Wesrom Corporation’s Robert Indries published the first interview of passionate people who wants to make a difference by making social impact. We are happy to be asked to give our view on how The Playmakers want to do that.
Interviewee: Jos van Snippenberg, Co-founder, The Playmakers, Utrecht, Netherlands
Interviewer: Elena Daniela Rapiteanu, Marketing Manager, Wesrom Corporation
Social Impact Leaders is a global initiative with the aim to inspire and guide more companies to get involved and make the greatest positive impact they’re capable of by leveraging their own unique capabilities.
For example, through Wesrom Digital we decided we can use our capabilities in Public Relations to get in touch with and interview some of the best and most innovative social impact professionals from across the Globe. We can then use our other marketing capabilities to both generate and distribute engaging content, thus raising awareness and providing guidance.
Think about it: How could you use your capabilities to leave a positive impact?
About The Playmakers
The Playmakers is a professional training and coaching company based in the center of the Netherlands, in Utrecht.
According to Jos van Snippenberg, one of the company’s founders, The Playmakers make organizations as a whole more meaningful. They redesign the traditional way organizations connect with employees, and how they derive performance. Their purpose is to shift the paradigm “pay just for performance” to “play for purpose”.
They adopt an integral, 3-stage approach to aligning people, business, and purpose:
1) making the company dream (purpose) explicit;
2) connecting the employees to the dream;
3) training selected people so they can shape the right conditions for a stimulating work culture.
Interview highlights Jos @ The Playmakers
Elena: Hello everyone! Thank you for joining us for some more social impact insights. I would like to welcome our guest, Jos van Snippenberg from The Playmakers. How are you today, Jos?
Jos: I’m pretty well, thank you.
Elena: Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Jos: Yes. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. After a successful career in the corporate business environment, I became an entrepreneur 15 years ago. I am the co-founder of The Playmakers and I am on a mission to create a world where every human being matters in work life.
Elena: Sounds interesting! Do you believe getting involved in community and social issues has become a must nowadays? And why would that be?
Jos: Yes, I believe that businesses can’t allow themselves to have a negative impact on society, communities and the environment anymore. We reached the limit where businesses can afford to do harm to the environment and the wellbeing of employees in order to drive profits. I am convinced that within 10 years businesses will have a primary focus on how they can make a positive impact in the world instead of just making a profit. For me, that means also that they have to shift their traditional approach: steering their employees towards higher performance. I foresee that businesses will create a work climate where people actually bring their passion and creativity every day and are facilitated to contribute in a meaningful way.
Elena: Ok, but why 10 years?
Jos: If I was the genie Aladdin from Disney, I would say that by tomorrow everything would change. But my rational part says it is a much longer journey. A lot of start-up companies do have already the spirit and the mindset to do business also for the benefit of the community. They think from scratch already more about answers to questions like: “What is our business delivering to the world?” “What specific positive impact do we want to bring into our community?”.
Larger companies do have to deal with history, they have to reinvent themselves. They have to get rid of traditional management thinking, methods and systems first. So I believe that there will be a period of time needed to get those corporates into the right mindset, challenge them to set audacious goals and help them make the transition happen.
Elena: Ok, so 10 years is a realistic timespan in your opinion. What do you think are the main factors triggering the increasing importance of companies having a positive social impact?
Jos: Over the last 15 years I experienced a faster growing “worldwide” realization that the way we treat planet Earth and how we as humans relate to one another at the moment doesn’t really support a healthy future. Climate change, terror, inequality, and poverty have reached our front door and became part of our daily life. For me, the main trigger is the adoption of the United Nations’ 2017 Sustainability Goals, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by world leaders on 1st January 2016. Thus countries agreed that they will mobilize and contribute to reaching those goals in order to promote prosperity while also protecting the planet. This will definitely trigger companies to contribute and change their approach.
Elena: Ok, thank you! Does the Playmakers have a specific focus area in terms of social impact issues or is more community oriented?
Jos: There is a groundbreaking record of people who experience negative work stress in their job. In the Netherlands alone, almost 1 million people experience symptoms of burnout. Our primary focus is to make people matter in work-life. We believe that if people understand the purpose to which they contribute, bring their daily passion into the job and are facilitated by stimulating work conditions, then they truly feel like they matter. Then they will choose to do the right things. These conditions will prevent them from becoming frustrated, less effective and from not using their full potential. We will make people thrive. And prevent that employees drop out due to negative work stress levels or burnout. So we are really trying to make sure that people in businesses do work with meaning, understand fully to what they contribute and are facilitated to bring their best selves to work. Is that social enough?
Elena: It is indeed. Sounds great! Could you please provide more details in terms of how are you helping companies address the issues mentioned?
