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Ruud van Swieten: Our industry naturally has an extremely low threshold & is accessible to everyone

What brought you to where you are now?

Even during the facility management course I had a soft spot for the cleaning profession. During the holidays I had a part-time job in specialist floor maintenance. Later I started working for various cleaning companies and even spent a few years in the window cleaning business. In operational cleaning, it is the combination of “satisfaction upon delivery” and “technique from both chemistry and machines” that attracted/fascinated me. Later I naturally got to know the profession from many more perspectives.

How do you look at diversity within teams?

To be honest, it's not a theme for me. Our industry naturally has an extremely low threshold and is accessible to everyone. But within teams it is of course good to have differentiation, which is inextricably linked to respect for all participants.

What does it bring you? To begin with, an "open mind" is something you cannot rule out in advance. Diversity gives the opportunity to approach something from different points of view. I am responsible, among other things, for larger tenders. During a content design meeting, it is essential that everyone gets the space to share his or her vision. This means that diversity can really add value.

How do you promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?

I believe in equal opportunities for everyone. In our hiring policy, we consciously look at a proportional reflection. However, I must admit that a little more “color” could be added at management level. It will come, but emotionally we are a little behind here. -How do the employees experience it? By clearly promoting that everyone has equal opportunities and by designing processes transparently, employees will not easily feel left behind on the basis of their background. This does require awareness within communication.

What is your company doing about increasing impact?

At the highest level (Board of Directors and Management) we have a nice mix of men and women. And by making no distinction, this mix will also expand organically.


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