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Last week, our manager Facility Services Susanne Kamp-Wagemans was interviewed by Maarten Bouwhuis from BNR in Bedrijf, a radio broadcast focussed on businesses. She explained our approach to reduce inequalities inside our office in The Hague. How do we make sure our ‘external staff’ is really part of our organization?
Susanne explained how the Dutch cleaners strike in 2012 triggered FMO’s Facility Services department to start doing things differently. Even though FMO’s cleaners weren’t on strike, the signal that these external staff members needed to be treated equally was clear. Why were they only present outside office hours – invisible to the rest of the organisation?
Susanne: “We believe it is very important that all our employees are able to see each other, built relationships and connect. I think that, as a commissioning company, we have a humanitarian responsibility to treat all staff well and as full, equal employees. Since July 2012, we started working with Hago Next for our cleaning staff.”
Freek Peters, professor Leadership at Tilburg University, also emphasizes that it is crucial that companies start making less distinctions between internal and external staff.
Even though the cleaners are not employed by FMO, they are seen as real FMO’ers. They're all full time employees, working during office hours and participating in events. We have lunch together, get the same Christmas presents and attend the same office parties. Susanne: “Because our external staff is visible, we can ask them how their weekend was.”
In addition to Susanne Kamp-Wagemans, Hago Next colleagues Amardeep Singh, Godwin Alijah, Maya Houseni and Margaret Gordor shared their views on working at FMO: “We are taken into consideration here. They are not talking about us, but with us. I care about the people here, and they care about me. We work together, like a family.”
Listen to the full BNR in Bedrijf broadcast (in Dutch).