You're actively recruiting talents for growth. Can you introduce us to some of the key members?
“This year, we added four external executives to our new "Leadership Team". The appointments were made to ensure that the company has the capacity to realize its business strategy. In May, Manager Jang Hong-seok, former head of the hospital and clinic division at Daewoong Pharmaceutical, joined the sales department, and in August, Manager Lee Ji-hyung, former marketing executive at Celltrion, Takeda Pharmaceutical, and Handok, joined the marketing department. In February, Dr Oh Dong-joon, former head of Celltrion and Hyundai Pharmaceutical, joined the research institute as its head and in September, Manager Ryu Hyun-ki, former head of Pharmbio Korea, Kyungnam Pharma, and Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical, joined the development department. Hanwha's executives are always asking the question, "why?" and finding fundamental solutions to make changes that were not possible in the past but can now be realized. The executives themselves are working hard late into the night. But that doesn't mean it's stressful for employees. The culture remains flexible and autonomous. In fact, we often get positive feedback from employees saying that they are motivated by the passion of the executives and want to emulate their sense of mission and loyalty.”
- You have introduced a ‘New HR System’. I'm wondering what the process is like.
“The "New HR System" is to strengthen rewards for performance. We have established an organizational system run with a virtuous cycle, which evaluates employees based on their work and performance and provides training opportunities for growth. The performance-based HR system motivates employees to equip themselves with expertise. We select and nurture young and talented employees by providing fast-track promotion opportunities for those who demonstrate professional competence outside the framework of seniority. In fact, in some departments, juniors have surpassed their seniors' salaries, and we have several team leaders in their early 40s and recently promoted executives who were born in the 80s. First of all, we abolished the existing promotion system and unified the title of team members to 'sir'. We abolished the team member promotion system and shall utilize the funds secured for that purpose to raise promotions for excellent employees at the time of wage increase. Fairness in appraisal is a prerequisite for this system. To this end, we operate a continuous performance management system by introducing a "constant appraisal system" where we mutually agree on goals with employees and interview them at least once a quarter. This allows employees to anticipate how their appraisal will be at the end of the year, and this system received positive feedback that the company and its employees develop together through these interviews.”
- I heard that Hanwha Pharma’s employees have special welfare benefits, and the company has a particular concept for talents.
“First of all, employees are taking advantage of annual leave, maternity and paternity leave, and childcare leave as required by law. As a certified family-friendly company, we have implemented the bridging holiday rule (Jinggumdari holiday rule) and the year-end group leave, and the childcare leave is now used by male employees as well. In the case of a female employee who joined the company this year, we recognized that she was expecting a baby and hired her, and she is currently taking maternity and childcare leave. In addition, we operate a family camping site that can only be used by Hanwha Pharma employees and provide various welfare benefits such as baseball season tickets and birthday and company anniversary gifts. In addition to the merit-based compensation system, the company also takes equality in the welfare system into serious consideration and pursues a warm and friendly company. In particular, the CEO cares a lot about his employees. Even in the midst of his busy schedule, he attends celebratory events or funeral ceremonies of employees. Hanwha's talent concept is 'talented people who believe in each other, help each other, and lead the way'. We prefer employees who perform their work based on objective facts, comply with company norms, and grow into professionals with expertise. We need proactive people who can prioritize common goals and propose problems and solutions simultaneously. This was included in eight codes of conduct, newly selected this year reflecting the company's core values.”
- Can you introduce major community service projects?
“We continue social contribution activities through our sponsorship of Good Neighbors and community service. Good Neighbors is a one-on-one mentor-mentee program that connects employees with 18-year-old children who are transitioning out of orphanages and need to become independent. Over the past three years, we have donated more than 50 million won annually. On the anniversary of our foundation and at the end of the year, we fulfill our social responsibility and mission by sharing seasonal food and kimchi with local underprivileged seniors.”
- What is the outlook for this year and future revenue targets.
“Hanwha Pharma is on track for its second consecutive year of growth, with 58.27 billion won in 2021 and 71.76 billion won in 2022. This year, we expect to exceed last year's sales thanks to strong sales of prescription drugs (ETC). We will continue to innovate our business model and develop a family-friendly corporate culture to re-emerge as a sustainable company in 30 years.”
[WIKI KOREA=Cho Eun, Reporter]