Simon Klop is member of the executive committee at YSE (www.yseprogram.nl), a company that helps organizations develop their future leaders by attracting top-talent and offering them Class-A traineeships. At work Simon uses his experience in HR, coaching, talent management and change management to help top-talent develop themselves and add maximum value during their traineeships.


Happiness at work. Is it possible? Is it valuable? How do people in your organization look at happiness on the work floor?

Simon: “Yes, it’s possible. And very valuable. Enjoying what you do makes every difference for the result. Of course, it’s possible to work through some of the stuff you don’t enjoy as much for a little while, but not for a longer period of time. This actually is a focus area for me in coaching. It is very important for young professionals to understand their own role in this. On the one hand, they have to speak up if their work is not inspiring them, on the other hand they have to look for opportunities and propose concrete tasks that make their work more enjoyable for themselves.”


Different generations have different expectations from their employers. What is the most significant difference you see between the expectation of the younger generations compared to the older ones?

Simon: “The young generation is looking for their own space. Their own space to make a contribution, to make decisions, to be free to work at different times and places. At the same time, they are happy to take responsibility for that. So, that’s great. But there is a lot that the younger generation can learn from the older generation. The young generation has lots and lots of great ideas, but often struggle creating support for their ideas with existing hierarchy in organizations. Here’s a great example that you see a lot. For the younger generation, writing a plan for the next 6 months is counterintuitive and totally against the short-cycled workstyle they already have adopted. However, the ‘just start small’ mentality of the millennials is often missing with the older generation. I personally believe there actually is a lot of synergy to be gained from this difference between generations, but there is a risk to demotivate or mutually shake trust if not managed carefully.”


Employee Engagement is a term that is widely used, but oftentimes interpreted differently. In your opinion, what should we be talking about when we discuss Employee Engagement?

Simon: “To me employee engagement means to be proud of my employer and to be proud of my own work. When a company performs well, that makes people happy, and vice versa. The best way to increase employee engagement is to create a culture where people truly feel they matter. Where they are motivated and enabled to improve their own organization. Where being pro-active is valued and results are celebrated.”


Would you have any advice for organizations that struggle with employee engagement?

Simon: “The main thing is to find the root cause of the problem. Find it, analyze it, and engage the entire organization in generating and executing ideas to improve the situation. Doing this, it is critical to involve all sides and layers of the organization.”


HR Technology is evolving rapidly. Which HR Tech do you expect to have the biggest impact on your organization in 2017?

Simon: “Well, in our case it would actually be starting with 2daysmood. But besides that, we are doing a lot more. Technology is especially helpful in training. Having an excellent online training platform allows to train exactly what you need to know, when you need to know it. In addition, we’re getting a lot of value from technology in search and selection of young professionals.”