Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 528 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM 8 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM ijk Zwaan is a worldwide active vegetable seed company, with a wide range of high-quality crops. It is a family-owned company with a turnover of €350 million, and around 2,600 employees in 30 countries, of which 1500 are located in Europe. Rijk Zwaan has a people-minded company culture, and encourages employee participation. Each year, the company invests approximately 30 per cent of its turnover in R&D, and applies a strategy for growth, which is realized autonomously, without acquisitions. On a yearly basis, around 150 new employees join the company, of which about half are Europeans. Because of the company’s constant growth, there is a lot of attention on hiring the right talent. This is done in a number of ways, for example, new employees need to understand the company, so time is spent on employer branding. Via the website, interviews and other media, attention is focussed on the way the company works, and its values. These items are known by many people in the seed sector because the company cooperates with others on various projects. This is a concrete and transparent way to demonstrate the company’s vision and how our people interact. Because of this, we regularly receive high-quality job applicants who know well what they want and why they want to work for us. Our own ‘careers’ website is also a powerful medium to share the values of our company and to communicate who it is we are looking for. Open vacancies are shared on this website, and because of our growth there are new vacancies on a weekly basis. RECRUITING How we fill our vacancies depends on the target audience. If we are looking for someone who takes care of the crops, we usually place an ad via local media. General researchers are more inclined to move for a job, for those positions we advertise nationally. If we are looking for bioinformatic people, we employ international channels, as these applicants are more often than not open to live and work abroad. The use of social media is usually very effective, and at the moment, we mainly use LinkedIn. We share new vacancies via social media, and we have noticed this works well in many countries. In an easy and accessible manner, we are able to reach potential candidates. On top of that, our employees share vacancies within their own networks. The recruitment of people for the plant breeding sector differs depending on country and function. For example, the supply of breeders in France and Spain is quite good, whereas in Turkey, it can be quite hard to fill such positions. In Italy, it is difficult to find commercial people with a ‘green’ education, but if we were to hire for a management position, the supply is large. In general, we see more attention in the media for healthy food, world food security and strong innovation in biotechnology. This is drawing more students to plant breeding and potential candidates from related sectors. It should be mentioned, in general, filling international management positions remains challenging; meanwhile we have relative great demand for such functions. ‘Referral recruitment’ is also an important channel for finding talent. Current employees working in the market have a network of potential candidates and can assess well if certain individuals would fit with the company culture. In addition, employees are able to provide relevant information about interesting candidates. We encourage our employees to refer people for a function; however, this is usually from outside the seed sector. We do not intentionally and actively approach candidates from within the seed sector. Obviously, we favour our own employees when filling a vacancy; the advantage being the chance of success is high. We have already been able to follow their performance, and can make a better judgement whether there is a good fit for the function. In addition, it is interesting and motivating for employees to see management positions filled in this way—not only for their own personal development, but also for support. Thus, internal candidates are brought up to speed quicker and are productive in their new functions: they know the culture, have a strong network, and are familiar with the products and processes. At ‘in-house’ days, we attract more young professionals, and through a process of rotation in different positions, these individuals gain broader experience and knowledge, and can therefore, in the future, fill various functions. CANDIDATE CHARACTERISTICS We are selective when hiring new colleagues. We look at personal characteristics, values and motivation more than most other companies do. Important values for our company are reliability, loyalty, entrepreneurship and team spirit. People who put their own aims first are usually not a good fit with our company. Besides this, we also select people based on their internal drive. If they do what they are good at, while enjoying themselves, DIPPING INTO THE TALENT POOL Rijk Zwaan shares how the company stays agile, remains innovative and achieves strong growth: by focussing on recruitment and retention to ensure a steady stream of talented employees. By: Emilie ten Bokkel Huinink 8 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM HR PROFILE HR manager Emilie ten Bokkel-Huinink.