The workplace of the future isn’t all hammocks, baristas and ping pong…
Estimated reading time: 5-7 minutes
It’s actually much more about purpose, collaboration and impact. While great strides are being made with regards to technology, creating and fostering the right environment for people to thrive still needs due care and attention. Many millennials are driven by the notion of having a positive social impact, which makes healthcare an interesting industry for them. That said, currently the perception of the field is plagued with more and more reports of burnout and stress. While there aren’t quick fixes to rectify these issues, we do need to make sure that we are taking action. Otherwise, we risk losing a whole generation.
Millennials, and soon Gen Z, are entering the workforce en masse. In many companies they still find a culture, organization structure and processes that date back to the last century. You visit a hospital and see that it is organized by medical disciplines, locked up in brick and mortar, not by patient needs and seamless journeys. You ride the elevator in a company and pass the Marketing, Supply Chain, HR and Finance Departments, each in their own little worlds. Decision making is slow, as decisions tend to be pushed up and get lost in endless meetings. Processes are cumbersome, because they were designed for a mechanistic, inward-looking rather than fluid, outwardly connected organization.
Fortunately, many companies, like Intermountain Healthcare and Philips, are re-inventing themselves to become more meaningful and dynamic by deeply understanding and addressing their customer and stakeholders needs. They create clarity on the purpose of the company: what business am I in and what is the positive impact I can make on people and society? In our case it is to improve the health of 3 billion people by 2030 in a sustainable way. In the past years we redefined the business we’re in and adjusted our portfolio accordingly with a focus on health tech. Our business goals are articulated, not just in terms of growth and profitability, but also in terms of outcomes: Are we positively impacting the health of people and populations? ‘bending the healthcare cost curve’? enabling better professional and consumer/patient experiences? conducting our business in a sustainable way?
We are organizing ourselves increasingly in multi-disciplinary, agile teams that work together on well-defined deliverables within a clear framework that covers purpose, strategy, governance, people, processes & tools, culture and performance. We call this the Philips Business System. In particular, the notion of empowerment is key. It sets employees up with the ability to access opportunities that are a good fit for them, their careers, and ultimately, the business’ performance.
Many of our younger employees have a curiosity for knowledge and want to learn from the best. We are making a conscious effort to staff teams with people of different backgrounds and experiences; professionally and socially.
Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer, Philips
Many of our younger employees have a curiosity for knowledge and want to learn from the best. We are making a conscious effort to staff teams with people of different backgrounds and experiences; professionally and socially. Rather than business functions being disparate and siloed, teams collaborate to achieve shared goals. This extends to our customers and partners with whom we increasingly seek to align goals and co-create for better outcomes.
Bringing together people of varied skillsets, encourages diversity of thought, new ways of problem solving and innovating. This is when the magic happens, and teams are inspired to reach peak performance. One example of how we make this a reality at Philips is the Breakthrough Acceleration Program. Its aim is to accelerate innovative business ideas in a 90-day pressure cooker environment, giving employees the possibility to take their innovations to the next level by maturing their propositions for an eventual business launch. Thus far, 11 programs with 58 participating teams have been successfully deployed in Philips Innovation Labs in Eindhoven, Cambridge, Shanghai and Bangalore. Externally, we apply the same passion to foster open innovation. Philips HealthWorks Ventures is the external innovation center point for Philips. In the last three years, we have invested in and facilitated collaborations with many exceptional start-ups. In doing so, we leveraged our own expertise, platforms and capabilities and we partnered with many stakeholders in healthcare systems worldwide.
We work with dynamic entrepreneurs and innovators who are developing groundbreaking propositions while sharing our passion to drive much-needed improvement in healthcare. We reach out to key stakeholders such as government, payers, providers and pharma to ensure that propositions address real needs and can be monetized. But we go even further; putting the consumer (patient) and care professional at the center of what we do. This way, we’re ensuring that propositions are finely tuned to the users, supporting them with the personalized tools and information to drive better health outcomes.
Playing to millennials’ passions, while being able to make a real difference, is no doubt going to be an attractor to our industry. By 2025, the workforce as we know will mostly be made up of Millennials and Gen Z. As the leaders of tomorrow, the younger generations will be the ones to transform businesses and industries. And I, for one, am looking forward to coming along on that journey.
Jeroen Tas is Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer of Royal Philips. Jeroen is an experienced global executive and entrepreneur with a track record of leading innovation in the healthcare, information technology and financial services industries. Leading the company’s global Innovation & Strategy organization, he’s responsible for creating a pipeline of innovative business propositions that address emerging customer needs and enable a high-growth, profitable health continuum strategy.