Philips flexes to broaden access to talent while transitioning to a solutions company.

July 12, 2022

Philips broadens access to talent Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends

| 4 min read |

From cardiovascular diagnostic tools to healthcare informatics to computed tomography, the vast array of medical innovation in Philips’ portfolio makes it one of the largest health tech businesses in the world. According to the company, in 2021 its products and services reached 1.67 billion people around the world, including 167 million in underserved communities. But as a company that has deep roots as a medical device company, the company is on a transformational journey to deliver beyond standalone products. Its sights are focused on becoming a digital, customer-first solutions company.

According to CEO Frans van Houten, in the company’s 2021 annual report, this entails offering “smart combinations of systems, devices, software and services — to help [healthcare providers] deliver on the Quadruple Aim of better health outcomes, improved patient and staff experience, and lower cost of care.” By adopting an integrated approach, the company believes it can enhance the impact its products and services have on people.

Such a journey, however, requires considerable people resources, including new skills that will be critical to its success. For instance, the company invested significantly in data science, informatics and cloud technology last year, including acquisitions of BioTelemetry, Capsule Technologies and Cardiologs (completed this year). As Philips looks to grow these businesses, ensuring access to digital skills will be key to its success.

Martin Thomas head of Total Workforce Strategy, Philips“The opportunities for digital healthcare are huge,” says Martin Thomas, head of Total Workforce Strategy at Philips. “We’re also seeing growth in digital connectivity and in the whole connected care space. We have a whole business organized around that.”

a greater need for in-demand digital skills

As the leader for overseeing the company’s integrated approach to talent acquisition, which involves both permanent hires and contingent talent procurement, he points out that medtech innovations are leading to vast improvements in healthcare access and patient outcomes. Developments in remote surgery and minimally invasive surgery, in-home monitoring and care, and personalized medicine are changing how people get care. At the same time, these advancements are pressing employers in the sector to find new and different skill sets to drive new and growing businesses.

These skills are often sought out by well-known mainstream technology businesses, but Philips is driving talent attraction and retention in a number of ways.

promote a strong purpose

By emphasizing the mission of the company — to improve people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation — the company has a compelling employee value proposition: its jobs critically improve the lives and health of others.

In addition, the company has a major focus on acquiring early entrant talent through apprenticeships, internships and campus recruitment. It offers a global graduate development program that allows young talent to rotate between different assignments so they can experience different types of work and make better-informed career decisions.

hybrid and flexible working attract talent

Over the last two years, Philips has also learned to become more agile and flexible in its approach to talent. Thomas says the changed dynamic of the market has led human capital leaders and hiring managers to adapt to a new world of work.

“What we've done is recognize that talent is available everywhere, and we need to be more flexible with that. And our managers need to recognize that the talent doesn't have to do their best work by sitting at a desk in the office all the time,” he points out. “They can do their best work from wherever is right for them. So we do embrace much greater flexibility, but within that we recognize that innovation and collaboration also comes from being together.”

He says that hybrid working schedules have emerged as a way to allow the company’s workforce to achieve a better work-life balance, greater satisfaction with their jobs and more control over their lives. There are, of course, many roles that have to be 100% onsite in a manufacturing environment, but when possible, employees can work remotely or on a hybrid working schedule. “If people can, and they have their own environment, we very much have adopted the hybrid way of working,” he adds.

go where the talent is

This flexibility has also opened up more options for Philips to choose the best work arrangement for a particular job. Whether that’s onshoring, offshoring or nearshoring, delivered via permanent hires, staff augmentation or gig workers, considering all the options allows the company to get the work done quickly and effectively.

This approach means “we go to where the talent is available and attract it through the channels where it is available, whether that’s employees or contingent workers, experienced hires or graduates we’ve developed over time.”

Unquestionably during today’s talent-scarce environment, employers are realizing they may have to move jobs to where the talent resides rather than historic practice of relocating recruits. As Philips has become more flexible and agile in its approach to winning the competition for great people, this strategy — along with the others — is helping to make the company a stronger employer of choice today and in the days ahead.

See 4 people-centric talent strategies life sciences and pharma companies are using to gain a competitive recruitment advantage. Download the 2022 life sciences and pharma Talent Trends report.

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