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59 Summer 2017


Regional Managing Director

Jeroen Tiel

• Déhora Consultancy Group 30th anniversary • Charity Orange Ball tickets on sale


Advertisement Planet Car Lease

Bulletin Summer 2017 4





Editor’s note

6 INTERVIEW Jeroen Tiel – Regional Managing Director Poland and Eastern Europe at Randstad 10 NEWS FROM THE CHAMBER 14 SURVEY Poland in the assessment of foreign investors 15 COLUMN

MD Jeroen Tiel from Randstad Polska on Employer Branding Strategy


Staf Beems


Kis Florek - serial entrepreneur and coach


Does a car have a gender?


Huub Droogh

IGCC meets with Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki



Remco van der Kroft

28 INTERVIEW Déhora Consultancy Group celebrates 30 years on the market 31 COLUMN

Bartłomiej Piwnicki

Kris Florek: Dare to be yourself

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Editor’s note Dear members and friends of the Chamber, Over the past few months we have seen some positive macro-economic developments in the Polish economy. A week or so before this article was written, the preliminary data on GDP growth for Q1 was published that showed a y-o-y growth of 4.1 percent. At more or less the same time, Moody’s revised its rating for Poland back to stable from negative. Poland could be benefitting from increased economic growth in the Eurozone due to increasing trade with its neighbour Germany, and an increase in the inflow of EU funds is also another supporter of this growth. Although investors were worried about the effects of some of the policies of the current PiS government, the economy has maintained its steady growth. This resilience is now seen as positive and is giving confidence to investors.

Bulletin is the quarterly magazine of the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce. It gives a voice to our members and informs about the activities the Chamber undertakes. The views expressed in the columns are theirs alone. The editor-in-chief is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made by the columnists. Publisher: NPCC Managing Editor: Elro van den Burg Editor: Anna Kozińska Columnists: Huub Droogh Staf Beems Bartłomiej Piwnicki Remco van der Kroft Photos: Elro van den Burg Netherlands Embassy in Poland Advertisement management: NPCC Contact: +48 22 279 46 67


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However, there are also some remarks and concerns. Although the low unemployment rate is giving a boost to the economy and salary increases have led to an increase in consumer spending, there is the downside of a lack of employees especially in some regions around Poland. This is what we hear when we talk to larger production companies and representatives of temporary workforce agencies. We met with Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki on 17th May at the Intercontinental hotel at an event organised by the International Group of Chambers of Commerce, where our members got the chance to ask questions and give their views on the Polish economy. This was an excellent opportunity for our members to become more informed about some upcoming laws and hear some of the thinking behind the changes in the law that the government is making. The past few months have also seen a few changes within the Chamber, with Board members Pawel Mlicki and Jasja van der Veen having left the board. We thank both for their involvement and support of the Chamber over the past few years that was sometimes noticed, but more often was done outside the spotlight (Jasja since 2014 and Pawel since 2009). Jasja will stay on as a local board member in Łódź. He has switched positions with Sławomir Karasiński, who we welcome as a new board member in the Chamber and chairperson in the Łódź region. At the same time, we welcome Joanna Erdman onto our board, who is vice-president of ING Bank Śląski. At the moment we are busy preparing our annual flagship event, the Rijstaffel, which is scheduled for Saturday 9th September. There will be many surprises for you, including the totally new location of Soho factory, with fantastic entertainment, delicious Indonesian food and the chance to win some great prizes. As usual, it will be a wonderful evening and an excellent opportunity to entertain your friends, family and business partners. Make sure you make your reservations soon so as not to miss out. We hope to meet you on 9th September or at one of the other upcoming events. Are we getting it right? Let me know at Elro van den Burg Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce.



agenda 28 September 2017 Speed Business Mixer

Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce 6 June 2017 Business Drink Time: 18:30-21:00 Location: Hotel Hilton Grzybowska 63 Warsaw

8 June 2017 Foreign Direct Investment Debate Location: Kraków More info will be announced via our website

20 June 2017 Legal Morning with OKW Time: TBC Location: NPCC Bielańska 12 Warsaw

2 September 2017 IGCC Football Tournament More info will be announced via our website

5 September 2017 Business Drink Time: 18:30-21:00 Location: Embassy of the Netherlands Kawalerii 10 00-468 Warsaw

9 September 2017 Annual Charity Ball Location: Soho Factory Mińska 25 Warsaw

Location: Kraków More info will be announced via our website

28 September 2017 Automotive Picnic Location: Kraków More info will be announced via our website

3 October 2017 Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

5 October 2017 Automotive Picnic Location: Gdańsk More info will be announced via our website

October Trade Mission for Dutch investors Location: Poland More info will be announced via our website

November Transport Seminar Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

7 November 2017 Speed Business Mixer Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

Please follow our NPCC website: for an updated calendar issue 59



Employer branding is crucial in current times More and more companies are feeling the effects of the low unemployment rate in Poland. And the first to face them are the temporary workforce agencies. Jeroen Tiel, the new Managing Director of Randstad for Poland and Central Europe, explains how his company deals with these challenges.

of the other drivers as a mistake. Business-wise, I also like it here. The challenge that we have in Poland, which I didn’t expect to be so big, is the shortage of staff. The country has been doing well – there has been substantial economic growth, unemployment figures are declining, employment figures are rising, standing at 7.7% in April – but there also some political decisions that have been taken which make it rather unlikely that there will be more people available for the job market in the near future. Against the background of an aging population and high emigration, the lack of staff becomes a substantial issue for future growth rates.”

You have just arrived in Poland. What are your first impressions of the country?

Can you say something more about your personal background?

“My “My first impressions are good. Coming here from Sweden, having also lived in Denmark and originating from the Netherlands, I am now based in Warsaw, where I am also responsible for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, countries which I have also visited. What I have found here is a nice combination of different challenges. If you look at the culture, it is totally different, especially compared to my previous experience in Sweden. The major difference is connected to the different dimensions of national culture which Professor Geert Hofstede described so well. Sweden is a rather feminine type of society, while Poland is quite a masculine society. On a funny note, this is visible in traffic where Polish driving has a clear aspect of assertiveness which I did not experience at all in Sweden. I have already had two little accidents, neither of which were my fault, unless you consider my unawareness of the assertive driving style


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“I have been with the company for 21 years. The joke that I always tell is that that’s 20 years more than I expected. I started, like many in Randstad, as a consultant and my opinion at that time was: Surely it cannot be so difficult to bring workers and vacancies together? However, it turned out to be a very difficult job, but I really liked and enjoyed it. I was in the right place at the right time and with a little wind behind my back I have been working here for 21 years now, with 11 of those years spent abroad. Out of that, I had five and a half years in Denmark, five years in Sweden and now here in Poland for about 4-5 months.” And what is your impression of the country? “I have noticed that Polish people don’t jump into things, but rather they look first at how the wind is blowing. However, when you open up and people feel comfortable, then they are really engaged, and

focused on the targets and goals. I have also experienced that people really like to move forward. It’s important to be quite clear about what you expect. What I appreciate is that people show their emotions, both in terms of being happy but also being unhappy, which is nice. That also gives some extra flavour to the job, I would say.”

current times, when there is a shortage of labour on the Polish market. It is crucial to have a policy in place and to know what to communicate in order to find and keep the right people, because on this market, people get many offers. You have to have a good strategy and good execution of that strategy in order to have people coming to your company and staying for as long as possible.”

Can you give us an example? “I’ve already mentioned the two little car accidents I’ve had. In one of them, I was standing at some traffic lights and three cars behind me shunted into each other, and I was the last one hit. I have a Danish driving licence, a Dutch passport and I am working and living in Poland, but I didn’t have my insurance papers with me. This could have been a real cause for concern, but I was helped by the four guys who bumped into me. The last person was emotional and angry, mainly towards himself because he was the one who was going to be responsible. In the end, it turned out well and it proved to be an interesting experience.” But where is the emotional part in this story? “Well, the last person, the one who was responsible for the crash, was really annoyed and angry. He was kicking his tyres, showing everyone that he was having a really bad day. At the same time, the cooperation was great, solutions were found to deal with the fact that the cars had to be put safely aside and also to get round the language barriers. We had a nice chat together about life while we were waiting for the police and, all in all, it was a nice and very interesting experience on how to deal with a negative incident.” And this would be different in Sweden, for example? “Now I have to be careful here… In general, Swedish society tends to avoid conflict more, so you don’t see that there so much. You can still be angry, but you keep it more to yourself. The approach is indirect and quite humble. It is the same in business life; less direct, focused on consensus and preferably not ending up with a conflict. So if something happens, you deal with it in a decent and reasonable way and carry on.” Just before the summer, Randstad organised the Randstad Award, which was won by KGHM. Can you tell us something more about this award? “The Randstad Award is recognition of those companies that are perceived to have the best employer brand. This award is really close to our hearts, and in fact we now carry out our employer brand survey in 26 countries. We have been doing this survey for about 18 years now, with around 160,000 respondents in 5 continents. This is an independent survey, so our research provides interesting data on the population in the 18-65 age group, which includes students, employed people, the unemployed - the whole range, in fact. In Poland, we had almost 7000 respondents. We look for the trends and build a picture out of that, such as the trends that people look for when it comes to employers, the kind of perks they want to have or the kind of company culture that is important for them. And at the same time, we try to measure to what extent that has been achieved. Then you have a ranking and in each country you have different winners, which are those companies perceived by those surveyed as having the best employer brand. And an employer brand can be crucial, especially in

Conference on employer branding with Randstad In Poland nowadays, it is almost impossible not to have an employer branding strategy in place. Even small and medium enterprises need to have a plan on how attract and keep their best talent in a market where the opportunities for staff seem to be unlimited. During the business breakfast, Randstad Polska CEO Jeroen Tiel will discuss the results of the Randstad Employer Brand Research, which provides the insights you need to understand the drivers and motivators of employees and job seekers in Poland alike. These insights will enable you to shape or challenge your company’s branding strategy and talent attraction and retention programmes. Date: September Time: 08.00-10.00 Location: Warsaw, al. Jerozolimskie 134 RSVP:

And how are Polish companies doing in the current market? Are they doing enough? “When I look at the outcome of the survey, where we interviewed almost 7000 respondents, we can see that there are a couple of important things. One is salary and benefits, which ranks extremely high at the moment in the ranking for potential employers. Of course, everybody states that salary is important but that level wasn’t as high before as it is now. This is related not only to the market situation, but also to the desire to achieve a better standard of living. Secondly, we can see the importance of the work-life balance. Especially with the higher educated target group, we can see that a good balance between work and your private life and a pleasant location are important. It’s interesting to see that employers communicate something completely different. So if you’re asking me whether companies are doing it right or wrong, I don’t have a judgment call on that, but I do see that there is a difference and that employers are not always connected to their target group. What most companies communicate is that they have a sound and healthy financial situation, which of course is important but it’s not even in the top five aspects of what employees are looking for. There is therefore a mismatch between the important specifics that employees look for and what companies are communicating.” Can you tell us why KHGM won the Randstad Award in Poland? “KGHM won because they understood best what the needs and demands of their target group are and they were able to communicate their employer value promise in the best way.”

