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 52EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 9 EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 9 it will reflect in their work. If someone has the required qualities but has different ambitions (for example, someone in information technology who would rather do something else), we advise that person to find a job that drives them. During the job application procedure, at least two interviews take place, and the department head, human resources, or the board, are involved. In certain countries, we also carry out an assessment. Fortunately, employee turnover is very low. We do not like to even think about a turnover rate of 10 per cent, instead of the current 1.5 per cent. This would mean an additional 85 vacancies per year for the Netherlands. In addition, higher turnover of people would mean a tremendous loss of knowledge, and one would have to invest much more in the renewal of cooperation in various projects. The feedback we receive from our new employees is they appreciate the fact that their new colleagues are willing to show them the ropes within the company. It helps that we are quite sure a newcomer is going to stay until the end of his or her career. RETENTION What is the reason people want to stay? They experience freedom and trust. They have a lot of room to be active as an entrepreneur within the company. Bringing forward new ideas, being proactive and showing initiative are very much appreciated. This trust begins at the start, where, after a thorough application procedure, we immediately offer a permanent contract. A current trend in society is to give more flexible work contracts, but that does not fit our company. Ninety-nine per cent of our contracts are permanent ones. We like to build our future with the same people. It is clear we can only offer this as a company if we are sure the company will continue for several more generations. This policy is based on a clear vision, in which we respond to developments in the market and have a good strategy. We work with detailed multi-year plans. If we did not do this, we would not be able to guarantee work 20 years or more from now. Subsequently, you c a n on ly of fer a permanent contract after a thorough selection process. Some people say this is the way we retain our employees, but this is nonsense. People can leave whenever they want. The retention happens because we offer a lot of freedom and tr ust w ith i n a f lat organization where people can do the work that fits them. This is what people experience, and why they feel at home and stay with the company. If we wish to stay innovative as a breeding sector, this can only be done if our employees are motivated to do it in the best possible way—to think and bring forward ideas. In innovative sectors, there must be an open, transparent and inspiring culture. People can develop themselves through working with new technologies or by changing work processes within their own jobs. Additionally, because of the strong growth, which is necessary to guarantee continuity, new functions are created on a regular basis. Therefore, people can develop themselves broadly and also in the direction of management positions. Around 60 per cent of these positions are now filled by internal candidates. No less important is the fact that the company does not have the aim of making as much profit as possible in the short term. The board sincerely wants to offer the employees a pleasant and long-lasting job with good labour conditions. Profit is, of course, necessary to be able to continue to offer such a package, but is more a means to an end. This is reflected in the choices that are made, which are aimed at the long term and towards our people. For instance, we do not work with assessment forms, as we do not wish to grade our employees. We focus more on the talents and strengths of our employees. People can fulfil functions in different ways, and all of those can be successful. Our broadly developed International Rijk Zwaan Academy, with training at all levels, helps us to stay abreast of all developments, and offers our people personal education. In addition to technical training we also offer commercial and skill programs, which are tailor-made by the IESE Business School. Developing international training programs strengthens international cooperation and company culture. All these aspects ensure that an organization stays agile, remains innovative and achieves a strong growth. This also contributes to the recruitment of new staff, and at Rijk Zwaan we feel we have a different company culture than most other companies. Editor’s Note: Emilie ten Bokkel Huinink is the human resources manager at Rijk Zwaan. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 9