Just as the disruptive mindset has transformed industries, businesses and markets, it has also revolutionised the way we work. Technology and infrastructure have given rise to a gig economy which has expanded employment possibilities beyond traditional full-time roles.
A shift in the work mindset has contributed to changes that have seen growth in alternative types of employment such as remote work, freelance, short-term engagements and contract projects. 1 2 Companies embracing this new world of work recognise that as workforce needs and demands continue to shift, it is essential to respond in a way that meets the needs of the individual and the organisation.
For Philips' HR Lead, Aimée Badcock, championing a gig culture was a path towards attracting and retaining top talent in a dynamic global business. “At Philips, we strive to be an employer of choice by encouraging professional growth with the continuous development of skills and careers,” explains Aimée. “This programme enables employees to gain knowledge, strengthen their networks and explore other areas of our business.” A commitment to engaging employees and providing an innovative learning workplace experience helped spearhead the launch of a successful gig pilot programme within the global HR community.
“Employees could choose to work three hours a week on projects in different areas of the business alongside their regular jobs."The response was very positive, people could see the potential to develop their career by gaining experience they would not get otherwise.
"It offered the opportunity to collaborate with new and diverse colleagues and acquire tangible skills while exploring a career path they may want to pursue in future.”
Make it meaningful
While a project like this doesn’t require extensive resources to implement, it is essential that gigs are meaningful. Providing employees with valuable experience is critical to the success of such a programme, an administrative support role won’t make the cut.
“As part of the preparation we surveyed employees asking about which areas in the company they might want to work, and the types of experiences and skills they would like to cultivate. Among the responses were specific requests such as solutions experience, digital marketing and data analytics.Other ideas were broader in scope such as launching internal communications strategies or project management. As a result, we could plan accordingly. Working with the business to identify the projects and teams that could provide desired work experience and necessary support.” Provide support. A successful gig is dependent on the support of skilled managers who provide coaching and easily integrate gig participants into their teams. “We provide managers and participants with training materials and FAQ’s explaining what they can expect and how we can help them.”
In some cases we have to help managers define their gig projects, to ensure the experience is beneficial to both parties. And we also keep a close watch on participating employees, monitoring how they’re doing."
Conducting regular surveys allows you to refine and adjust gig projects in real-time as necessary. "HR provides the back-end administration and management of the programme to allow for a seamless operation. We even created a gig email inbox to make it easy for all the gig participants to ask HR any questions."
Prepare gig ambassadors
While the support for the programme is resounding, it does requires an ongoing commitment by HR to keep it on the management agenda. This means getting as many gig ambassadors as you can on board to be advocates for the project.
It also requires equipping gig managers with the necessary information to enable them to carry out their roles effectively. Support can include providing discussion guides featuring comprehensive FAQs and ensuring their availability to mentor and coach gig recruits. You might need to provide gig managers with some upskilling and training support, so they’re prepared for their responsibilities.
Consider the timing of your launch
Schedule your launch when training and development is top of mind. We rolled out the pilot mid-year when performance reviews take place because it’s a time when we’re already focusing on career growth. Offering a programme like this allows employees to take ownership of their personal development, providing them with a platform that enables them to acquire new skills in a way they feel supported.
Our launch involved an engaging discussion with staff introducing the gig concept with case studies and explaining how it helps everyone concerned prepare for the workforce of the future. It was important that there was a strong understanding of the project’s mission to create a work environment where employees can identify and gain the experiences needed for meaningful careers.
Monitor results and keep fine-tuning
Assessing the effectiveness of the programme allows you to ensure that future versions are even more successful. Get feedback from both gig managers and recruits to learn what worked and what could be improved the next time around. Share positive experiences with gig ambassadors and managers to help spread the word.
One of the many success stories we had involved a manager who did a gig in a global team environment get a dramatically different outlook to the business compared to their regular role which had a more local responsibility. Another recruit decided to change jobs after a particularly inspiring gig experience.
‘Charlotte moving from Talent Acquisition to a commercial role was an unexpected outcome of our programme, however, this really demonstrates that we are creating a work environment where our people can identify and gain the experiences they need to build a meaningful career and fulfil their potential!”
Considerable effort goes into making a gig experience meaningful, and so far the feedback is overwhelmingly positive with most gig recruits confirming they gained experience they wouldn’t have otherwise had. Likewise, 100% of gig managers recommend the programme. With the demand for gigs exceeding the current supply, the outlook for the programme is very promising.
In today’s world, agility helps us to thrive. Skills need to evolve as technology keeps changing the way we work. The gig economy has inspired a new movement that offers a dynamic and innovative approach to work empowering employees to find their path to a rewarding career.
At Philips challenging our people to develop their skills and succeed within the company allows us to attract and retain talent. Engaged employees are shaping the future of our business placing us in the best position to fulfil our mission of improving three billion lives a year by 2030.
Expect a path to the unexpected
When you explore new paths, there are no markers: you blaze the trail; you lead the way. Yet Philips provides the environment for success with stimulating and satisfying projects, inspiring colleagues, leading multi-disciplinary teams, extensive learning resources, and the freedom to develop meaningful products and solutions.
You’ll arrive with ambitions. But you won’t be limited by them. As a Philips employee, expect the unexpected. Your career may take new directions through opportunities and responsibilities you never dreamt of having. Or you may discover that the impact of the work that you do is far greater than you could ever have imagined.
You’re given ample room to assert your abilities, but you’ll never work alone. We supplement on-the-job learning with coaching and mentoring, as well as formal training.
Discover Philips. What you find might surprise you.
1. Katz, Lawrence, F. and Krueger, Alan, B., the Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995–2015, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 2, March 2019
2. Gallup’s Perspective on the Gig Economy and Alternative Work Arrangements, Gallup, Inc., 2018
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.