Miscellaneous questions
  • Diversity

Various questions to ask Kees Noordmans

Scientific research shows that results improve in a diverse and inclusive organizational culture. What measures are companies taking to promote diversity & inclusiveness in their organizations? And does this affect leadership style? We are curious if and how entrepreneurs are picking up on this.

 Kees NoordmansKees Noordmans
Managing director Again!

The company Opnieuw! in Buitenpost breathes new life into discarded furniture and used materials. Their unique range of office furniture is completely circular and is made by a team that is equally unique. In this social enterprise, people with a distance to the labor market have been given another chance. They are trained internally and work with colleagues who provide guidance where needed.

What does diversity & inclusion mean to you?

'That we are all unique and yet equal. In this company, a director or a foreman is no better than a production worker. All roles are important and necessary for our company to succeed. For example, I admire the colleagues who can make things with their hands, because I myself have two left hands, so to speak. Everyone has a talent and by combining all these different strengths, together we create a company that runs and develops.'

Again! offers a retake for furniture as well as for people. Why this approach?

'We want to be of value to society and do so by linking economic benefit to ecological and social gain. Opnieuw! originated partly from the question of why we throw away so much. So we developed a circular concept. Another question was why so many people are involuntarily sidelined in society. The group with a distance to the labor market often also wants to work, but has difficulty finding a suitable place. We offer these people in-house training and guidance. You see the self-confidence grow when they can be of significance to our company.

How does this diversity work in the workplace?

'That takes effort and also adaptability, especially as we grow. Dealing with the pressures of a commercial company is a challenge for some. That's why we pay attention to a good mix of employees who need some guidance and independent colleagues who take care of that. The distribution is now about 40-60 percent. People who make a new start in the labor market with us usually get a place in production. As woodworkers, upholsterers, metalworkers and mechanics, they turn discarded items into beautiful office furniture again.'

And how inclusive is this group, how are they involved in the company?

'Every quarter we discuss with the entire team how things are going. Then we do something fun together, for the connection. Each department has a foreman who is the contact person for his team. There is also a job coach to whom employees can turn with questions or issues. Some speak out clearly, others are less likely to do so. We don't let anyone swim here, which is why the job coach regularly tours the people. Furthermore, we all contribute to an open and safe working atmosphere by working from our three core values: positivity, trust and good communication'.

Are you also paying attention to other forms of diversity?

'In age we have a nice variety and people with physical disabilities also work here. The proportion of women could be a bit higher, especially in production it is mostly men. I do think it is good for the dynamics to vary. All people are welcome here, as long as they are willing to work from our core values. If you approach each other positively and with confidence and make an effort to understand each other, you will always come out of it no matter how different you are. We are aware that everyone has their limitations and strengths. That is why I do not work with my hands at Opnieuw! For example, by working on more diversity in the offering, such as circular flooring and project design.'

Toolkit D&I
Toolkit D&I

In this white paper you will learn:

  • How do you arrange more diversity and inclusion?
  • Top 5 tools and tips you can start using tomorrow
  • Special tips for entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem developers, knowledge institutions and government

    Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.