Career Recruitment Site

From MR to the Frontline of
Human Resources
Making a Difference with a
Broader Perspective

Human Resources Division HRBP Atsunori Kudo

Power of the “People” that support medicine

I currently work as an HR business partner in the human resources (HR) division, where I propose and implement organization and people strategies for the assigned divisions. I actually started my career at Astellas as a Medical Representative (MR). I joined Astellas as a new graduate and spent five and a half years working with the municipal hospital and private practice doctors in Kyoto before being assigned to the university hospital in Fukuoka for three years.

At the sales branch where I was first assigned as an MR, the culture was one in which we worked hard together and strived to provide value to patients through our own growth. It was an environment that placed importance on achieving success by involving a lot of people. They also valued producing results as an organization in addition to individual achievements. My experiences from that time made me realize the importance of growing together as a team, and I gradually began to think, “I want to contribute to Astellas with a wider perspective,” and “I want to contribute to society and medicine with the power of people.” I aquired a teaching license when I was in university because I was fascinated by “people growth” and wanted to be part of it. Medicines make people and their lives better, but at the end of the day, it’s the people who create and deliver these medicines to patients and doctors. So I asked to transfer to the HR division because I wanted to contribute to healthcare and society at Astellas from the perspectives of people.

When I transferred to HR, I used the job challenge system, which was the predecessor of the current internal job posting system. It was a system where we could voluntarily request to transfer. The interview process involved a presentation on predetermined HR challenges in addition to the question-and-answer session. The topic of the presentation was “What is global HR?” which prompted us to reflect on our current environment. Before the interview, I discussed with my colleagues and seniors countless times to marshal my thoughts on human resources. After transferring, I was offered training specific to transferred staff, where I learned how to think and perceive things as a headquarters staff member. Senior colleagues at the time also guided me through the essential mindset and the specific ways to work in HR. It was very reassuring to receive this kind of support as I made a new start in HR.

Further challenges at the frontline of HR

I was first involved in the planning and managing of the performance management and compensation systems as the center of expertise after transferring to the HR division. My experiences in revising the performance and compensation systems and participating in the project to implement the global performance management system enabled me to develop my expertise in HR. I’ve been able to utilize the skills and knowledge that I gained from these experiences in my current role as an HR business partner. After that, I switched to a different position within the HR division, working on the corporate annual plan and workforce management for Astellas globally. Working closely with the members of the finance and corporate strategy divisions to formulate company-wide plans was a valuable experience that enabled me to think and make decisions from diverse standpoints, rather than only from an HR perspective.
Both of these roles required indirect involvement with other divisions, and engaging with their HR business partners was essential. One of the reasons why I decided to work in my current role is that HR business partner is similar to MR in that they represent the HR division and contribute to achieving the goals of the assigned organizations. I also wanted to utilize my HR expertise that I gained through my experience of moving to the HR division and the corporate-wide strategic perspective on the frontline of human resources. As I thought about my current career and future plans, I decided to have a shot at being an HR business partner and applied as soon as they began recruiting. I was able to land my current long-sought position after going through another hiring process, including interviews.

As I continue to take on challenges through my experience of being an MR, planning and operating the HR system, and working as an HR business partner, I realized the importance of involving others and growing together as a team in addition to improving my own skills. I also learned the value of fostering an organizational environment where employees can produce excellent outcomes.
Since transferring to the HR division, I have frequently been able to think and take action with a broader perspective. An HR business partner is expected to accurately understand the needs of the business and propose and implement people strategies that match their needs. I also feel my growth from my ability to constantly be on the lookout to gather necessary information from inside and outside the company. Having said that, I still do not have enough experience as an HR business partner, and I believe there is still so much to learn and room for growth. In order to become a strategic partner for my assigned divisions in the truest sense, I want to deepen my understanding of each business, involve many leaders, and strengthen my capabilities to formulate and implement strategies to achieve the corporate strategic plan.

The individual desire to take on challenges becomes Astellas’ strengths

We constantly take on challenges to bring our VISION into reality. I believe people can grow significantly by continuing to take on challenges and overcome obstacles. Astellas not only has employees who are dedicated to growth, but also provides us with opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow, and supports us through that journey. Instead of the seniority system, Astellas allows us to take on major roles and jobs if we demonstrate growth and commitment to our work. Since joining Astellas, I have also noticed that the company has a unique stance of letting the power of people lead the company’s growth. I recommend you to challenge yourself at Astellas if your values match with Astellas Way and VISION and if you feel that there is an opportunity for your growth here. A career is something that you forge on your own. I want to continue taking on challenges and thrive with others who have strong aspirations to succeed.

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