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Ball 2017

September 9, 18:00-02:30 Soho Factory Warsaw


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So the reason that KGHM won is that they understand very well what the market demands? “Yes, indeed, and especially the Millennials, who don’t choose a company but they choose the culture. They want to have a company where the work-life balance is at the right level, the salary and benefits are what they expect and there is a comfortable working atmosphere. As I said, there is a difference between unskilled labour and highlyeducated labour. The higher someone’s education, the greater the need for a good work-life balance, which is interesting in itself.” The Randstad Award has generated a lot of data on the job market. What are you going to do with this data? “First of all, we share that information with the market. We do this for the 150 biggest employers in the country. They can all have their own report about their company on what is expected from a candidate’s perspective and what is being communicated. We also share with them how they are performing in their specific industries. This is an overall view, but we can also look, for example, inside in the pharmaceutical sector: how is a specific company performing in the pharmaceutical sector? That’s very valuable information for those companies.” The unemployment rate in Poland is currently low at 7.7% in April and forecast at 6.4% until the end of the year. How do you see that? “Well, the figure itself is already quite low, but if you go one level deeper, and you take several areas into account, then it’s even more frightening. We have cities with unemployment figures of around 2% or even lower. And that creates stagnation as the labour supply is insufficient to enable companies to perform as they would like to. This is increasingly becoming an issue as Poland is also strong in attracting foreign direct investment, such as shared service centers, production or manufacturing plants and so on. There are a lot of opportunities in Poland, but there are also areas where the labour force simply isn’t present. So we are looking for the best solutions for our clients that face those problems and that includes offering foreign labour from countries such as Ukraine. We also advise companies to not only focus on finding staff, but also on how to retain them. You have to look at wages, which is a difficult balance as increasing these levels will make them more competitive with other companies in the region but, on the other hand, if wages continue to rise progressively, we will lose our competitive edge with regard to such countries as Romania or Slovakia.” What can the government do to make sure there is enough available labour? “This situation is a challenge and we have to find ways to have more workforce available for the labour market in Poland. Foreign labour is one solution, another is to enable the population in Poland to work more. There are some political choices being made which are decreasing the amount of potential labour, such as the 500PLN+ measure. Poland should, from my perspective, focus on increasing participation and not on decreasing it. This could also be achieved by rethinking the reduction in the retirement age. We should focus more on implementing part-time work in Poland, which is not popular in this country. Further investment in infrastructure is crucial because improving this will lead to a bigger reach in the labour market.”

How strong is Poland currently in comparison to other countries in the region and how big is the risk it could lose its competitive edge? “This issue is a very hot topic as we speak. Some companies have decided to increase wages in order to attract the right workforce. At the same time, if wages become the only competitive edge in the employee value proposition, in the end it will lead to a deteriorating competitive situation in the region for Poland. But it is not only about salaries. You also have to invest in the workplace, in onboarding, training and support, and a nice place to work in general. Those things count so people will not leave for a small amount but if it there is a significant difference, they will leave, given the current market conditions.” But this will have to end somewhere because labour in other countries will become relatively cheap compared to Poland? “There are a couple of things in play at this moment. First of all, the fact that there is a shortage right now also reduces the possibility of growth. So these things will balance each other out in the long run. Another development is that many companies are looking to organise their work in a different way. And then there is the possibility of increasing efficiency by using robotics and other ways of organising your work more efficiently.” You mentioned robotics and the frontrunners in this are South Korea and Germany, to name but a few. Poland is a little behind in this at the moment, so is that coming? “That will come to Poland as well. I am convinced about that. I was in this country 12 years ago, and when I look now, it’s unbelievable how fast everything has developed. If you look another 12 years from now, then this will probably look totally different again. At the end of the day, it is all about the bottom line. As long as salary levels, benefit levels or total costs of labour are competitive with robotics, then there is time for Poland to develop this robotics industry. I have still not been in Poland long enough to give a detailed overview, but I can only say that these solutions are really interesting, for Poland as well.” So we have a tight market, how is that for your company Randstad? “This is what we are good at, and we have been good at it for 55 years now. We have known situations with a surplus in demand and situations with a surplus in supply. It’s clear that we have a market now where we have shortages, in which we can add our services and our expertise. But to be honest, we also face the same challenges. We also have clients that have salary levels which are very low, and the total candidate experience is maybe not what we would hope for, and then we also see that our flexible workers are moving to other places because of these kinds of things. We use our insights and expertise in our processes in order to support our clients as best we can and always take that extra step. Together with our clients, we are extremely focused on creating a positive candidate experience. I will explain why we at Randstad are part of the employer value proposition of our clients as well - the way we work with our candidates, and support them and guide them to the assignment, are part of that experience. Candidates that do not accept the job are also ambassadors for us, but also for our clients, so it is really important to have this whole circle closed in a pleasant and professional way, even more so under the current market circumstances.”

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news and events

Automotive Business Drink at Bawaria Motors On 7th March, the NPCC organised its monthly Business Drink at the premises of Bawaria Motors at 47 Czerniakowska Street, an event attended by over 60 members. A warm welcome was given by Stefan van Herpen from Bawaria Motors, who explained the most important values and transition periods of the company. Further speeches were then made by the Ambassador of the Netherlands - Ron van Dartel - as well as Guusje Korthals Altes - Head of the Economy and Trade Department at the Embassy. We were brought up to date with news from the Embassy and our members were also invited  to get involved in the approaching activities and events .The official part of the evening was concluded by the Director of the NPCC - Elro van den Burg - and Operations Manager of the NPCC - Anna Kozińska who gave away 3 prizes for some lucky winners to enjoy: a weekend with the new

Stefan van Herpen from Bawaria Motors explains the core values of the company

Business Breakfast with New Members

The Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce has started a new tradition of organising Business Breakfasts for new Members. Therefore, on 13th March, we had an enlightening breakfast with those companies that have recently joined us. From our side, we explained our plans and upcoming activities while our members shared with us their reasons for joining the Chamber and what they expect from their journey with us. We would like to thank you all for sharing your thoughts so openly. We will follow up on all remarks. The event was also attended by KLM Polska who gave away two tickets to Amsterdam from any destination in Poland.

MINI Countryman or the new BMW 5 series sponsored by Bawaria Motors, as well as a basket of delicious Dutch specialties offered by Królestwo Serów. Our new members share their expectations of membership of the NPCC

Meeting between the IGCC and Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki investors operating on the Polish market, bringing together more than 3500 companies which altogether create about 1.5 million jobs in Poland. This meeting gave an opportunity to learn more about the status of projects related to the Plan of Responsible Development that was announced by Minister Morawiecki.

Representatives of the IGCC during the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

On 17 May 2017, Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic  Development and Finance, met with representatives and members of fourteen of the largest bilateral Chambers of Commerce operating in Poland: American, Austrian, British, Belgian, French, Spanish, Irish, Canadian, Dutch, German, Italian, Swiss, Scandinavian and Portuguese. The Chambers that were present at the meeting represent some of the largest foreign


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What is more, the Chambers also had the chance to receive answers to their questions concerning some of the most important issues for foreign investors, which included the future status, role and existence of Special Economic Zones, the reasons for Poland’s failure to join the euro zone, the problems connected to the declining unemployment rate, congestion in the processes of company registration procedures, tax collection, environmental issues, tenders in the construction sector and the reform of Polish trade offices abroad, etc. All these questions were asked from the perspective of investors doing business in Poland.

The role of communication with investors was also emphasised as an essential key to good cooperation as well as to maintaining Poland’s attractiveness as a place for foreign investment. The participants in the meeting expressed their openness for discussion and willingness to cooperate, including in the process of the internationalisation of Polish businesses on foreign markets.

Participants of the event had the chance to raise questions regarding the situation of foreign investors in Poland


news and events

NPCC video course

In May we finished a video course with Pablo Montana in Warsaw. Member companies which participated in the course learned how to record video and also about the basics of editing. The course took place at our premises over five morning sessions. We will soon be offering this course in Poznań for our members there. Our thanks go to Pablo for organising such a fascinating course.

Successful completion of the video course with Pablo Montano

Picnic in Poznań

Family cruise on the Warta River

We had a wonderful picnic event in Poznań at the end of May with our local circle. Attractions included a bouncy castle for the children, a grill and a boat trip down the Warka river. Planet Car Lease sponsored the event and gave away two weekends with one of their cars. Piet Koppert also celebrated his birthday during the event. Thank you to Tomasz Wielgus for organising everything along with Anna Kozińska.

Business breakfast on the political climate

On 2 March the NPCC organised a breakfast for Dutch entrepreneurs, hosted by the Netherlands Embassy, about the current political and economic situation in Poland. Dutch correspondents Jenne Jan Holtland from de Volkskrant and Ekke Overbeek from Trouw, as well as the Netherlands Ambassador Ron van Dartel, talked about recent political developments and their influence on the business climate in Poland.

Discussion on the economic situation in Poland at the Dutch Embassy

Speed Meeting with Business Mixer entrepreneurs Meeting in Poznań in Enschede with Dutch entrepreneurs in Kraków We are always working hard to bring business opportunities in Poland to the attention of entrepreneurs from the Netherlands.

Together with Ben van de Vrie, chairman of the NPCH in the Netherlands, Elro van den Burg gave a presentation to a business audience in Enschede.

Participants of the SBM give their elevator pitch

The Speed Business Mixer on 9th March was attended by more than 120 participants. Guests were divided into groups three times and they had the possibility to talk for two minutes about what their company does and what they are looking for. After the official part of the evening, the guests had the opportunity to present their companies, exchange business cards, make new contacts and talk about products and services both sought and provided. The companies taking part in the meeting represented a variety of business sectors. The Business Mixer was sponsored by CLIP Group and SMM Legal.

