With Yardstick Partnership, Zealand Pharma Establishes an Essential Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Structure after Acquiring Valertias Holdins, Inc.

Zealand Pharma

Industry: Biotechnology
HQ Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Size: 329 Employees*

The Background

Zealand Pharma, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, design, and development of innovative peptide-based medicines acquired Valeritas Holdings, Inc. in the spring/winter of 2020. Although employees were internationally dispersed with offices in Copenhagen, DK, New York City, NY, Boston, and Marlborough, MA, the leader in peptide therapeutics and novel treatment solutions set out on a venture to become key players in the US market.

To ensure an extensive, well-rounded diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy was formulated and established for existing and new employees during this process, Zealand Pharma leveraged Yardstick Management as a partner in September of 2020.

The Challenge

Zealand Pharma partnered with Yardstick Management to perform a comprehensive organizational assessment and audit focusing exclusively on its current hiring targets and procedures, partnership assessment methodologies, overall goal setting outline. Working primarily with four members of the leadership team, the onset of the engagement revealed a disconnect between the Danish and American understanding of the the importance of DEI. It also became known that Zealand Pharma lacked additional partnerships focused on building DEI systems, interviewing criteria and questions, scoring rubrics for interviews and partnerships, a performance management system tracking employee performance and goals, and early development recruiting.

The Tactics and Results

Yardstick Management developed two trainings with the intent on providing a foundational understanding of the cultural importance of DEI for the Danish team. Yardstick also constructed a 23-page playbook for the use of the leadership, people operations, a management team covering the fundamental outlines for establishing DEI practices within the organization including how to curate a diversity statement, best practices on interview guides and processes, as well as why Zealand should partner with a wider range of suppliers with a rubric on how to choose a supplier. Additionally we recommended our top five organizations for Zealand to develop long-term relationships and challenged the idea of not initiating early recruitment, suggesting nine top HBCUs to partner with on design pipelines. Finally Zealand was given a strategic plan mapping out the next steps for implementation of all recommendations.


* Subject to have changed since the start of the engagement

About Yardstick Management

Established in 2012, Yardstick Management is America's leading Black-Owned management consulting firm, providing organizational strategy, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging support, and executive search expertise at the world’s most recognizable companies. Our comprehensive services help organizations transform their culture as well as attract and retain the most senior-level diverse executives to their C-Suites and boards. Named in Inc.’s 2021 Best in Business list and as Georgia Business Journal’s 2021 Best Business Consulting firm, Yardstick Management has a proven track record of successful transformation and is trusted by the largest companies in the world.
In 2021 alone, the management consulting firm increased revenue by 166%, grew its employee base by 42%, and impacted over 2,600,000 employees across global corporate, non-profit, and educational organizations including, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, MIT, Orangetheory Fitness, PLBY Group Inc., Davita Kidney Care, Whirlpool, Roark Capital, and more. For additional information, visit