Jos: Yes. In order to make people matter in the workplace and use their full potential, we introduced a new organizational framework, “A Playzone”. The heart of “A Playzone” is the dream of the founder(s). Our belief is that the dream of the founder(s) should always be the anchor for running the business. For this, we first unlock the intrinsic drivers. We zoom in on passion and make clear the reason why the founder, or founders, started the company? We distill the leading company principles, the must do guidelines to always stay loyal to. We also make explicit the unique talents and kind of energy the founder brings into the business. We strongly believe that this authentic outcome is the “anchor” of both founder(s) and the employees to stay focused.
After we make the dream explicit, in the 2nd stage, we focus on aligning the team members with that explicit dream. And we don’t do that rationally, but by making them “feel” that their contribution to the company is important. We make use of play and visualization. We let people make vision boards or drawings to describe creatively what the leading principles of the dream mean to them. Afterward, employees go into dialogues with one another or present their outcomes.
In the 3rd stage, we train selected people to keep teammates aligned with their job role and shape stimulating work conditions. They are supposed to hold regular conversations, value dialogues. These conversations are about their passion for the job, self-efficacy, motivation to grow, the work context and what people need to give their daily best. This value dialogue is our “human” way to steer performance.
Elena: Ok, sounds interesting! What types of companies do you collaborate with in terms of size and industries?
Jos: We launched our company in 2016, and by the end of the year we got on board our first launching customers. One of them was a software company, Trivento, with the size of 70 employees, 19 years of existence and a cellular organization. The second one, Lumicks, a fast-growing start-up company that is a spin of the University of Amsterdam. When we started in November 2016, they had 15 employees and they are now heading towards 30 employees. They’re fast growing and expanding overseas. With these launching customers, we got the great opportunity to validate and sharpen our approach and service. We now focus on ambitious companies with 5-25 employees who are receptive to make a positive impact in the world.
Elena: Ok, thank you. This might be a premature question, but are there any other issues that you are considering to tackle in the future?
Jos: Yes. We are thinking about and have already started the first conversations with partners that go beyond the business life. I am convinced that we have to go to the youngsters and make an entrance into education. On one hand, I believe that in this fast-changing and technology-driven world skills like listening, paying genuine attention to each other, and questioning are less used and might be considered as less important in general. On the other, I believe that we must unlock and stimulate earlier in life our passion, creativity, motivation to grow and strengthen our self-belief. I think that we, as the Playmakers, can contribute to making sure that these skills and knowledge are also embraced in education in order to make youngsters better prepared for entrepreneurship when growing up. Skills or valuable knowledge such as “I have to follow my passion in life.”, “I have to work on my self-efficacy.”, “I must be able to be open my whole life to grow and to developing myself.”. Such new attitudes can bring, I think, a positive impact on the well-being of youngsters in the future
Elena: That is very true. Thank you for that. Have you ever considered developing your own social impact projects at the Playmakers?
Jos: At the foundation of the legacy of the Playmakers, stands the scientific validation to predictors of job satisfaction and effectiveness. Based on the conclusions of that study the tool the Dantefactor Compass came up. The compass measures people’s passion for work, self-efficacy, and motivation to grow, and it allows people to reflect on the importance of 8 positive correlated factors out of the work context. This online instrument provides the basis for conducting a value dialogue with people in work. With this approach, we help people reflect on their actual connection to their job and help them take ownership of improving actions. That is one of the key instruments to aligning people, business, and purpose.
We want to initiate ways to help people who have a little bit more distance to the labor market pro bono. By having a value dialogue we are helping them define what matters most for them and making people feel more valued.
Elena: Sounds great. Congratulations! And now the last question, what is your opinion about our initiative?
Jos: I really like that more attention is given to social impact and making the world a better place, so it is good to have a lot of people sharing their thoughts on this. And another aspect I would like to address is that in the last 30 years I attended a lot of seminars related to all kinds of initiatives concerning climate change and environmental footprint, and what you see at a lot of those events is people saying “Oh, this is interesting.” but then they just get back to their work without addressing any issue.
So I really hope that your initiative will get people motivated to think about their business more thoroughly and actually take action to create a positive impact on a work environment where people truly matter. I really hope it will help companies become more actionable and realize that everybody can make a positive impact on the world, not only as a company but as individuals as well.
Elena: We at Wesrom hope the same! So thank you, Jos, for the interview and insights provided. It was really good to find out more about your work at the Playmakers and some industry insights. And thank you, everyone, for listening/reading!
This initiative is part of Wesrom’s mission of helping people and organizations reach their full potential and leave an even greater positive impact. Wesrom is an ethical multinational corporation operating in three distinct sectors through its independent business units: Wesrom Engineering, Wesrom Digital, and Wesrom University.