Why was it that you came to work at the UMC Utrecht?
“My background was in marketing-driven companies: Heineken, Unilever, Philips. I made the move to the UMC Utrecht because the work we do is very close to society. I was interested in its inherent complexity, as the fantastic care that we provide has to be affordable too. I find it exciting to think about how we can run our work more efficiently and practically, whilst keeping it a really fun place for our employees to work. I am sure we can manage that. It requires us to have an energetic organisation, with employees who are confident and at the top of their game.”
Could you describe the ideal UMC Utrecht employee?
“I don’t think there is one ideal type. That diversity itself is our strength. But what certainly is true is that each and every one of them is incredibly passionate about his or her profession and is also able to regularly take a fresh look at it. Do I do what I do as well as I possibly could? Could I do it differently? Better? You should enjoy thinking about it in those terms too.”
And the ideal employer?
“The ideal employer gives people opportunities. Here, we are working to build an organisation in which everyone is actively engaged with their career development. All the time. Where standing still is not the done thing. I see that as a responsibility which is shared by employees, managers and the organisation itself. That can be pretty tricky at times. For example, sometimes it might mean a manager also having to encourage the best members of his or her team to look in other departments too. Therefore having to be prepared to lose the best people from your department in order to hold onto them for the organisation.”
Do you take a fresh look at yourselves too?
“Yes, of course, all the time. For example, how can we offer people more flexibility, as the times dictate? Are we scheduling properly? And how would you go about giving employees themselves more responsibility for it? Does our training deliver what people want? Including if they want to come here to work. And, of course, we keep a close eye on our own efficiency. Which is what society expects us to do as well.”
Is health care still an attractive sector to work in?
“You bet! The funny thing is, there is a widespread opinion that working in health care means slogging away for poor wages. And, of course, I am also more than aware that there are plenty of problems in some places. But if you work for a university teaching hospital, you really don’t get a bad deal at all. Our collective labour agreement could almost be described as luxurious, with working conditions that command respect. Plus you are in the best profession in the world, because you are truly making a difference to people’s lives.”