- Sustainable employability is the creation of an environment where employees work as long, healthy and happy as possible
- Twence is fully committed to the sustainable employability and is therefore hands-on and active
A big change starts with small steps. It is usual to order fast food for the evening shift of Twence. It is not healthy, and the alternative (a more expensive and healthy meal) was rarely used. That is why a nutrition coach was deployed to make the employees more aware of their eating and living behaviour.
Marc Loffeld, work & organisation consultant at HumanCapitalCare, thinks this coaching is a good example of the way Twence approaches sustainable employability: hands-on and active. “We notice a strong drive at Twence to take action.” The first steps have been taken with the employees that work in shifts, but Twence wants to keep all employees healthy and motivated. Albert Vos, manager of advice and policy, and safety expert Egon Schreven, endorse the company's commitment. “Of course, sustainable employability is a trendy term, but we see a very real problem in the ageing of our employees. The average age is now 47 years. That means that we have to think carefully about how we can get everyone to reach their finish line in a healthy and motivated way,” Vos explains. The Sustainable Employability working group at Twence wants to promote being vital, motivated to work and optimally using talents – for all employees. Schreven: “We will not dictate what is healthy, top-down. That does not work. For example, at many companies the situation occurs that only employees that exercise already make use of a newly set up company gym, and then cancel the subscriptions they already had. Then our goal is not reached.”
Research has shown that particularly working irregular hours and working at night poses health risks. For that reason, Twence has set up a sleeping area for power naps, which the team members can use before they go home. Additionally, everyone can participate in lifestyle training that includes, among others, nutritional advice to combat obesity.
“We want to help people to change their lifestyle permanently. It is possible to lose ten or twelve kilos with a diet plan. However, if that is perceived as a restriction and thus a punishment, people quickly fall back into their old patterns. HumanCapitalCare provides advice so that people can make responsible choices daily. There are even differences in saturated fat between a croquette (Dutch snack) and a sausage,” Loffeld explains. At Twence, employees receive fresh fruit, milk, buttermilk and juice every day.
Healthy food is, of course, just one component that affects the well-being of employees. That is why Twence also has a personal development plan for every employee. “That way, employees are in control of their career. Every year, each department offers pieces of training, but employees can also request training themselves. Twence employees have a training budget of 3 per cent of their salary. If people are satisfied with their current position, that is fine, but you have to keep developing,” says Vos. Additionally, each team has received training in effective meetings, and there is a generous ‘generation scheme’. This scheme allows employees from the age of 60 to work 80% of the time for 90% of their salary and 100% pension accrual. This scheme may soon be accessible from the age of 58. “We offer people freedom of choice and opportunities, both in a team and individually.
If employees feel good, it is good for both them and Twence.”
With a sick leave rate of around 4%, Twence is well below the average of 6 to 8% in the sector. The physical health of every employee is checked every year with a voluntary health check, and a comprehensive examination every four years. Schreven: “Because the risks differ per group, the examinations are also different per group. Additionally, we help people to live healthier, for example, by regularly offering a ‘quit smoking’ program. At Twence, only 9% of employees are smoking, while the national average is 22%. Several logistics employees have taken the initiative to work on their weight and health. This initiative has been widely addressed and is now open to all Twence colleagues in a weight management program with Marc.” Loffeld is both a consultant and a coach. He both designed and implemented the program.
HumanCapitalCare helps many companies and institutions that recognise the need for sustainable employability. “Due to the increasing ageing of the population, the tightness of the labour market and the increased retirement age, it is important for organisations to keep the people they have, and to have them working healthy. Besides, in this tight labour market, a good personnel policy is also advantageous.”