Arold de Vries and Vera Immerzeel
Arold de Vries started working at Damen almost 6 years ago; his primary mandate was to set up a global human resources function. “This was new territory for the group because, before that time, each yard handled human resources issues on their own,” he explains. “Our ambition was to create a more consistent HR policy, as well as to become number one employer in the maritime sector. It has been a rollercoaster journey, but we have achieved this using various tools. An excellent internship programme and business courses for students, for example. Talent management has also been an important part of the process. This is the core of the HR department. When you have good people, you have to help them develop.”
Mr De Vries’ ideas of giving people the right tools to develop and flourish in their job also extends to the people in his own department: “It’s my job is to make sure that my colleagues are successful. I only achieve results if my team achieves results.”
Bringing in new ideas
The newest member of that team is Vera Immerzeel. A Bachelor and a Master of Human Resources, a major part of her role is to communicate with her stakeholders throughout the company. This can be talking to a member of the Executive Board at one moment, and a new intern on their first day with Damen at the next. “It is very important to connect these stories from various people from the different levels of the company,” she says. “This is what makes Damen such a people-focused organisation.” And this is actually one of the reasons why she likes working for Damen: “There’s so much to learn here, and so many people to learn from.”
I only achieve results if my team achieves results.
As a recent graduate, Ms Immerzeel’s tasks also include devising and implementing new ideas to develop talents and expanding the Group HR department. A notable example is the Damen Business Experience she organised recently. “We invited 15 technical students to a 3-day course to learn more about Damen,” she explains. “This was a great success – some of those who attended are now working for Damen.”
The Damen Business Experience sums up the philosophy of the Group HR department. “We need to have social skills, but in a business role,” adds Mr De Vries. “There are always new things to invent – new things for us to do.”