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Director, Employee Relations- Pharmacyclics An AbbVie Company


Sunnyvale, California 94085
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
1st Shift
  • HR Generalist
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  • Employee Asst. Programs
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Job Details

At Pharmacyclics, we strive to develop and commercialize novel therapies that make a dramatic, positive difference in the lives of patients. That takes bold vision and a well-defined mission. We create an environment that enables our employees to do the best work of their careers as they contribute their expertise toward developing cures for disease areas with significant unmet medical needs

The Director, Employee Relations defines, leads, and implements overall strategy for a wide range of activities related to employee relations and ensuring effective delivery through successful coordination with Business HR, senior leadership, and employment Counsel.  To achieve this, leads cross-functional teams, with decision-making authority on project strategies.  Provides Employee Relations, Performance Management, case management and expert consultation.  Conducts and leads complex, high-risk and/or sensitive confidential investigations and makes recommendations on next steps and appropriate discipline and ensures cases are handled fairly, consistently, transparently, in a timely fashion, and in line with Company policies, procedures, and appropriate local and federal law.  Is accountable to anticipate unintended consequences and broader impact of decisions and recommendations, identifies alternate courses of action and facilitates gaining alignment with key stakeholders. Reports to the Interim Head of Human Resources and is part of the HR Leadership Team.  Responsible to assess the impact of policies and practices, identify issues and opportunities and clearly report cases status to PCYC senior leadership and Interim Head of Human Resources.


Major Key Job Duties / Accountabilities / Core Responsibilities: 

  • Develop an Employee Relations (ER) framework, including strategies and proposals and drive the change within the organization based on trust, mutual respect, strong performance management and accountability, and clear expectations from and support for employees.
  • Establishes, builds and maintains strong relationships with Key Client Partners, Senior Leadership and HR Partners from all practice areas.
  • Conduct and lead complex, high-risk and/or sensitive confidential investigations related to employee issues and claims; prepare investigative summaries and reports and makes recommendations on next steps and appropriate discipline. While final decisions will be formulated after careful consultation with key stakeholders including executive leadership, this role must command the strongest consideration when determining the appropriate discipline.
  • Effectively anticipates the unintended consequences and broader impact of decisions and recommendations, identifies alternate courses of action, and facilitates gaining alignment with key stakeholders including executive leadership.
  • Provide expert advice, counsel and direction to Senior leaders, Managers and Supervisors regarding best practices, policies, and employment laws (in partnership with the Company’s In-house Employment Counsel).
  • Proactively identify and anticipate future legal changes and partner with the Company’s In-house Employment Counsel to provide options and recommendations that balance the level of risk, develop and implement a plan for the impact on the ER practices at Pharmacyclics.
  • Oversee the development of documentation supporting the application of ER policy and process, such as process maps, template letters etc., while ensuring collaboration with the ER peer at the Company’s parent company, AbbVie Inc. to balance the documentation requirements of Parent Company vs PCYC/California/Federal Requirements and recommend options/solutions.
  • Develop and integrate the delivery of ER related learning and talent development interventions that address the now, the transition, and the future state with a plan on how to gain buy-in and alignment from both leadership and employees.  
  • Work with the Company’s In-house Employment Counsel, and as appropriate through the relevant leaders to develop targeted training materials/sessions based the needs of each HR function (BHR, TA, Compensation, Benefits, etc.) supporting the development of ER competency across the leadership of the organization.
  • With the Business HR Partner team, drive the implementation of Employee Relations policies, procedures, and provide written guidance for managers and employees, enabling them to be applied consistently across the Business HR Partner team.
  • Work collaboratively with key stakeholders to assess the impact of policies and practices and make recommendations to address areas of inconsistency or practice improvement.
  • Ensure compliance with all state and federal employment regulations and provide a regular assessment of how PCYC is doing relative to current regulations and articulate PCYC’s risk in all areas.



