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Annelies - she’s our all-singing, all-dancing, Human Resources superstar! It comes as no surprise that Annelies has helped to double the size of Speakap in the past six months - she’s the type of person who gets along with everyone, and is always a joy to be around. We spoke to Annelies about Dutch idioms, rap music, and why she thinks Speakap is a truly special place to work.
To get started, can you please tell us where you were born and raised? Let me guess… Amsterdam!
Well, it was actually Amstelveen, which is the “boring”, family town that is close to Amsterdam. However, I usually say Amsterdam because Amstelveen is not so cool..
Have you ever lived anywhere outside the Netherlands?
Nope. I’m a true Amsterdam girl!
What is your role here at Speakap?
I’m responsible for building the human side of the business, so this includes strategy, organisational design, creating processes but also the whole operational side of HR.
Because of our growth I’ve been spending a lot of time hiring people the past months and expecting that will stay this way.
And what is the single most important aspect of your role?
To invest time in people.
The reason why I started working in HR is because I believe that every business or product is built by humans. So if you invest in the human side, or in other words the people that build the product, you are automatically investing in the business.
If you can create an environment where people can excel and be the best version of themselves, you will get the best output from them. It’s important to invest in product design, finances, business development, but if you don’t have people to actually do the work, then you don’t have any output or company.
The value that I bring to Speakap is being able to translate the business plan to the people that actually have to do the work. In HR you really need to understand the business and make decisions to grow the company, but also have a sensitive side of you that looks at “how does this affect the people?”.
What made you decide to get into Human Resources? What attracted you to this career?
I’ve always been motivated by people. I know it sounds a bit weird, but I really want to get to know people and ask the questions behind the questions. In other words, I want to know people’s stories.
I think that I’m caring, and I like to help people out the best that I can, for me this is where HR is all about!
We all agree, Annelies! How does Speakap differ from other companies that you have worked at?
What I really like is that everyone has been hired here because of their experience in a specific workfield. This creates an environment which feels like a lot of “shops within the shop”, where people can take their own responsibility to lead their own projects.
It’s a totally different way of working compared to what I’m used to - you have a framework to work off, as opposed to everything being planned for you. As an employee at Speakap, you’re the one responsible for building new areas of the business that aren’t there yet, so you just try it out. People really want to help each other out, and the vibe feels like we’re all in this together.
It means having responsibility, but also taking responsibility for your own work. And you need to feel comfortable with this way of autonomous working, but this makes our employees strong individuals who have clear, self-reflective skills.
We are not afraid to ask for help, or say that we’ve made mistakes, because we’re all human!
It’s also a truly diverse and informal company; nationality, backgrounds, personalities, everything! We have a weird, good weird, mix of all kinds of people, and everybody can be truly themselves.
Letting people just be is the strongest part of this organisation, which leads to a feeling that everybody walks through fire for each other, as we say in Dutch.
When you’re not motivating Speakap employees to be the best version of themselves, where can we find you? What are your hobbies?
You can find me doing something active, with other people preferably, or alone.
- Kite surfing
- (Authors note - you get the idea of how active this girl is)
I prefer to be outside and I prefer to be with people. And just do something, go somewhere, discover new places!
If you're looking for Annelies, you might just find her here, dancing in the mountains
I obviously love to enjoy a drink or a meal with friends, and I REALLY love slappe hitjes!
Um.. slappe what?
Songs that you can sing and dance along with! I listen to a lot of music, especially as I ride my bike to work every day, and can sing (and also rap!) along to a lot of songs. Admittedly, they are usually super lame artists.
As you can tell, I really love music. I play the piano and flute, and I also sing in a choir. I have recorded a couple of songs with friends, which was a lot of fun.
Usually people go to a bar, grab a drink, and then get up to sing and dance along... I’m the opposite. I hear a song and have to dance straight away, so people then have to bring me a drink!
Oh, I also like to sing on the bike...
Well Miss Social, we definitely know that HR is the right career choice for you!
It’s true! But let me say, I also have a “gangster” side to me, I love going to rap concerts with all these tough guys.. Then alongside them, is me!
Annelies, I don’t doubt this for a second. Next question - do you have any upcoming travel plans?
I’m going to France over summer with my besties, we go every year for “the ultimate tanning experience”. Yes, that’s what we do. And in fall, I’m going to Cuba.
Lovely! Where could you see yourself retiring one day?
I’m starting to desire living a more “outdoors” life, but I’m not sure how to combine this with the ambition of a career. I’d like to think that maybe I’ll have that when I retire, but honestly I think I will still be in a city somewhere.
Last question. Everyone in the Speakap office loves your infectious, bubbly energy - you’re a great person to be around. What is your life mantra, if you have one?
"Als je je doelen hebt bereikt, heb je de lat te laag gelegd."
This translates to “if you reach your goals, you have set the bar too low”.
Does Annelies sound like the type of person you would love to be around?
Check out our job vacancies to find out more about what roles we currently have available here at Speakap.
Who knows... you might even be our new HR officer!
Written by Louise Blair
All the way from "down under" Louise has joined Speakap to help businesses to build better relationships with their workforce. When she's not busy producing the Frontline podcast, you might catch her running... while listening to a podcast.