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Farm Trans & Sustainability: Interview with Hans Heuvelmans – Human Resource Manager

“Keep your engine running smoothly”
20 | 09 | 2023

What has your experience at Farm Trans been like so far?
‘Our organisation has gone through tremendous growth in the past couple of years. That growth makes Farm Trans an incredible place to work. We’re always in motion, and I don’t just mean that literally. Such rapid growth has meant that our organisation has also had to change, and I’m glad we’ve been able to build an HR department capable of facilitating that development. Case in point: we hired about a hundred new people in the last year and all those people still work for us today.’

How has the HR department’s approach changed over the last four years?
‘In the past, when a truck driver would start working for us, we would pretty much hand them the keys to the truck and send them on their way. Today, that looks completely different. We started Farm Trans Academy, where we help our drivers get to know our company, to learn about our way of working and to understand what is expected of them. But our commitment to our drivers involves more than training and education. For example, when fall comes around and our people have to work in the cold and rain, we have winter coats ready for them before they’ve even had a chance to ask! Things like these make you feel seen, which is critical for any workplace. Similary, when you encounter a problem, we make sure there’s always someone to talk to. Of course we can’t always solve the issue immediately, but it’s important to know that you’re being heard and that we’re doing our best to fix whatever needs fixing.’

How do you promote physical and mental health in our organisation?
‘I’m really passionate about creating awareness around these topics for all our people. To me, it’s a shared responsibility. Our truck drivers start early, have really long workdays and are mostly sitting in their cabin. That’s not something I can change. But what I can do is help them find ways to improve their health under those circumstances. For example: when you’re waiting for your truck to be loaded or unloaded for half an hour, do you use that time to do some stretches or take a walk? You always have a choice. I want to plant a seed and make drivers aware of their choices.’

What are your plans for the future?
‘We want to move to a more preventative approach. When your knees are worn out or you reach burnout, it’s already too late. Preventing that requires tailored solutions. One person might benefit from getting a bike, while another is helped by easy access to healthy meals. Of course that’s a big challenge, but I’m excited to figure it out, step by step (which a FitBit can be very helpful with)!’