In addition to the NPCC, representatives of the Netherlands Embassy, Paiz and the Polish Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands were also present. Integrating the Dutch Community in Kraków

Ben van de Vrie and Elro van den Burg explain businees oppotunities in Poland

We had an exciting visit and a number of valuable meetings in Kraków with around a dozen entrepreneurs and businesspeople who inspired us to set up an NPCC chapter in that region. We sent out a Facebook invitation for a mixer that evening and, as a result, we met many more Dutch and Polish people who told us they would love to come to events organised by the Chamber.

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news and events

Speed Business Mixer in Łódź sponsored with Dutch kremówki

The NPCC, along with 5 other chambers, had the pleasure to co-host the 5th Speed Business Mixer in Łódź Special Economic Zone. The Business Mixer took place on 27th April and gathered together 160 companies – with more than 200 participants in the networking section. Since the mixer took place on King’s Day, we sponsored the event with 200 orange kremówki which are known in the Netherlands as Tompouce pastry. After the official part of the evening, which took one hour, the guests had the opportunity to present their companies, exchange business cards, make new contacts and talk about products and services either sought or provided. We had the opportunity to listen to Artur Partyka and Mieczysław Nowicki (Olympic medallists), who told us how to set and achieve goals in sport, and much

more besides. Partners and sponsors of the event were invited to a show of molecular gastronomy, where we were able to admire the use of liquid nitrogen, prepare desserts together and taste some wonderful molecular meals.

Board member - Jasja van der Veen addresses the audience during the SBM

Planet Car Lease signs NPCC sponsorship

Planet Car Lease opens new headquarters On 6th April, the NPCC team had the pleasure to take part in the opening of the headquarters of our main sponsor – Planet Car Lease. The opening was performed by His Excellency Mr Ron van Dartel - Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Van Dartel mentioned the many different markets that Planet Car Lease is operating on and appreciated the fact that although Planet had only recently started, Van Vliet and his team are already for such a long time operating and investing in Poland. Also participating in the event was Natalia Czerwonka, Olympic multi-medallist in long track speed skating. The NPCC sponsored the opening of Planet Car Lease’s new office, providing some delicious beer to add to the atmosphere of the event.

From left to right: Eric van Vliet from Planet Car Lease, Elro van den Burg and Remco van der Kroft from the NPCC officially sign the contract regarding main sponsorship of the NPCC in 2017

During the opening of the Planet Car Lease office, Eric van Vliet - Chairman of Planet Car Lease - and Elro van den Burg - Director of the NPCC - officially signed an agreement for the main sponsorship of the NPCC in 2017. By doing so, Planet Car Lease becomes very visible in all the publications of the Chamber.


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“We are very grateful that a Dutch company like Planet Car Lease takes one of the main sponsorships. It tells something about a company when they invest in their stakeholders already in an early stage of the business when it is less sure where the venture will go to”, says Elro van den Burg.

Ambassador of the Netherlands HE Ron van Dartel and Chairman of the Board at Planet Car Lease, Eric van Vliet, cut the ribbon at the new headquarters


news and events

UEFA Final in two Polish cities During the UEFA Europa League final between AFC Ajax – Manchester United on 24 May, the Dutch communities in Warsaw and Łódź created their own fan zones in a joint undertaking involving the NPCC, Poolshoogte and Hol van de Leeuw. Participants watched the match wearing Ajax shirts and the NPCC donated 2 beer kegs (Warsaw) and a bottle of excellent whiskey (Łódź). Key ingredients in the event were the lively atmosphere, with all the fun and emotion generated by sport, along with being able to watch Dutch TV on the big screens. Around 70 people gathered at the two venues to watch the match and we would like to thank

Business Drink at the National Museum On Tuesday 9th May, the NPCC organised a Business Drink at the special venue of the National Museum in Warsaw. Around 60 friends and members of the Chamber participated in the event. Sponsor of the Business Drink was BGŻ BNP Paribas. Their economist, Michal Dubyla gave an interesting presentation on the state of the Polish economy. After his speech, he took some questions from the floor and we received some eye-opening answers.

Poolshoogte and Eric van Vught for helping to set up the Dutch TV broadcasts.

The Dutch community enjoys the football match AFC Ajax – Manchester United

The opening speech was delivered by Guusje Korthals Altes, Head of the Economic Department at the Dutch Embassy, and Elro van den Burg, Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce.

meet, get to know something about the economic climate in Poland, admire some art and make some valuable contacts with other business people.

After the speeches the guests had the possibility to admire a collection of paintings by Polish artists from the 19th century. The tour guides talked about the history of the paintings, which enabled us to understand their background a little better. After the official part of the evening, the guests had the possibility to taste some Dutch cheese from Królestwo Serów as well as the catering specialties arranged by the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. It was an excellent event where guests could

Guests of the Business Drink enjoy the exhibition of Polish artists from the XIX century

Speed Business Mixer in Gdańsk Commerce, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber, the French-Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish-Polish Chamber of Commerce and also the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone.

Organisers of the Speed Business Mixer in Gdańsk

The Speed Business Mixer on 25th April was organised by six bilateral Chambers of Commerce: the German-Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Austrian-Polish Chamber of

It was a truly unmissable opportunity to get to know each other, exchange contacts and identify areas of mutual cooperation – so it was no wonder that there were so many applications and the hall of Gdansk Science and Technology Park was absolutely packed. Clear rules, a defined time limit for presentations, changing places – all were done with business precision.   Different industries, different sized businesses, but

with one common goal: development. The event was co-sponsored by KLM - the best provider of flights between Poland and the Netherlands.

Participants of the event exchange business cards

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Survey: EU and qualified workers vs stability and predictability Poland is attractive to investors due to its highly-qualified employees, wide availability of local suppliers and European Union membership, whilst the lowest-scoring factors, according to foreign companies, are political and social stability, and the predictability of economic policies – these are the results of the 12th Economic Survey carried out by the German-Polish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, in cooperation with the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce and twelve other bilateral chambers in Poland operating within the International Group of Chambers of Commerce. The survey was carried out among 369 foreign companies operating in Poland. EU membership, qualified staff and local suppliers are the factors driving Poland’s attractiveness The survey was based on a total of 21 investment attractiveness factors. Just like last year, EU membership and employee qualifications are the two highest-rated factors, according to foreign companies operating in Poland. The quality and availability of local suppliers is getting better year by year, taking third place. Fourth position in our survey is the adequacy of higher education, with the last top-five factor being the productivity and motivation of employees. Better transparency of public tenders, worse evaluation of legal safety and the legal flexibility of employment, fewer available employees In comparison with last year, the 2017 survey shows a better evaluation of both the transparency of public procurement law (which moved up four positions in the ranking of attractiveness factors) as well as the effectiveness of the fight against corruption and economic crime. Compared to last year, the score for legal safety dropped significantly. In an open question, entrepreneurs highlighted that laws, including the laws regulating the functioning of sectors, are passed too quickly and without reliable consultations with the business sector. The factors of the legal flexibility of employment and the availability of employees also scored less in 2017. Lower evaluation for political and social stability as well as predictability of economic policies Similarly to 2016, the lowest-scoring factors are political and social stability, as well as the predictability of economic policies in Poland. Political and social stability had previously ranked 6th among the


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investment attractiveness factors in 2015, but it fell to 20th place in 2016 and is still going down in the ranking, with only 2.39 out of five possible points, in the eyes of foreign investors operating in Poland. Like last year, 21st and last position is held by the predictability of economic policies, with 2.24 points. Current condition of the economy and future prospects The vast majority of the 2017 Economic Survey respondents see the current condition of the Polish economy in a positive light. Over half (54.3%) assessed it as satisfactory, and 32.1% as good. A negative opinion was expressed by 13.6% of the surveyed companies. In the opinion of over half of the respondents (54.6%), the prospects for the Polish economy will remain unchanged in comparison with 2016. One fifth of respondents (21.7%) assessed the prospects as good, and 23.6% as bad. Company revenues and investments, employing staff The majority of surveyed foreign companies in Poland (59.1%) predict that their turnover in 2017 will increase in comparison with last year. One third (32.0%) foresee no change and almost 9% forecast a decrease in turnover. 45% of the companies plan to increase employment. For almost half of the companies (49.1%), the number of employees will remain similar to last year while, in comparison with 2016, a considerably lower percentage of companies plan to reduce employment (9.4% in 2016 vs. 5.7% in 2017). What is more, the entrepreneurs predict a salary increase of 5% on average in 2017. The percentage of companies declaring higher expenditure on investment dropped by 3.5pp, from 36.0% to 32.5%. Poland second in the European ranking For 369 foreign companies operating in this country, Poland is the regional leader when it comes to investment attractiveness. Apart from the foreign investors operating here, Poland and the other CEE countries were evaluated by 1365 German investors operating in 15 other markets of the region. In 2017, similarly to 2016, Poland ranked 2nd in the European ranking (behind the Czech Republic) with a score of 4.09 out of a possible six points, which means that the gap to the Czech Republic, which scored 4.13 points, has shrunk to as little as 0.04 points. The remaining top-ten countries are: Slovakia, Estonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania.

Column Staf Beems

supermarket manager running around the shop giving instructions to his staff on how to fill the shelves?

Entrepreneur and owner of Silesia Consulting

I recently read an article about football coaches. I read about Rinus Michels, ‘The General’ as he was called, who managed Barcelona, Ajax and the Dutch national team. He explained to the journalist his tactic, of letting his players decide for themselves during the match about tactics and changes. Coming back to the new generation of football coaches - and maybe as well the new CEOs - you see that they are completely unable to manage their team. A coach studies the team he’s playing against. A CEO studies the market in which he wants to sell his products or services. In other words, surprises are more or less impossible. But what do we see? From the first minute, the coach is running like an idiot up and down the touchline in the illusion that he can reach his players in a stadium with more than 40,000 screaming fans. My conclusion in that case is simple. He is not a good coach at all, but he is insecure and would be better off joining a pop group on the stage. Players need a coach who has confidence in the quality of his players and players will not perform better because of an over-acting coach. It’s the same in a company.

