Developing talent at Amgen Singapore Manufacturing

We recently spoke with Foo Wah Teng, the HR Director for Amgen Singapore Manufacturing, about the company's people challenges and initiatives.
By: | February 12, 2019


Since its founding in 1980, Amgen has grown into one of the largest independent biotechnology companies in the world. Amgen Singapore Manufacturing is just one of the places where the ‘magic happens’ – that is, where the drug maker produces its human therapeutics products.

The site employs more than 340 people, more than half (58%) of whom work in operational roles across various functions including manufacturing and quality assurance. The remaining employees are professionals in non-operational supporting roles.

HRM Magazine Asia recently spoke with Foo Wah Teng, the HR Director for Amgen Singapore Manufacturing, about the company’s people challenges and initiatives.


 What are your primary workforce objectives?

Amgen believes an inclusive workplace helps to foster innovation, which eventually drives our ability to serve patients.

We also have a deep commitment to championing gender and inclusion diversity that extends well beyond the bottom line.

We are constantly looking for ways to attract the right talent and are committed to help our employees develop and grow in their career paths.

Our approach to talent development and career success goes beyond climbing the corporate ladder.

It is about increasing our employees’ skills to help Amgen serve every patient, every time.

As science and technology rapidly advance, and Amgen’s business continuously evolves, it has never been more important to proactively invest in our employees to develop their skills, experiences and leadership capabilities.


Talent development

What are your big talent challenges at the moment?

One of the biggest challenges lies in attracting and elevating human capital. HR leaders of today need to continuously find suitable approaches to develop talent while constantly improving their own talent development management skills to retain and groom the next generation of leaders.

This is the reason we have implemented a wide range of holistic talent development programs that help our employees take charge of their own careers at Amgen.

Our Amgen Early Career Professionals Program is a good example which helps to bring Amgen professionals who are in the first 3 years of their Amgen career (both fresh grads and those with several years of industry experience) together to broaden their holistic Amgen knowledge and to identify career development opportunities.

The Amgen Early Career Professionals Program also serves as a platform for networking and mentorship across functions and hierarchies and highly complements our Amgen talent development initiatives such as FUEL.


What other talent development initiatives do you have in place?

The ‘FUEL Your Potential’ programme is an initiative for our Manufacturing Operations employees to be enrolled under an 18-month talent development programme to develop talent for key roles. FUEL Your Potential provides guidance and tools to help the employee build a successful career and is designed to help them find their competitive edge through understanding the power of diverse leadership.

Under this program, employees are rotated in different assignments and different Amgen offices throughout the world so that they can build different skillsets and learn from different cultural approaches.

This also enables them to take ownership for their own career development and take advantage of all the resources available to unleash their true potential.

Targeted efforts include on-the-job development, job rotations, mentoring, career development resources and structured learning.

This holistic learning approach not only enables Amgen to develop talents in the long run but empowers employees for their career progression.

Diversity and inclusion

You earlier highlighted a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Why is this important, and how is the company acting upon it?

Striving towards a more equitable workplace remains one of our core values today. Embracing gender diversity in Amgen is important as it not only allows us to tap into a wider talent pool especially in talent-competitive markets such as Singapore, it also enables the company to foster diverse views and perspectives to promote healthy dialogues and in preventing groupthink.

“Embracing gender diversity in Amgen is important as it not only allows us to tap into a wider talent pool especially in talent-competitive markets such as Singapore

These diversity of experiences and knowledge helps to thrive, drive change and deliver the most impact to better serve our patients.

Among some of the steps, Amgen has taken steps to create a gender-friendly and equal opportunities corporate environment through establishing a board diversity policy and providing a range of working arrangements including flexible time arrangement, part-time arrangement, work-from-home arrangement and a sabbatical leave arrangement.

We are in the midst of championing having clear hiring and promotion practices with objective criteria and frequent salary reviews for parity between genders.

We have also recently launched WE2 – Women Empowered to be Exceptional – an initiative developed as part of Amgen’s global diversity and inclusion commitment to promote and maintain an inclusive, high-performing culture.

This is where all team members (women and men) embrace and leverage each other’s talents and backgrounds to deliver exceptional results by positively impacting Amgen’s workforce, business and community.

These are achieved through support and interests groups, network events, coaching and mentoring programs and workshops.

Another way we try to do that is through our new Next-Generation Workplace located at Tuas Biomedical Park, which opened in May of last year.

This new NextGen Workplace building heralds a new phase of workplace collaboration that is tailored to congregate teams and functions to streamline ways of working and extend productivity without compromising on quality.