'Then it must be artificial grass'
For a labour market that has been short of people for years, project manager Tatiana Ungureanu and managing director Hans Michels of Sioux Technologies have been working for the same employer for a remarkably long time: ten and thirty years respectively. That they receive a few invitations every month to come and talk about another job, does not bother them. ‘At Sioux I can make all my dreams come true.’
Are they averse to change? Absolutely not! Is it loyalty? Well... that does play into it. But anyone who thinks that is the only reason why Tatiana and Hans have been working at Sioux for so long is mistaken. Hans Michels says he was a shy twenty-something when he started as an intern at CCM, the mechatronics company of Sioux at the time. He managed to shake off his shyness as he climbed the career ladder: 'I've held different positions every 5-7 years and in between I also completed an MBA course. The fact that you get so much room to keep developing yourself is the reason why I am still here. Better employment conditions do not tempt me, I do not believe in greener grass at the neighbours - that is probably fake, I always think. Moreover, a bigger car or more salary do not make me happier. I want to have fun in my work.
Out of your comfort zone
With ten years of employment, Tatiana can also call herself quite stationary. Every mail she receives for an interview with a competitor, she answers with: Thanks, but not interested'. I would only leave here if I dream of something that I cannot realize within Sioux. But I still manage to push my limits here.' Tatiana started in 2012 as a senior software engineer in the automotive industry; now she is project manager of a part of the Rema project for ASML. This new role is totally out of my comfort zone, which I find very valuable. It is my job to understand what the customer needs and to determine, together with the team, the best way to achieve this. I have developed this skill over time: in the beginning, I was still quite reserved and I was more likely to be overwhelmed by team members who were more assertive than I was. Now I am more critical and ask: why do you think this is best? Nobody knows everything 100% certain.
Preferably by bus
The fact that her work matters is also an important motivator for Tatiana to stay at Sioux. We work on fantastic solutions here, for example for more effective cancer treatment. Within the Rema project I am leading a part of the development of a reticle masking module; that is a part of a machine that can produce smaller chips faster. The whole world is waiting for this. The relevance may be rather indirect, but it is important to me that my work ultimately means something to the world. Hans recognizes this drive among the new generation of employees: 'Many young applicants are idealistic. I recently had a job applicant who said: if you have lease cars, I won't come. He thought we should all travel by public transport'.
Now, abolishing the entire lease plan was going a bit far for Hans, but there is something else he can offer new employees: adventure. ‘If you want to switch to another market or role, then we just arrange that at Sioux. I don't know anyone here who is still doing exactly what he or she was trained for ten years later. Your study is an important basis, but our work is so specialized that an internal training is almost always required before you can get started. In our industry, it is impossible to master everything perfectly, which is why we continuously invest in training and learning on the job. Exploring new horizons is part of it.'
The fact that you are not immediately judged for mistakes during your adventure is, according to Tatiana, another reason why not only she, but also many colleagues stay at Sioux for a long time. When you step out of your comfort zone, you may feel uncomfortable at first because you don't know everything yet. That feeling is good; it keeps you on your toes: you learn from it, provided you get the room to try things out. That is possible here. Hans recognizes this: I felt that unease when I got my first hierarchical leadership position. Suddenly I was responsible for the job security and work happiness of a lot of nice people. That was quite exciting at first. But after so many jumps into the deep end, I dared to trust that it would work out.' According to Tatiana, the strong collegiality also plays a role in this. We are always ready to help each other out. You are never alone here, there is always someone willing to think with you - we don't use elbows. The turnover at Sioux is so low for a reason, Hans and I are definitely not the only ones celebrating an anniversary.'