It's about drives and qualities. The rest is uninteresting

It's about drives and qualities. The rest is uninteresting

Ultraware in Assen grew into a software company of stature in 22 years. One of the secrets to that success is founder Serge de Mul's vision. ,,Someone's background, beliefs, color, height, age or whatever: that is not interesting. What matters is passion, what makes someone happy. If you select accordingly, if you give everyone room to show their qualities, then you become better as a team.''

This is not a conscious choice to impose more diversity and inclusion. It is a way to appeal to individuals from all walks of life. And that makes for nice mixes of people who are stronger together and make each other better. ''For example, we have a lot of people at work who move on the autistic spectrum. I don't call that a defect, but a superpower. They are very valuable in the team, they love creating source codes and have made their hobby their job.''

Had De Mul selected solely on the basis of resumes, those key employees would never have gotten in. ,,A diploma says something about discipline, not much more. I find it much more important what hobbies people have, where their heart lies. A good attitude and the will to learn things are a hundred times more important than a school record.''

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Freedom and passion

In the northern IT sector, it is still not easy to find people who are "different. ''Women, for example, are not many. That's a shame, because I see at Ultraware that they make a difference. A team with female programmers in it functions very differently than one without. Better, I would say. Less cockiness, more communication.''

Anything different from what you know is an opportunity to learn. ,,That's how I stand in it. Other cultures, visions, you have to want to know more about that, Maybe it will make you better. I am convinced that teams who are open to it will quickly perform at a higher level.'' He himself put that thought into practice over the years. ''I made myself expendable within the company and started looking for people who do things differently than me, can do things better than me. That's essentially how you already promote a more diverse organization.''

Several spin-offs from Ultraware have appeared in recent years. De Mul sees these as opportunities to give his employees the freedom to follow their passions. ,,They can do what makes them happy and that works. I gave an ambitious young man the chance to start his own business, with my support. He does his own thing, goes all the way. That is great to see, that is what is needed. People need to feel happy and useful, I need to open the door wide.''

Diversity and inclusion; how do we do it?
Toolkit D&I
Toolkit D&I

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