The most important quality to look for in new hires is passion, says Dana Stocks, the chief human resources officer at Philips. SmartBrief recently asked Stocks questions about how Philips recruits passionate workers and keeps them engaged. An edited version of his responses follows.
How does Philips encourage employees to become passionate about their work?
First, we hire passionate people because we believe our passion for improving lives is what sets us apart from the rest.
Second, we allow individuals to evolve within the company. When recruiting for open positions, we look internally first, encouraging employees to apply for new roles reflecting their current passions, interests and skill set. It is common to hold different roles in various departments or sectors at Philips.
We also respect our employees’ need for work-life balance. If our employees are happy and engaged outside of the office, that passion will manifest itself in their work.
Does Philips use any tools or metrics to gauge employee engagement?
Engagement is measured with a biannual employee engagement survey. The survey solicits feedback on what we’re doing right, what needs extra attention and where we are going wrong. Later, we “deep dive” into data in order to initiate engagement dialogues and target action plans to drive retention. The process does not focus strictly on “feelings” but also covers “actions” of engagement.
What flexible work arrangements are available to Philips employees?
In areas where set schedules of roles aren’t critical, Philips embraces flexibility.
Specifically, we recently introduced a new workplace concept where work stations are unassigned, and there are more employees than desks in a given “neighborhood.” The concept encourages collaboration while supporting employees who want to work from home up to three days per week.
Such practices led Forbes to name Philips one of the top 25 companies for work-life balance.
How does Philips handle performance evaluations?
To help boost performance and grow careers in the directions individuals aspire to, Philips has a comprehensive performance evaluation process that recognizes and rewards top performers, and makes performance and development dialogues a year-round priority.
The evaluation process consists of two formal milestones each year: a midyear development check-in and an end-year performance review. Both involve manager-to-employee dialogues, and all conclusions from these meetings are registered online.
At the beginning of the year, employees are encouraged to develop objectives with their managers that align with the company’s goals and with areas of personal interest for the employee.
What’s the most important thing you look for when hiring?
While technical competencies are always table stakes for a strong hire and top-performing companies, we believe our passion for improving lives at Philips is what sets us apart from the rest.
As a result, we look for that passion in prospective hires — whether it is entirely work-related or something they are fanatical about outside of work that bleeds into their energy and productivity on the job. We believe that passion is something that simply can’t be taught, but it is the ingredient that keeps all our people giving their best every day.