Shahmala Puranachandran’s story at Philips began almost three years ago. Always embracing change and looking for growth opportunities, the Malaysian national, wanted to expand her horizons and take on new challenges, with an equally global and robust organization. After having spent 12 years in a business development role within emerging markets with a large technology multinational, Shahmala knew she found what she was looking for when she spied a consumer care operations leading role at Philips, “I know Philips as prestigious company that has been around for more than a 100 years with a strong history and reputation for innovation, while striving to make the world healthier and more sustainable. I wanted to be part of that,” she says.
So Shahmala made the shift to take on the consumer care operations in Malaysia where she worked on further enhancing the consumer experience and delivering the brand promise. Although she enjoyed the role, two years on she was itching to do more and thus reached out to her general manager. With her manager’s support, she updated her career aspirations, detailing both her short and long-term goals on her internal talent card, indicting she was open to relocation opportunities.
The talent card is made available to the Philips human resources department and key managers across the globe to enable appropriate internal mobility opportunities. And it was through this process that Shahmala was flagged for an upcoming opportunity in Singapore; as Consumer Care Manager of Personal Health in the Asia Pacific hub office.
Shahmala reflects on her internal mobility experience, “It was really positive. Managers support the interests of their employees to grow. Philips is unique in that it always ensures that talent is recognized. They take ownership of placing the right talent in place; empowering their staff in their career development globally.”
“Philips supported my development and passion which I think is an admirable quality in an organization,” Shahmala adds as she recalls her excitement about the relocation and prospect to spearhead the delivery and fulfilment of the Philips loyalty program, online store and customer care centre.
Seven months into this position, Shahmala is pleased with her internal move, “The learning curve is steep and the scope is much broader than my previous role but I enjoy that because I see that there’s so much more I can contribute to the organization,” she says.
“Now my key priority is determining how to keep our customers loyal and obsessed with our brand,” Shahmala adds, spending much of her time nurturing client loyalty and overseeing the management of addressing customer’s pain points concerning products and services.
We’re all in this together: Inclusivity
One thing that stood out for Shahmala in her time working with Philips so far, is the culture of diversity. From the open-style layout of her office space, to her team from all parts of the world, she describes her sense of security which has been cultivated by a culture of mutual respect and inclusivity, “Regardless of corporate level, background or race, here diversity is celebrated, reducing barriers to communication and heightening transparency and innovation,” she says.
“Philips doesn’t discriminate,” says Shahmala. “They are open to hiring anyone who’s talented, if you have the relevant experience. Additionally, they encourage freedom of expression and equal rights. Given this culture of fairness and inclusivity, there’re a lot of growth opportunities available.”
Being one of six female managers in her team, Shahmala knows first-hand that gender equality is alive and well within the organization, but especially in management.
Investing in potential & keeping it “lean”
Shahmala found that the professional development she has participated in so far has helped her to work towards becoming the best version of herself.
“Philips believes in providing the necessary tools for their employees to reach their full potential,” she says, “They equip their staff with the necessary knowledge, training and know-how to execute their roles to a high degree thus ensuring their contribution to the overall success of the business.” These include practical experiential workshops on the Japanese methodology of the Kaizen principles, problem solving and daily management goals, among others.
Shahmala explains, “Philips encourages their staff to apply the “Lean problem solving methodology” to their daily work. Applying these ensures long-term survival in a competitive business environment. The principles allow you to fix issues as they arise then see the follow-on results. Plan, do, check, act!” Shahmala notes that applying the Lean principles have helped her improve the quality of her daily output driven by setting daily management goals, and have made for smoother operations by applying effective problem management through identifying and addressing root causes of issues so they don’t keep re-emerging.
Embrace the unexpected
“Today we live in a constantly changing world, with the only constant being change. The right attitude is everything! Throw out the old way of doing things and implement a new way. In this current corporate world, the losing edge is resistance.” When asked about her advice to others, Shahmala adds, “Move on. The right attitude enables you to have more energy, innovate and adapt to changes successfully.”
Originally posted here.
Philips is a world leading health technology company with a vision to make life better for people worldwide through meaningful innovation. Making good on this promise depends on our inclusive, passionate, inspirational, collaborative and diverse team.