TMC: 15 years of continuous innovation
“When we started TMC, we started with a mission. We wanted to creatively mobilize the high-quality technological labour market. Then we started to develop a model to make that happen,” says Thijs Manders, founder of TMC.
For 15 years now, TMC has been considered the leader of innovation in the high-quality technological labour market. The model TMC developed is the model of ‘employeneurship’: attracting the best of today’s engineers, helping to develop their entrepreneurial side and letting them reap the rewards of their efforts.
Thijs Manders: “The employeneurship model is the employment relationship of the 21st century. It enables us to attract the best people in the field and to help them grow. We don’t want to bind our people; we want them to stay because we keep them inspired. Over the years we have developed tools to measure the entrepreneurial qualities of our people, and we have learned how to help develop these qualities, along with their communication skills, confidence and assertiveness. Everyone joining TMC gets a baseline measurement to see where they are and to see where they can make improvements. That’s custom-made to each individual. With personal coaching and our university program we then help them grow. Our employeneurship model is never finished, but constantly evolving. The day we stop innovating is the day we are a day behind. We are constantly trying to innovate every element of the model.”
Despite the success of TMC, technicians are still undervalued in the Netherlands according to Thijs: “We are still behind. There is still a shortage of well-educated engineers. It’s starting to improve, but still only two or three out of every ten graduates are technicians. To close the gap, we need that to be four or five out of ten. We need to value our technicians more and make innovation a priority. In Germany, engineers have a higher social and economic status than lawyers or economists. In The Netherlands, it’s the other way around. We are trying to change that. We are making technicians more important by giving them a platform. But also the government needs to make it a priority. The technology sector in the Netherlands has enormous growth potential. Look at ASML for instance. With both feet on the ground they claim they will almost double their turnover in the coming years. The Brainport project in Eindhoven is now copied at several places in the Netherlands. There is still a lot of potential in the pharmaceutical sector, which is underdeveloped here. The jobs and the possibilities are everywhere; we just don’t have enough people.”
Even though Thijs is critical of today’s situation in the technology sector, he speaks with passion about the future of TMC and the future of the employeneur: “TMC has a reputation for hiring only the best of the best. I want to keep that position of having the ‘elite-forces’, so to speak. TMC can still grow in the Netherlands, but our major growth of TMC over the coming years will be international. We just started in Belgium, and the fast growth of TMC over there shows that our model can also strike a chord internationally. The future ‘employeneur’ is someone who is educated in a particular discipline but able to communicate easily with people from other disciplines and integrate the different specialisations into a working system. I wish every technology company had engineers with the same entrepreneurial spirit as our people. If we had more ‘employeneurs’ here in the Netherlands, we would greatly improve our international competitiveness.”