As a large international corporation, Philips has certainly felt the challenges this transition causes. Fank Visser, HR cluster manager of Employee & Social Sustainability at Philips, acknowledges this: "Our teams needed to switch from collaborating in the office to working online entirely. This shift required the obvious home office, but also a new work-life balance. New topics arose, think of exercise and energy management. The transition to working remotely changed the way we manage people. However, simultaneously, a lot of projects carried on like they did before.
So how does such a substantial employer like Philips handle these radical and rapid changes? Frank explains: "Philips offers services to promote and improve people's health and well-being. We want to project that towards our own people as well." To achieve this, their HR department created the develop@home initiative: a selection of health and wellness interventions to support Philips' employees, working from home. As an expert in power skills, Relevance collaborated with Philips to provide these through the company's online learning portal. Frank elaborates: "Over 5,000 employees use the existing portal each year. Upon completing the develop@home pogram, we sent a newsletter to inform all employees and managers in the Netherlands. We wanted to reach as many people as possible."
Some aspects of the develop@home program were already implemented in non-digital form. Other elements were developed from scratch, by Philips as well as by working together with Relevance. "When deciding if we wanted to include a specific material, we wondered: can it be converted into online learning content quickly?" Frank explains. "To achieve this, we requested the help of our existing partners. It was crucial to act quickly, without compromising on quality. We were glad to be able to rely on the expertise of our partners. And with Relevance, this is a given: blended learning is in your DNA."
“The crisis is teaching us to look differently at personal development.”
Before the big switch to online learning, most of the training material Philips had to offer surrounding sustainable fitness for work and vitality consisted of face-to-face and conventional training sessions. Due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, these were rapidly converted to virtual learning. Some workshops were easily switched to an online environment, others raised new questions, such as the timing. How can we effectively convey information without wearing people out? As we all know by now, online communication requires more energy than offline conversations.
Therefore, Philips also developed new resources, next to the existing ones. HR created remote work seminars. With these interactive self-study pages, employees can learn about various topics in their own pace and time. Relevance aided in creating new online courses and workshops about energy management and resilience. Such courses help in maintaining vitality at work and personal effectiveness. To combine these factors, the focuspoint of the develop@home program was launched in April: the work@home scan
Relevance designed the work@home scan to support all Philips employees in working from home, as smoothly as possible. "Because we expect employees to keep doing their jobs, even during such challenging times, we want to help them transitioning from the old way of working, to the new way. With this scan, employees are able to overlook everything they need to keep in mind for them to stay healthy and effective when working from home. It covers a feedback report, followed by coaching, which helps us to promote personal development, adaptability and vitality."
Upon requesting the work@home scan through the learning portal, employees fill out the quick scan via a form and then discuss their results with a coach in an online session. The scan takes several aspects of working from home into account. For example the physical work environment, work-life balance, lifestyle and relationships with coworkers and managers. After completing the scan, the employee receives a feedback report. This gives an overview of which elements of working remotely are going well and which aspects could be improved.
These results are discussed in an online coaching session. Together, they take a closer look at the findings and discuss the possibilities the employee has to make positive changes for themselves, as well as what their manager can do to facilitate these changes. "This is a crucial component of the scan," Frank states. "It's the coach's job to aid in interpreting the results. Discussing the employees' results directly with said employee, specific follow-up actions can be formulated, resulting in huge improvements." Such follow-up actions can simply be improving the home office space or participating in specific virtual workshops surrounding the topic of the employee's needs. Four weeks later, another feedback session is scheduled. During this follow-up session, the taken actions are evaluated to make sure the scan creates lasting behavioral change and improves well-being of Philips' employees.
Frank is optimistic about the future: "I truly believe that the experience we are gaining now will result in remote working going forward. This new world we are living in, with social distancing, new challenges and skills included, stresses the importance of devoting more attention to stay healthy and effective while working from home. Moreover, it's crucial to keep facilitating our employees to continue to develop themselves, even when working remotely."
To make this happen, offering internal services such as the work@home scan is a strong requirement for the effective functioning of HR departments. With develop@home program, Philips is able to offer a new way of teaching and supporting their employees. Frank says: "This program originated because of the pandemic. Now, we see the advantages to online learning we never would have imagined just a few months ago".