How to get the best out of your employees – Interview

From Employee Development to Potato Processing Excellence

On Kiremko’s website you will read that their goal is clear: getting the best out of every potato. The team of 230 motivated colleagues at the head office in Montfoort forms the basis for this reach. That is why it is important to also get the best out of employees. Nicole Peters, Manager Sustainability and Communication, together with Nick Vreeman, Coordinator Learning & Development on how they approach this.



Interview with Nicole Peters, Manager of Sustainability and Communications
and Nick Vreeman, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Kiremko
Originally published in magazine Ondernamen Lopikerwaard summer 2024


10 July 2024
  • Keywords
  • Interview
  • Kiremko employees
  • Technical education
  • Development and knowledge transfer
Kiremko employees
Kiremko's Sustainable Processing and Youth Education Initiative
Kiremko provides with the development of individual machines and complete processing lines for all forms of potato processing, from French fries to hash browns and mashed potatoes. The products and processes are designed to ensure that waste of energy and raw materials is avoided. Nick: ‘Or, as we explain it to the groups of young students who come here: we make the machines that turn potatoes into fries.’ And students visit Kiremko regularly. Nicole: ‘We invest specifically and intensively in youth and their education. That’s where it starts: If we don’t inspire and train young people for technical professions, as a manufacturing company you will no longer have a foundation to continue.

Engaging Young People

During a tour of the company we also pass by “the lab”. Here Kiremko simulates a complete production line: from potato to fries. The students  are active participants while receiving an explanation about the entire process. But it is not only at Kiremko in Montfoort that young people are tempted to choose technical professions.


Directors’ Commitment to Youth in Technical Education


For example, directors Paul Oosterlaken and Marcel van Huissteden are closely involved with the TechnoHub training locations in Woerden and the MAKE Center in Nieuwegein. Nicole: ‘Their personal mission is to introduce as many young people as possible to technical professions and education. It doesn’t matter where they end up getting a job, as long as they are happy and have been given the opportunity to grow in their profession.’

Orb of light that represents knowledge or cleverness, an idea
Continue to Engage and Retain

When new colleagues arrive at Kiremko, they are guided step by step and prepared for their work. Nick: ‘We even have our own Online Academy. This now contains more than sixty e-learning courses, which have been developed for and by colleagues. This way, we instantly capture the knowledge we possess and make it accessible to everyone. Each person is evaluated to determine which e-learning courses are relevant for starting their new job.’


Excellence through Continuous Improvement at Kiremko


Nicole: ‘We are laying a good foundation for working at Kiremko.’ It does not stop at good “on boarding”. At Kiremko, “Continuous Improvement” is one of the four strategic pillars. Nicole: ‘We believe that properly utilizing and developing our people’s knowledge makes a major contribution to their job satisfaction and is a prerequisite for Kiremko’s continuity. This way, we ensure that we stay at the forefront of the market while continuing to engage and retain our employees.’

Internal career progression

The management team serves as a great example of internal growth within the company, as both Paul and Marcel started out as draftsmen. A current example involves a young colleague who joined as a draftsman and aims to change to project manager. Nick: ‘Together with him and his supervisor, we assess the necessary training and education. We create a personalized development plan and monitor progress.’ Nicole: ‘This is ideal for us. It builds valuable experience and knowledge about our products, which can then be applied in different roles, helping retain employees within our organization.’


Accessible Learning at Kiremko: Adapting to Diverse Needs


However, not everyone seeks training and change, which they can indicate. The Kiremko Online Academy is accessible and largely optional. Nicole: ‘Not everyone has access to a computer or the desire and time to continually learn.’ Nick adds: ‘That’s why we converted a space in our manufacturing hall, installing two computers. Now, production staff can also take online courses between shifts, especially during quieter periods.’ By early 2024, 86 employees had already participated in some form of training.

Kiremko employees

Kiremko House of Knowledge
Knowledge sharing

Another example of how colleagues continue to learn from each other is the initiative ‘House of Knowledge’. During these sessions, a colleague shares insights about their work. This takes place every quarter. Nicole explains how it operates: ‘We announce these sessions through our internal app and office screens. Colleagues can choose to attend. On average, fifty to seventy colleagues participate, learning about ongoing projects and developments.’


Empowering Growth Through Knowledge Sharing


Nick concludes: ‘Internal knowledge sharing is crucial to us. We also pair younger colleagues with more experienced ones. Our learning principles emphasize learning through guided practice, mutual learning, and formal education. This philosophy is reflected in all aspects of our work.’

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How to get the best out of your employees – Interview

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Waardsedijk Oost 28
3417 XJ Montfoort

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