Preventing conflicts due to inflation: ‘Make staff a partner’ | sponsored

About 40% of all SMEs and 45% of all self-employed expect high inflation to have a major impact. A quarter of one-man retailers have already had to raise their own hourly rates, according to the latest BedrijvenMonitor from insurance company Interpolis.

To trust

An entrepreneur who recognizes these challenges is Colin van der Laan (42), director and co-owner of the West Frisian installation company of the same name from Zwaag. The family business mainly serves medium and large SME entrepreneurs in the wider region. Van der Laan provides complex installations and IT management to these customers, from design to 24/7 service and breakdown service.

Knowledge, reliability and involvement of employees are crucial at Van der Laan. People are central to the director. “I have not figured it out myself, it has been true ever since my grandfather started this company. He once said, “I’d rather lose all my money than the customer’s trust.” It’s about relationships. With customers, with suppliers and with employees. That is why we put quality over quantity. The team is more important to us than the individual. ”

Everyone on the payroll

Van der Laan works without a flexible shell: all 130 employees are on the payroll. A conscious choice: In this way, every employee is a real ‘Vanderlaner’ who knows the company culture and customers optimally. The disadvantage of this choice is that the capacity does not change so easily with the market. “Rapid expansion is difficult, and so is rapid contraction: If a project can’t start on schedule due to lack of materials, for example, you have all those people on the payroll.”

Van der Laan recognizes the conclusions of BedrijvenMonitor, but is not afraid of wage discussions. “It’s about how to communicate about it. The ‘boss against staff’ mood, I’m allergic to. If you share people, it will be a much nicer work environment. It ensures more involvement. Together you will find the best solution faster. ”


Van der Laan says he has not had to have any tough discussions yet. “We already reward over the agreement, because we as a team perform over the agreement, and because our customers pay us accordingly. But that customer must also be able to get it from somewhere. Otherwise he goes bankrupt and we no longer have a customer. ”

For the time being, customers understand price increases because, for example, materials are becoming more expensive. “Customers know they are paying for high quality service. We design installations together with them. Already in the initial phase, we think together about how, for example, we can keep operating costs as low as possible. ”


Issues such as remuneration, savings and fuel costs are openly discussed in periodic internal consultations. “Everyone’s ideas are welcome there, from smart planning to carpooling. Because why should you drive to a job with three buses, if you can also do it with one? ”

Private pain points can also be calmly discussed there. “Our people are well paid, and most colleagues have a company bus, so fuel costs for commuting are not such a problem. However, if your energy contract at home is about to expire, it can in some cases get in the way. If you talk about it, we can handle it wisely together. ”

Focus on safety

The growing uncertainty makes Van der Laan cautious. “We are deliberately aiming for more recurring service and maintenance work, as a permanent basis for our turnover, and do not want to grow too fast: on average one colleague a month.”

In addition, the company is committed to safety, accident and absence prevention with regular workplace inspections and a fitness program for employees over the age of 50. “When I came in here, people were proud that they worked structurally overtime. I saw it differently: Their overtime cost extra and it gave them too much pressure. We have started to organize it better. It’s nice to roll up your sleeves every now and then. But in principle, the work should be completed in 40 hours. ”

Support for entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, you work on realizing your dreams. Being a significant company, that’s what it’s all about. You want things to be properly arranged, for your employees and for yourself, so that you can do business safely: smartly, sustainably and without delay.

Doing business safely also means creating a safe work environment for your employees. With attention to staying in shape and open conversations with each other about challenges in society.

Interpolis therefore develops solutions and services together with experts to support entrepreneurs in this. It includes preventive services for the prevention of incapacity for work and absence, but also legal assistance insurance for legal assistance in professional disputes. A dispute with an employee about, for example, wages or a discussion about prices due to high inflation.

Find out more: read more here

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