In the midst of downsizing and unprecedented business challenges, HP Switzerland, a successful part of Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest technology company, decided to invest in their future.
The decision was to develop the talent of its existing workforce – to invest now to assure their long-term success in the competitive IT business by improving HP’s approach to a targeted group of their largest customers.
As with most service businesses, HP Switzerland’s success rests in the hands of the direct points of interface of the HP Professionals and their clients. The ‘technology focused’ delivery of solutions of the past created an ‘in-and-out’ type of relationship – make the sale and move on to the next customer. HP decided to replace this approach with one focused on building trust-based relationships to gain long-term, loyal customers. This approach required not only new processes and procedures, but also a new way of looking at managing clients, service delivery, product development and client issues.
The Swiss organization commissioned TripleWin Consulting, a global training and consulting company, to design a Professional Development Program (PDP). Two objectives where highlighted: to retain key talent and to improve HP’s approach to customers. The program needed to incorporate the HP Way and One HP philosophy and values and use the lessons written about in the popular management book, The Trusted Advisor.
The challenge was to create a customer focused approach that was as good for the customer as it was for the HP. The philosophy of TripleWin was a perfect fit for this change – in this effort, all three players must “win” – the customer, HP and the HP employee.
This triple win creates the motivation for employees to build trust with their customers, for customers to begin to trust HP professionals, and for HP to focus on collaborating with customers.
To assure the change reached throughout the system, participants were selected from all areas of the company: printing, personal computing, software, services, sales, consulting and IT infrastructure. Six PDP sessions were created to cover a wide range of topics.
The program launched in 2007 with two pilot groups and continues with additional groups every year. To date, more than 420 HP employees have successfully completed the program and demonstrate the applicability of course content by applying and using the information taught in the program in their daily work.
Participant feedback rates the program as outstanding and life changing on both a personal and professional level. Relationships have changed with customers and within HP. This new way of working with each other and with clients is welcomed and employees are committed to do the work, to earn the reputation of Trusted Advisor when it is possible.
Many stories of success are reported including gaining additional work at existing customers, increased confidence in consulting and collaborating more effectively with customers and improved communication across HP Switzerland from the networks created during the program. The program continues to have the support of the country management team and managers and employees throughout the company.