What is a positive workplace?


Developing Human Capital

Yvonne Lee from Applied Materials
To attract and retain the right talent, employers must also be willing to develop their people

Those of us who have taken swimming lessons will always remember the day our coaches brought us to the deep end of the pool. “Jump in”, they would then casually say.

For a beginner, the thought of treading water without a swimming float in tow can be unnerving. For a pioneer, the thought of tracing a brand new path while living up to the expectations of your larger team can be a veritable challenge.

That is exactly what Ms Yvonne Lee, a Singaporean in her mid-40s, was faced with when she joined materials engineering company Applied Materials as part of their pioneer team of manufacturing engineers tasked to establish the company’s first advanced manufacturing facility in Singapore.

Taking The Plunge

Eight years ago, Yvonne joined Applied Materials as a manufacturing programme manager – part of the launch team tasked with establishing the company’s first manufacturing facility in Singapore.

As part of her immersion and development, the company arranged for Yvonne to undergo intensive training from foreign subject matter experts based in Singapore and took on training attachments at existing manufacturing sites in the US to acquire both technical product knowledge and operations related skills.

Local team at applied Material

The local team which launched Applied Material’s first facility in Singapore

Armed with the knowledge, skills and experience she acquired both in Singapore and abroad, Yvonne spent the next few months translating her know-how into action.

Within four years of its launch, the manufacturing facility was already contributing nearly 40% of Applied Material’s global output alone.

Representing Team ‘Glocal’

The company has supported Yvonne in growing her career, by giving her opportunities to rotate and take on multiple roles in operations and gain exposure to various aspects of the manufacturing process. Today, Yvonne is a Senior Manufacturing Director, leading one of Applied Material’s global product lines, and a team of over 300 employees across offices in Singapore and Austin, Texas.

“Local + Global experience = ‘Glocal’ talent”

Yvonne in a conference call

Yvonne in a conference call with her colleagues in Austin, Texas

Reaping the Rewards of Developing Human Capital

Nurturing your company’s talent requires believing in their potential, engaging the necessary expertise to coach them, and giving them opportunities to progress in their career. Progressive employers such as Applied Materials recognise that employees are assets that need to be groomed and cultivated.

The benefits for all are clear to see. For Applied Materials, they have been able to expand their global operations, becoming one of the first semiconductor equipment companies with manufacturing operations in Singapore. For Yvonne, she is a “glocal” talent challenging the usual gender norms in her industry.

What’s more, Yvonne is able to share her global knowledge and experience with her local colleagues, which not only enhances her team’s development, but also helps Applied Materials further enhance the overall capabilities of their local workforce.

Yvonne in a team discussion

Today, Yvonne is a mentor to her local colleagues

The Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Programme is a tripartite initiative launched to support progressive employers like Applied Materials, who invest in human capital development to contribute to a stronger Singaporean core.

Employers who are recognised as Human Capital Partners can enjoy the benefits such as priority processing for transactions with MOM and can gain better access to government support and resources (e.g. the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme and the Adapt and Grow initiative) to further their human capital development objectives.

Are you an employer? Find out how you can be a part of the HCP programme here: http://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/human-capital-partnership