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TMC and Pontes: 15 years of developing Employeneurship

With the 15-year anniversary of TMC also comes the 15-year anniversary of the Employeneurship model. As director of Pontes – formerly known as TMC Assessment and Development – Freek van Bedaf has been part of the development of the Employeneurship model from the very start. We talked with Freek about the beginnings of the model, the YOUniversity and the possibilities for the future.

“When Thijs Manders founded TMC in 2000, he asked me to set up and lead TMC Assessment and Development. Six years later, TMC went public, and we split off TMC Assessment and Development as an independent company. In 2012, we changed the name to Pontes. Besides TMC, we now have more than 150 clients from a wide range of businesses: from the financial sector to hospitals, from the Mars company to Office Depot. We are helping their employees to become more independent, and to take responsibility for their own work and development. We’re using the same coaching and training methods that we use for TMC’s Employeneurs, but in a way that is custom made for their own company and sector.”

From IQ to XQ

“The original idea for Employeneurship began in 2000 with our desire to offer something more to engineers. We noticed that these technicians all had excellent IQs, but that they often lacked numerous soft skills. We wanted to develop their communication skills and their entrepreneurial side. And so we created the Employeneurship model. Over time, we discovered that the model had the potential for so much more. Besides IQ, which stands for knowledge and entrepreneurship, and EQ, which stands for the softer emotional skills, we introduced SQ and FQ. SQ stands for passion, motivation and personal leadership. FQ stands for a kind of fitness, where Employeneurs are able to manage their priorities in a complex organisation. So Employeneurship has become about multiple intelligences. Together these Qs combine into XQ: a quality that gives the Employeneur the power to create and realize the things that he or she sets out to do.”


“Within these five Qs, we have identified 11 competences and 21 work values, and we have developed a test so that we can measure a person’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas. After the test, our TMC YOUniversity gives the Employeneur advice about which competences they are particularly strong or weak in. This helps to identify the training and coaching that would be most beneficial to them. Both the very high and very low scores are always interesting, because as well as improving someone’s weak skills, we also believe in using and nurturing their talents. We are not looking for an ideal; we want to help develop and grow Employeneurs. And of course the Employeneur decides which path to follow. But it’s a great way to create a training and coaching program that is custom made to each individual. This ensures that every Employeneur is able to maximize his or her own personal and professional growth.”

The future

“We are constantly improving and refining our testing and training process. In the future, we will be even more able to create very specific training programmes. For example, we could run training sessions about communication within a certain company on the level of Project Management – skills that would be directly applicable to their role. In the future, we might also be able to combine test profiles and job vacancies. For example, if a certain vacancy asks for a certain set of competences in various Qs, we could check the profiles and look for the best fit. In that way, the client gets the perfect candidate and the Employeneur is happy because they are in a position where they can use their strengths. So even after 15 years, we are still looking for ways to improve and refine the model.”

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