“We needed that ‘just do it!' attitude”
Covebo innovates with app to support temporary foreign employees in the Netherlands.
Have you met Marcel Snetselaar and Bart Colen of House of Covebo yet? Marcel leads Digital Operations, his team member Bart is the Product Owner of the brand new and already well-received Covebo Square app. These gentlemen embody House of HR’s purpose to connect and amplify boundless talent to win in a world of change.
What does Digital Operations at Covebo do, exactly?
Marcel Snetselaar: "The people in our department are mainly concerned with finding out the digital needs and wishes of our employees and clients. We then develop - with or without our suppliers - the necessary applications and help them to use these apps in the best possible way. When I started at Covebo six years ago, the Digital Operations department consisted of just two people. Meanwhile, there are twelve of us.”
How did the idea to create this Covebo Square app emerge?
Marcel: “Actually, Bart already came up with the idea for a temporary workers app in 2019, but we just weren’t ready for it back then. We were still not ready today, but we simply felt the time was right to fulfil our long-cherished desire to build it. So we did it.”
Bart Colen: "During my time at Covebo in Eindhoven, I participated in an internal Innovation Contest: my pitch was to set up an app for temporary foreign workers that would keep them feeling strongly connected to our organisation. Unfortunately, I came in second, but the seed to eventually build that app was planted in Marcel’s head since then. So, one day I got a call from Nijkerk. And of course, I jumped. The development of the app was a bumpy ride, but with the right mindset, everything came together.”
Marcel: “The data from the different applications were inconsistent, but we eventually managed to streamline them.”
What challenges did you face?
Bart: "The problem definition was simple: our temporary foreign employees want an app, but we don't have an app. Luckily at Covebo, the Nike-attitude is very strong: just do it!”
Marcel: “It’s also known as the Pippi Longstocking-attitude: “I’ve never done it before, so I think I can do it.”
Bart: "However, Marcel and I soon ran into huge capacity issues. You don't build a proper app with just two people. It involves a lot of different disciplines, so we needed a bigger team. Fortunately, we immediately got the green light. Moreover, every time we wanted to build a new feature or develop a new idea for the app, we also faced new challenges. But in the end, we have a beautiful app that meets our colleagues' expectations and exceeds the expectations of the temps by far."
What are the next steps?
Marcel: "The 350 people already working with Covebo Square are blazingly enthusiastic. Now we can start scaling up to thousands of users. Temporary workers always stay connected to us thanks to Square: they can report problems, have access to all the necessary information, and they can also be helped 24/7 if necessary."
Your pioneering work is a great example of the can-do spirit within House of HR.
Marcel: “Everyone gets opportunities at House of HR, and everyone can be who they are. That’s very nice!”
Bart: “I pretty much got my dream job and am surrounded by not only very nice but also very smart people. I learn every day. Whether I am a Happy Rebel? Definitely!”