Philips’ mantra has been to bring people and innovation together to create the next generation of technology
A subsidiary of the Royal Philips of the Netherlands, a diversified technology company operating in three distinct sectors such as healthcare, lighting and consumer lifestyle, Philips Electronics India Limited has been in India for over 80 years and has more than 8,000 employees. The company has an ambitious growth target of 20 per cent year-on-year. Philips’ mantra has been to bring people and innovation together to create the next generation of technology.
Almost 80 per cent of the company’s commercial staff comprise of sales and service workforce. Given the geographic spread of operations, a large part of the Philips market facing sales and service teams operate from remote locations and consequently many of their engagement and communication programs never actually touched them. Hence there was a need to connect and engage with them to build a strong performance driven culture in order to achieve the ambitious goals. Given the challenges, it was imperative for the company to design a companywide intervention and not a “one-off” program. Hence they implemented the Performance Plus Awards Program, where the objective was to build a performance and growth culture by discovering, recognizing and replicating behaviors and competencies that drive outstanding performance. The L&D function has designed and driven this initiative for over five years with a strong support from India Management team, Line managers and Regional HR managers.
Since the Performance Plus Awards Program was directly aligned to the business objectives, it had good employee connect and visible commitment of the senior management. With its inclusive approach, it turned out to be a good platform to discover and groom frontline talent.
The initiative and its process is spread over four months, comprises of 3 levels of rigorous evaluation by the Management teams at different levels. Around 140 Top performers across Philips three businesses qualify every year while 20 contestants make it to the final round. In the final Round, candidates are assessed by the Philips India Market Leadership Team spread over two full days post which the top 6 winners are selected. The focus, all through, is on the “How " aspects of their Performance - Our Accelerate Behaviors and competencies demonstrated - that underpin outstanding performance. The winners are felicitated in a grand ceremony in the presence of all employees and are awarded a cash prize of Rs 1, 50,000 along with a certificate and a trophy. During the process, the contestants are provided a number of development inputs to help them prepare for the competition. These include external and internal customer feedback, presentation skills training, coaching by Line managers etc. Above all, they get a unique opportunity to showcase and present their stories and get feedback from the Senior Leadership. With more than 100 line managers are involved and with over 100,000 employee touch points clocked through strong branding and communication, this cultural transformation program has become an aspiration for every frontline sales and service employee.
The performance plus has yielded tangible and intangible benefits. It became an aspirational program for professionals and analysis shows that 70 per cent of the winners have demonstrated consistent performance and have been identified as high performers. The program has helped in retention of talent – attrition levels dropped from 17 per cent in 2008 to 12 per cent in 2012. In intangible benefits, it has become a rallying point for all managers and employees across business functions. It also became a platform for sharing best practices. The program was eventually selected as one of the Top 24 Bright Spots (Best Practices) across Philips worldwide.