Apr 14, 2014

Philips India HR's journey in starting to build Social Media capability

Guest post by my colleague Zenobia Madon, General Manager - Talent Acquisition, Philips India.

Philips India HR Team kick-started its HR initiatives in Social Media in August 2012. The Social Media for HR initiative was led by Yashwant Mahadik, Head of HR at Philips India as Yash had been keenly observing this space for sometime. The chief guest at the launch was Abhijit Bhaduri, CLO of Wipro, prolific blogger and a social media evangelist for HR.

After the launch, Yash and Abhijit were in touch and continued to share updates on how the initiatives were going on.  Yash confided to Abhijit that while the HR team was making some progress in this space, he thought a role needed to be created in HR that would champion using social in HR and also help the rest of the team, to effectively drive the various Social Media platforms. Abhijit suggested that Yash talk to Gautam Ghosh, a freelance consultant who had worked in HR before becoming a “Social HR” Consultant. Gautam at that moment was in Mumbai on a 6 month long project helping a social media agency set up a HR focused vertical.

Abhijit connected Yash and Gautam and that’s how a start was made. Yash explained his value creation vision for HR at Philips India and how he envisaged leveraging social media to amplify messages both internally and externally. Gautam shared with Yash some insights on the role he has been playing in the digital space over the past few years. Post an initial conversation, Yash (@IndianYash) and Gautam (@GautamGhosh) followed each other on Twitter and the discussions continued via Twitter DMs.

The next time Yash was in Mumbai, he met Gautam. The more they discussed, the more Yash got convinced that while there was an option to engage Gautam as an external consultant to help Philips, he was more inclined to have him on board as a full time employee. Yash also shared that because it was the first time that a role like this had been envisaged in Philips India, he did not have a job description to share or clarity on headcount, budgets etc. to getting Gautam in.  On the other hand, Gautam, who had completed 7 years as a freelancer and with startups, was also contemplating his next assignment, and Yash’s vision tied in to his personal mission of helping “HR become social”.

What Yash did next, was to internally prepare the ground for hiring a Social Media professional like Gautam: Yash first discussed the idea and need for having a role that will build and develop the social media capability in Philips HR function internally with his team. It took very little time for the entire HR team to get excited about the idea. Then he discussed the same with his boss Rajeev Chopra (@rajeevchopra) CEO of Philips India who supported the idea, however requested Yash to do two things: one- discuss and get alignment and agreement of the India Management team (senior most team of Philips India that manages the company in India). Second - hire this position within the existing and approved pool of HR resources and then put resources and investment behind making this role a success. Needless to say the business case was approved and supported by the entire India Management Team and Yash managed to create a place for making this expert hire in his team.

Gautam was interviewed by all key stakeholders and post the interview process, was formally offered the role which he gladly accepted.

Gautam, the Social Media expert, has been an important addition to the HR team at Philips India and has started making a difference. In his first 30 days of joining he has begun reverse mentoring three of the India Management Team members. He has also initiated work with Yash and the three Centre of Excellence (COEs) Heads, to evolve the draft of a robust Social Media for HR strategy.

He has partnered effectively with the HR team to launch the first event in a series of #PhilipsHRTalks, an initiative launched by Philips India in April 2013. The event was live tweeted by 65 people a total of 314 times, which meant it managed to reach 231,600 user accounts with a total of 935,000 impressions! (Data from Tweetreach.com).

He then conducted a HR Master Class in June for the entire HR team on "Social Media for HR". The team now is aware of the power of social media and how it can be used in their respective work areas are looking at various initiatives they can leverage the power of "social".

The Philips India HR team is excited with the rapid paced progress we have made in the digital space so far. We are aware we have made a start, we are eager to learn as we progress and contribute in this space. We invite you to join us online (@HRPhilips, @PhilipsJobsIN, We are Philips India, FB page) and look forward to your views, comments and ideas on helping us accelerate on this digital journey which we have undertaken.