27 Dec 2019
2019: Looking back on a wonderful year!
By: Frank Gielen
Amazing customers, cool projects, precious partners, impactful colleagues and a lot of fun.
This month always is a great moment to look back on the previous year. For me personally, 2019 was a very special year in which me and my girlfriend celebrated our 10 year anniversary (no wedding, great party), my son Brann started kindergarten and we bought and renovated a house. Mental note to myself: better planning next time when you are also running a fast growing business like Talent Peaks! But also for Talent Peaks it was a year in which we shared a lot of good times, as well as some less good times together ...
2019, Talent Peaks has outgrown the startup phase and it is safe to say we have been scaling up ever since. Holding on to our number one priority: ‘DNA match on personality’, we managed to strengthen our organization with a healthy mix of young potentials and more seasoned consultants. And, a true milestone, we hired a finance professional to challenge the way we do business from an operational and financial point of view.
It was also a year of saying goodbye to some of our respected colleagues. This is never easy, but I am happy to see that without exception these people decided to follow their passion; either as a freelancer or as a PhD student at the UvA. And speaking about passions, one of our colleagues is currently preparing to go on a 6 months sabbatical. I believe that it is our purpose to make sure our people can flourish; preferable inside Talent Peaks, but if the puzzle won’t fit, then outside.
Growing in numbers comes with new challenges. The ‘family’ is changing, new faces bring along the risk that Talent Peaks will not be Talent Peaks anymore. Borrowing the old AirBnB value ‘don’t fuck up the culture’ as a management team, we have defined 4 pillars for 2020 and onwards. With this we want to make sure that our unstoppable growth will not impact the unique culture we cherish. The other way around, we also ask from the colleagues to all nurture our culture.
Focus on what matters most
Our Talent Peaks family welcomed 5 beautiful babies this year, and two colleagues got married. As a matter of fact, in everybody's life there will be life changing events that demand you to focus on the situation at home. We encountered quite a few of those this year, but for us it was a no-brainer to make sure the people could focus on what is really important: home. I am a strong believer that without a stable home situation people do not have the right fundament to perform at work, and vice versa. And therefore, Talent Peaks always accommodates the freedom to do so. So we sent people home, only to return when they were completely ready.
In 2019, we maintained our Salesforce Gold Partner status. We noticed that our clear focus on three specific industries makes that account executives know when to find us. They see us a welcome addition to the sales phase because of the value of our industry knowledge. Our growth industry last year was Media Services where we now have some very cool use cases in multi cloud implementations.
Being present at Salesforce Basecamp in Brussels, showcasing a best practice with our customer Attentia was certainly a highlight. But also taking part at the Salesforce World Tour in Amsterdam, London Calling, YeurDreamin’ and, of course Dreamforce in San Francisco, was important for us to position Talent Peaks as a trusted Salesforce partner.
Knowledge is power
One of the most important things we did different from previous years is to really invest in knowledge gaining of our consultants. Studying and certification was something that has always been done ‘on the side’ and therefore busy schedules filled with projects sometimes blocked the knowledge gain. So we decided to take drastic matters and block 4 hours per week for all consultants to increase their knowledge within the work week. So what did this bring us all?
The answer is as clear as it is impressive; 3600+ hours of knowledge gaining resulted in 820 new Trailheads, 32 new Salesforce certifications, our very first Salesforce Application Architect and last but not least Ronald Schep became one of the world's first Certified Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultants! Needless to say we will continue approaching knowledge like this in the years to come.
And then there was that other Gold
In 2018, we brewed our own Tripel Peaks beer with which we sponsored Gilles Dupont, who is part of the Belgian Special Olympics Basketball Team. With succes! In the summer of 2019, Gilles and his team travelled to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Special Olympics. And they did not just participate… they brought back the gold medal! We could not have been prouder of this young talented athletes, and we were grateful that we could help them achieve their dreams.
At Talent Peaks, having fun is one of our core values, and boy, did we have fun. To stay informed and connected, we always have 4 TP update meetings a year, and they need to be worthwhile. So we went to Dublin for a weekend, we almost got lost in an oldskool, tech free, orienteering in the Belgian woods, we had a meeting on a boat sailing on the IJsselmeer (and getting sea sick) and we closed the year in the Euromast with a awesome view on the Rotterdam skyline. For our family event we invited our colleagues with spouses and kids to a day full of fun as well, because we believe that being successful is directly related to having a stable home situation.
To make sure our consultants can perform in the optimal way, we also optimized the operational processes, and for 2020 we will improve this even more. We want them to be able to focus like Roger Federer, so making their working lives as easy as possible when it comes to processes, systems & facilities is one of our main goals.
I want to do a big shout out to Starred. We have integrated this tool with our Salesforce org and we are using the app since 2019 to measure customer satisfaction for every project we deliver. We value feedback and want to learn how to improve our skills and our approach so therefore, we linked the survey to our core values: having fun, making impact & being a guide.
In 2019, we achieved a NPS score of 54, and reached 8,7 out of 10 on customer satisfaction. This makes us very proud since happy customers are our key focus. In the survey we linked 5 skills to each core value, so we have very detailed feedback on where we need improvement as an organization, as well as the improvement areas of our individual consultants.
It was Marc Benioff who said: “Here is the thing about values: you have to use words to describe them, but they won’t create true value for you unless they turn into consistent behavior”. And that is exactly what we try to do, day in, day out!
We launched our own app!
January 2019, Martijn Brandse, an old acquaintance joined as a partner. And with him the journey began to co-create Byner, our own Salesforce ISV app with two customers. With a team of motivated developers we managed to get our first version through the Salesforce security review and have a Go-Live of the App within less than 9 months.
We named our ‘kid’ Byner, because it connects crucial parts of the Staffing Business. Covering the whole process from contract to invoicing, we have focussed on creating an app for the Staffing Industry that will fill a blank space on the platform. It is awesome to see that old times are back with Joram & me hitting the waves to demo this app to prospects.
Bratislava here we come!
As we nailed our 2019 target, we thought it was time to make a trip with the complete team again. We decided to go for the symbolic city of Bratislava. Why symbolic? Because it was during a project that took place in that very city that Joram and Stijn met each other. In Bratislava the first seeds were planted to start Talent Peaks together. And the rest is history! ;-)
More than two years ago, I joined Talent Peaks for one simple reason: “I want to do cool stuff with cool people!” And this is still true. Even better: we have adopted this slogan to be leading for Talent Peaks for some time now. Life can be very simple. If you do stuff you like with people you like, both in personal life as in business, then you really enjoy what you are doing!
Come and meet us!
Wanna be part of the excitement? At Talent Peaks we are always looking for cool people, so if you are looking for a new career challenge, or if you’re facing business challenges, let’s have a chat!