HR director Myrthe – travelling as a source of inspiration
Myrthe Smalbraak is the HR director of Visma Raet, a Dutch Visma company. Together with her team, her job is to make colleagues feel good and thrive in their jobs – so that they can make the best products for their customers.
This is the only way the 58 year-old company can continue to play a leading role in the Dutch market. What role does Myrthe play in this process, and what has her career path looked like so far?
The importance of building a network
Myrthe talks about various initiatives to keep the organisation fit as a seasoned HR director. Yet, she’s only been in her position for half a year. Before she took on the role as HR director, Myrthe was an HR business partner for almost four years – experience that’s helped her develop a clearer vision on HR, and a stronger understanding of what she wants.
“After my Bachelor of Business Administration degree, I wanted to build up a large network and broad experience,” Myrthe says. “That was possible as an intermediary. I stayed in that job for two years. Then, I travelled for a year through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I thought: if I don’t do it now, it might never happen!”
Visma Raet offers 1-to-1 online coaching programs, where their employees can get a coach for up to four months. “Everyone can choose their own coaching path”, Myrthe explains. That’s one of many initiatives to keep colleagues involved.
“It doesn’t have to be job-related – it can also be aimed at improving things in their private lives. We don’t ask for any information about the sessions. They’re private, and the focus is on the well-being of our colleagues”, she says.
Travelling, being open-minded, and working in recruitment
During her travels, Myrthe met inspiring people and cultures, and broadened her insights for her HR career. “It’s about being open-minded about everything. I really embrace inclusivity and value insights that differ from my own”, she says.
According to herself, organisational and HR strategy go hand in hand. It’s important to connect business needs with talent – both in people management and organisational processes. Having an open mind is crucial to succeed.
In her previous role as a recruiter at a different software company, Myrthe’s passion for HR grew stronger. She wanted to work with more than just recruitment. And what better place to do that, than at Visma Raet?
“I tackled all HR activities that came my way”, Myrthe says.
Grab the opportunities
When Marco Winkel, the former HR director of her company, took on a different role, Myrthe wanted to grab the opportunity. But first, she knew she wanted to travel around for two months with her partner.
“When I came back, I was asked if I wanted to take over Marco’s role. I had already made my ambitions known, so I only had to think about it for about three seconds”, Myrthe says.
Myrthe has taken firm control of her career. She’s noticed that younger generations are often in a hurry – and want to build their careers very quickly. “You cannot take certain steps without having fulfilled certain positions,” she warns.
“Be loud and clear about your career ambitions, but only seize opportunities that you’re ready for and don’t rush your career. This way, you’ll grow sustainably, while increasing the pleasure in, and quality of, your work.”Myrthe Smalbraak