In gesprek met Sanem Oguz
Because the employee we interviewed doesn’t speak Dutch, this article is in English.
What does it mean for you, when a company states they’re taking care of their employees?
I’ll start with the story of how I started at BD. It was 5 years ago and I was working for a different company. A headhunter contacted me and although I said I wasn’t looking for a job, she just wanted to have a chat. I thought it could be interesting to have the conversation to understand what was going on in the market. I used to change between companies a lot – I think that’s something with the new generation – but at that time I had a nice job, so I didn’t feel the need to change, I was good where I was. I was really surprised when I met the business manager at that time, because I expected a very business-oriented conversation, as it is common in most of the global companies, but it was really people-oriented instead. It was a conversation about who I was, what my plans were in life, … He also arranged a customer visit on my last interview with the intention to show me BD productes and the nature of the work.
“This humanitarian and customer-centric approach really influenced my decision to start at BD.”
And actually I’m surprised to notice I’m still working for BD. It’s been 5 years already! I always thought I would change again after a while, because I thought I would never have the feeling to belong somewhere. But with BD it has been a different adventure. Most companies have a set of values on the wall, but in BD we live by those values, you really experience this while doing your job, meeting your colleagues. It’s everywhere in the company, not just on the wall. Even in challenging times we always stand by those values.
Can you give an example?
For me the most important value is that we do what is right. People might think it is sometimes hard to understand or decide what is right. But in BD we know from the first day we stand for BD’s high ethical standards. In order to drive this culture we constantly get training. But not only that, we also know we can trust each other and seek guidance in a number of ways if we have questions or concerns. And it makes you feel safe, secure and also proud to know BD will take appropriate corrective action for any misconduct. BD is never only about the numbers and figures, it is first about doing what’s right for advancing the world of health.
What else makes you stay at BD?
There are a lot of new opportunities inside the company if you’re looking for them. It’s easy to experience change, even within the same position you can have new challenges and new projects. After two years at BD Turkey Office I wanted to check for new opportunities. I am an enthusiastic and also a curious person, so I questioned myself: what do I want next, where can I find it within BD? There are many different locations in BD and you can check for opportunities all over the world, so eventually I ended up in BD Benelux. And I’m really happy to be here, because the whole leadership team is very committed to diversity and inclusion. We have a lot of employees with different backgrounds working for BD Benelux and it’s important to feel included.
How does BD Benelux manage to include everyone or what are they doing tot make it easier?
I really was supported by HR and my managers throughout this adventure. I openly communicated my future projections and received guidance. During my performance reviews I always try to be prepared and really value the constructive feedback. Next to my reviews and career path discussions I was also guided through different programs regarding my interests. One of them is Valyous: it is an organization at BD where we aim to engage our employees by organizing events, fun activities and instructive workshops. I always like to contribute and share, so being a part of Valyous team really made me feel included from the very beginning of my journey in Belgium.
The second great opportunity I had was to be part of a talent program: Charge. BD Belelux offers this talent program for a year and provides coaching, training and workshops. Another part of the program is to build a project team, come up with an idea and prepare a business case which gives you an opportunity to work with a group of people with different backgrounds, functionalities, gender, age groups and personalities. Working with a diverse team brought us great success and we had the chance to experience this first hand thanks to the Charge Program.
Al these programs helped me to feel included from the very beginning, but of course being part of them is a personal choice. I wanted tot take that extra mile and I’m very glad and proud of all the hard work we put together with both teams.
Is there something that could be improved?
Relocation was a bit hard because I haven’t really had any professional relocation experience before and I underestimated the difference between even simple rules and regulations in the different countries. But our open culture helped me to reach out to the right people. And this experience even turned into an opportunity for me: to work on an onboarding project in the talent program. This is also typical for BD: if you see room for improvement, you can share your ideas and it is possible to have an opportunity to work on it. At the end it makes you feel more engaged because you’re feeling heard and you even get the responsibility to do something about it.
And as a proud BD employee I believe we can work even more on BD branding. I think Alexander (GM) is doing a great job at BD Benelux. We are a healthcare company, we touch everyone’s life, but our products are mostly not directly being purchased by end-users. However I believe dat BD should be known by everyone as a company living by its values in order to advance the world of health.
Is there any advice you would want to give other companies that want to invest in caring about their employees?
Personally, I think purpose is one of the most important asset of a company. Transparency and developing your talents would follow respectively. At BD, if we need to take the extra mile, we work hard, we challenge each other, because we want to contribute, we care, and we truly believe in our values. It’s also about supporting your colleagues, helping each other and advancing the world of health together. And I believe a company can only create this strong culture with a people-oriented leadership.
“This is the only advice I can give to other companies: people oriented leadership!”
Success can be reached with only a task oriented approach as well but on the long run talents will retain and contribute more if they feel they belong. I think that if companies communicate clearly and share their purpose and values, people will work hard for what they believe and want to achieve!