'Sparkles' with purple blood
‘Making an impact is not an empty phrase here. It is in the fibre of the organisation to offer people, who are usually not given the opportunity to make a difference, a meaningful job. I have therefore consciously chosen this company.’ Poléanne Vluggen (48) has been the Chief People & Culture Officer at Vebego since September 2022. A conversation about impactful organisations, sparkles and purple blood.
Poléanne has done and seen a lot in her career. After the hotel school, she worked at Disney, spotted a gap between client focus (top) and personnel policy (flop), then studied HR and at Accor Hotels became Senior Vice President HR for the Netherlands, Germany and England, among others. In September 2022 she ended up at Vebego, a company that has been at the top of her ‘wish list’ of employers for a long time. ‘I’ve always had a soft spot for companies that genuinely want to do something meaningful for others.’
Be proud of their work
Poléanne’s moral compass clearly colours her career path. She feels at home at Vebego, as she did before at Accor Hotels. ‘Both organisations share a lot of common ground,’ she says. ‘They have also made a major organisational change, with a great deal of attention to culture. Accor Hotels is also committed to being meaningful to others. It’s simply in its DNA. The employees there are ‘heartists’; by connecting in a different way, they make the difference for the guests. I would find it super cool if our cleaners start feeling they are sparkles. That they realise that they make a difference with their work and are proud of that.’
A people company
Poléanne has been working at Vebego for just over six months now in the role of Chief People & Culture Officer. A job title that says more than, in Poléannes eyes, the outdated ‘HR Manager’. ‘HR sees people as resources, while it is about the purpose of the company and the people and culture that contribute to it. I don’t want to manage people, but help them in their (talent) development, inspire them and empower them. So they can really contribute to the success and development of the company. That is why I am also in the right place at Vebego. The intentions are pure and sincere; choices are not profit-driven. Yes, of course money has to be made! After all, we can only be inclusive if the company performs well. But that is really a different approach to many large corporates. We are also looking for clients who will respond to this.’
Poléanne quickly noticed that Vebego really is a family business. ‘People take responsibility here and collectively support the same vision. Purple blood flows through their veins. That fact helps me in my biggest challenge: forging one culture that connects us all, in which everyone recognises themselves, without throwing the good points of all the former companies overboard. Not an easy task: this is the biggest transition in our history. There are still many gains to be made - for instance, we could discard our modesty a bit more and let the outside world know even more what we stand and go for. But I think there are only a few large companies that have advanced as much as Vebego in such a short time.’