winning secrets, astrazeneca, HR excellence awards

Its leaders, members of the various functions, and employees came together to develop a robust L&D plan, outlining how employees can commit to lifelong learning.

AstraZeneca Singapore is one of Singapore’s leading biopharmaceutical companies that aims to make a difference in the healthcare industry by touching and saving lives through its innovation in the scientific medical field. Based in Cambridge, UK, the company focuses on prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - oncology; cardiovascular, renal & metabolism; and respiratory & immunology.

At the 10th annual edition of HR Excellence Awards, Singapore in 2022, AstraZeneca Singapore was handpicked as a finalist for 'Excellence in Learning and Development'.

Pushing the boundaries of science and delivering life-changing medicine is no easy feat, but the group believes it can achieve great things with a talented and diverse team that believes in what science can do. Read further as Ruth Tan, Head of HR shares how AstraZeneca Singapore keeps abreast of new technology and trends, making upskilling a top priority to ensure that it is fit for the future.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs-and-lows of your winning strategy?

We are honoured to be a part of the HR Excellence Awards 2022, which has provided us the opportunity to showcase the great work that we do at AstraZeneca Singapore.

Everything we do is underpinned by our purpose of pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines. We recognise that people are our greatest strengths, and we can achieve great things with a talented and diverse team who believe in what science can do. Through a collective effort from our teams, we have built a culture of lifelong learning, while keeping abreast of new technology and trends, and making upskilling a top priority to ensure that we are fit for the future.

We experienced challenges in prioritising development investments and dedicating time for development but overall, there is strong belief in our purpose, a community of support and the growth mindset amongst AZians that helped us rise above the challenges.

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft out this perfect solution?

It starts with understanding the company’s priorities and how the HR function can support its people strategy in terms of capability and culture.

Our ambition for 2023 is anchored on our goal to be an insights-driven and learning organisation which invests in future capabilities. We recognise the importance of continued development, having a growth mindset and expanding our skillsets in line with current and future needs. Our leaders, members of the various functions and employees came together to develop a robust learning & development plan, outlining how employees can own their development and commit to lifelong learning.

Our plans are also aligned with global and regional priorities and initiatives, to ensure we are fully maximising the organisation’s expertise and resources.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

Thanks to our teams’ collaborative effort in embracing a culture of lifelong learning, and everyone’s contributions towards building high-performing teams, we are well on our way to becoming the top pharmaceutical company in Singapore by the end of 2023. We were certified as a Great Place to Work for the third year running this year.

Results from our employee engagement survey have been positive, highlighting that 87% of employees feel that they have “opportunity for personal development and growth” and 87% have “improved my existing/learned new skills, or development opportunity.” There was also strong and active participation at our recently concluded 'iDevelop Month', an initiative dedicated to various learning and development initiatives ranging from webinars, panel discussions, workshops, and a career fair. For this event, we were part of the top five markets across AstraZeneca’s international region.

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

To all employees of AstraZeneca Singapore, our AZians, I would like to say a big thank you for leaning in and taking charge of your own development. Thank you for being onboard on our journey in embedding a culture of lifelong learning in the company.

To our passionate employee resource groups, thank you for going above and beyond and for the impact you have had in nurturing our culture. This award could not have been possible without the advocacy, trust, and support of our leadership team. Their creative insights, active participation and continuous feedforward go a long way in ensuring we put employees’ development as a priority, to contribute to our broader goal of continually pushing the boundaries of science and ensuring access to life-changing medicines for patients.

This award is dedicated to every AZian!

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

With the ways of working continuing to evolve, the future of HR is very dynamic, and we are excited for what is to come. There will be greater opportunity for HR to leverage data analytics, be recognised as part of the strategic core of the business, and transform the employee experience.

We foresee continued investment in digital technologies, not only when it comes to systems and processes but also on how employees learn and adapt future skills and capabilities.

Inclusion and diversity will also continue to be a focus as we build talented and diverse teams to optimise creativity and innovation. We are very excited to see that employees are embracing their development and that they play an active role in both their professional and personal growth.

Last but not the least, HR will have an increasingly active role in leading the sustainability agenda, thus contributing back to the society.

Images / AstraZeneca team

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