We're a Startup With a 125-Year Old Legacy

30% of the global leadership team of our CEO Eric Rondolat are Indian. They are multifaceted, agile and adaptive besides being eager to embrace challenges.


With lighting industry going under a massive change, the skilling need of employees are constantly changing. Talking about the wave of digital transformation where lighting business is shifting from conventional to connected, Gordana Landén, Chief Human Resources Officer, Philips Lighting chats with BW People’s Himani Chandna about the usage of new age technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots in company’s new learning tools.

What are the key learning and development programmes at Philips Lighting in India?

We have a strong learning and development culture at Philips Lighting, wherein we focus on personalized, on-demand and always available learning tools to support our employees learning needs. One such example is our MPower app, developed right here in India for our sales employees. This app has the latest information on our product range, including USP’s, videos and images. This enables our sales force to learn, test and upgrade their product knowledge.

We also organize webinars and develop online learning material for employees to learn about new lighting technologies. Usage of new age technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots in our new learning tools, assist employees in their learning journey by customizing content and adapting to their learning style to provide a very personalized learning experience.

Recently, Philips Lighting has been listed among the 100 Great Places to work in 2017. What makes the company continue to retain the ‘Employer of choice’ brand?

As the largest lighting company in the world, we have actively helped to shape the transformations in the lighting industry, from conventional lighting to now connected lighting built for the IoT (internet of things) environment. This journey has been enabled by our biggest asset – our human capital. Employees remain at the core of our business and we regularly invest in their development and growth. This has helped us retain our status as the leading employer brand in the current marketplace and being recognized as amongst the top 100 Great Places to Work in 2017 is an acknowledgement of our efforts in this regard.

Philips Lighting has longstanding presence in India of more than eight decades. What kind of diverse employee base company has otherwise?

A diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce is an essential element of a thriving innovative business and we aim to attract employees from a wide range of backgrounds. We have 34,000 employees in over 70 countries we operate in and these employees are a very balanced mix of senior, mid-level and fresh talent across different niche technologies and key domains.

Could a company customise it’s HR practices to align with its vision?

We have designed HR policies and programs to support this vision. For instance, we encourage an entrepreneurial mindset amongst our employees, encouraging them to think beyond their daily activities. We have a global Philips Excellence Competition, in which employees all across the globe participate, submitting their innovative ideas or products that have helped our business grow, reduce costs or optimize processes. We have PEC regional finals where teams compete against each other, followed by a global final event to decide the final winner. We be lieve that we are a startup with a 125-year-old legacy to bank upon.

What are the kind of opportunities available to students at Philips Lighting? How do you hire students across India?

At Philips Lighting India, 20 percent of our annual hiring intake is through campus and other entry-level talent programmes and an average of 34 percent emerging leadership pipeline across functions has been fulfilled through campus hiring over 2016-18. We have designed leadership programs to groom these young leaders for future leadership roles. Our LEAD program for instance, includes a good mix of theory and practical training, wherein we immerse these employees in live cross-functional business projects to help them develop broader business and people management skills.

India serves as a talent export market for Philips Lighting with lot of employees transiting into global roles every year, please elaborate on your talent export strategy?

30 percent of the global leadership team of our CEO Eric Rondolat are Indian. Indian executives are multifaceted, agile and adaptive besides being eager to embrace challenges and adapting to new cultures. Their ability to handle ambiguity and diversity in the Indian market is highly prized in global roles, especially in the current VUCA business environment where business models and industry are being disrupted rapidly.Of course their language skills and cultural adaptability are plus points.

We routinely identify skills sets available within the organization and maintain these records in Talent cards for each employee. Managers routinely organize career discussions with their direct reports twice a year, during the formal PPM process. Our international mobility policy has been designed to enable and support this talent movement, with perks such as Pre-assignment visits for the employee and their partner, cultural and language training. In addition to goods movement and education allowances amongst other.


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