Inside Tarsus Pharmaceuticals: A Thriving and Safe Workplace Culture That Fuels Growth and Success

career athlete spotlight Jun 19, 2023
Mylene Isler | High Performance Coach | Inside Tarsus Pharmaceuticals

I was excited to sit down with Dianne Whitfield, MSW, Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’ Chief Human Resources Officer, and discuss the powerful initiatives the company offers to enhance its employees’ lives and work experience. Now, I didn’t just want to discuss the fact that Tarsus is doing it right. I also wanted to dive deeper into how the company creates such a unique, energizing, and empowering culture so that others can learn from it. 

A People-First Approach

"What makes Tarsus unique is its people.”

Dianne is passionate about her work at Tarsus, and I was amazed at the passion that transpired in her eyes when she mentioned Tarsus’ people-first approach. She explains that employees’ well-being is at the core of everything Tarsus does, and the three core values underpinning the company culture are commitment, empowerment, and teamwork.

“It’s all about living your best Tarsus life.”

When it comes to empowering employees, the key focus for the company is to help people become the best version of themselves or, as Dianne puts it, live their best Tarsus life. But the idea isn’t just to ensure the well-being and success of employees at work. It’s also to help them thrive in their personal life, as both aspects are critical to happiness and success. 

“Our people are extremely dedicated and perform at a high level. It’s our job at Tarsus to ensure they balance their professional and personal lives and take the time to reset.”

To prevent burnout and to energize employees, it is important to focus on the wellness aspect of their lives. Tarsus has implemented the Wellness Weeks initiative, which takes place twice a year, along with Recharge Days, that allow employees to recharge together. This is a progressive approach that encourages the entire company to disconnect and prioritize their well-being without feeling guilty about not checking their email or being available.

And, of course, to adjust to its employees’ ever-changing needs, the group also promotes a flexible work life allowing employees to take personal time off through a Flexible Time Off (FTO) approach that does not limit the number of days provided but rather encourages employees to take off when they need it. The dynamic leader explains that this initiative enables employees to become the best version of themselves both in and out of work and focuses on well being in their whole lives, and not just as an employee. And this, in turn, helps them be energized throughout the day, which transpires in their work life too.

Creating a Nurturing Work Culture and building purposeful connections

Although remote work is one of the tools Tarsus utilizes to ensure employees can thrive in their personal and professional lives, Dianne acknowledges that the company recognizes the significance of motivating employees to come into the office on certain days to drive their value of teamwork, as well as employees’ own growth through on the job learning experiences. One way Tarsus achieves this is by offering delicious catered lunches that encourage employees, regardless of their role, to bond and connect with each other in a casual setting. Dianne, an energetic leader, emphasizes that interacting with colleagues in person is crucial as it enhances collaboration, synergies, and energizes employees. However, rather than mandating employees to come back to the office for a few days a week, Tarsus focuses on a flexible approach and creating an inspiring and energizing work culture that motivates Tarsans to be intentional when they spend time in the office.

Recently, the company has concentrated on designing collaborative spaces and hosting events that foster meaningful connections. Tarsus has even opened a coffee bar that serves nitro-brew coffee, which Dianne is incredibly enthusiastic about because she believes the space creates opportunities for employees to connect with each other on a deeper level.

Dianne firmly believes that the flexibility to balance work and life, combined with the distinctive experiences the company offers to employees who are physically present in the office, empowers employees to do their best work in a way that is both individualized and supportive to their own needs.


Feedback Drives Excellence

“The feedback we get from employees helps us shape what we’re doing as a company and support their well-being.”

Another thing Tarsus does really well is asking for employees’ feedback throughout the year. This allows the leadership to adjust to employees’ needs, enhance their happiness and drive personal excellence and performance. 

One of the other key goals Dianne mentions is increasing efficiency. And part of the answer to this key challenge is to rethink meetings and ensure they’re designed to maximize people’s time. But instead of setting strict rules and standards, the company provides guidance based on employees’ feedback while being flexible and encouraging people to find systems and processes that work for them based on their role and team.

