The idea of working with fewer suppliers to negotiate more favourable terms did not take centre stage when BAM decided to establish a central hiring desk. The main goal was to place the best professionals in the right positions. After a year and a half, this choice began to bear fruit.
Optimal deployment of external resources in BAM’s prestigious sea lock project in The Netherlands
Thomas Hopman stood at the construction site of the sea lock in IJmuiden, where he was interviewed about how BAM has organised the hiring of all its external resources. He proudly explained how the project is the largest in the world, a prestigious undertaking that aligns well with BAM’s many other projects. ‘Everyone here is proud of it, you can really feel it as you walk around.’ By ‘everyone,’ he does not just refer to BAM’s permanent staff. In a project organisation like BAM’s, external resources are just as crucial. The aim is clear: only the best professionals are engaged, and this must, of course, comply with the latest laws and regulations. ‘A significant amount of legislation has come our way in recent years,’ noted Hopman.
Establishment of the Flex Square brings efficiency and overview
In the early months of 2017, we proudly launched the ‘Flex Square’ – the central hiring desk for all flexible workers across BAM. Quite a revolution within the company, which was accustomed to working in a highly decentralised manner. That ‘entrepreneurial force’ is still retained, according to Hopman, but now with joint coordination. This way, efficiency can increase, and genuine insight and overview can emerge simultaneously. ‘How much were we hiring? We never knew it very precisely. But we know it better now,’ says Hopman in the interview.
Currently, a limited percentage of all requests at BAM are processed through this system. With the Flex Square, Hopman aims to support the business so that this can grow to 80-90 percent. ‘If we do what we are good at, namely hiring external resources, then the business can focus on what they are good at, namely building.’
First implement, then create support
The strategy: First implement, then create support. Using fewer suppliers, as many other organisations do, was never his main goal, said Hopman. ‘It wasn’t about making everything cheaper. But we want to make sure that we hire the best people. Anyone can sign up on the Flex Square, small or large. We don’t want to exclude anyone. For all I care, we do business with 2,000 suppliers, it doesn’t matter to me.’
The answer to overview and regulations in the hiring process
As long as there is an overview. And as long as it is done compliantly. The Flex Square uses the Nétive VMS Suite, and that is the answer to that, according to Hopman. Even though not all possibilities are optimally utilised. ‘But now, for example, with one press of a button, we can see the performance of the suppliers. Then you can have a much more substantive conversation with both the suppliers and the business. Who succeeds in filling that difficult position? What are the lead times? Who provides candidates with the best ratings? Why is this project leader 120 euros, while the average is 80 euros?’
Focus on business support
We look at everything we do to see how we can help the business. If a hiring manager always deals with one person, we can now say, ‘Fine, but have you considered this and that? Because we see that your colleagues do business with them, and they can also meet your requirements.’ That approach is now starting to pay off. We are now at a point where they increasingly say, ‘Leave it to the Flex Square, and it will be fine.’
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