Creating Learning Experiences for Life

Pragya

Pragya Shrimali, General Manager, HR, Philips (India)

 

I joined Philips back in December 2010, so I've been here for over 6 years now. To me, Philips is an integral part of my life and not just a job. It coincides with my personal belief of developing oneself and when I see the organisation and its employees grow, I grow with them.

Building Relations, Connecting People


An important reason why I decided to join Philips was that it valued relationships, which is an important aspect for me. When I was first being interviewed, I was told that Philips was very people-driven as they understand that the only way to grow value of the organisation is to invest in their people, which is a great platform for someone in HR to contribute towards.

 

For me, building relationships is important. I tend to reach out to people without hesitation to learn something new every time. I consider myself a “connector” as well, in the sense that if I meet someone whom I think would benefit from networking with someone else, I like to bring them together. I have gotten to work in cross-functional teams for projects, connecting with people beyond this campus and market, and I've gotten to experience different working styles and learnt to adapt to them.

In Philips, I get to enjoy the freedom of speaking to anyone regardless of his or her role, group, grade or even geographic location.

Managing Change in an Innovative Organisation

 

Our tag line is about innovation and this is a huge part of our culture here. In an organisation that goes through change so often, employees look to HR to answer questions and offer guidance.

 

For example, when Philips moved to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Agile development framework, there was an uncertainty about performance measures and career progressions. The line between job scopes became more blurred and performance evaluations were more team-based and iterative rather than individual and annual. To ease the transitions, we created a “guidebook” to clarify questions, and employees were more informed and knew that they had the freedom to adapt the structure to their own work and teams.

Working in a Small Team

 

Although my team here in Bengaluru consists of only four people and one manager, HR in Philips is becoming more digital and diversified. Similar to how other established MNCs are handling HR, managers here are encouraged to not just be authoritative figures, but to also provide the necessary guidance and act as counsellors when needed. It's a development to create self-sufficient employees and open the HR roles to more initiatives.

 

Having such a small team has its benefits! We are incredibly close-knit and are more friends than colleagues. Individually, we all play different roles to support each other. For instance, since I have been here the longest, the rest rely on me for historical data or for when they have to handle situations they have never faced before. When one member tends to be more analytical, others offer the perspective from outside the company… it's a great dynamic. Our manager does not micromanage, and encourages us to work out conflict between ourselves, which means that we are all very close as we know we have to work well together to grow together.

Opportunities to Make a Difference

 

If you ask for something at Philips, more often than not, your request will be granted. The key is to speak up and ask.

 

It was a pleasant surprise when I was first assigned the role of a Training Manager, but what made it amazing was getting to work on a project after the launch of the three Philips behaviours. My team organised activity-based learning sessions to create a common language around Philips behaviours in a more interactive way, and the project won us an award! A few months after that, when the global CEO and HR head of Philips came to visit this campus, the head of Philips innovation campus actually introduced me to them. I did not expect to meet such senior leaders, but what made my head spin was them remembering that we were awarded for that particular initiative! Where else would you get such an opportunity?

Building a Life-long Career

 

Here, there are lots of chances to work beyond your own scope, and in so many different divisions and locations. I would say that Philips is a great place to grow your career.

 

It can be difficult at the start because it's such a fluid and large company, kind of like the ocean. However, once you find your anchor – that connection between Philip's purpose as an organisation and your own beliefs – then it really is a place you could stay at for decades and progress happily each day you come to work.