For Philips, innovate means changing the paradigm used for looking at the world – and change always starts from a profound internal transformation.
Philips is experiencing a time of profound transformation. After years of being considered as the inventors of the compact disc or “the television people”, and being excellent in these, it’s not easy to change skin. Today, Philips is a company that has not only had to, but has been able to reinvent itself; we decided to change direction, to orient our business on Health Technology, innovation and technologies serving people’s health and well-being, where we can make our skills available. For us, innovate means changing the paradigm used for looking at the world of health, dealing with all the stages, from healthy living to prevention, diagnostics to treatment through to home care, with a different, new approach. We have now embraced the ‘Continuum of Care’, no longer offering just products but also solutions and services.
It’s been a long, and sometimes complex, path that has not only concerned products and processes but, first and foremost, has been a cultural change involving all our staff, in Italy and around the world. In changing the business, we’ve also had to rethink the organisation of the work to guide the change and take full advantage of the benefits. The company launched the ‘Accelerate!’ programme with the aim of strengthening a growth culture and making the company more entrepreneurial, closer to customers and reactive to the rapid changes of the market. The ‘Accelerate!’ programme focuses on the motivation of people and organisational development.
The awareness that the transformation in progress requires the full valorisation of the resources available and the involvement of all company staff drove us to make a detailed analysis of the skills, expectations and needs in our organisation. We used the Human Capital Balance Sheet tool, an analysis oriented towards the detailed understanding of the relationship that people have with their work, for this. Thus, we started different projects including the elimination of clocking on, the strengthening of the objectives management, performance measurement and feedback management programme, the Women@Work programme for the development of female leadership with partners like ValoreD, with whom we signed a Manifesto, a series of initiatives for the development of sales, marketing and digital skills through Philips University, the introduction of a Flexible Benefits system, and the development of the Smartworking project through which our staff can work outside the company one day a week. Initiatives, such as counselling, support of health and well-being inside the company through the BWell programme, a programme to promote a healthy diet and prevention initiatives have also been introduced.
For Philips, the concept of ‘flexibility’, meaning entrusting, recognising autonomy and make people aware of their responsibility, is one of the cardinal points in the empowerment strategy we’re following. Our staff must have the objectives assigned and the results achieved as a guide in managing the work entrusted to them and not the fact of knowing that a check is made on how much time they actually spend on work or are physically in a specific office. For Philips, flexibility also means planning the work of various company teams so that people can co-ordinate in the context of a structured delegation process and recognise the need for balance between private life and work, often in opposition to the traditional concepts of time and place of work. The organisation is seen less and less as a set of hierarchies, jobs and tasks and more and more as a network of people who can lead to the creation of values for our customers through roles, skills and behaviour.
All these considerations led Philips to promote Smart Working which enables some consolidated behaviour patterns to be broken, leading people to reflect on the right way to measure productivity in different areas and how a person’s work contributes to the success of the business. It has also allowed a better work-private life balance to be found.
Today, a further important step in the transformation process undertaken by Philips in Italy is the new office in Milan. The move, in March this year, was supported by a change management process aimed at sharing a unifying view to work on the change in habits, with special focus at team level, promoting the acquisition of a new approach to co-operation and new abilities, and communicating clear information to orient the work.
The recent establishment in Milan is a key point in the change in the way our people work, an essential passage in the path, and reflects what the requirements for change, which the work spaces really express, imposed by our work are. Today, people move in company spaces according to their work and the teams they work with, with fewer spaces for the individual and more open areas that favour concentration, creativity and co-operation. We no longer feel the need for people to always be in a specific office – it’s more important to favour the exchange of skills, team work and the innovation that only arises from working with others more flexibly, often more informally and in a smarter way, and always increasingly facilitated by the technology that enables work to be done in different ways. People are at the centre of this type of space, which is often the activation tool. The new physical position now becomes a new starting point for initiatives relating to the development of the organisation as a network of people, the creation of new skills and increasingly outwards-oriented co-operation, with new partnerships that enable growth and improvement.