One of the ways the company achieves this is by encouraging leadership to get to know each of their team members on a personal level. Through their leadership forum, Tarsans Leaders Connect (TLC), managers are provided tools for how to be a connector manager. Part of this is encouraging managers to have conversations around work-life balance and create a safe psychological space so that employees feel safe to discuss their specific needs as they arise. For instance, if an employee had to work on nights or weekends to finish a project, they can take time off during the day to reset. Nurturing its people also means that Tarsans are encouraged to freely share their concerns with their manager so that a plan of action can be designed and implemented to help resolve these issues. No questions asked and no judgment, the group makes sure employees feel safe to discuss anything that prevents them from thriving and being happy in the workplace. 


Celebrating Diversity

“Diversity leads to greater innovation and better results.”

Tarsus’ patient base is diverse. So, for Dianne, it’s only normal for the company to emphasize diversity and equity in the daily running of its operations. For instance, the company’s DEI strategy, called Vision for Change, is Tarsus’ commitment to driving diversity, equity and inclusion for their employees, the patients they serve, and the communities in which they work and live. 

“Encouraging employees to be authentic and celebrate themselves for who they are, allows them to feel included and have fun at work.”

And to make everyone feel included, the company strives to foster a safe and fun environment where people are eager to get to know each other, learn from each other, and celebrate with each other. 

One way to do this is to organize events designed around making every single employee feel like they belong, such as celebrating milestones. 

“Investing in people both professionally and personally yields more results than only investing in employees professionally.”

In addition to investing in its employees personally and ensuring they’re happy at work, the company also supports its employees professionally by providing on-demand educational content and free books through the book club. But I was most impressed by the fact that the group also offers access to a professional coach who focuses on professional growth and personal well-being. 

A professional coach allows employees to establish their goals and act towards them, gain perspective, build personal awareness, and thrive as individuals. It leads to more engagement and higher satisfaction in the workplace, and I genuinely believe this initiative is genius!

Giving access to a professional coach to every employee is a true testament to how committed the company is to fueling Tarsans’ growth and ensuring they can fulfill their potential, and are happy. 


Leading with Authenticity

“Leading with authenticity is the best way for me to be energized at work.”

Dianne shares that part of being an authentic leader is to be vulnerable. She explains how important it is to recognize her own flaws. For her, it’s all about learning from others and trying to teach and inspire others. Dianne is also clear on the fact that prioritizing her family and her personal time is key to fueling her energy levels and driving her success. And to ensure she thrives, she sets intentional goals such as laughing out loud daily. 

Now, that might sound unusual, but for the loving mom of two boys, laughing, especially with her kids, is a source of joy that reminds her of the importance of making the most of her life. And she admits that a simple laugh can work wonders when it comes to helping her refuel.

But laughing is not all the inspiring leader does to replenish her energy level and be the best version of herself every day. She also follows a structured routine. For instance, after waking up, she usually does a 30-minute Peloton workout before getting her children ready and dropping them off at school. She then starts her work day and the wraps up in time to spend quality time with her family each evening. Because she takes some time off during the day to be present for her kids, she usually plugs back in for a little bit at night to get everything ready for the next day. 

And because a 30-minute Peloton workout every day isn’t enough for our dynamic leader, she also runs a few races every year. Movement is a priority in her life and integral to her success.


After speaking with Dianne for almost an hour, I was impressed by the extensive efforts that Tarsus’ team is putting in to improve their employees' well-being and help them reach their full potential both in and out of the workplace.

Many companies now recognize the importance of creating an engaging company culture, but Tarsus genuinely stands out in its ability to build an energizing culture where diversity, fun, and personal and professional growth are celebrated every day. 

I truly believe Tarsus is revolutionizing the way we work, and I’m excited to see what’s next!

Are you ready to create a workplace culture that empowers and energizes your team? Let's talk! Schedule a call with me today to explore strategies for building a people-first culture that drives business success.


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