NOM Drives: Social Templer employment agency wants profits for all
Drives are the real engine behind growth and development, but to what extent are companies in the Northern Netherlands consciously working on them? And how do they approach it? NOM is curious and, for this column, interviews organizations that are actively exploring their motives.
Templer's team does not receive bonuses or lease cars, but it does get a lot of satisfaction in addition to the salary. 'My people have passion for the business,' says founder Josien Andringa of the online staffing agency. Intrinsically we are all in it together: we are here to serve SMEs and the workforce by mediating flexible work. Temping as it was once intended and where a permanent job is a nice result.
We sit in a coffee shop in Joure on a Monday morning to talk about motivations. Josien works mostly from home - as does the seven-member team scattered throughout the Netherlands - and therefore saves heavily on overhead. 'We don't need an office and everyone already has a car, laptop and phone,' says the entrepreneur. 'For us, the extras of the work are in the results we achieve. Making good matches and making sure we send out in a social way, with an eye for people. So that we are all better off
That approach - to make it all better - Josien learned at an early age, having grown up as a child in African countries where her parents wanted to make a difference as development workers. 'The trick is to help the whole chain, to create a win-win-win situation. That requires an eye for the long term and for what people really need. In our case, those are both our SME clients and the workers we mediate. They don't ask for revolving door constructions or commutations that spoil motivation and working relationships; they want to make strides and get ahead. And we are happy to facilitate them in that, with an eye for all parties.'
'Of course we are allowed to earn a healthy living with our services,' the entrepreneur believes. 'If we all benefit, we can continue to help each other. But we don't have to strike out, as many big staffing giants do. I worked there for a long time and saw how the human touch has disappeared in the staffing industry. Everything is about numbers and spreadsheet management. Temping has become an end in itself, while it should be a means to help the economy by deploying flex work where it is needed. SMEs in particular benefit from this, as important drivers of the economy.'
SMEs in particular often pay a disproportionate amount in the staffing industry. 'It is important to help smaller companies grow. So how can you ask for a high commutation fee when they want to hire a flex worker on a permanent basis after some time? We very deliberately don't do that. Just like we don't have to earn on every hour worked. With us, customers pay a fixed amount whether their flex worker works through us two or five days a week. Nor do we distinguish between lower- or higher-skilled work; the processes are the same for us. The basis is a fully transparent online concept. We give advice based on our expertise, but employers can decide for themselves with whom they engage.'
Josien experiences letting go of service level agreements and focus on margins as a breath of fresh air. 'Templer is really about the essence: about helping companies and the people who work there move forward. We want to give temporary workers perspective again, especially in these times. There is nothing wrong with flexible work in itself, provided you use it in a valuable way. We see it primarily as a stepping stone to permanent work or entrepreneurship. As Templer, we are a bridge to a better situation, not an end station where we keep people in order to earn more for ourselves. That's why, through the initiative Werkwilligers, we are also committed to helping people on welfare get back to work.
Templer's low-threshold entry level - both financially and the convenient online concept - is catching on with SMEs. 'Although companies are a bit hesitant at first, because they find it hard to imagine that we really charge a redemption fee or use other small print,' Josien notes. Because of the way large agencies work, people are sometimes a little suspicious of the staffing sector. Once we work together, it's done. Our clients get more control and that feels good. The same goes for our flex workers. They feel taken seriously, because we also want the best for them. Like pension accrual from the first working day. We make that affordable by the way we work.'
Growing for more impact
As an inspired entrepreneur, Josien wants to start a movement. 'Our concept is easily scalable. We especially want to grow big to have more impact on how we deal with labor and economic growth in our society. That's why I talk to people like Leendert-Jan Visser - director of MKB Nederland - about making staffing more SME-friendly and social. And I'm glad that at the MKB Annual Conference we were able to inspire others with our vision. But at Templer we are especially happy when we make good matches. It matters that people are in their right place in work, because that helps them and the companies they work for. Profit for everyone.