Tactics during the match It’s a couple of weeks ago and I am sitting - frequent readers of my column will know this opening - on my terrace. My telephone rings. I see that it is my old sales manager Piotr, with whom I worked at Plasticon in Bytom. He is always positive, respectful, eager to learn and, most of all, full of dedication. Not a so-called L4 type! After I left Plasticon, he continued to work there but a few years ago he changed jobs and joined another international company. Twice a year we had contact, though we were not friends. In business, I believe that you should avoid having social contacts that are too close. When Piotr asked my advice about changing his position, I had advised him to do so. He was not yet 40 years old; in other words, his whole future was in his hands and you should always decide yourself about your own career. His message now was that he needed my advice. A new CEO had recently been appointed and it was proving difficult to communicate with him (he wasn’t Polish, unlike his predecessor). His impression was that this new person was not happy with his transfer to Poland and saw too many bears on the road. And even worse, he behaved as if he couldn’t trust any of his Polish colleagues. ‘What to do?’ he asked me. ‘What can I do?’ was my counter question. We agreed to meet. He explained to me that his boss acted like one of the modern new football coaches. When he gave an instruction/order, he came back after 30 minutes to check what he could expect or what Piotr had prepared or found out in the meantime. In my observation, it was a ”typical case of a person breathing down your neck”. You see it often when managers are not strong enough. Furthermore, the CEO complained that Polish workers were always asking stupid questions. It’s possible, but is that not proof that the company hasn’t made clear what they expect from their staff? I see this behaviour more and more often, especially when watching football matches. Guardiola is maybe the best - or worst - example, but there are more of these ”crazy behaving” colleagues. Moreover, these supposedly excellent coaches can only be successful when they are allowed to buy new players. I fully agree that football cannot be compared a hundred percent with business but I do see some parallels. As a manager, your first task is to make your partners/players better. Give them responsibility, give them time, allow them to make mistakes and never - I repeat never - manage people by fear. That is again proof that the CEO is insecure. Have you ever seen a

The sales force, production team, logistics department etc. should be well prepared to do their job. So give them freedom, and the moment they know what they have to do, they will do so. But do not keep checking on them all the time. When I was manager of the ANWB (Travellers Association) Emergency Centre in Holland and we played our ”matches” during the busy three months of the summer season, I had no appointments. I did not make time for all kinds of meetings, but I was in the office for my boys and girls and they automatically came to me to ask for help/advice/understanding. The same happened with my staff in the offices abroad. They are supposed to know the conditions of the country where they had to work. Who am I to tell them during the ”match” what they should do? It is only proof that I (and that counts for every manager) did not do my homework well enough. Managing a team is always about - and I repeat - giving them freedom. My old colleague and I discussed my management style and I sensed that he needed a coach/manager like I was during our time together. Of course, I was not in a position to suggest that I could come to his company, talk to his new CEO, explain my rules, share with him my experience and solve the problem. When I was the CEO there, I would not be very happy if an outsider came in to tell me how I had to manage the company. You can only offer ”help” when the ”patient” is open for that help. When you go to a doctor, you must be ready to explain to them where the pain is. When you see, as a manager, that you are not able to manage the company correctly, you must ask for ”help” from your head office and/or the company should offer you that help. What’s vital in this situation is clever ”self-reflection”. When you know what your handicap is, you are one step closer to the solution.I advised Piotr to talk to his CEO. Try to arrange an open professional discussion without any emotion, not in the office but in a friendly atmosphere. He did so and the outcome was that I was invited to join a second meeting with the two of them. I explained how it is to work for the first time in a country where you don’t know - in his case - the rules of cooperating, the mentality and other typical Polish habits. They promised to change their way of working together and I hope it will work. And finally, do not copy the Guardiolas and others. Be yourself, have self-criticism and remember that you are never too old and/or too high in an organisation to ask for ”help”. The old man has spoken. Enjoy the summer.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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The biggest challenge is to take action Kris Florek is a serial entrepreneur, originally from Sieradz, Poland, who coaches people and organisations to achieve a personal or business breakthrough. He is also author of the book “Dare to be yourself”. Why did you decide to leave Poland and move abroad? Kris Florek: “It was just a spontaneous action. Actually, in the place where I’d been raised and had been living, in Sieradz, there was no positive environment and no positive people around me, just negativity, and it was also not so easy due to my parents having serious financial issues. Basically, I didn’t have any ideas or plans for what I wanted to do in the future. But I wanted to change one thing: leave the negativity behind and create something positive in my life. What is more, I wanted to start something new, to experience something different, and at that moment when I had the opportunity to leave, I didn’t think twice. It was not really about the money, it was more about learning and experiencing something new.”

cleaner there for 4 months, but they also didn’t pay me. My other sister was living in the Netherlands and she offered me a place to sleep, and that’s how I ended up in the Netherlands.” What happened after that? “It was not easy, because when you go abroad and you don’t speak any language other than Polish, it’s difficult to communicate with people. So I started to learn some English, just to be able to ask for a job. During the first 4 months, I didn’t even go out of the house, because I was too afraid of rejection. Finally, I stopped lying to myself and just hiding in these negative thoughts. And that’s the first thing I learned in the Netherlands – “You don’t have it at hello, but you can always get it” (nee heb je, ja kun je krijgen). Learning this one quote was my first breakthrough, and then I also started learning Dutch by listening to songs, writing the lyrics down, translating them and then singing them.

“The biggest challenge is to take action and use the opportunities that appear every single day. You need to believe in yourself”

What was the breakthrough moment in your career? “Actually, there were a few. After finishing school, I moved to Szczecin where I was studying and working in a big supermarket, stacking shelves. Unfortunately, after 4 months, I hadn’t received any money and I got ripped off, so in order to earn some money I started to sell my own stuff. I sold my music player to pay my bills, but it was still not enough, so I went to my sister in Germany. I worked as a hotel


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Finally, one day I decided to go to one of the restaurants in Den Haag, and I was very determined. I asked the owner if there were any vacancies, which there weren’t, but I said, “If you let me work for you one week for free, I will show you that I am the best cleaning person your restaurant has ever had.” By that time, I had already learned that if you say to Dutch people that something is for free, they will never refuse. After a week of working there, I was told they had never had anybody so good at cleaning. That’s how I got my first job and it was actually the first success in my life. After 6 months of living in the Netherlands, one of our neighbours approached me asking if I could paint his house. At first, I didn’t know anything about that as I had never painted in my life, but I saw

an opportunity and in two weeks I had learned about painting by using Youtube videos on the internet. I also went to building stores, asked for advice and looked at how other painters did the job. A little later, I got the same request from another neighbour, then from another, and on the 5th job I saw a company that was changing the wood on the outside of the house, so for the 6th neighbour I suggested that I could do that also. Before I knew it, in one holiday period, I had painted all the houses on the street and that is how I actually started my first company in renovation.”

your decision. No-one can tell you what or how you should do something. The biggest challenge is to take action and use the opportunities that appear every day. You need to believe in yourself and not listen to people who are trying to stop you by telling you negative things, that you are not able to achieve your goals. That’s the big challenge. Just go for it!”

How did you come up with your idea for Patat & More, your second company?

“There are two things that are really important in order to achieve success in your business and personal life which I learned in the Netherlands.

Are there any cultural differences in this respect between Polish and Dutch people?

“I had already had the idea in my mind for over 10 years. When I came to the Netherlands, I stayed there because I fell in love with the country, with the mentality, with how the people talk and how they do business. There was something that I had never seen in Poland while I was living there. And like most people I like fried things and I saw so many of them being sold on the streets, but not in Poland. I am a big fan of French fries, so in 2015 I started the company in Poland. However, the idea was not only to sell fries, but to merge what I had learned from Dutch people with my Polish knowledge. When you look at the market today, you see some Belgium fries, but there is no one who is selling Dutch fries.” Today, apart from having two companies, you are also a business coach. Why did you decide to follow this path too? “Once I met Tony Robbins, one of the biggest coaches in the world, who just shows people how to change their mindset to create something positive and how to achieve their goals. At that same event in 2011, I saw many famous speakers such as Richard Prince and Alan Sugar. I just loved the way they approached people, how positive they were about life, business and everything around them. At that moment I said to myself: ‘One day I want to stand on this stage and also motivate and inspire people. Somehow I got connected with a professional speaker agency in London where I learned how to speak on stage and perform public speaking. Finally, after 3 years, I gave a speech on the stage at the National Achiever Congress in front of 7000 people. I was motivating and inspiring a large crowd of people, which was another goal of mine that had come true. Initially, I also wanted to share my knowledge with both Polish and Dutch people in the Netherlands, because I know that there are many chances and opportunities, but not everyone sees them. I also created some business models and I just wanted to share them with others. I believe that I would be selfish if I didn’t do that. What is more, I always say: ‘What will happen if I am not here tomorrow?’ I just want to leave something behind, because I know that what I have learned can be of help to others.” What do you find is the biggest barrier that people struggle with in their careers? “I think that the main issue that people have is believing in themselves. They are all simply afraid. They don’t want to start anything and before they start they already think that it’s not going to work. That is a pity. It is not something that should stop people, because trying something is the only way to understand if you can really achieve it.” What kind of remedy do you have for those people? “We are surrounded by opportunities, every single day! The question is what you do with them. Everything depends on

Kris Florek explains to the attendees how to achieve their goals

The first one is “win-win”. I learned in Poland only “win-lose” – when you win, I lose and when I win, you lose. In the Netherlands, I learned that the only way to get more and create bigger and go for more is just by working together, so you win, then I win, and together we can achieve much more. And the second thing is that Dutch people have this word called “gunnen”. It means that someone wishes you to have the best; it’s the opposite of jealousy. And this is what I am going to write in my new book in Poland, which is probably going to be called “Gunnen”. It is about how important it is to work and set goals together in order to create successes and make them bigger.” What would be your advice for people who have just started their businesses? “It is important to believe in yourself. And don’t focus on the competition and complain about that, but try to change your business and do things even better than others do. So do not complain, but learn something from the competition or work with them, because together we can achieve much more. And believe in yourself and your products. This will have a big impact on the people you meet and the success you have in your business.” Are there any new projects that you are currently working on? “My first book “Be Yourself” was published in the Netherlands a few months ago, in which I explained about the Polish mentality and what Dutch people can learn from Polish people. In my second book, which will be issued in Poland this summer, I explain how Dutch people think and what we, as Polish people, can learn from them to create more value and more success in our lives. What is also important is that all the money I make from selling my books goes to charity – helping kids without families or from pathological families. Because when I was a kid myself, no-one gave me a chance. I hope that my efforts will help some of those kids to start something, just like I did.”

