In a new series of employee portraits called “This is what I do”, Transdev Netherlands want to highlight the work of team members in different parts of the company and how they align with our Group’s purpose in serving the common good. One of the first team members to be highlighted was Marieke Wijdogen, Team Manager at Haarlem AML, and here is the interview with her.
In what part of our company do you work and what is your role?
I am a Team Manager at Haarlem AML. I am responsible for everything that has to do with our bus drivers. For example, absence, leave, communication, daily problems, and mishaps. Bus drivers often come to me with questions about timetables, private circumstances, holidays, how the buses work, whether anything will change with the lines, you name it.
My role also includes conducting Connexxion interviews, a kind of annual assessment interview with bus drivers. This year we renewed the interview. We now ask bus drivers what they themselves want from such an interview, which makes it more personal. It takes a little more time, but it’s more fun and it’s good for the connection.
What does your average work week look like?
Because I’ve got the day off on Mondays, I have to process a lot of mail on Tuesdays. First, I check if there are any urgent matters I need to deal with quickly, then the rest follows. On Tuesdays, we also look at the absenteeism from the previous week with the team. We discuss the people who are ill, we possibly schedule the company doctor or refer someone to physio. I also compile the newsletter on that day.
On Wednesdays, recruitment days and Code95 training sessions are often scheduled. As a Team Manager, you are present at both, to give a presentation for example, or to conduct job interviews or give part of a training course. The rest of the week is more flexible, but on almost all days I conduct Connexxion interviews.
What do you like most about your job?
No day is the same and all bus drivers are different. I can start a conversation with a certain approach, but it always goes differently than you think. That’s why I enjoy working with people so much.
What skills do you need to do this job?
Knowing people is important. If someone is angry, it is often still possible to work things out. You have to communicate well and be flexible, and you have to be able to react quickly, for example if there is an accident. Then you grab a safety vest and rush to the scene. Maybe the police come and arrest someone – then you have to be there for your colleague.
Back at the office you must turn the page again, because then there are colleagues who want to discuss their own problems. That way you never know what happens on a day, but I love it. I do try to keep an eye on my schedule, but emergencies always take precedence.
What are your goals?
I want to have annual work meetings and assessment interviews with all bus drivers. I also want to keep a close eye on absenteeism because our absenteeism rate is high. It is important to take the right steps, for example by ensuring reintegration. Every Thursday the company doctor comes by, we see who needs to drop by for a check-up.
Furthermore, we naturally work on the agreements of our concession because we want to deliver quality and not get fined. For example, we are fined €40 for each kilometer of service that has not been driven. So, if someone is late or a bus doesn’t work, that costs money. We keep track of these things and discuss them with each other.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
I would like to change the administrative tasks and work processes. For example, we keep many different lists, which means that I spend a lot of time on administrative matters. With the time savings, I would ride along with the bus drivers more often, as there is little time for that now.
Due to slow processes, new employees may not be able to access everything on their first working days. This is not a pleasant start and it is also not very professional. Therefore, improvement is needed in this area.
What makes you proud?
I am proud of the team. We have been missing a colleague for over a year and yet the bus drivers tell us that things are better than before. Despite the shortages, we are a friendly and close team, where everyone dares to walk in. That’s how we ensure job satisfaction. I think that is very important, because without pleasure it is finished. So yes, I am proud of how we work together here.