Tenant in the spotlight
Ulf Anderson (Manager) and Leo van der Pols (Business & sales development) both work for NKT; a world-wide supplier of power cables. The Dutch branch of the Danish company was established in March 2017. They started with an office in the Groot Handelsgebouw. Their global mind-set meant Ulf and Leo surrounded themselves with an interesting group of employees.
Tell us something about NKT.
Leo: Since 1891, NKT has been manufacturing all kinds of power cables. Cables for home use, but also for off-shore usage. Our branch in the Groot Handelsgebouw is mainly aimed at the off-shore industry. We are talking huge cables carrying the highest voltages. One cable can have a diameter of 30 centimetres and weigh over 100 kilograms per metre.
A new branch office means a new team. How did you go about that?
Ulf: We wanted to create a platform for both Dutch and foreign talent. As we handle both short-term local projects as well as long-term international ones, flexibility is very important. The team consists primarily of specialised engineers who know a lot, if not everything, about the sea bed and the sea.
Leo: Our team consists mostly of young talent. Young people bring dynamism, motivation and enthusiasm.
Ulf: The team is made up of 20 people with 10 nationalities. I myself am from Sweden, and our employees comes from all over the world, from China to South-Africa. In terms of gender diversity, we do quite well by offshore standards, having 4 ladies in our team.
Is diversity a deliberate choice?
Ulf: We are always looking for the right person for the job. Nationality, age or gender do not play a role in our selection process. If you are a good fit for the team and have the proper qualifications, we welcome you with open arms.
How does the diversity of the team impact collaboration?
Ulf: Everyone has with their own perspective and way of doing things. Quite honestly, this can result in interesting meetings at times. If you ask a Dutchman or a Brit for their thoughts on a certain design, they will not stop talking. In other cultures, it is not as common for a manager to ask for the opinion of an employee, and they will therefore be less likely to speak their mind. Of course, the final decision is taken by a single person, but I prefer an open discussion beforehand. “It’s okay to disagree.” Our team is made up of intelligent people, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think this mind-set allows us to make the most of our team.
Why did you choose the Groot Handelsgebouw?
Ulf: The location of the Groot Handelsgebouw is ideal. Schiphol is very easy to get to from Rotterdam Central Station. Plus, many of our employees do not live in the Netherlands. They live in England and travel to Rotterdam on Monday and go back home for the weekend.
It is also important that our office is accessible to us 24/7. It doesn’t matter when you arrive, there is always something going on at the Groot Handelsgebouw. People moving into an office or relocating to a different one within the building. It’s a very dynamic place.
Leo: When NKT opened a branch in the Netherlands we immediately said, “Rotterdam is the only logical choice.” The atmosphere and maritime environment fit well with the company. Rotterdam is also an appealing living area for our employees.
Ulf: Rotterdam is a cosmopolitan area, almost like New York. 60% of Rotterdam residents have foreign roots, right? I can’t imagine a better spot for a multicultural office.
What is your favourite place within the building?
Leo: Our own office!
Ulf: We have the best office in the Groot Handelsgebouw. The view of the city and the docks from the 7th floor is breath-taking.
Leo: And let’s not forget the rooftop lunches. We also make good use of other entrepreneurs in the building, such as Tabac & Gifts, ’t Winkeltje, Engels, Nimsys, Rijnja Repro and even the IND desk. We have tried all the restaurants and bars. We’re happy to be here.
Ulf, laughing: It almost feels like home.
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