Interview: Cloetta with Anouk Bruggeling
We were welcomed at Cloetta by several colorful jelly beans tubes at the entrance, hinting towards employees’ gourmandize. We toured through the open spaces of the company, where communication flow is easier. With this appointment at Cloetta, we wanted to have an answer to the question: what is it like to work for Cloetta? Anouk Bruggeling gave us the answers!
What exactly are your responsibilities at Cloetta?
I am the Recruitment & Development Manager. The first means that I oversee the recruitment of our new colleagues, being interns or employees. To do so, I always work in close collaboration with the manager. We set out a vacancy and then the recruitment process begins. It is a complete process. We ask people to present themselves creatively during an interview and we also have them complete several assessments, personality wise for example. We discuss the results with them after, in order to get a full picture. Recruitment also occurs in universities where we engage with students. We want to ensure that Cloetta gets a face so that they can develop a personal feeling about the company. In my work, I am also responsible for Development. This process is about helping employees get better at what they do but also share knowledge, learn from each other. In essence, we want to make people stronger at things they already have talents for & develop things they are not as competent in yet. Working in HR, I must always think of the added value that my actions are going to have, both for the company and the employees.
What does a day at the office look like? Is it standard or flexible?
As part of a very ambitious company, we never really say no when an opportunity or challenge arises. Thus, we have many different projects to work on. Every day is different for me. Time goes by fast, there is so much I want to do and only so little time to do so.My job entails a lot of interactions with people, so I don’t sit at my desk too long during the day. For instance, I am in charge of team sessions where the various members learn to understand each other. Their different takes on the world are discussed, and the members get to understand what others value primarily. With this process, we want to give our employees better insight in how their behavior and way of thinking is subjective and hence not always understood by others and vice versa. We help them in understanding themselves and their colleagues better which enhances good collaboration.
Why did you want to work here specifically at Cloetta? What appealed to you?
I worked in a large international food company before. It was my first employer. I learned a lot there, but I still have a lot to learn. I was looking for a company with a welcoming culture that would understand and accept my eagerness to learn and knows that learning comes with making mistakes and getting up again. Cloetta matches this description. With its more informal environment and the appreciation for those who go out of their comfort zone. I feel valued, even though I am new at things, I feel there is trust in me. And yes, we are an international company, but we are not restricted by hierarchy or head office frameworks. Here at Cloetta, we have autonomy and freedom to take responsibility. I can make my ideas a reality. This is very important for me as I thrive to make myself better, as well as the HR field in general.
What do you love most about your job?
I have always been interested in people and in analyzing them. That is what made me choose the HR business. It is interesting to try to understand each other even though we are not predictable.
People make the difference in a company. Happy employees, willing to contribute to the organization, are always going to bring success. They can help you get ahead of the competition.
Are there new things you have learned during your time here?
It has a lot to do with my personal growth. Here, I am challenged to create my own vision. I need to know what my opinion is regarding HR topics. This is not always easy since I just started working and still have so much to learn. However, I am challenged to develop my own view on the HR discipline.
I also do things I had never done before. When there is an opportunity to improve or to experiment in doing something new, we go for it. It is part of Cloetta’s culture. The “learning by doing” motto is in our genes. I know it is okay to do so because of the trust the company has in us. You know you will be able to make things work for Cloetta. We are challenged to think smart.
What kind of activities are organized within the team?
Each month we have lunch sessions, getting the team together and talk about what is keeping us busy. There are activities within teams but also activities with the whole company. Every 3 months we have a kick-off session often on a beautiful external location. Marketing then presents the challenging plans we have for our brands. After that, we often do a fun team building activity such as making fudge or some coffee tasting. Another important aspect is our Vitality program that encourages people to be healthy. We recently had a kickboxing session and some yoga to develop a healthy mind. We have fruit in the office and encourage people to drink plenty of water.
What kind of qualities would the perfect candidate for Cloetta have?
We are looking for people that fit in our culture. We are an ambitious company that thrives to be the best. You need to be able to see opportunities and be brave enough to go for them. It is also important that you are able to cope with the level of responsibility that you will have. People here have a lot of freedom to perform their work from A to Z. What happens in between is your responsibility. You can make a difference, an impact, but you have to be willing to do so. We are not encouraging recklessness, though. We mean serious business so your ideas need to be well argumented.
What kind of tips do you want to give to the students who are really interested and want to apply for an internship or a job?
If you are interested in starting an internship, you should contact us. As an intern, you will be able to complete your own projects and really are part of the team, not merely “a coffee fetcher”. Moreover, you will also truly experience what working life is like. With Cloetta’s “learn by doing” way, you will have grown several inches at the end. On a more practical note, you can view our open positions on LinkedIn, as well as on our website. We are also very active in visiting universities, so don’t hesitate to come and talk to us!
As a final word, I would like to share my life motto with you: doing things you haven’t done before can be scary but don’t let it stop you!