20 days or 20 years at Unilin: what’s the difference?
Working for Unilin for 20 days or 20 years: a huge difference in terms of experience. But what about similarities? And can new arrivals and old hands learn from each other? For Carl and Dimitrichka one thing is clear: everything changes, and that requires open-mindedness and flexibility from the employees.
Carl Smith (43) joined Xtratherm in 2003, today Unilin Insulation UK. “I came across Xtratherm during my job search. Their narrative appealed to me: learning to work with new machines and opportunities for advancement. The company was still in the start-up phase back then: we even had to help with the painting and the installation of the machines.”
And what they said about the opportunities for advancement was spot-on. He did odd jobs at first but today he has a coordinating role. Over the past 20 years he has advanced from one position to the next.
Development opportunities were also the reason why Dimitrichka Dobreva (29) recently chose a job at Unilin as a global compliance administrator. “I chose this job because I wanted very much to work in a large and international firm with lots of growth opportunities. Still, she’s in no hurry: “It’ll take me a few more years to really get the hang of this job so I’m not thinking about a new position just yet!”
Twenty years ago Xtratherm had a workforce of 25; today they employ 158 people. “But I know everyone and they know me.” In the course of those twenty years, Carl has also witnessed major changes in other areas. “For me the biggest change is the strong focus on safety and the efficient way of working. But the colleagues are just as amazing as twenty years ago.”
Of course, Carl himself has also changed in that time. “By capitalising on every opportunity to take up a new role and climb the ladder. Now one of my job responsibilities is to stimulate team members to take training courses or take the next step in their career. If I notice someone has the same drive and curiosity to learn as I have, I try to give them a nudge in the right direction.”
Naturally Dimitrichka doesn’t yet have the same profound knowledge of the company as Carl but she brings other qualities to the table. “My main strengths are my soft skills and time management. I’m sure the knowledge will follow. I’m learning a great deal from my immediate superior.”
Strongest click with respect
Dimitrichka’s career switch is testament to her courage and entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, she has the strongest click with one of our organisation’s key values: respect. “Mutual respect is essential: when you feel appreciation for your work you apply yourself even more. Passion for the job is an indirect consequence of mutual respect. One can’t exist without the other.”
Carl agrees wholeheartedly. “If you have to work with a lot of people it is essential to respect each other.” Carl is also passionate about his job, a passion he wants to pass on to new colleagues. “Based on my experience I try to make them feel the same passion as me; for our products and especially for the people they work with. Respect and passion create good workplace relations and then coming in to work is never a chore.”