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from our members

Philips Poland – Setting up a network of modern labs

Philips Poland and Silesian University of Technology join forces to create innovative technologies in the area of biomedical engineering

Philips Poland is the strategic partner of the Silesian University of Technology in a project creating the Silesian Engineer Support of Medicine and Sports Centre at the Biomedical Engineering Department of the Silesian University of Technology. An agreement was signed on 13 March in which Philips Poland declared it would make a contribution equal to 20% of the value of the project, which includes modern technologies and funds. “The Silesian Engineer Support of Medicine and Sports Centre is a network of modern laboratories which will be created at the Biomedical Engineering Department of the Silesian University of Technology jointly with Philips. Research concerning innovative technologies in the area of biomedical engineering will be conducted there” – said Prof. Marek Gzik, dean of the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Silesian University of Technology. The Centre will be created on the basis of the Assist Med Sport Silesia project, which is on the list of key projects of the Silesia Voivodeship. The project worth PLN 90 million is due to be implemented as part of the Operational Programme for the years 2014-2020. A contribution of 20% towards the project will be provided by Philips Poland. Philips is a global


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leader in the area of medical technologies and focuses on the improvement of human health, offering better health results. Scientific research focused on developing new medical technologies and products will be conducted under the project. “The largest opportunity for the development of medicine lies in innovations associated with diagnostic equipment as well as effective treatment technologies. We are proud that we can be the partner of such an important institution and contribute to the development of Polish research. Their aim is to improve patient care by implementing modern applications for monitoring the health status of patients and treatment processes” – said Reinier Schlatmann, CEO Philips Central Eastern Europe. “We care about the development of this Polish and Dutch partnership. It allows the transfer of know-how that constitutes a definite advantage for Polish students and young scientists. Besides, the Silesian University of Technology’s employees have unique technological knowledge, especially when it comes to biomedical engineering. I am convinced that this knowledge, in combination with our potential in the area of technological innovations in the field of healthcare, will contribute to the development of a specialized

healthcare system that will benefit, above all, the patients” – added Schlatmann. It is the patients who will ultimately benefit from the cooperation between the Silesian University of Technology and Philips Poland. With an ageing population, a limited number of hospital beds and a limited number of specialist doctors, it is necessary to implement solutions which will improve the treatment processes from diagnostics, through hospitalization, to home treatment. The project will be implemented using EU funds as part of the Regional Operational Programme of the Silesia Voivodeship for the years 2014-2020.

Project of the Silesian Engineer Support of Medicine and Sport Centre


from our members

Energy Match prize donated to WVM Energy Match, since 2016, has been contributing whenever possible to the Warsaw Volunteer Mission by supplying free electricity to those in need a gesture the van Dartels very much support. At the annual Charity Rijsttafel Ball held last year, 87,000 PLN was raised for the Akogo? Foundation, an organisation which supports children in a coma. The money made it possible to buy new equipment which allows even more therapies to be offered to children in hospitals.

From left to right: Daniel Bleker (Energy Match) Michael Murphy (Warsaw Voluntary Mission), Ambassador HE Ron van Dartel

Ron and Brigitte van Dartel have donated the prize they won at the annual Rijsttafel Ball to the Warsaw Volunteer Mission (WVM), a non-profit charity that provides material, emotional and spiritual help to families in crisis. During the Charity Rijsttafel Ball in 2016, Ambassador Ron van Dartel and his wife Brigitte won one of the top prizes in the raffle: one year of free

electricity and gas at home. This prize has been donated during the annual ball by Energy Match since 2013. The couple have most generously passed on this free energy voucher to the Warsaw Volunteer Mission. Ron and Brigitte van Dartel decided to donate their prize to this charity because

KLM launches new flight connection Fly with KLM from Gdańsk to Amsterdam and back

Brigitte van Dartel winning the prize during the Rijsttafel evening

cities in the KLM network are now closer to you! From Gdańsk, KLM offers excellent connections to the following cities:

Fly from Gdańsk to Amsterdam and the world! From 15 May 2017 KLM has a daily flight connection between Gdańsk and Amsterdam.

Atlanta, New York, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Shanghai, Singapore, Xiamen, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and also in Europe to Stockholm, Barcelona, Brussels, Paris, Düsseldorf, Rome, Florence, Geneva, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Manchester, Riga, Stavanger, Edinburgh, Milan, Kristiansand and Linkoping.

Discover the city of tulips and bicycles or continue on your journey out into the wider world! Over 210

For further information or to make a reservation, visit


Moving Moments Bulletin

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News and Activities from the Embassy of the Netherlands Tourism sector investments The Embassy has noted growing interest from the Netherlands in investments and entrepreneurship in the tourism and leisure sector in Poland. A planned seminar on this subject had to be cancelled, unfortunately, but there are two recreation projects that plan to be operational in Poland in the near future. 1) T  he Polish Majaland theme park - an initiative of Dutch investor Momentum Capital in partnership with the Plopsa Group, the theme park division of Studio 100. Majaland is the first theme park at Holiday Park Kownaty, a 205-hectare recreation area for all ages. Holiday Park Kownaty, located between Berlin and Poznań, is situated close to an exit of the A2 highway which runs from Berlin to Warsaw. The recreation area will comprise connected theme parks and facilities, including hotels and a holiday village. Contact details can be found at: http://

2) SplashVillage, a holiday village to be located in the West of Poland just across the border from Germany, is a Dutch initiative with a British investment company behind it. They are currently speaking to and looking for partners (investment or construction) to start building in the second half of 2017. SplashVillage is a holiday village modelled on the Center Parcs concept, a village where family members of all ages can find activities to enjoy without having to leave the premises, with facilities typically including a tropical dome with swimming pool, an artificial lake, a plaza, a spa and outdoor activities.

Students in Warsaw In recent months, a growing number of different groups of students (from the hogescholen in Leeuwarden, Rotterdam and Delft and the universities of Amsterdam and Twente) have been visiting the Embassy. The students have been keen to learn about a broad range of topics, such as the political situation in Poland, relations between the Netherlands and Poland and business opportunities in Poland. They want to hear more about (economic) diplomacy in practice, how the Embassy supports Dutch businesses to find their

way onto the Polish market and the reality of doing business here. The NPCC often joins in with these presentations when students have a special interest in business and the economy. We are expecting several more of these visits in the months to come. If you are interested in meeting these students, discussing employment or intern opportunities or sharing your points of view about a specific topic, we would like to invite you to join us.

Soft Fruit Seminar The Dutch Embassy in Warsaw, together with RVO and Rabobank, will organise on 8 June 2017 a seminar on developments in the Polish soft fruit sector, where the strengths and weaknesses of Polish soft fruit production will be discussed, as well as the threats

and opportunities this can present to the Netherlands. This seminar should be seen as preparation for a possible Holland pavilion at the Polish soft fruit fair TSW in January 2018.

Baptizing the Royal Łazienki We all know that Łazienki Park and the Netherlands have strong connections: from the creation of the park in the 18th century and Tylman van Gameren’s original historic influence to the presentday Dutch Garden in Łazienki. This connection is like a living tree, with new leaves continually appearing. Another new leaf has just been added: on 12th May, a new tulip was baptised in Łazienki Park with the name ‘Royal Łazienki’. With the baptising of this tulip, two Dutch and Polish national treasures have come together and the expansion of the collection of tulips to include the ‘Royal Łazienki’ is a beautiful sign of the friendship that exists between the Netherlands and Łazienki Park.


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Tulips are grown on 13,000 hectares of land in the Netherlands and approximately 2 billion cut tulips are exported worldwide every year. That’s why the Netherlands is often called ‘land of the tulip’.

Cultural calendar June - August All around Poland throughout the year there are cultural events with a connection to the Netherlands: concerts, book presentations, film screenings, stage performances and exhibitions. They take place in large concert halls and museums as well in small clubs or at the Embassy. Many of them are open to the public but some are restricted and, for instance, only for students or by invitation. The cultural connections between Poland and the Netherlands are flourishing. With over 100 events a year, not only

do they contribute to the image of the Netherlands in Poland, but they also give us an opportunity to ‘Stay in touch with the rest of the Dutch’. Whenever possible, the Embassy collects information about these events and puts information about them on its Facebook page a couple of days beforehand. However, you might like to hear about them a little earlier, for personal as well as professional reasons. With this in mind, therefore, in cooperation with the Embassy we present here a selection of events taking place in the coming months

17.05 - 28.06 - Warsaw Exhibition: In the Workshop of a Netherlandish Master. Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Collection of the National Museum in Warsaw ‘In the Workshop of a Netherlandish Master’ is the largest exhibition of Dutch and Flemish drawings from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw ever presented in Poland. Among the collection, visitors will find drawings by artists such as Pieter (I) Coecke van Aelst, Maerten de Vos, Lodewijk Toeput, Jacques (II) de Gheyn, Peter Paul Rubens, Theodoor van Thulden and Ferdinand Bol. Ordinarily stored in the Department of Prints and Drawings due to the frailty of the techniques and materials, these works will now make a rare appearance for the wider public.

A section of the exhibition will be devoted to underdrawings – preparatory sketches made directly on a primed panel or canvas and gradually covered with layers of paint during the painting process. Especially for the exhibition a number of 16th-century Netherlandish paintings from the collection of the National Museum have been analysed using infrared photography, revealing what lies beneath the layers of paint, with the results being presented in detail by three of the most interesting examples.

31.05 – 16.06 Kino w Trampach. Children’s Film Festival with a Dutch focus “Kino w Trampach” (Cinema in Sneakers) is an annual film festival for children taking place in Warsaw. This year, the festival will have a Dutch theme as Dutch films for children will be screened. Kino w Trampach started off in 2013 as a film festival for kids under the credo: “There are no children as such – only people: but people with different experiences, different drives and different reactions.” And these people have the right to watch a wide array of films: about different cultures and problems, made

in diverse styles, but always with respect to children. The Dutch Perspective will be held on 7-8.06.2017 in the National Audiovisual Institute Apart from workshops, there will also be a one-day conference.

