Working for Unilin for 20 days vs 20 years: what are the differences and the similarities?
Working for Unilin for 20 days or 20 years: a huge difference in terms of experience. But are there similarities as well? And can new arrivals and old hands learn from each other? Hendrik and Aurore mainly see similarities.
Newcomer Aurore Innebeer (42) has been Weekend Team Leader at Unilin Flooring in Avelgem since March 2023. "When my previous employer decided to shut up shop, I was worried about my future. I started looking for a job with long-term prospects. My job interview with Unilin was reassuring to me: Unilin believes in long-term careers."
Hendrik Himpe (59) can only agree. Since joining Unilin Insulation as a Team Leader of several production lines in 2003, he has progressed on his career path at this site several times. This led to a surprising career switch in 2019 he is still amazed by himself: he moved from Production Management to Administrative Support for the Marketing department. "I do like a challenge. I was surprised when I was asked to come and work for the marketing department, even though at the time I was already giving tours to customers and I knew our products inside out after all these years. I also like nothing better than staying in touch with customers." He is still very happy to have taken the plunge. "It’s great that they thought of me for the job a few years before my retirement."
Aurore responds enthusiastically to Hendrik's story. "I also love challenges and am totally pro self-development. It's nice to hear you get so many opportunities at Unilin. I like that you can request them yourself or they can be offered to you. That sounds promising!"
Learning from colleagues
As a newcomer, the first months are all about training. Aurore has already worked a few weekend shifts and is getting to know her team better bit by bit. "I’m very happy with my team, but I have also found that I still have a lot to learn: about the products, the different workstations, the machines, the procedures, ..."
And the language as well: Aurore’s native language is French and she speaks almost no Dutch. "That’s despite the fact that I’ve always worked in Belgium and took some Dutch courses. My colleagues at previous employers spoke French to me. That was easy for me, but it did mean that I didn’t learn any Dutch. Now I’m getting intensive language training and I have to speak Dutch. I think that’s very positive. My colleagues do their best to speak clearly when they talk to me. I’m no longer afraid to speak Dutch myself now, thanks to the welcoming atmosphere here at work."
Hendrik also has a lot to learn in his current position. He’s new to digital marketing and still needs to learn some things. "I learn a great deal from my younger colleagues. Conversely, I also get respect from younger colleagues who call on my experience."
Part of our DNA
Both feel that respect is essential to work well together. Hendrik considers the other Unilin values to be equally important, though. "The values are very much embedded in the corporate culture here. People with experience pass them on to newcomers, who then pick them up very quickly. That’s why it’s so nice to work here. We’re almost like family. I never feel like I'm going to work. Our values lead to happy colleagues and happy customers."
The Unilin values are still new to Aurore, but she does have a favourite value: "Entrepreneurship, because I like a challenge. Always doing the same thing would soon bore me."