in times of uncertainty, Philips speeds up workforce innovation.

January 22, 2021

If you ask Philips’ Casper Zoetekouw what key takeaway lessons he has learned during the past 12 months of the pandemic, he might tell you to check back in the second half of this year.

That’s because, as the global commodity leader for the company’s external workforce, Philips is still learning and implementing solutions to a myriad of challenges that continue to crop up every day.

Casper Zoetekouw Philips 2021 Talent Trends Report“We are in the learning and implementation phase. We learn each and every day more and more,” Zoetekouw affirms.

Philips is in the midst of creating a new paradigm around talent management and utilization. In helping to oversee the rollout of the company’s total workforce demand model (TWDM), Zoetekouw is part of a team that is elevating Philips’ ability to innovate more quickly, be more competitive in its business, and create more excitement and engagement for its talent.

TWDM launched ahead of COVID-19

When the outbreak initially occurred, Philips was already working toward its goal of bringing total talent management to life at its operations around the world. Exploration and implementation of this holistic approach to talent have been on the rise in recent years, but few organizations are doing it at the scale and breadth seen at Philips.

Total talent management, while delivering exceptional benefits to its adopters, can be highly complex and time-consuming to get right. Together with Talent Acquisition, the business stakeholders and the MSP partner, procurement’s job is to get it right.

Randstad Sourceright’s 2021 Talent Trends research finds that 69% of companies intend to implement a total talent model over the next 12 months, and they will do so for a variety of reasons. Among the top expected benefits are: creating efficiencies in the hiring process (cited by 35%), building for the future (34%) and bringing strategic function into the HR function (33%). And among companies that have implemented their total talent vision, 97% say they are extremely or very satisfied.

And that is Zoetekouw’s goal — to create greater satisfaction for his business stakeholders. The program aims to satisfy hiring managers by giving them the best resources for their business ambitions. TWDM will also result in significant cost savings over time and deliver greater access to scarce talent that’s critical to winning in the MedTech industry. And the model keeps both employees and temporary labor engaged with Philips, whose brand is well recognized throughout the world.

“This will enable us to better manage our expenses, our costs, our risks and our total workforce in a holistic way. It is our strategy that enables us to carry out the work in the right way, at the right time, in the right place and at the best cost,” Zoetekouw explains.

MedTech’s pandemic challenge

The impact from the pandemic has the company prioritizing better cost efficiencies over all other benefits of TWDM for now. While it may seem like medical technology companies are well positioned to reap higher healthcare spending during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s not true for all segments of the industry. High-cost capital product manufacturers have suffered a significant decline in revenues since the outbreak due to hospitals holding off on capital acquisitions.

This was apparent early on in the pandemic to Philips’ leadership, as CEO Frans van Houten announced hiring control measures last March (with the exception of business-critical roles). As a result, human capital leaders throughout the organization came together to develop a policy, a way to implement it globally, and strategies for tracking and assessing its financial impact. The company examined reduction of non-critical contingent spend, renegotiation of bill rates and transfer of workers to different departments.

At the same time, the company needed to ensure it could still deliver critical products needed in the care of COVID-19 patients, such as ventilators and patient monitors. So while the company stopped acquiring non-essential talent, it had businesses that needed more resources to keep going.

Even though the focus shifted to cost reduction and avoidance, the company also needed to ensure its permanent and contingent workforce at locked-down facilities could work virtually. The company reacted quickly to create clear and regular communications for its people, provided secured equipment to enable remote work and adopted flexible schedules with well-stated milestones. All of these measures enabled Philips to continue to operate efficiently in markets affected by lockdowns.

Nearly a year since the company mobilized, many of the challenges facing Philips and its industry remain. What’s changed, however, are the lessons the company accumulates every day. And much of it hinges on its work around a total talent approach, which Zoetekouw says has positioned the company for the uncertain times ahead.

“The challenge is to determine the optimum internal and external workforce mix for today and tomorrow, and how to continuously anticipate changing situations. You need to know who you will want to bring back first and when, and be prepared for potential future waves of COVID-19 cases,” Zoetekouw explains. “With this, we believe that we offer our business a competitive advantage in terms of understanding the objectives to reach and the ability to meet those needs.”

In terms of successfully managing through the pandemic, Zoetekouw advises peers to stay calm and cool, communicate with each other, and maintain a healthy work schedule at home that provides time to be creative and to de-stress. When it comes to workforce management, he suggests talent leaders start by achieving visibility of where the workforce sits. It’s essential, he adds, to make sure you have good governance in place and focus on creating agility, while taking care of your people.

Learn more about integrated talent strategies and how other employers are navigating workforce management during these extraordinary times. 
Get your 2021 Talent Trends Report.

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