Go Netherlands! At Fairphone the company values are care, collaborate, transparency and challenge

  • Career Center
  • Le 7 octobre 2022
Bernadette Philipp
People Team Lead, Fairphone - Amsterdam

Bernadette began working in Fairphone’s people team as an intern to support recruitment.Today, she oversees the HR policies, strategy and recruitment. Bernadette shares some first-hand advice about the job market in the Netherlands.

Fairphone is a Dutch GreenTech company, which aims to develop smartphones that are designed and produced with a lower environmental and social impact. Of its 115 employees, 51% are female, including the CEO, and 70% are internationals from 25 different nationalities.
The majority of the employees are based in Amsterdam. There is also a small office in Taipei, Taiwan, and a few colleagues in China who work from home or directly with the factories.
The work culture

There is no perceived hierarchy within the Fairphone teams. The work takes place in an open space setting, even for the CEO. The work environment could be defined as open, approachable and informal when it comes to the dress code. What matters is that staff can be themselves.
The company values are Care, Collaborate, Transparency and Challenge.

My advice & top tips

What is important in order to join Fairphone is to have the right skill set and to be motivated by the role. Being a social enterprise we receive many candidates that are very interested in the overall mission of the company and want to contribute to this. However, sometimes they are less interested in the actual positions themselves. From an HR perspective, I always advise people to prioritise being happy in their everyday job, while still believing in and wanting to support the company’s overall mission. In many ways, Fairphone is like a start-up/scale-up in many ways: you need to be comfortable with uncertainty as well as the lack of established processes and it also helps to be solution oriented. It’s equally important to be flexible whilst staying positive and resilient. As a recruiter, I pay special attention to soft skills, excellent communication and value both a constructive and growth mind-set.

Myths & realities

At Fairphone, daring and speaking out is appreciated. It is important to know that the Dutch can come across as very direct.
Being such a multicultural team, this aspect of the Dutch character has led to some funny situations. For instance, a salary admin manager once asked me, as their People team lead, to kindly check something with the CFO, rather than going directly to the CFO themself. This person was concerned about not going through the appropriate channels. In some cultures, hierarchy and protocol are very important but for us this is simply not the case, so feel free to speak up and adopt a straight-talking approach. Our CEO called a meeting with the Taiwan office, just to check in with how they were getting on during a busy launch period.
She wanted to see if they needed any support and enquire how their collaboration with the Amsterdam team was going and how things might be improved. The Taiwan team thought they were in deep trouble! They were not used to having the CEO meet directly with the team.

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