The Healing Magic at Horizon Therapeutics

Chief Human Resources Officer Irina Konstantinovsky taps into Horizon’s culture to strengthen its HR practices and procedures.

At Horizon, success isn’t quantified by money or products. Instead, success is determined by another, more righteous factor: the number of lives it saves. Horizon has grown exponentially over the past eleven years as it continuously refines and develops medicines aimed at treating rare and rheumatic conditions. While the company has grown to produce eleven groundbreaking medications with the help of over one thousand employees, the company culture has never changed—it’s only become stronger.

Irina Konstantinovsky, Horizon’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, witnessed the company’s caring, humanistic culture immediately and integrates it into her work every day. “There’s a real magic at Horizon that is fueled by the vision that we go to incredible lengths to impact incredible lives,” she says. “We define success by a different set of numbers—by the number of lives we save and the number of lives we change.”

Konstantinovsky originally came to the United States from Argentina to earn a master’s degree in adult education. By happenstance, she discovered the doors that a simultaneous degree in human resource management opened for her. Konstantinovsky says that her two degrees worked together to help her sharpen intercommunication skills in various situations, using these competencies to become a consultant for Towers Watson, where she worked for fifteen years. “My consulting experience taught me how to impact people in different ways,” she notes. “I learned how people grow and develop, as well as how to manage change and adapt talent management solutions to drive business success.”

Irina Konstantinovsky, Horizon Therapeutics Chicago Corporate Photography & Video

In her position at Horizon, Konstantinovsky drives the company’s mission as she embraces the industry’s dynamic nature and leads her team in achieving strategic objectives while also maintaining the company’s magic culture of purpose. Amid the fast-growing pace of Horizon, she seamlessly creates an environment that drives people to collaborate and make a positive impact on the patients they serve. “We invest in the workforce, the culture, and our people,” she explains. “We’re a fast-growing company with a strong sense of purpose. Everything we do has to foster the sense of agility and an entrepreneurial spirit that we have in the company today. To do so, we go above and beyond the industry’s best practices.”

Over the past year, Konstantinovsky has worked to restructure the HR department to further enforce the people-centric mentality that ripples throughout Horizon. She implemented new processes to strengthen communication and feedback between managers and their team members. Rather than recapping performance at the end of each year, managers are encouraged to provide feedback on a more frequent basis.

“We’re implementing the use of a monthly check-in, which offers opportunity for the manager and the employee to connect on a regular basis and talk about what is going well and what needs improved,” Konstantinovsky says. “We use this time to establish robust development plans for our employees. The team has also conducted extensive surveying of the workforce, where 95 percent of Horizon employees shared their opinions and made their voices heard. We then compare our results against top company benchmarks where we scored significantly higher than other top quartile companies in every category.  With this feedback, we determine which areas we will invest in to continue to create our fantastic work environment.”

Konstantinovsky’s team has also developed the company’s talent acquisition process, carefully catering their practices to center on inclusion of outside members that support Horizon’s diversity, while also developing established employees concurrently. At Horizon, inclusion and diversity is held at the highest caliber and constantly serves as one of the many catalysts that help sustain the company’s admirable culture. Konstantinovsky says that initiatives like these allows Horizon to grow and maintain the magic that makes the corporation special.

“The passion we have for improving the lives of those living with challenging health conditions shapes everything we do and it’s really the identity of who we are.”

In addition to bolstering the company’s altruistic, cooperative energy inside the office, Horizon’s employees also make great efforts to strengthen personal connection with the community. Working with other leadership executives, Konstantinovsky advocates for every team member to take part in “make it personal” days. These days are opportunities for employees to volunteer in the community, or raise funds for a revered, special cause of their choosing, such as a marathon they’re running or a charity they hold dear.

Employees are even granted a “make it personal” account that holds allotted funds they can use to get reimbursed for wellness, educational programs, or to make donations to their respective charities. Konstantinovsky spends her “make it personal” days volunteering at her daughters’ school, where she puts together presentations on career development to help grow and empower teenage girls before they enter the workforce. Konstantinovsky believes that creating the link between Horizon’s employees and the community helps illuminate the importance of the work that the company does.

“The passion we have for improving the lives of those living with challenging health conditions shapes everything we do and it’s really the identity of who we are,” she says. “We know the impact we have on our patients, and we unite under the common goal of discovering the best solutions for them.”

Korn Ferry values our partnership with Irina and Horizon and our shared purpose of enabling people and organizations to exceed their potential. Irina has made a meaningful difference through her HR leadership on countless employees and a personal impact on those she has mentored and developed throughout her career.

JMG Financial Group is an employee owned wealth management firm founded in 1984. JMG’s expertise is in working with corporate executives, helping them navigate their complex benefit decisions and advising on strategies to mitigate personal income tax costs in coordination with the executive’s long-term financial goals.