In our new 'Helloprint Design Yourself - The Interview series', we take you on a tour with some of our high achieving team members. Part 1 is all about our Talent & Culture's (HR) leading lady Tara Lauwers. Her 4 year Helloprint journey took her from an internship to a leading role in our Talent & Culture department. As she says "the possibilities at Helloprint are endless, as long as you show the drive, passion and take momentum".
Learn more about her journey and our company in this in-depth interview.
Hello Tara, you’ve been working at helloprint for almost 4 years now, can you tell us a bit about your journey so far?
I can’t believe it’s been almost 4 years already. I still remember very vividly that I joined Helloprint as an intern with absolutely no knowledge at all. Thanks to the opportunities I got and took I was able to learn new things every day and also get more responsibilities. I am fully responsible for all talent management activities for our HQ in Rotterdam als well as our local offices in Paris and Liverpool.
That sounds pretty amazing, so fast forwarding to today, how does an average day look like for a T&C professional look like and how does it differ from colleagues from other companies you think?
This is such a hard question to answer. Part of what I love about my job is that no day is the same and the only thing that is for sure is that my day never goes how I planned it to go. Some people might see this as a bad thing, but I really like this dynamic of acting fast and taking care of things on the spot. Of course, there are some things that require a bit more planning or a more structured approach; and I make sure to reserve some time to dedicate to these things. But every day something unexpected happens, or I have a conversation with someone that brings new insight and ideas on which we started working right away.
Most colleagues live really close to the office, you are located a bit further in the beautiful town of Breda, with Helloprint’s Freedom and Responsibility policy that shouldn't really be a problem, can you enlighten us about that?
Yes I live in breda indeed, the most beautiful city of the Netherlands in my opinion. But it does mean that I have about 2 hours of travel time each day. For me this never really is an issue, except for the times when I have to be in the office at 7 am. Luckily this is only the case about once a month because we are welcoming our new Helloprinters during HITweek and I like to be in the office super early to make sure everything is prepared properly. But on the other days I am free to schedule my days and working hours to my personal preference and therefore traveling isn’t really an issue for me. If I know that I have a super busy day ahead the train ride is the perfect time to prepare some meetings or check my emails. On the other hand, if I had a super busy day; the train ride home is the perfect time to clear my head.
Like many in our company did in the past, you are finishing your masters whilst working in a demanding position, how do you pull it of and do you have any tips for those in a similar situation?
This is very challenging to be honest. Unfortunately I still haven’t finished my thesis because I find it hard to juggle priorities. I have to say that Helloprint is very accommodating and I have the freedom to plan my week in a flexible way in order to have some time to work on my thesis. But currently I am working on such an important and interesting project at Helloprint on which I would like to focus fully and learn everything that I can from that project. I just do not want to take any time off from this project to focus on my thesis. (don’t tell my teachers ;) I think my biggest tip to others, and also to myself, is to just do it. There is always something else you need to focus on, or that seems more important or fun to do than to write your thesis. But not finishing your thesis also brings a lot of personal inflicted pressure and stress. The one thing that has worked really well for me lately is to just take whatever time you have. If I have a super busy weekend planned and I only have 1 hours to work on my thesis, I still work on it during that one hour. In a single hour I can’t do a lot, but it’s still more than doing nothing. So just do it, even if you just write a few sentences, it’s still more than nothing.
What makes Helloprint stand out from other companies in your opinion?
I have to admit that I do not have a lot of experience with working full time in other companies. I just briefly worked full time at one other company before I joined Helloprint. But from talking to friends and family I clearly see a big difference between Helloprint and other companies. I think it already started with me being hired at Helloprint. I had 0 knowledge and didn’t even have a matching bachelors degree. So why did I get hired in the first place, you might ask? Because I wanted to work at Helloprint. I read this article about it and started researching the company and realised that I just needed to work there so I decided to apply to a position that I feel like I might like. At helloprint we believe that drive, motivation, and potential is so much more important than what you can already do. Skills are of course important, but skills you can learn, and these things you just have to be. What also differentiates Helloprint are the opportunities I got since I joined as an intern and the ability I had to grow into the position that I have today. Working at Helloprint isn’t always easy, it can be very hard at times. To be honest I’ve also had periods where I struggled a lot. But even during those times Helloprint always gave me the feeling that they believed in me and that my place was here. Growing in your role or even growing as a person isn’t always easy but doing it at a place like Helloprint helped me a lot and I do not think I would have had the same opportunities or support at another company. Life would probably be a bit more relaxed, but also way more boring than it is right now. And I think that would really drive me crazy. Just give me this fast paced Helloprint dynamic instead. As long as you do something you love it’s really easy to give it your full dedication.
We have one colleague that came from a well-known corporate who said in 1 year Helloprint he learned more than 7 years at his previous company, what would you say to graduating (master) students who doubt to kick-start their career at an established corporate or a vibrant scale-up like us?
This really depends on what you want. If you want a very clear growth path for the next 10 years you should definitely not join helloprint. We do believe in developing our team members, but we do this on a personal level and don’t have any set growth paths. But if you truly want to make a difference in a company Helloprint is the place to be. Here you do not have to wait 2, or maybe even 5 years, to make that next step in your career. If you prove to us that you are ready to take the next step and take on more responsibilities by already doing it, it’s yours. Personally I do not think I would be where I am today without Helloprint. I would probably work in HR in another company instead of Talent Management at Helloprint. And instead of being responsible for every single aspect of talent management I would probably have these very boxed responsibilities without being able to add value to things that wouldn’t be part of my job profile. Right now I can be involved in everything that I want to be, I get all the information that I need, from whoever I need it (CEO or intern, it doesn’t make a difference for us) and get the opportunity to grow every day. So if that is what you are looking for you should join a scale up instead of a corporate
What is your biggest achievement in the company?
There are so many things I achieved over the past few years, both in my personal development as well as in the development of Talent Management at Helloprint. So it’s hard to just pick one thing. But I truly believe that everything I do should benefit our Helloprint team members. In the end it is my responsibility that they have everything they need to do their job, that they are happy, able to develop themselves, and that we do everything we can to help them. So I think the biggest achievement is that everything goes smoothly nowadays. The basics are in order → the funny part is that I still remember that one of the first things I had to do when I joined Helloprint was making sure that we had a signed copy of everyone’s contract. Our team is happy, we are working on the feedback they give us to become an even better employer. We are focussing on the development of our team. So overall I think Talent Management is really on the map at Helloprint and everyone truly believes that our team is our most important asset and that they deserve attention and development that matches their personal needs/ambition.