It’s like being part of a family

Anne de Middelaer

SHEQ coordinator
Euro Pool System
Belgium (Western region)

 

You either have the health and safety bug or you don’t. And I do. I know things like working conditions, the environment and quality standards are abstract ideas to most of my colleagues. And that’s perfectly understandable. It’s precisely why I put so much effort into raising people’s awareness of how safety relates to what they do, and what they need to be aware of with respect to quality standards. Once you understand the reasons for particular precautions, things run a lot more smoothly. My job is basically to motivate people, which is quite challenging, but also fun. 

Luckily, I'm a people person. Particularly as my role often involves acting as an intermediary between management and staff. Once something’s decided, management generally likes to see it implemented asap. However, workers need to be able to implement it safely, and it takes time and empathy to create the conditions for this to happen. 

Euro Pool System is quite a people-centred company. They don’t hire anyone solely on the basis of the job’s requirements; you need to also have the personal qualities that’ll make you feel at home at Euro Pool. Because working here is like being part of a family, and that creates quite a special atmosphere. 

I hadn’t expected such a familial culture when I first arrived, and it was a pleasant surprise. No hierarchical straitjackets or hidden agendas, no one gossiping. Very different from my previous places of work.  

I’ve seen people here practically move mountains for their colleagues. People are always willing to help or brainstorm with you, and no one thinks twice about paying you a compliment. I completed a big project a short while ago, and was quite proud of what I’d done. I handed it in, thinking that was the end of it. But it was sent up the chain, and the next thing I knew I’d received a message from Senior management: “Well done, Anne.” It’s small gestures like these that make you feel really appreciated. 

What took some getting used to? I’m working on my time management and planning skills. You need to work flexibly to function well at Euro Pool System. My schedule changes constantly. We’re growing so quickly that priorities need to keep shifting. But once you get used to this, you actually start to enjoy it. In fact, it can start to feel boring when the whole day unfolds exactly as planned.