Profile of Annamijn Schmal - Field Manager, Netherlands
Annamijn, one of our Netherlands Field Managers, explains here why she’s passionate about the role, the value it brings to our stakeholders and what it takes to be successful.
What is a Field Manager?
“Consultancies and staffing solutions providers are generally very good at the first part of the process; meeting with clients, defining their issue, crafting a solution, producing a project plan and implementing it. But often, they fall down in the after-sales phase.
“The role of Field Manager at Michael Bailey Associates was designed to continue the process beyond the project implementation. We are the main liaison point throughout the project, acting as a lynchpin between all three stakeholders – the client, the contracting consultant and ourselves.
“Our role is simply to ensure that all parties get the most out of the project, and achieve the desired outcomes.”
So, day to day, what does the role entail?
I start the day in the office preparing for meetings and looking after admin tasks before heading out to see our consultants and clients. I look after a region that spans out from Amsterdam north as far as Groningen and south to The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam, which means I can be on the road a lot!
I prefer to meet people in an informal setting, and so spend a lot of time in café’s! We discuss the wider project as well as the consultant’s individual assignment, any changes or developments with the project, any issues to resolve and feedback for the client.
I aim to be back in the office by 4pm to cover off actions from the day’s meetings as well as to catch up with friend and colleague Elles, the other Field Manager in the Amsterdam team. If there are issues to resolve, I could be liaising with other internal departments on behalf of my consultants and of course, I keep the Account Manager updated.
The Field Management team also puts on regular social events for our consultants. Elles and I research options, decide on an activity and venue that will appeal to our contacts, and we host the events. The last event we ran was a golf day which generated some extremely positive feedback from the attendees.
What skills are needed to do your role well?
You cannot do this role unless you are someone who is genuinely interested in and passionate about people! With the role of Field Manager, your personality traits and attributes are more important than hard skills. Listening skills, the ability to develop close relationships based on trust and a natural capacity to build rapport are essential.
Negotiation skills are also crucial, and not just when dealing with contractors and clients! Sometimes we need to challenge internal processes, negotiate with other functions and bring about change within our own business to achieve our goals.
Organization skills, confidence, the ability to work independently, resilience and the tenacity to make things happen are key. You need to be strong, outgoing, team orientated and positive, all things that tie into our Company Values.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
When I first came across the role, what appealed to me most was the opportunity to meet people, the fact that I would need to travel around a lot rather than be office bound and the variety of the work. A year on, and this is exactly what keeps me motivated – no two days are the same!
The degree of autonomy is also very important to me. As long as the objectives of the role are being met, I can decide how best to achieve them rather than having to follow a prescribed action plan.
Within the Amsterdam office at Michael Bailey Associates, there is a great team spirit, almost a family feel. Everyone is very supportive, extremely open and honest, and also very professional. Whether you have been in the business for 6 months or for 6 years, you can express your opinion and be heard. We all get along socially too – we have a bar that we like to visit on a Friday after work, and there are lots of social activities and events throughout the year. I have made many friends, including of course my fellow Field Manager Elles!
How has the company helped you to develop?
The company invests a lot in training and developing staff, and encourages people to achieve and progress. I have monthly meetings with Elles our other Field Manager for the region and my direct Manager where we discuss and plan the next few months, as well as set the overall strategic objectives.
A lot of training and knowledge building takes place on the job, sharing experiences and successes with colleagues, passing on tips and proven strategies. This is backed up with formal training courses delivered by specialist external training companies and our dedicated in-house trainer.
What about career progression opportunities?
As this is a fairly new role it is still evolving, and I love being part of that process. I have conducted presentations to other teams in different offices about the value that the role has brought to the business, and I’m going to be involved in training initiatives as we roll out the Field Manager function to other locations.
With so much change within our own company and the wider business environment in the Netherlands, the role is likely to change, grow and develop over time.
Our business is continually expanding and diversifying, adding new regions, sectors and clients. The external environment is also constantly changing, particularly the legal framework regarding freelancing and the economic landscape here, which has presented difficulties for some clients and consultants over the past few years.
My role will therefore become more complex as internal and external changes occur, and we will need to change and adapt too, along with other functions within the business. I am looking forward to tackling the challenges associated with this.
How do you balance work commitments with your personal life?
Last year, I became a mother for the first time! On my return, I introduced the idea of flexible working with my Manager, and we worked out a solution that would work well for both me and the business. I now work a 4 day week which allows me to spend more time with my family without impacting on the quality of service I provide to our consultants and clients.
The support I received from the Managers, my colleagues and from my clients and consultants was fantastic – I had a huge amount of cards and congratulations from within the business and from my consultants and clients.
Would you recommend Michael Bailey Associates as an employer?
Yes, absolutely. There are many opportunities to progress if you are willing to work hard. Results and commitment are well rewarded, and I agree with the notion that the more people put in, the more they get out.
There are various ways to build your career. Many people start as an entry level Resourcer and work their way up to Senior Resourcer, Account Manager or Business Developer roles. After that, you can choose to go into Management or you can move sideways to a new sector, a different role or even relocate to a completely new country. For example, one of my colleagues from Amsterdam recently completed a 6 month secondment with our Kuala Lumpur office.
Rather than lose people, Directors look at changing roles or responsibilities in order to keep people satisfied and motivated and our incentives and rewards schemes are fantastic. I particularly appreciate the company’s excellent track record of thinking outside the box with regard to flexibility.
Above all, our culture and team spirit is the reason why I would recommend us. The atmosphere, support and camaraderie among colleagues is exceptional. We support each other, help each other out, learn from each other and celebrate our successes together.
Come and join us!