New structure, new HRM opportunities

02 March 2021

Canon offers its customers the most advanced technologies for image processing. The company has been in existence for 80 years and operates internationally and in various markets, such as consumer imaging, medical equipment, and industrial products. The brand’s core is expressed in the corporate philosophy, which is summed up in the Japanese word ‘Kyosei’, i.e. “living and working together for the common good”.

Pinsight is a tool from CPM that allows companies to evaluate their employees’ competences online. The benefits? The tool is multilingual, realistic, objective, and makes optimal use of technology. Participants who were assessed have indicated that they had a positive, surprising, and pleasant experience. Companies appreciate the ease of use of the tool and the quick access to results.

A new customer-focused structure

In the past, a customer might have been in contact with three different account managers at Canon. After all, Canon’s activities are very diverse. They are divided into different departments, each with their own (key) account managers, and they all worked independently of each other until recently. That’s no longer the case now.

According to Nico Bonne, Sales Director Strategic Accounts Canon Belgium, “If you as a company say that you focus on the customer, you must look at this from a structural aspect as well. Fragmented departments lead to a loss of information, trust, and efficiency. And this ultimately affects the business, which is why we completely revamped our structure. In early February 2017, we established a team of Strategic Accounts across the departments. From now on, we are one Canon for our customers.”

A strategic change

Installing an overarching team may seem logical, but the company had to deal with experienced account managers who had worked in the company for many years in some cases. How do you introduce this change to them? Nico Bonne explains, “From the very beginning, we were quite clear about the level we were aiming for: we had to aim high! The same job advertisement that we communicated externally also circulated internally. There was no doubt about the ‘weight’ of the decision. This was further strengthened by the fact that all six members of the Board of Canon Belgium were directly and visibly involved in the process: each of our key customers were allocated to a Board member, who committed to working together with that customer’s Strategic Account Manager (SAM). The actual course of the project depended on the temperament of the Board member and the SAM, but the commitment was there and it perfectly illustrated the level of our structural adjustment: strategic.”

(Re)discovering own talents

The company was convinced that there were good candidates for the new position among its own (key) account managers. The actual approach was less obvious to the employees. Canon did not want to limit itself to existing evaluations and personal experiences. That’s why the company chose to have the employees who applied participate in a professional assessment.

Nico Bonne continues, “There was a bit of resistance to this. It undoubtedly created some concern. Some people reacted with surprise, ‘After so many years, shouldn’t you already know what I’m worth?’ But the old experiences relate to old situations, and now, we’re aiming at a totally new situation. At the same time, this assessment is a unique opportunity for the participant to do some self-analysis. This kind of evaluation can only be a good thing; a lever for employees in their personal development. This explanation helped to motivate some employees, while others remained reluctant. The fact that the assessment was a positive experience was an added bonus.”

Pinsight® passes the test

For an assessment to be useful, two things must be available: first, you need to precisely define the qualities you are looking for in a Strategic Account Manager. And secondly, you need to translate those requirements into exercises that add value for both the company and the participants. And Pinsight proved to be the ideal solution.
According to Nico Bonne, “Naturally, we very carefully considered the new structure beforehand. This was not a decision to be taken lightly, but rather a strategic choice. Johan Lauwers, who represents our HR partner CPM, helped me to discuss the implications of our choice in depth. Based on this, CPM developed a fully customised assessment for Canon and integrated it into the Pinsight interactive online assessment tool. Everything went perfectly. Afterwards, the participants indicated that they found the assessment to be relevant and that they appreciated the feedback, regardless of whether or not this kept them in the running for the new position. Thanks to Pinsight, we as a company also learned a lot about our in-house talent, and this experience gave us more than just a list of employees with an interesting profile for the new structure. Pinsight’s biggest added value is the fact that the feedback not only gives you insight into the knowledge and behaviours in-house; it also gives you an estimate of how far each candidate is from the set goals. Pinsight gives you insight into what’s going on right then and there, as well as possibilities for the future.” 

Maurice Gorissen, European Business Development Pinsight at CPM, adds, “Pinsight is a multilingual online tool that has another great advantage: it offers a hyper-realistic simulation of situations that the employee is actually confronted with at work (answering emails, managing files, conducting face-to-face video calls, etc.). That’s why participants didn’t feel as if they had wasted their time or taken an exam. Pinsight works both ways: all parties benefit. The report, which is available within 24 hours, is also very specific, can be consulted at any time, and can serve perfectly as a guide for the development of the participants’ ambitions. Pinsight is a tool that provides added value to both the management and the participants.”


Canon, employee, employees, evaluating, evaluation, internal, Pinsight, tool

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