07.07 – 14/15.07 Dutch Jazz in Kraków The Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami will take place during the first weeks of July. The festival was organised for the first time in 1996 during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Piwnicy pod Baranami. Every year the festival presents about 60 concerts with approx. 300 artists from Poland and abroad, and the total number of spectators is usually around 40,000. This year’s festival will feature 3 concerts by Dutch musicians. 07.07 Rembrandt Frerichs: a pianist with a broad perspective. Focussing his energy on ideas that are meaningful to him, he also knows how to realize them. Although familiar with the jazz tradition, he wants to avoid well-trodden paths and it’s his curiosity and knowledge of music from around the world that drives his music to constantly develop. The way he searches for a new musical idiom makes him push the boundaries of classical, improvised and world music. 14.07 and 15.07 Mike del Ferro (Amsterdam) started studying classical piano at the age of nine and after falling in love with jazz he pursued his studies in that

form of music, receiving a Master’s in Contemporary Music at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Mike has travelled the world extensively (116 countries to date), searching for collaborations with musicians from cultures quite different to his own, and the musical results have been eye-opening, building musical bridges between cultures not normally within reach of each other. The 4th album in this series was released in April 2016, entitled ”Opera meets Jazz”, with the Grammy-winning Metropole orchestra and soprano Claron McFadden

15.07 and 16.07 More Dutch Jazz in Kraków Wojtek Justyna is a guitar player recognised for his sound, versatility and creativity. Although inspired by rock and blues, he began playing classical guitar at the age of 14. He studied classical music for 9 years and during this time received honourable mentions at a local guitar competition in his home town of Łódź in Poland. Currently living in The Hague in the Netherlands, he fronts the Wojtek Justyna

Tree… Oh!? (Funk on the bottom, jazz on the top) and they will visit Kraków in July. 15 July in Pauza In Garden 16 July in Harris Piano Jazz Bar

23.08 – 29.08 Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century in Warsaw Once the world’s most famous recorder player, Frans Brüggen is now considered among the foremost experts on eighteenth-century music. He was born in Amsterdam and studied musicology at the university there. At 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and later held the position of Erasmus Professor at Harvard University and Regents Professor at the University of Berkeley. In 1981, Frans Brüggen, Lucy van Dael and a group of friends founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, which consists of fifty-five members from more than twenty different countries. Five times a year the orchestra assembles to go on tour together. The musicians, who are all specialists in eighteenth and early-nineteenth century music, play on period instruments or on contemporary copies.

In August 2014, the orchestra had to say farewell to Frans Brüggen. The inspired collaboration with the orchestra’s founding father has come to an end, but Brüggen’s inspiration will remain and lead the orchestra in the years to come. The orchestra decided to continue the tradition of five projects a year, now inviting guests and guest conductors. The orchestra will perform in Warsaw in August, with six concerts at the Chopin Festival. Check out their website for ticket details and the exact dates:

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Does a car have a gender? Dear Ladies, Spring is slowly leaving behind the last traces of cold weather outside the window. It’s cold, sad and grey outside but it’s the hot topics of the upcoming summer and vacations that are now being discussed at home. Our household automotive experts (beloved husbands, fathers, brothers) give us enough negative emotions. Have you changed the tyres yet? Did you change the oil and if so, what kind did you use? Have you called that mechanic that we recommended to you yet? Do you know that my friend’s wife didn’t change the brake fluid in her car, or the windscreen washer fluid (it does matter which), and something broke so it will also break in your car (your head will surely break). And did you ….. . No matter what, you will only generate new and unexpected costs. It’s difficult to keep your distance. To yourself, to him, to the car. Even at a party or meeting, instead of relaxing you have to listen to bad jokes about women behind the wheel. HE does not make mistakes. HE does not forget. And even if he does, it’s an accident that has nothing to do with reality. Just bad luck. Forget it. There’s an argument brewing. About a stupid car. About something that is supposed to allow us to move from point a to point b. About nothing. If only it were like this ….. Someone invisible could remind you several days in advance about your upcoming service appointment, make the appointment for you at a convenient time, consult with you about the scope of work and arrange an appropriate discount for you. And if that same someone could discreetly and quietly inform you about the need to change the tyres. Because the season is approaching, because snow is almost here, because you shouldn’t have to remember about everything. And you could make an appointment to change your tyres simply with a single click on your smartphone. Can you see your household Superman fly and do all that? Without complaining? Without reproach? Without making jokes? You can’t see it? Exactly.


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And you have to remember to insure your vehicle every year (you cannot forget that). Otherwise, you’ll have huge consequences and never-ending complaining at home. Also, which insurance to choose and with which insurance company? And insurance is just the beginning. A small mishap can always happen. And a small fender-bender always grows into a bigger problem. On the road and at home. You don’t know where stress is greater. At home, you can sometimes get the feeling that the car and its condition is more important than how you’re feeling. If only there were a magic button, one to call breakdown assistance, a mechanic, police, medics. And if only someone could help us with all the formalities, find a good repair shop, provide a replacement car, settle all matters without the need for large bundles of cash, take care of the quality, take care of …. . It sounds like a fairy tale. Similarly, with a breakdown, minor damage or your usual doubts about whether everything is OK, why run home and ask the experts when something rattles, knocks or squeaks? Rattling or clattering is not the best topic for family discussions. After all, it’s only a car. It’s better to talk to someone neutral who knows about the mechanics of a car. It’s better to give your car to those who are truly experts in this field. With a single touch of your finger on the screen, with a single phone call, a single e-mail message. Quickly, painlessly and without unnecessary talking. After all, a car is for driving. Nice story. Unbelievable. And yet. There are products on the market whose scope of services can ideally fit your style. Regardless of whether you own a car or want to buy a new one, you can permanently tie yourself to an invisible stranger. Do you want to know more? Your fairytale becomes reality at Planet Car Lease. Artur Sudenis Commercial Director, Planet Car Lease

Column Huub Droogh Huub Droogh is an urbanist and president of RDH Architekci Urbaniści in Poznań

New generations… Katowice, May 2017. Finally, it seems that spring is here. The sun is shining, and the temperature is rising in a very pleasant way. Black BMWs are lining up in front of the new International Congress Center and Spodek. The congested parking places don’t offer enough space for all the shiny Skoda Superbs, Audis, VW Passats, Mercedes and other well-known brands from the luxury car segment. Poland’s business and political elites are meeting, which mirrors the stage of the country’s development… It has already been a few years since I visited the annual European Economic Congress in Katowice. The last time I attended the event, it took place at the previous venue, a series of old-style conference rooms. The temperature was too hot, the space too crowded and the smell of the buffets pervaded the atmosphere throughout the corridors. How different this 2017 edition is. The modern congress hall and conference facilities suit the well-dressed and self-assured generation X* managers and entrepreneurs as they rush from one ‘inspiration meeting’ to another panel debate. It’s during the second day that Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Finance, Mr Morawiecki, joins the congress. Like a modern rock star, surrounded by dozens of photographers and journalists, Mr Morawiecki enters the stage. As usual, he performs in his own inimitable style. Without consulting any papers, the Deputy Prime Minister delivers to the audience a 25-minute plea, underlining with superlatives the achievements and prospects for Poland’s booming economy. Looking around me at the entrepreneurs and managers dressed in Armani and Boss suits, I wonder about their reactions. Will they all jump up from their chairs to give him a standing ovation, or will they find different ways to express their satisfaction and appreciation about such an engaged front man for investments and the economy? But when Mr Morawiecki ends, he is rewarded only with an indifferent, fast-fading polite ripple of applause. Like all other Polish authorities, Mr Morawiecki leaves the conference room immediately after his contribution. Sending a clear message is a quality he possesses; staying afterwards to listen to feedback is something else. After the departure of Poland’s Deputy Prime

Minister, six CEOs, chairmen and presidents of the board took the floor to discuss very directly and concisely the challenges and issues facing the Polish economy in the coming years. How to solve the brain drain leaving Poland? How to implement asap the available new technology and big data within work processes? These were just a couple of the wide range of topics to pass before the panel. Listening to the business leaders, there are no doubts what they will focus on: the economy of the West. Or, as one of them sighed loudly: ‘My God, let’s stop these irrational comparisons to the Ukrainian, Slovakian and Hungarian economies and market developments. We are the new Germany; we belong to the economy of Western Europe. For heaven’s sake, let’s focus first of all on what is going on near the western rather than eastern borders…’ Earlier that day, during a session about ‘new consumers - new economy relations’, the floor was taken by representatives of Generation Y**. Most of them were young entrepreneurs and scientists, many of them under 40 years of age. What connected these young panellists was their indisputable trust in the benefits that technology will bring their and future generations. Digital business concepts and applications passed rapidly before the stage. What were the panellists’ main frustrations? ‘As a modern university, we should be leaders in digital implementation,’ said one young entrepreneurial scientist. ’But a large part of Poland’s university establishment is grey, and thinks in traditional and conservative ways.’ Another said: ‘The main aim nowadays is to develop a business model which cannot be affected by politics.’ Often mentioned recently is the issue of a future within a ‘twospeed Europe’. After two days in Katowice, I would stress in my observations that Poland is already a ‘two-speed country’. On the one hand, a country which focuses on, and is dominated by, preSoviet frustrations and unemployed coal miners from industries of a former age desperately searching for foreign conflicts, to give baby boom politicians an excuse to unite their dream of the Nation. And then there is another Poland, a country of modern entrepreneurship, guided by generations X and Y. Well-educated representatives of generations who know what is going on in the world, who have faith in Poland’s future and are not afraid to claim their part in it. Is this the same division as between the winning cosmopolitan city elite and the countryside losers of the global economy, which was so widely analysed after the UK’s Brexit referendum? I doubt it. Within its traditional rural-driven culture, Poland’s boundaries of speed seem to me more generational than geographical. More rational and content-driven versus romantic rhetorical sentiments. More Henry Ford versus Pan Tadeusz. What these upcoming X and Y generations have in common is their aversion to politics. Politics, the game so important for their (grand) parents but which, according to Polish traditions, is still focused more on dividing the country than uniting it. And for those kinds of games, the new generations don’t want to spare the time nor the money…

