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In Conversation with Padma Thiruvengadam and Masato Iwasaki



Padma Thiruvengadam (left)
Chief Human Resources Officer

Masato Iwasaki (right)
President, Japan Pharma Business Unit



With the integration of Shire complete, what are your priorities to strengthen the one Takeda culture?

Padma: Keeping our colleagues safe and healthy and delivering medicine to our patients is top of mind for all leaders at Takeda right now. We continue to work collaboratively and productively during these unique times, which is a testament to our commitment to strengthening our culture where people and patients come first.

Masato: Our uniqueness is reflected in Takeda’s values that guide our decision-making, placing the patient first since Takeda was established in 1781. Takeda’s values are now attracting and engaging people around the globe. We are a leading Japan-based company that is global in the way we operate, which allows us to provide our colleagues with a unique, diverse environment and a wide range of opportunities.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your approach to HR?

Masato: The capabilities we will need for the future growth of Takeda became more evident. The influence of COVID-19 accelerated the digitalization of society and shifted its outlook. However, we were able to adapt to this “new normal,” as Takeda has always been quick to anticipate changes and take on new challenges. Our goal is to provide opportunities that support our employees and tools that contribute value to patients and leverage the benefits of digital technologies.

Padma: I think about this in two stages: react and respond. Reacting quickly to changes and staying adaptable to protect the well-being of our colleagues, patients and the medical community. This is followed by thoughtful responses to make sure we maintain momentum, continue what matters most and help our teams build resilience and digital capabilities. In fact, we were swift to design a Resiliency in Leadership learning program which was offered to over 8,000 people managers. During ambiguous times, we look for stability, so we focused on “maintaining rhythm” by continuing some of our annual development programs like President’s Forum and switching to virtual onboarding for new members. Staying the course and delivering the programs and resources that matter to our colleagues is important in today’s reality and to make sure we come out of this period even stronger. 

How do you create “exceptional experiences” for colleagues in a mostly virtual environment?

Padma: We create exceptional people experiences by understanding what is important to our colleagues and providing tools and programs that will help each individual be successful. In a virtual environment people have new needs and priorities — and some remain unchanged. We are adapting some of our practices to accommodate largely virtual ways of working, developing programs that help our colleagues build capabilities that the current reality requires, like digital skills, while also maintaining rhythm.

Masato: Padma mentioned continuing what matters most to our people. We are deeply committed to Takeda’s values and are always driven to contribute for patients. What is crucial for us is to continue delivering products and necessary information under any circumstances. For this, we have leveraged the use of digital technology and are enabling our colleagues to find new ways to maximize value for patients, as well as realizing their best work-life balance.