Tammy-Dean-Embry

Amgen’s Tammy Embry discusses how they developed and executed their “Amgen Answers” livestream to highlight hard-to-fill roles at the company

We're a biotech company, so when people think of Amgen, they think we're hiring scientists. They don't think of things like statistics, human resources, or information systems. Tammy Embry
Tammy Embry — Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Amgen — and her team recently developed an ask me anything-style Twitter livestream called “Amgen Answers,” and executed the first video in the series in July.

It originated as a project by an intern on Tammy's team, Jordan, who had experience with social and video content, but executing a livestream within a regulated industry is no small task.

“Amgen Answers” was developed to highlight less top-of-mind jobs at the company, bring qualified applicants to those jobs, and drive awareness of their employer brand in an engaging way.

“We're a biotech company, so when people think of Amgen, they think we're hiring scientists,” Tammy said. “They don't think of things like statistics, human resources, or information systems. Those types of jobs may be mainstream at other companies, but they don't necessarily feel mainstream for Amgen.”

The first thing Tammy had to do was ensure they were cleared to go live.

Because Amgen is in such a heavily regulated industry, getting buy-in from leadership for a social media livestream was critical.

We had to provide assurance that we wouldn't talk about subjects that would violate regulations or privacy. Tammy Embry
“We had to provide assurance that we wouldn't talk about subjects that would violate regulations or privacy. That takes quite a bit of planning when you are going live,” she said.

They communicated their plan with their corporate affairs team and made sure their regulatory, legal, and safety organizations all had a role in deciding what her team would and would not talk about in the livestream.

Next, the team communicated with their HR business partners about what positions they should feature in the livestream.

“We asked them what some of the hard-to-fill positions were,” Tammy said. “And the first one that came about was a role in biostatistics. It's not an opportunity that many naturally gravitate toward.”

Once they had gathered a list of names from HR, they sent out emails to those people based on their schedules — and a hiring manager in Biostatistics named Priscilla quickly got back to them.

Then, they began conducting pre-interviews with Priscilla to learn more about her background at the company and figure out how they could provide the most value to viewers.

The team worked with their creative agency to build out an entire campaign across their social platforms to promote “Amgen Answers” ahead of the livestream.

During the pre-interviews, Tammy took photos of Jordan — the host of the livestream — and Priscilla. Then, they shared the photos across Instagram and Instagram Stories, Facebook and Facebook Stories, and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn was a huge promotional platform for us to not only create content and buzz around the video, but also to target campaigns around biostatistics. Tammy Embry
“LinkedIn was a huge promotional platform for us to not only create content and buzz around the video, but also to target campaigns around biostatistics,” she said.

They went into the backend of their platforms to target biostaticians and the universities they generally graduate from and shared curated content for those audiences for a month leading up to the livestream.

Additionally, the team partnered with different organizations and leveraged Priscilla's network to raise awareness. “Purely coincidentally, the weekend after the livestream, Priscilla went to a biostatistic conference to meet people and talk about opportunities,” Tammy said. “So all the stars aligned.”

To mitigate their regulatory team's fears, they made the decision to turn off live chat during the livestream.

They still wanted to give their audience an authentic experience, so they fielded questions ahead of the livestream that they would then include in the interview, calling out each commenter's name or Twitter handle.

“We got the questions ahead of time, made sure we had the appropriate answers, and had Jordan and Priscilla rehearse it,” Tammy said. “We were also able to field direct messages. We were able to see those coming in, even if we couldn't address them immediately. Then we got back to every person that reached out to us through private message afterwards.”

Jordan and Priscilla rehearsed the interview for two weeks leading up to the livestream, and they even did a full studio run-through.

“We have an on-site studio at Amgen, so we were able to go into the studio, choose our green screen backdrop, and we even went through wardrobe, too,” Tammy said. “On the morning of the livestream, we went in several hours early to get the studio setup.”

The video was done with an iPhone, so they made sure to set up the tripod and test their tech multiple times before the actual livestream began.

Tammy's colleague, Senior Manager of Global Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing John Graham Jr., was also in the room to field direct messages and check if there was anything he could add to the interview as it was happening.

The metrics were strong, but more than that, the feedback from candidates was great. Tammy Embry
The livestream itself was approximately 15-minutes long, and immediately after it ended, they reshared the content and made it available across all their social channels.

“We've acquired a tool that will allow us to share videos across all platforms at once,” Tammy said. “So our next livestream will be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.”

The video garnered some great engagement and was well-received both internally and externally.

In the days following the livestream, Tammy's team continued to receive comments and follow-up questions online. “The metrics were strong, but more than that, the feedback from candidates was great,” she said. “It was great to hear it benefited them.”

“A good way for us to track our statistics was to create a campaign through our CRM,” Tammy said. “We were able to track every person that came in through the livestream and through the link we shared. And that exceeded our expectations.”

When all was said and done, the video garnered over 600 views from the original livestream and the recorded version afterward. And when the team reshared the video, they included a link to biostatistics jobs on Amgen's website, which received 14,677 clicks.

In the past, all of their social interactions had been static images, but according to Tammy, “Amgen Answers” has proven that video content is key.

It takes longer, and it involves more planning and preparation. But video content lives on forever. We're still seeing people clicking on the content to learn about opportunities. Tammy Embry
“It takes longer, and it involves more planning and preparation. But video content lives on forever,” she said. “We can continue to use this over and over. And people continue to go back to it. We're still seeing people clicking on the content to learn about opportunities.”

Tammy said video content is an avenue they want to continue exploring and build out. “Being in a regulated industry, we have to continue to prove that we have our ducks in a row and we've protected ourselves.”

Moving forward, the team is hoping to stick with the “Amgen Answers” series to address more hiring needs across the organization.

“We have a lot of interest now because the first video went so well,” Tammy said. “We have some dynamic recruiters who would do a great job answering questions. We're thinking about doing a panel of recruiters for our next one.”

They've also learned from recruiters that a major challenge for Amgen is attracting talent to their campus in Thousand Oaks, California, because it's an unknown area.

Just make sure it all works, because it's amazing how many things can potentially go wrong. Tammy Embry
“It's not in a biotech pocket where there are other biotech or pharmaceutical companies around us,” Tammy said. “One of the recruiters suggested that we show people what Thousand Oaks looks like. So we'd like to do a livestream where we can actually show folks what our campus looks like and how incredible it is.”

Beyond that, the team hopes to start doing livestreams from a global perspective as well and eventually do tours of Amgen's offices around the globe.

For other talent marketing leaders in regulated industries considering a similar campaign, Tammy suggested going for it — but in a strategic way.

She emphasized the importance of having the questions lined up ahead of time and practicing the answers and running through every possible scenario to ensure the livestream runs smoothly.

“And you don't need to have a studio to do that. You can test everything yourself. Just make sure it all works, because it's amazing how many things can potentially go wrong,” Tammy said. “Be strategic and do your homework in terms of where your needs lie, and make sure you prepare.”

Tammy Embry has been a member of Talent Marketing Board since 2019. You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.