Creating a Great Place to Work


Everyone wants to work at a great place. Here is our interview with Marcel Ravenshorst, SVP Human Resources at Basefarm, on how to build a great place to work.

In this interview, Marcel Ravenshorst, SVP Human Resources at Basefarm, shares his thoughts on the importance of creating a culture of wellbeing that is sustainable. He also explains how management must view wellbeing as part of the overall business strategy with a clear set of strategic objectives, a defined process and meaningful measurement. These things are all important in order to create a company where people want to work.

What can the Human Resources (HR) department do in order to help companies create healthier workplaces?

“There are numerous ways the HR function can contribute to healthier work environments. As HR you must adapt your strategy to what fits best to the organization, depending on what kind of company you are want to be. It can be done through activities around the physical workplace, creating and maintaining a culture that supports the wellbeing of the employees,” says Ravenshorst. He continues:

 “I believe that a healthier working life mainly comes through creating a culture and a workplace where people like to work.  Everyone needs to be included, involved and feel that their efforts can make a difference. Next to this, it is very important to get a good balance between your work and personal life, in order to relax and boost your energy outside of work.”

Focus on the person for a sustainable working life

Ravenshorst says one important responsibility for HR is to create an environment and organize the policies for a sustainable working life. In Basefarm the engagement starts already before new employees come onboard. During the recruitment and onboarding process the new hire is informed so that he or she feels welcomed when they start working.

When a new colleague starts in Basefarm they get a good introduction, through the Basefarm Academy, to get to know the organization and we include them by inviting them to lunch and social activities. The attention for the individual continues by focusing on training, “one-on-one conversations” and being clear on expectations.


Say what you want

Clarity of expectations is very important for a healthy workplace, Ravenshorst points out. Knowing what is expected of you, what your responsibility is and that you get feedback on what you can improve on is key for the wellbeing of the employee. In the Basefarm leadership program all managers are trained to coach the employees and their teams. As a result, you get a healthy and sustainable work environment, and the company can increase productivity through the wellbeing of the employees.

The HR department also has tools and processes to support this work, for example employee satisfaction surveys, performance management and employee development including career plans.


Get out of your chair

HR also needs to pay attention to the physical workplace to improve staff health and wellbeing, such as using standing desks and adjustable chairs. Even how we work can make a difference, like having meetings while standing or encouraging people to go out walking together.

How do you think Basefarm is contributing to a healthier society?

“Before defining our benefits program we asked ourselves ‘what kind of company do we want to be in terms of benefits?’,” Ravenshorst says. “The outcome showed that an organizational health culture is at the top. Our defined benefit categories are: Healthcare, Work-life balance, Family and Competence. All four contribute to health and wellbeing.

“One of the most appreciated benefits in Basefarm is the work-life balance. We work hard, and we have a 24/7 organization. However, when needed, we can take time for our families, enjoy our social lives or take some rest. For this, we have a flex-policy in Basefarm. People can build up hours in a flex balance by working longer and then take time-off when needed. For example, work an hour longer in the evening, and start later the next morning.”

Have fun while exercising together

Next to this, employee initiatives to participate in sports and other activities are encouraged, like running events, cross-fit training and cycling races.


Career plans

“Besides the work-life balance and encouraging people to be active, development is the third driver of motivation that leads to organizational health,” Ravenshorst continues. “Getting better at things you are supposed to do is not only motivational but also releases stress. It makes you feel comfortable in handling complex issues and incidents and gives you confidence in difficult situations. It also makes it possible to take on more responsibility and gives you more autonomy in planning your own work. For Basefarm, the higher the motivation and the skills level of our employees, the greater is their contribution to the realization of the company’s goals.”

Please give three examples how to improve wellbeing at the workplace.

“It is key to encourage initiatives to improve wellbeing in the organization,” explains Ravenshorst. “Once people have seen it in one team, they often want to do something similar in their own team as well. It creates a sort of snowball effect.”

He says examples that we have seen in Basefarm are:

  1. Team Activity: Participate in a sport event. Many people run nowadays and almost everyone can do it. Setting a goal to participate in a run stimulates people to train together, share training plans and results. This makes it a sort of social event after work, and also creates a feeling of belonging.
  2. Physical wellbeing: Walk during lunch breaks. Create a movement in the organization; start with a few people and more people will join. Just 15-20 minutes is already good and you release tension and stress and also get some exercise and can work better.
  3. Psychological wellbeing: Create awareness on techniques for stress relief, for example by practicing mindfulness exercises, organizing yoga sessions and time-management activities. Most of the time you do not recognize or admit that you are overworked or stressed. That means that most of the time others will probably observe it. Addressing this by organizing activities often works better than confronting people with your observation.

Ready to go! Twenty employees from Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands joined forces during one of the largest running events in the world #damtotdamloop2017

Thank you, Marcel, for sharing with us best practices on how to create a thriving environment and culture. Also, how to build a great place to work.

About Marcel Ravenshorst: Marcel is SVP Human Resources at Basefarm. He has been working in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He is experienced with different levels of service providing, hosting and outsourcing. Marcel has high professional expertise in the fields of Business Development, Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Change Management, Outsourcing, Start-ups and HR Strategy.



Basefarm Greatest Place to Work

We have been working with employee satisfaction in order to improve as an employer for many years now. Since 2013 we do this in a structured way by using the methodology of Great Place to Work (GPW). The method focuses on Trust in Management, Pride in your work and the Relationship to your colleagues.


Basefarm Careers

At Basefarm you will become part of a positive, pleasant, and stimulating working environment. Your colleagues are genuinely interested in technology and its application to business; colleagues who have plenty of professional pride and integrity. We have a slogan, "nerds, systemized", and this says a lot about our internal culture. We continually strive to make each other better.

Look at our open positions here!