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A conversation with Marie Claire Baas, compensation & benefits specialist at Van Lanschot Kempen

In this conversation with Marie Claire Baas, we discuss the third pillar of our I&D policy: flexible and inclusive labour and working conditions that cater for every stage of life. In creating these labour and working conditions, we aim to ensure that all our employees feel connected to Van Lanschot Kempen.

Can you tell us a bit more about your professional background and your work at Van Lanschot Kempen?
I have now been working at Van Lanschot Kempen for nine years and the time has flown by. When I started, as part of the HR Business Management team. After three years, I decided to switch to our labour and working conditions team.What I like about this job is that I get to identify what is needed in terms of labour and working conditions, both within the organisation and for individual employees. Then I see how I can translate these needs into specific policies that can be effectively implemented in our organisation. 

Van Lanschot Kempen wants employees to feel that they can be themselves and has opted for flexible and inclusive labour and working conditions that take individual needs into account. Can you give some examples of how this works?
When establishing the labour and working conditions, it is important for us to have a clear understanding of the groups of employees we cater for. Our life-stage aware personnel policy is a good example of this because an employee's needs will differ at each stage of life. We want to create policies that meet general needs while also catering for specific groups of employees, life stages, situations and events. For example, employees have the option of working from abroad for two months a year. Many colleagues like to do this. While it applies to a smaller group, we are also very proud of the transition leave we are offering from 2023 onwards. This allows us to extend our support to employees who want to go into transition or are already doing so. As an employer, we want to make it clear that this is something they can talk about within the organisation and aligns with our aim to help everyone achieve a healthy work-life balance. 

Why did Van Lanschot Kempen decide to adopt a life-stage approach?

It is all about inclusion. We want our terms of employment to reflect the fact that everyone, regardless of life stage, is part of Van Lanschot Kempen. We look at what each individual employee needs to do their job as well as possible. Other companies tend to focus primarily on maternity and parental leave. Of course, we have that too, but we include it as part of a much broader approach. For example, we want to ensure that employees who will be retiring in a few years continue to enjoy working for us and help them gradually reduce their hours if necessary. Employees who are 60 or over have the option of working part-time in the lead up to retirement while continuing to accrue pension benefits at the same rate. Several employees are already doing this and the number is expected to increase in the coming years. I also mentioned parental leave. At Van Lanschot Kempen, we supplement pay during parental leave. Employees on parental leave receive seventy percent of their salary rather than seventy percent of the daily wage set by the UWV Employee Insurance Agency. Everyone, regardless of their level of income, can take advantage of this.

How do these benefits differ from those offered by other large companies in the private banking and wealth management sector?

Our lifecycle approach and customised leave for certain life events are good examples. As I mentioned, we do not limit leave for significant life events to a certain number of hours. In mentioning this, we want our employees to feel free to discuss things with us. In the past, for example, it was not uncommon for employees to call in sick after a bereavement. At times like these, we want our employees to tell their managers what they need. Then we can see what is possible in terms of arranging work to accommodate for their needs. We also offer terms of employment that cater for all stages of life. This includes special leave schemes that are only used by a small group of employees. For example, we are the first employer in the Netherlands to offer transition leave for parents. This allows parents to request time off to accompany a child who is transitioning to certain appointments. So at Van Lanschot Kempen there is real scope for customisation.

Do Van Lanschot Kempen's terms of employment help attract and retain employees from different backgrounds?
Our relocation package makes it more attractive for international candidates to make the switch to Van Lanschot Kempen. To make it easier for them to move to the Netherlands, we arrange airline tickets and help them find accommodation. And we continue to offer guidance when they get here. Given the current labour market, for some roles we need to look beyond the Netherlands. We welcome international employees: they enrich our teams and make them more diverse. We also offer the option of celebrating holidays other than the Christian holidays. This won’t be the main reason why new employees come and work for us, but it does make it clear that inclusion and diversity are very important to Van Lanschot Kempen. We want everyone to feel at home with us. Our approach of considering everyone's individual needs and our open-conversation culture also help attract and retain employees from different generations."

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