AI to train Philips’ 74,000 employees

By Folake Dosu  |  November 7, 2018

AI-training-philips

AI is often painted as a job eliminator, but Dutch healthcare company Royal Philips is exploring how artificial intelligence can help its 74,000 employees navigate the firm’s shift from providing health products to health services, according to Computer Weekly.

Once known for lighting and consumer electronics, Philips successfully pivoted to medical products industry, netting €18 billion in annual revenues. 

Peter Meerman, director of global learning solutions at Philips, sees artificial intelligence as an accelerant for this latest transition.

“We are changing from a company with a wide industrial scope, to health. We are changing from selling products to selling solutions, from analogue technology to digital. The challenge is how we can support the acceleration of those changes.”

“We are changing from a company with a wide industrial scope, to health,” he told Computer Weekly. “We are changing from selling products to selling solutions, from analogue technology to digital. The challenge is how we can support the acceleration of those changes.”

In partnership with HR software company Cornerstone, Philips is testing AI online learning courses and customized on a per-employee basis to unlock new skills.

“We are working with Cornerstone to make sure the results generated are as realistic as possible,” he told Computer Weekly. “We don’t want to it to make strange recommendations.”

Staff will be able to generate and share learning “playlists” with fellow employees. “If I am a sales expert in the company and I feel there is something missing in the training programme, I can create a playlist,” said Meerman. “Maybe it could include a video, or short e-learning course, or a bunch of questions and answers, or some situations from real life.”

In addition, the company plans to use this technology to facilitate mentoring relationships for employees seeking to learn from more experienced staff. Ultimately, this and other projects are meant to create “learning culture” within Philips, according to Meerman. 

The company plans to collect data to measure the effectiveness of this training on company performance. “When we have sufficient data, we can ask whether there is a relationship between high-performance sales people and how much training they do,” Meerman said, “whether they are the ones creating playlists and learning nuggets, and are consuming training in the way we expect.”

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