With a passion to do things differently. More transparent above all, and more digital, Wies van ‘t Slot, Director, 365Werk spearheads her brand to do just that – Digitalize the recruitment and hiring process. She aimed at creating her own culture in her teams and this is what kicked her off and keeps her speeding forward. Forty two-year-old Wies became director and co-owner of 365Werk six years ago, after a career in the Randstad and YoungCapital world.
Full of ambition and full of confidence, Wies van ‘t Slot, a passionate, enthusiastic, hard-working entrepreneur, is the mother of three beautiful boys (13, 11, 9). Being a mum has always been her active wish, as has to be an entrepreneur. The inspiring lady had been dreaming of leading her own company for quite some time before she actually had collected enough guts to go out and give it a shot. “Being an entrepreneur is who I am. It’s who I’ve always been”, said Wies.
More about the Firm
In a shrinking market, the online employment agency, 365Werk has managed to grow, year after year. Besides, Wies started concentrating on the service, saying: if we want to be as online as possible, we need the best human service ever in combination with that’. It was a decision and a focus that really led the team to where they stand now. Investing in the software continues undiminished, A-level service is their main goal. To achieve that, the way the teams are composed and working together is key.
In the last six years, 365Werk has been honoured with FD Gazellen Awards four times, a prize for companies with the largest rise in revenues. Also, because of the rapid growth of 365Werk, Wies has been recognized as one of the hundred most successful businesswomen in the Netherlands.
Clientele & Branding Strategies
365Werk is operating in four different industries: catering, logistics, cleaning, and business services. To ensure their service level keeps surpassing the expectation of their clients, the 365Werk team regularly investigate their wishes and criticism. Their wishes are put directly on top of their innovation agenda. Wies and her team always keep in mind that they have to stay flexible, being able to adapt to new insights and desires.
“We are young, fresh, different, a bit puckish, cheerful, not formal at all. Our message is that anyone can be a boss. That’s our tagline as well. Thanks to us, you’re able to manage how, when, and where you’re working”, asserted Wies while talking about her unique branding strategies.
Impacts of Covid-19 & Solutions
From one day to the next, 365Werk lost about two-thirds of their revenues, mainly due to their hospitality and catering clients being closed down. Immediately following that shock, they started mediating their people to other branches. Meanwhile, they went out to connect more clients from businesses that weren’t torn down by the crisis. One of the riskiest parts of their strategy was that Wies decided to stop sending bills to her clients in hospitality, to protect them from stressing out. The plan worked out beautifully when the government started to help out businesses, which she had anticipated. Today, their client portfolio is more differentiated than it ever was, thanks to the strategy during the deep Covid crises.
From the Founder’s Desk
From within my organization, I can’t see any challenge other than always keeping in mind our teams having an eye on diversity. And of course, there’s the ever-going struggle to use ‘female skills’ like empathizing and being vulnerable on the one hand, and being strict and clear on the other, without growing the label ‘bitch’. Outside my own company, challenges are bigger. Inside the business networks, I feel part of, there are only a few women. It’s always difficult to mix naturally with large groups of men. Whereas they seem to be pals, talking about guy’s stuff, I will never completely fit in. Partly because the stuff palls talk about doesn’t really interest me, but mostly because palls tend to feel forced to switch subject and attitude when a woman is around. That’s something no woman wants to happen.
Wies’s Approach to Entrepreneurship
First of all – and this sounds a bit trite – you have to maintain your own course, stay close to who you are. In her opinion, the worst thing you could do is try to change the way you act. Being a woman in a male-dominated surrounding offers opportunities to your advantage as well. For example, it’s much easier for me to stay top of mind than it is for a man in a blue blazer.
Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs & Wies’s Advice
Wies said, “In my country, the biggest challenge is facing criticism regarding motherhood. A lot of people don’t understand or do not wish to understand how a mother can spend so much time being an entrepreneur whilst having young kids. The danger of being labelled a “bad mother” is one of the biggest factors of woman entrepreneurship being relatively rare. ‘How do you manage at home?’ is a F.A.Q. to a female entrepreneur. Men never receive that question.”
She continued, “I think the way to handle this pressure is to believe in what you are doing. The only way to feel free to do so is to make sure things at home are well organised. Once you’re convinced your family is taken care of, and your professional ambition is undisputed, you should be able to withstand the criticism of that kind and move forward in order to achieve your goals. Just accept that people might have other opinions.”
The Current Hurdles
Wies’s main worry now is how to move the company to the next step, with revenues of around 60 million euros. It’s a big and fantastic challenge to figure out in which way my teams are up to it and to prioritize the tasks ahead. It means She is looking into investments, opening new branches, hiring new talent, and strengthening the IT backbone.
A Day in Wies’s Life
The alarm rings at 06.30. Wies gets up, goes out to have a short hike with her dogs, returns to have breakfast with her husband and sons, takes a shower and leaves at 08.00 for a twenty minutes drive to the office. Every day, the leading lady’s agenda is filled with numerous appointments inside and outside the office. Most of the time, she arrives back home at around 1800 so she can assist her kids with their sports training and have dinner. A couple of times a week she goes out in the evening to the gym, on other nights there’s a network meeting. And sometimes she is at home, watching Netflix with her husband.
365Werk in the Next Five Years
“The next few years are dedicated to growing even faster. We’re going to achieve that thanks to a combination of IT and an ever-improving service. Our means is to extend our efforts on making the best ‘Tinder for work’. That’ll give us the possibility to stay strong and grow. In the next five years, we’ll definitely open more offices around the country and strengthen our brand”, Wies proudly shared.
Words of Wisdom
Just do it. Take it step by step, but get started. You don’t need extensive plans, because they’ll change along the way. There are a thousand reasons not to start as an entrepreneur. Don’t listen to them. Give it a shot, the best shot you have.