The labor market becomes more and more international and yet we still face so many differences in law, languages and culture between the various nations. This is great for our feeling to belong somewhere, but difficult for doing HR business in another country. 

When we started our company BeljonWesterterp in 1991 in The Netherlands it wasn’t that complex at all. You had to be aware of differences within our little country. The attitude in the north was completely different then 300 kilometres southwards. The language sounded different then for example in Amsterdam, but we were all Dutch. And furthermore, we knew the legal entities of companies, we knew how the government was organized, in short all was familiar.

So, we started and gradually we grew over the country with 6 offices all over the Netherlands. Other then most of our competitors we acknowledged the regional differences and therefore based in the region. We not only expanded, but we also developed ourselves in matters of quality and boardroom positions. And how did we develop? First, we studied, read articles (then mostly in papers ☺) and we had internal masterclasses. During those masterclasses we learned from each other, talked about best practices and afterwards we had fun. And by the way that is what we still do! Because we are people that like to meet people and share knowledge and results. A great way to develop!!

What we noticed those sessions however was that the market was rapidly changing. Companies (and certainly in the Netherlands) focused more and more on export and developed their business in other countries. From them we got questions like can you help us in for example Germany or the USA. We even went to countries like India and China, just to see how markets expanded and developed. We reported back to our management and came to the honest conclusion that this was too big for us. We could try to start an office in for example Hamburg, but would we ever be as good or better the local competitor? We can think so, but you will always look at such a branch with Dutch eyes. And if you cannot beat them, why not join them? And then you come in a phase where you have to determine will we stay only active for the Dutch market or is there also a possibility to support Dutch companies abroad. And furthermore, how do we connect to foreign companies that want to develop in the Netherlands?

And during that research we met CFR Global Executive Search! A global network of high standard HR companies with the same approach towards their clients as we have. Know what your strength is and know where other partner can help you better to support your clients. In their country our partners know the market, the languages, culture and habits of people better than we do. And we know it likewise better in our country. CFR Global Executive Search is present in 25 countries all over the world, from Canada to Australia and all in between or above!

And yes, we still believe in exchanging vision, trends, strategies, knowledge, and best practices. We still do this on regional and national level, but also now on international level. 

Therefore, we are proud to host the worldwide CFR Global Executive Search meeting in Amsterdam from September 20th until the 22nd. And we will show Dutch culture past and present, tell them interesting things from a Dutch perspective and will exchange visions and ideas just to understand each other even better. And of course, we will have fun. Because when we can strengthen the global CFR network our clients will benefit from this and that is purpose that we exist!


Article written by Willem Hein, CFR Global Executive Search The Netherlands
Photo source: Unsplash


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