Fostering innovation and supporting employees
An internal Amgen Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) panel discussion conducted with the Thailand team in mid-2022.
Serving thousands of patients across South-East Asia, India, and Hong Kong, one of the priorities of biotechnology company Amgen is to create a work environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
This, said Eric Ng, Executive Director and General Manager, Amgen South-East Asia, India, and Hong Kong (SEAIHK), empowers employees to express themselves without fear and find a strong sense of belonging in the workplace, in turn enabling them to deliver impactful results and excel in their careers.
Speaking with HRM Magazine Asia, he added, “Amgen is committed to promoting and maintaining an inclusive culture where every team member takes responsibility for creating a welcoming, inclusive, and productive culture, and an environment where employees feel respected, valued, and supported to reach their full potential.”
To help foster a strong diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DI&B) culture, Amgen is constantly driving awareness and channels for safe discussion. Besides participating in global or regional events such as HR Tech Festival Asia 2023, Amgen also actively engages employees on a local level through in-country panel discussions, where discussions are led by local employees and how they define DI&B.
Encouraging employees to take the lead is also a focus, as Ng explained, “Empowering our people is a key pillar in building, maintaining, and managing a diverse workforce and high-performing culture, where our employees feel driven to take action and kick-start initiatives of their own.”
To better support employees, Amgen has created 11 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) organised around a primary diversity dimension. Through these ERGs, leaders and managers are provided with the tools to lead a diverse workforce.
“Empowering our people is a key pillar in building, maintaining, and managing a diverse workforce and high-performing culture, where our employees feel driven to take action and kick-start initiatives of their own.”- Eric Ng, Executive Director and General Manager, Amgen South-East Asia, India, and Hong Kong (SEAIHK)
In SEAIHK, Amgen’s ERGs include the Women Empowered to be Exceptional (WE2 Group) and Amgen PRIDE, which respectively aims to promote a more inclusive workplace for female employees and employees who identify as LGBQT+.
In Hong Kong, employees banded together to create a DI&B influencer team, with the objective of creating an inclusive environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and strive for success.
The role leaders play in creating a sustainable DI&B culture
For DI&B strategies to be successful, they need to start from the top, become infused in the middle, and be driven from the bottom up.
To start their organisation on the journey to a sustainable DI&B culture, leaders will have to evolve the way their organisation works, manage and lead to help create better understanding, alignment and flexibility, and foster stronger connections with employees, said Ng.
He elaborated, “This includes listening actively to our people and learning from outside our organisation, so we can identify the right solutions and experiences for our people. It is also crucial to keep a steady stream of communications with employees to strengthen transparency, empathy, and trust.”
However, while leaders can play a key role in kickstarting DI&B strategies, Amgen believes that creating an inclusive and equitable culture is the responsibility of every employee and it is critical for everyone to do their part, no matter how big or small that is.
“If all employees consider DI&B in their daily work and interactions, these small actions can cascade and collectively make a significant and lasting impact on workplace culture,” added Ng.
Recognising the long-term nature of such an endeavour, Amgen is also constantly looking to nurture the next generation of leaders. For instance, to drive careers with purpose and equip aspiring leaders with holistic leadership skills, initiatives such as the Future Leaders Programme (FLP) have been launched.
Through FLP, Amgen picks the top 10% of talent across different functions and markets in the SEAIHK region. The selected candidates then attend a nine-month leadership training programme that focuses on leading from the “head, heart, and gut”, and imparting them with the ability to implement, empathise, and task risks as complete leaders.
“Through this programme, our future leaders not only learn how to make strategic decisions and tackle key challenges, but also how to lead teams with compassion and inclusion. This is crucial in nurturing our future leaders with the right set of skills to drive a more inclusive and high-performing culture,” Ng concluded.
Join Eric Ng and Chris Chan, Regional Counsel, Amgen Japan Asia Pacific (JAPAC) and Chair, Amgen JAPAC PRIDE, at HR Tech Festival Asia 2023 on May 10, 12pm (SGT), where they will discuss the importance of building an equitable DEIB workforce and an inclusive, high-performing culture.