Qualifications (Knowledge / Skills / Abilities):

  • Excellent demonstrable knowledge of current employment law and best practice in ER policies, principles, and procedures.
  • Significant demonstrable experience of advising a range of stakeholders on a broad range of ER issues balancing legal compliance with business need and developing practical value-add solutions.
  • Experience managing multiple complex ER cases from a strategic perspective.
  • Demonstrated experience of advising on and working collaboratively with senior leadership and stakeholders on organizational change initiatives and projects involving organizational structure.
  • Strong analytical skills, with a demonstrated ability to analyze information effectively identifying the root causes of problems and proposing realistic and practical solutions to address them based on knowledge and understanding of an organization and its operating environment.
  • Exceptional listening and questioning skills that get to the heart of an issue.
  • Experience in a development role which includes design, delivery and evaluating development programs.
  • Evidence of having a positive impact on an organization, achieved through excellent influencing skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills engaging effectively with a range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels.
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and deliver multiple concurrent activities within agreed deadlines and to agreed standards with consistent attention to detail.


Management: (Include old & new org chart)

Matrix Manager responsibilities on a case basis including directing the work of the:

  • HR Operations Specialist, and
  • Business HR Associate


Nature of Contacts (Internal & External):


  • President of Pharmacyclics and his direct reports
  • All Leaders of people
  • Employees named in an HR investigation
  • Employment Counsel
  • AbbVie Peer Director of Employee Relations
  • Business Human Resources staff


  • Partners at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe


Decision Making Authority / Discretion:

The Employee Relations Director Conducts Investigations independently, presents proposed course of action to President, Head of HR and BHR Team. Decision making authority in the execution strategy of the Employee Relations framework; decision making authority on the priority and severity of ER Relation Cases. Accountability for the compliance and up-to-date status of ER documents.



  • Ten (10) to Fifteen (15) years of experience at a management or senior professional level in a mid to large size corporate environment, with emphasis on employee/labor relations.
  • In depth understanding and experience of the California labor law framework.
  • Experience in working in a fast-paced organization, Start Up and Acquisition experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated excellence in both verbal and written communication skills and success in leading projects and/or administering programs to major milestones or timely decisions. Demonstrated ability to work in a high volume, fast-paced, dynamic environment with the ability to adapt to changing priorities.

Education Requirements (degree, certifications, etc.):  Include must have and preferred

  • Bachelor's degree, preferably in Human Resource management or related field.
  • Employee Relations’ Certification preferred.


Preferred Education and Experience

  • Master’s degree.
  • Knowledge of immigration laws and processes.
  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential.








Leadership Qualities

  • Leadership Skills - Team oriented with the confidence, maturity, and integrity to work effectively as a member of one of the top global biopharmaceutical companies. Self-directed with strong initiative with a high level of self-awareness to work effectively with others, both scientifically and from a business perspective.
  • Problem Solving Skills – Brings a high level of intelligence and curiosity to work. Able to apply mature business judgment in making decisions.  Creatively and effectively challenges the thinking of others.  Capable and effective in negotiations.  Able to see the cultural and personal implications of decisions and plan for them.
  • Influencing Skills - Able to establish rapport, value, and respect within a complex and highly technical environment.  Able to sell ideas and influence directly and indirectly.  Be team oriented and a decision-maker.  Able to initiate and effectively lead change efforts.  Knows how and when to teach.  Clearly knows the meaning of Teamwork and accountability.
  • Interpersonal Skills - Able to establish and build close working relationships across the organization and with alliance partners.  Strong personal credibility and communication skills.  Accomplished in group, business, and social settings.  Comfortable and capable in a variety of cultures and skilled in working in an entrepreneurial and driven culture.
  • Strategic Thinking/Business Acumen – Able to demonstrate a high level of strategic thinking and business acumen within a strong and dynamic group to effectively manage internal and external relationships and gain credibility in the role.

Results and Action Oriented - Driven to excel and capable of inspiring others to excellence as well.  Able to envision a winning future for the organization and then help turn the vision into reality through hands-on action.  Accepts the accountability for results of the team and provides clear direction with input from others


Pharmacyclics is an Equal Opportunity Employer 

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