Working with international talent - Royal Eijkelkamp
From requesting a visa to finding the right GP. Hiring expats can lead to a lot of extra admin – as the good people at global operator Royal Eijkelkamp know only too well.
Measuring instruments and sampling equipment for soil and water research have been at the heart of Royal Eijkelkamp's core business in Giesbeek. "We offer a large assortment of hand drills and sonic drill machines, pump, sensors, and telemetric solutions, among other things; products that we can also customise to the client's application", says HR manager Tessa van Enckevort. The business was designated as a true 'pearl' and of the most innovative businesses in our area, when it won the 'Parel van de Regio' Award – an initiative of The Economic Board – in 2020.
From Belgium to Chile
Royal Eijkelkamp supplies to a wide range of customers: from governments to water boards, and from drilling tot construction companies. "Besides our HQ in Giesbeek, we also have a location in Morrisville, USA. Furthermore, we work with local distributors in 90 countries and 5 continents."
The company also avails of the services of freelancers in various countries. "Our offices in Giesbeek are now also home to various expats from North-America, South-America and Europe", Van Enckevort says. "They are bringing knowledge and skills that we couldn't readily find in the Netherlands. This has to do with tightness of the labour market on the one hand, and with ongoing globalisation on the other. "Digital technology is making it increasingly easier – and more of a necessity – to operate internationally."
International talent can usually be found quite quickly thanks to Royal Eijkelkamp's extensive international network. Getting people to come to the Netherlands is a different story altogether. "From applying for a residence permit with IND (Immigration & Naturalisation Service, ed.) to opening a bank account; there is a lot that needs to get sorted before someone can start working with us in the Netherlands", says Van Enckevort. "We guide our expats through all these processes. That requires extensive playbooks and specific knowledge of laws and regulations. If there are delays in the procedure with the Immigration & Naturalisation Service, all other steps will also suffer delays. This might even have far-reaching consequences for the employee or our organisation."
That's why Van Enckevort is happy with the existence of The Life Net and the Expat Center. "Every person requires an individual approach, and each country of origin has its own customs and habits. It's great for us that we can spar about those with the representatives of The Life Net."
Additional safety net
The Expat Center offers an additional safety net on top of the things that Royal Eijkelkamp is already doing for expats. "We want both employees and their families to find their way in the area; for instance, with a job for the partner, a house in a comfortable neighbourhood where they can feel at home, and a fun sports club. You can't leave all that to the new arrival's colleagues."
Van Enckevort's advice to other companies is to have a company culture that is well attuned to international employees coming in. "Your staff members should be able and dare to speak English and be willing to embrace expats and any possible cultural differences that they might encounter."
Bring them along
This is going well at Royal Eijkelkamp. "Our employees enjoy bringing their international colleagues along to things and don't mind explaining how everything works. It can even lead to some pretty hilarious situations. Van Enckevort: "How do you, for instance, translate a carnival song to someone who's never before celebrated carnival? Laughing together creates a bond, and also lets you appreciate your own culture even more."