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

Trouw Nutrition Trouw Nutrition is the global leader in innovative feed specialities, vitamin and mineral premixes and nutritional services for the animal nutrition industry and farm breeders and livestock farmers. Modern technology and fine-tuned production methods are the high-quality guarantee for all the products manufactured by Trouw Nutrition. We are part of the Nutreco Company, an international group of companies specialising in the production of premixes and specialised feed additives for all livestock groups and fish feeds. Being part of Nutreco gives us access to the modern research centres, knowledge and experience of our affiliate companies throughout the world. Trouw Nutrition Polska has an established position on the Polish market. Our factory is recognised as one of the most advanced in the country. It possesses an automated production control system as well as a barcode system. It is the first company in the sector to have obtained the ISO 9001 certificate and the GMP certificate. We are currently efficiently applying HACCP and Good Manufacturing Practices to provide for product security. Trouw Nutrition ul. Chrzanowska 21/25 05-825 Grodzisk Mazowiecki 48 22 755 02 00

Groupe Mulliez-Flory Corporate Clothing Consulting – Dress for Business – Mulliez-Flory The Group’s 720 employees have mastered the intricacies of the business, with the vast majority coming from the world of textiles (weaving, spinning, fashion design, model making, and so on). These creative experts all work together and in consultation with you to develop the product you want within the allotted time frame. All these multidisciplinary skill sets allow the Group to deliver precise, professional solutions to any issue relating to one or more of the links on the professional clothing creation/manufacturing/ distribution chain. The industrial group, led by Jacques Gindre for more than 15 years now, is a key pillar of the family-run HDM Finances Group, the leader in high-end household linens made in France, with net sales worth €157 million in 2014. Backed by years of experience and flexibility in dealing with the difficulties affecting the textiles sector, the Group has become the reference in innovation. In partnership with major institutions such as CETI and IFTH, we develop ingenious modern solutions that will be the crucial keys of tomorrow. Groupe Mulliez-Flory 48 733931169

Poland Travel Poland Travel is the largest tour operator in the Netherlands for travel to Poland. Poland Travel has over 10 years’ experience in the provision of (custom) travel to Poland, including several city breaks (Kraków, Gdańsk, Warsaw and Wrocław), excursion trips, tours and car trips. Our city breaks and tours are sold both online and through various Dutch travel agencies. We work closely with the Polish tourist board. In addition to the Dutch market, Poland Travel is also active in Belgium and the United Kingdom. Poland Travel has its headquarters in the Netherlands in The Hague and it has a Polish office in Kraków. Poland Travel has all the components of travel in-house, making it possible for a customer to assemble an entirely customised trip. Poland Travel Noordeinde 33 2514 GC Den Haag 317 038 33 296


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Artur Windak Having a Dutch-Polish background, I am already very familiar with the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. During a 5-month internship in 2011/2012, I established good relations within the organisation. This experience enabled me to use my native languages (Polish and Dutch) and also my knowledge of both cultures and markets. My reason for joining the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce is to stay connected with the Dutch business community in Poland in order to further expand the experience I have previously gained. I am currently working in the outsourcing business at Capgemini in Kraków. In our project, we deliver the complete package of HR services to a multinational client in the agribusiness. Together with a Dutch team, I deal with the delivery of our services for the client’s Dutch and Belgian entities. On an ad-hoc basis, I also provide written Polish-Dutch translations (e.g. procedures, instruction manuals, presentation slides) at Capgemini and for other companies. Artur Windak

New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

Edenred Polska Edenred, inventor of the Ticket Restaurant® meal voucher and the world leader in prepaid corporate services, designs and manages solutions that improve the efficiency of organisations and the purchasing power of individuals. Edenred in Poland offers personalised solutions for businesses and provides comprehensive expert and consulting services ensuring professionalism and support at all levels of cooperation. Edenred’s range of services is comprised of solutions in three categories: • Employee benefits • Expenses management processes • Incentive and reward programmes Edenred Polska ul. Rozbrat 44A 00-419 Warszawa 22 209 82 00

Holtec • Translation office for sworn translations from Polish into: - Dutch, German, Danish, Swedish, French, Italian, Spanish • Consultancy and Audits in the field of : - environmental law combined with EU directives - quality, safety - liability audits - conducting trainings: ISO, LEAN, 5S, TPM • Implementation of management systems in line with: - ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS/PN 18001 • Worldwide certification in cooperation with the international certification body Bureau Veritas in line with: - ISO 9001, ISO 14001 OHSAS/PN 18001 • Introducing Dutch and Belgian organisations to business in Poland (organisation, legal aspects, real estate, translation). Holtec ul. Kasprowicza 2D 62-041 Puszczykowo 61 8 133 674

Exact Software Poland Sp. z o. o. Exact is a global vendor of a wide range of business software, with its headquarters located in Delft in the Netherlands. Since 1992 the Polish subsidiary of Exact has been empowering entrepreneurs in Poland in the areas of Finance, Manufacturing, Wholesale, Logistics, Professional Services, BPM, HRM and CRM. We support international and local, single and multi-located companies.  We are a trusted business software vendor due to our reach and diversified customer portfolio. At our Polish customers’ disposal are local sales, support, training, consultancy and development professionals. Exact - at a glance: • Over 350,000 SMEs in 110 countries rely on our business software • 1,700 employees in 14 countries with 30 offices • 7 data centres around the world • The leading and most recognisable financial software for SMEs in the Netherlands   Our comprehensive business software supports companies on their road to innovation. Exact Software Poland Sp. z o.o. ul. Krzemowa 1 62-002 Suchy Las Złotniki 61 8580602

Mind the Solution Peter Musschoot is a loyal partner for multinational as well as small and medium-size organisations in various sectors all over the world: life sciences, logistics, consultancy & services, ICT, universities and the media, among others. Peter encourages useful and positive interactions between people in a ‘carefrontational’ way. The focus on what is working well, even if just a little, is often used as a building block for the best possible solutions. Participants get very practical tools and solutions that can be put into use the very next day.   In Peter’s sessions, the crucial conversations that really need to be held can take place. The day after working with him, you will be able to make considerable progress in the following domains:   • leadership & interaction (conflict transformation, resilience/stress management, feedback, coaching,…) • vision • mission • strategy • processes • goals • roles Peter’s personal motto: ‘Catching people doing things better’ Mind the Solution

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New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce is a Dutch startup established in The Hague in 2014. Since then the company has also opened an office in the Main Square in Kraków, Poland, which is the centre of its activity. The Hague office has recently been moved to Amsterdam. is an online booking platform based on a private community, which enables our members to always save at least 5%-20% on every accommodation reservation as Rate Parity Agreements do not apply to us. Bidroom is entirely commission-free, meaning that the hoteliers are never charged any commission for the bookings made through the platform. Additionally, the set-up and administration is minimal, and the cancellation percentage much lower than with our competitors. This, combined with the best price guarantee for our users, makes the perfect link for hoteliers and their guests. Rynek Główny 27 31-010 Kraków 31 20 808 1338

The Fuel Company The Fuel Company has been, and continues to be, the market leader in the Benelux countries in providing fuel cards to national & international transport and fleet companies. The Fuel Company also has tax refund experts to assist our clients in recovering foreign VAT and excise duties. From entrepreneurial riders to large international fleets, The Fuel Company is ready to cater to all your fuelling needs. We are committed to providing the best customer service in the industry. From our headquarters in Hengelo (OV), the Netherlands, to our home station in Meer, Belgium, our dedicated staff is ready to help you. Put simply, IT’S OUR BUSINESS TO FUEL YOURS. Demmersweg 92a 7556 BN Hengelo (OV) The Nederlands 31 74-2783966


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Dalessi Polska Dalessi Polska is a transport and shipping company, specialising in ferry transport. We have been delivering reliable and effective service to clients since 2005. Our main area of ​​business is Western Europe, with particular focus on Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The services we provide to our clients are always at the highest level. The company is also active in the field of forwarding in international and domestic transport and we invite clients and subcontractors to start cooperation. Dalessi Polska Sp. z o.o. ul. Kościelna 7 98-200 Zduńska Wola 43 824 38 17

AkzoNobel AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. We create everyday essentials to make people’s lives more livable and inspiring. We bring colour to walls and help to protect buildings. We’re in mobile devices, cars and on roads. Creating a protected, colourful world through: • Innovation Innovation sits at the heart of what we do. Whether we’re developing new products or support services, we’re focused on making life easier for our customers, as well as contributing to their success. • Sustainability The only way to be successful in the future is to care about the future. So we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability, focused on creating more value from radically fewer resources. • Human Cities Launched in 2014, our Human Cities initiative is an active expression of our company purpose to create everyday essentials to make people’s lives more livable and inspiring. It’s our commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world. We’re active in four main markets: buildings and infrastructure, transportation, consumer goods and industrial. Our portfolio includes such well-known brands as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka. AkzoNobel ul. Krakowiaków 48 02-255 Warsaw

Column Remco van der Kroft Advocaat (Dutch licensed lawyer) and partner of Olczak-Klimek Van der Kroft Węgiełek

The future for Poland is bright I’ve been in a good mood almost all day: this morning I attended a breakfast meeting organised by the International Group of Chambers of Commerce (IGCC) with Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki. He gave a short speech about the growing Polish economy, the record amount of foreign investment coming into the country and the unemployment rate being at an all-time low. Then he answered questions from the audience for well over an hour, every time jotting down three questions and answering them in flawless English without any notes. His answers were detailed and showed his detailed case knowledge. In one word: impressive. When asked if 500+ would not discourage women from working, his answer was that this potential side effect had not materialised but, in fact, it had given women more bargaining power to negotiate better salaries with the supermarkets that employ them. When I asked him how sending the tax police to a newlyestablished company before it had even sent its first invoice fitted in with his efforts to make the country more businessfriendly, he explained that getting tough on VAT fraud had already earned the government many billions of zlotys and eliminated the illegal fuel trade, with the total gains potentially going up to 40 billion zlotys, twice the net EU funding for Poland. In his opinion, annoying a new entrepreneur with a premature tax control and delayed registration was a small price to pay. He mentioned the government was looking into subsidising electric cars, and that they wanted to increase the number of electric buses in an effort to combat smog. He also said that the focus of the government would be on innovation. Spending on public health care is to increase to 6% of the gross domestic product and the government would also like

to change education and reintroduce vocational training. As an aside, he emphasised that he is pro-European (!) and sees Poland’s future firmly embedded in the EU. Then I open Facebook and my good mood is quickly tempered. President Duda has announced a referendum about the question of whether EU law should prevail over Polish law (if you are an EU member this is a given!), while Mr. Kaczynski, in an interview with TVP, has fiercely attacked the EU (a different narrative from what I had heard that morning). Then I read about Judge Morawski (recently appointed to the Constitutional Court) who at a conference in England had said that the Polish government is against gays but the good thing is that they are not being locked up. He also mentioned that the Polish judiciary is corrupt to the highest level. As a result of such thinking, Mr. Ziobro wants to take full control of the court system. I also read about the thousands of children that will suffer as a result of the impending educational reform (the removal of middle schools or “gimnazjum” in Polish), about wind energy having been killed off, about the continued devastation of the Białowieża primeval forest, about the new law on pharmacies that has made some major foreign investments worthless overnight (in line with this law, pharmacies can now only be owned by licensed pharmacists and not more than 4 each; those who invested in pharmacy chains will have a difficult time divesting), and also about Polish investors setting up shop across the border. It’s true that there were some major foreign investments last year, but most of them had presumably been in the making long before the last elections. Bargaining power as a result of 500+? Are growing salaries not simply a consequence of the lack of unemployment, which in turn is a result of mass emigration and the flourishing German economy? The fact is that salaries are going up, unemployment is at an all-time low, income from taxes is also going up and foreign investors keep coming to Poland or are expanding. They do this no longer because of low wages but because of the welleducated people in Poland. At the end of the day, I felt confused. This confusion is the result of every aspect of life in Poland being politicised and how you interpret facts, even numbers, depends on where you stand politically. Probably when it comes to business we should take the English approach and just “carry on”, but when it comes to politics we should all remain active and keep our European democracies alive. The recent Dutch and French voter turnouts have set a good example.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

