Establishing and protecting a strong and consistent corporate culture is often challenging for staffing organisations. However, The Specialist Group (TSG) – an umbrella company for six labels that connect technical specialists with organisations to help them on their way to a sustainable future – has succeeded.
The company quickly grew to approximately 3,000 employees, 200 of whom are internal, and 2,800 work as external professionals at other organisations. TSG’s culture is one in which authenticity, personal development, ambition and entrepreneurship are encouraged and celebrated. CEO Sil Hoeve explains: “We work with people instead of products; that is our capital. We cherish that.” Despite the organisation’s considerable growth, Hoeve always fostered a family-like atmosphere. A culture where employees are there for each other, and opportunities are offered if you deliver the performance.
Learning and developing
The aim for a ‘flat’ organisation – emphasising people and their personal development – is supported by a clear focus on learning and development. The organisations under TSG encourage their employees to take training courses. Hoeve prefers to see them choose courses and masterclasses outside the The Specialist Group. “TSG is always open to other visions, and, at the same time, we can benefit from outsiders’ visions and approaches. The knife thus cuts both ways: it stimulates the employees’ personal growth and contributes to the organisation’s continuous progress.”
The emphasis on development and learning extends to self-employment and the peaks and troughs that come with it. Delivery manager Steve Mehlbaum emphasises that there is room for mistakes as long as employees take responsibility. “Entrepreneurship means experimenting, and mistakes are part of that. However, looking at them as lessons rather than mistakes creates a mindset of ‘just doing it’ that challenges people to grow. Moreover, everyone has to learn it sometime,” he says.
At the same time, this culture is one of ambition, where employees are expected to be ambitious, but only because they enjoy working. “Everyone wants to work for a team that is successful, something that is enjoyable for everyone,” says Mehlbaum.
At the office
Hoeve notes that he wants employees to be in the office much of the time; here, colleagues can see each other, talk to each other and learn from each other. “This means that, as an organisation, we have to ensure that employees enjoy coming to the office,” says Hoeve. As a stimulus, much attention is paid to mutual bonding. Among TSG colleagues, but certainly also with colleagues from the companies they work for.
When hiring new employees, HR manager Renée Wellerd carefully considers whether potential candidates fit TSG’s culture. She looks at their drive and entrepreneurship and uses tools such as the Big Five assessment – which looks at extroversion, emotional carefreeness, conscientiousness, friendliness and openness – and a DISC profile test to determine how they will fit into the team. “For each team, we look at which colours are strongly represented and which are needed. This way, we try to build well-balanced teams,” Wellerd explains.
Indicator of a strong corporate culture
A remarkable trend at STAR – one of TSG’s organisations – is that no less than 40% of new employees join through current (or former) staff. This clearly indicates the strong culture and positive work experience the company offers. Employees are prepared to address their network and recommend the company, leading to more and, above all, more suitable candidates.
For The Specialist Group, it’s all about being the best possible employer. “An employer that lets people work with a positive feeling, where they have a good time. Of course, with a focus on the performance that must be delivered. By nurturing authenticity, stimulating personal growth, and placing its people at the heart of its business, TSG’s labels create a unique and dynamic work environment that continues to thrive, even (or even especially) as the organisation grows.”
Strong focus on the team
Its people are most important to The Specialist Group. “We put people on a pedestal, and it pays off. With a strong focus on the team, TSG helps its people grow and takes the companies it supports to the next level. All on the way to a sustainable future. This makes us a remarkable player in the flex market and a company we believe other organisations can learn much from.”
This article was previously published on Flexmarkt.nl