What’s it like, working at threon in The Netherlands?
It’s always been the ambition of threon to take care of its employees. And how to measure this better than sitting down with one of our own colleagues, Niels Visser – Portfolio Management Consultant, to gain insights into what it’s like, working for us in The Netherlands? We believe that hearing directly from our employees is the best way to understand the company’s culture, values, and overall work environment. In this interview, Niels shares his valuable experiences during his time at threon. We hope that by reading his story, you’ll gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be a part of our team and the unique opportunities that come with working for us. So, let’s dive in!
As we already know, you have the function of Portfolio Management Consultant. Can you describe your role more in detail?
My role is to advise our clients how to optimize the impact of their change investments, now and in the future, and support them in the adoption of those new ways of working. I am deliberately speaking of impact, since for one client it might be profit, for other clients it might be societal gain.
The scope is quite broad and ranges from strategy clarification, creating alignment and traceability between goals and initiatives, optimizing the flow of work towards delivery teams to measuring strategic and financial impact. My activities are amongst others trainings, facilitating workshops, designing governance structures, data flows, dashboards and coaching people on the their new roles. You can imagine that I meet a lot of different people with different roles at the client sites. I really like that combination of people focussed and conceptual/technical types of work.
My internal role as a senior consultant is to help other colleagues grow and steward the development of our consultancy propositions. I am a member of the Community of Practice Portfolio & Governance, where we share and productize our experiences and make it accessible for all the colleagues. I have a lot of experience in portfolio management in agile organizations, so that is my primary focus.
Next to being a consultant, I am also the team leader for the Dutch colleagues. In this role, I get the opportunity to coach the Dutchies at threon to reach their full potential. We have an ambitious growth plan for the Netherlands, which is very exciting to be a part of.
How would you describe working for threon in The Netherlands so far and what do you like the most about it?
In my previous job I worked with people from all over world, so I am kind of used to mentally crossing borders. For me, the head office in Ghent feels as much as home as any other place I have worked. I have experienced that all colleagues are really open and helpful to help you find your way. Although it is a 2,5 hour drive from The Hague to Ghent, I try to be there on a regular basis and meet the Belgian colleagues.
So far I have had both Dutch and Belgian client assignments and that feels really good. When I have a long day planned in Belgium, I sometimes take a hotel the night before, so I arrive relaxed, fresh and on time. One of the great things at threon is the broad range of customers in terms of segments; we have clients in utilities, retail, banking, insurance and all types of local, regional and main government. Since I have been in Banking most of my career, I find this to be really refreshing and it sharpens my mind.
What do you think sets our company apart from others in the industry?
That’s an easy question! It’s the relentless focus on strategy realization, combined with our broad experience and loyal customer base, and last but not least a culture that is very “people-growth” oriented.
How do you feel about the opportunities for growth and development within the company and how do they support and empower you on this aspect?
For me the opportunities for growth have been very tangible so far. When I joined threon I almost immediately got the opportunity to do a training to get my SAFe Program Consultant certification, which in my opinion is quite an investment. My reason for joining a consultancy firm instead of becoming an independent consultant is that I like to share my experience with others and of course also learn from others. Threon has a lot to offer when it comes to knowledge exchange, the Team Knowledge Sharing (TKS) meetings, the Communities of Practice (CoP) and of course the Uman tool.
Next to that, there is also the “being a professional” dimension; how to approach customers, how to clarify the needs, how to present yourself, but also how to maintain a healthy work-life balance and how to deliberately take time to reset yourself and improve your performance. Because of my drive to discuss these matters with colleagues and coach them on it, I recently became the Dutch team leader as well. So yes, my personal growth experience is definitely very good and given all the facilities and the culture. I bet this counts for a lot of colleagues.
How does the company make sure you don’t lack social contact with your colleagues? Can you describe your relationship with them?
The company really does a lot! Apart from being a Dutchie, consultants who work at a customer site are not automatically in daily contact with their colleagues, so threon organizes social events on a regular basis. There is the infamous yearly 2 day offsite team building event, there is the afore mentioned Team Knowledge Sharing (TKS) which has both a content sharing side and a social side. There are a lot of sport activities (of course combined with drinks) and there is the social channel ‘threon toppers’ on WhatsApp.
But, being from the Netherlands, taking part in these social events does require an investment from your own side as well, you have to go there. I choose which events to join and I also sometimes skip one. But I always enjoy myself being at a social event.
Next to the social events, there is also the functional meetings. You can meet your colleagues to jointly build on a proposition or on market developments. On your customer assignments you can get a buddy to keep you sharp. I recently did an assignment together with a Belgian colleague and that was both helpful and socially very nice. As a teamleader I make it an effort to meet my teammates regularly and, if possible, face-to-face. I also stimulate them to be part of a knowledge sharing CoP or any other initiative when colleagues meet.
To sum it up, being a consultant, threon provides a lot of social contact opportunities, but you have to put in the effort yourself as well.