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The Déhora Consultancy Group: Workforce Planning as a key into a serious business 2017 marks the Déhora Consultancy Group’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, we look back at the last 30 years together with the company’s CEO, Ben Jansen. We want to know how he feels the field of workforce planning and optimisation has changed since the company was founded in 1987. What does he believe the future holds for his company that specialises in workforce planning and optimisation and which, in addition to its locations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, will soon open its first office in the Czech Republic? How did it all start? What inspired you to set up your own company? ”Before I set up my own company in 1987, I was working as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Amsterdam. I worked as an Occupational Psychologist and I was responsible for managing the Shift Work research team, which was a team that was very often asked to carry out research and give advice to many different types of companies operating in the public and private sector. At some point, however, the requests from these companies started to conflict with the topics we were studying within the Shift Work research team. This, combined with my growing desire to become an entrepreneur, led me to set up the Déhora Consultancy Group. I started my company on September 1st in 1987, and a couple of months later I received my doctorate for my research on ‘working hours’.”


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What do you consider to be the most prominent changes in workforce planning and optimisation when you look back at the past 30 years? ”Even though change did not always come about quickly, over time workforce planning has developed into a serious business. Not so long ago, in many companies you would have someone responsible for workforce planning who had some degree of planning skills and some planning experience, but who had enjoyed very little or even no workforce planning education. Now, however, the job of a workforce planner or planning manager is considered to be a serious profession and highly-skilled and educated planners play a crucial part in running a successful business. These planners and planning managers are therefore properly educated to do their jobs effectively. For us, as a company that also offers many workforce planning courses and training sessions, this means that we are now seeing a growing number of students applying for courses at the Déhora Academy. This clearly demonstrates how the profession of planner or planning manager is looked at by employers and that employees in turn are now also able to educate themselves in the field of planning up to even university level. And without preaching to my own choir, that is a great thing! Unfortunately, in many companies people are still unaware of the significant impact efficient workforce planning has on the success of a business. And that is a real shame. What many people don’t know is that successful workforce planning can indeed boost your company’s results and determine and secure a strong (international) position.” What are your ambitions for Déhora for the coming years? ”The consultancy landscape has changed quite a bit over the past 30 years. Clients and potential clients have become more demanding and critical when hiring our trainers, consultants and planners. More than ever before there is an explicit need for clearly visible added value by our interim-planners, consultants, the planning outsourcing that we facilitate and the courses that

we offer. To me, that is a very good development. Equally, I find it positive that the market is asking for shared responsibility with regard to the company’s results. One of my goals, therefore, is to show that Déhora embraces these developments and does offer practical solutions and clearly visible results. For example, the ‘Planning Service Centre’ concept that we have developed is a great example of our full-service and results-driven approach to workforce planning and optimisation. What is the ‘Planning Service Centre’ exactly? Let me just say this: your workforce planning is in the best hands with us. We take care of your entire planning and the positive impact on your bottom line will speak for itself.

Déhora’s team works on diversified projects to complete goals set by companies

To add to that, my ambition does not stop with the current size of our company and the fact that we now operate all over Europe. Even though we are the largest full-service bureau specialising in the field of workforce planning worldwide, I still believe we have great potential to grow even more. Especially when organisations come to realise that strategic workforce planning and optimisation can offer companies so much, the demand for our services will grow tremendously. Specifically right now in the Czech Republic where the economy is booming and many companies are unaware of how much more successful they could be with our help.” Why do you think workforce planning and optimisation is important for companies operating on the Polish market?

work schedules and production periods or have been either understaffing or overstaffing. This leads to work stress and extra costs in terms of lower productivity, higher illness rates, higher staff turnover and higher error margins. Why not think about schedules that, for instance, match the seasonality of your workload? Or a system of combined schedules that caters to various segments of the labour market, so that you can tap into a greater reservoir? Think about, for instance, having on top of your full-time roster, part-time rosters for working mothers or elderly people. We also see that there are still companies that have 12-hour (night) shifts and while this makes your company unattractive for new workers, in particular for those over 45, productivity is also much lower during these long shifts, let alone during the last hours of a 12-hour night shift. Why not change this for a more employeefriendly solution? Ever thought of “self-scheduling”? This is where employees “book”, up to a certain point, their own shifts and thus have much more control over their work/life balance. And thus are happier? But besides reconsidering work schedules, it can also mean our researchers and consultants investigating the planning processes in a company. How does the sales department communicate with the factory? What are the responsibilities of HR? How flexible is your organisation in relation to external suppliers (agencies)? What KPIs do you have in place to measure the effectiveness of your workforce?” Who are your clients and which companies will you target? ”We have experience in practically every sector you can think of - production, manufacturing, healthcare, governmental organisations, security and logistics. Basically anywhere where workload changes within a certain time frame and where it can be a challenge to manage this workload in an effective and efficient way, our full-service workforce planning and optimisation bureau offers support. Whether you need advice from our consultants, you need the best planning software, you’re in need of highly skilled and trained interim-planners, you want us to train and support your planning professionals or you would like to outsource your planning with us, we are there to help support and grow your business!”

”Poland is a country that has shown solid economic growth over the last few years, outperforming many other European Union countries. This is increasingly leading to labour shortages and an influx of foreign workers, in particular in the production and manufacturing sector where Poland holds a relatively strong position. But also the public sector (healthcare) is facing the problem of labour shortages. In response, companies have started to raise salaries to attract workers and in doing so are creating an upward wage spiral that is eventually unsustainable. At least if Poland wants to remain competitive and avoid the problems connected with mass immigration. Thus, what is left as the only solution is effective workforce planning and optimisation.” What exactly do you mean by workforce planning and optimisation? ”It can mean a lot of things. But what we often see in practice is that companies for many years have been using the same

Déhora Consultancy Group - 30 years on the market

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Column Bartłomiej Piwnicki Managing Director of UBP Consulting

The problem of ageing does not affect just Poland but also the majority of European countries Here, the process is progressing relatively quickly and has been escalated by the mass emigration of people in their so-called ‘reproductive period’. The present government is trying to increase the birth rate through the 500+ programme and, according to preliminary analyses, it has partially succeeded in this. However, there is still a long way to go, and the effects will be visible only after 20 years. The market must deal with the problem using the resources which are currently available and lowering the retirement age will make it additionally difficult to maintain stability of employment in enterprises. The government quickly realised that fulfilling its election promise would have fatal consequences for the economy which is starting its at least ten-yearly ”high jump”. It has offered a bonus worth PLN 10,000 for every person who does not retire in accordance with the calendar but in accordance with the previous version of the Act, i.e. two years later. It seems to me that this idea will be implemented and that a maximum of 20% of the people entitled to retire will take advantage of it. Considering this chronic lack of a young workforce, every pair of hands will count. Even those whose owners have grey hair. A silver tsunami is clearly approaching. Unfortunately, there are no dedicated programmes available on the market aimed at companies or courses for managers on how to proceed when employing retirees. Replacing a young employee with a mature person will not always be easy. First of all, it requires that recruiters and managers overcome their aversion to recruiting ”silver heads” in their teams. This is not an easy subject since managers are often reluctant to manage people who are much older than they

are. However, in my opinion, there will be no other option over the next few years and hardly any manager will balk at the idea of having a senior team member – they will simply have no choice. Secondly, the search itself for employees around the age of 60 will be completely different than that for young employees. You cannot simply rely on standard social media. You will have to enter their world and communicate in the manner to which they are accustomed. For young recruiters, this may simply be ”mission impossible”. How to reach such people? First of all, make managers at every organisational level aware of the fact that older people can constitute an attractive added value for the company. An employee 55+ is not, and will not be, a threat to competent, intelligent people who know their own value and appreciate the advice of more experienced colleagues. The people who should fear them are careerists who lack skills and owe their success to intrigues on various levels. Would you pity such people if they left the company? Secondly, you have to know how to find mature candidates. Active people 55+ can usually be found on most professional/occupational portals. However, they do not attach so much importance to the Internet, which means that their professional profiles may look old-fashioned or incomplete. Thus, when searching for them, the tactic of using key words may not always work, which reduces the chances of such people appearing on a search list. It is worth spending more time searching through the list of candidates, using much broader search criteria. For young recruiters, going beyond the Internet may be difficult and so the second piece of advice is associated with networks. Every millennial is present on the majority of social media portals and has parents or knows people 55+. Thus, a campaign can be prepared to Help them to reach the proper target group. No reasonable young person will deprive their parents of the opportunity to find work if he or she is having a problem finding a job or wants to earn more money. A skilfully prepared and located advertisement on the Internet will encourage children to activate their parents. If we don’t want to use the Internet, there is always another simple method which is particularly effective in small towns in Poland – announcements from the pulpit during Sunday mass. However, would anybody dare to do this in a large city? The column is based on my feature articles in ”Rzeczpospolita”.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

issue 59





issue 59


Bulletin No. 59 Summer 2017  

Bulletin No. 59 Summer 2017