Based here at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, TMC may be an international high-tech consultancy for R&D and engineering, but from its start, the company has set out to be different. Its engineers aren’t engineers – they are “employeneurs.”
Continuing education is not only offered but strongly encouraged. With profit sharing, transparency and other benefits, TMC consistently puts its employees first and pushes them to think like entrepreneurs.
TMC employeneurs dedicate themselves to customer projects, ranging from new research and development to existing projects. The projects are often for big-name players across myriad industries, including aeronautics, automotive, construction, life sciences and energy. “We always say that we play in the Champions League,” says Naima Hamdaoui, Talent Acquisition Manager at TMC.
“We work with or collaborate with companies in a wide range, from startup to the big multinationals and everything in between, with a focus on high-tech and automotive domain, including ASML, Philips and DAF.
“We focus on expertise.”
TMC plays very broadly in the engineering field. Electronics engineering, software, data science, mechanical, mechatronics, supply chain … these are just a small sampling of the company’s vast expertise.
“What we always say is to think of a photolithography machine from ASML. For every part of the machine, from start to end, we can provide engineers. If it’s research and development, design and engineering, operations and maintenance, we can do everything in the machine,” Naima said.
Employeneurship: thinking like entrepreneurs
Thijs Manders founded TMC in 2000 and created the concept of “employeneurship,” initially to set the new company apart from the many other consulting firms. However, the company culture has fully embraced this idea. Its motivated engineers have the security of a permanent contract but are encouraged to think like entrepreneurs.
“We look for engineers with an entrepreneurial heart and skills. They must also be social engineers who can present themselves to customers and keep a conversation going,” Naima says.
To go along with the culture of self-starters, TMC also created the “YOUniversity” model within the company which heavily promotes training and coaching in areas which each person chooses.
The importance of YOUniversity
“As an engineer, you need to keep up to date,” said Naima. “You never stop learning because then you’re behind. We pay a lot of attention to people so they can grow in their role and their profession. Experienced business managers visit the engineers every six to eight weeks to have a conversation to see how they’re doing.”
Everything is on the table for each person’s training budget, even non-technical skills. For example, employees can use their budgets to attend Dutch language courses if that’s a priority for them. It’s up to the engineer to decide how to use the budget. Not only does the employeneur benefit from this education, but TMC and its customers also benefit.
The more knowledge someone offers the customer, the better results for the project. “We also have external coaching sessions for everyone within TMC to discuss all kinds of challenges – personal or work-related – that they don’t want to share with their managers,” Naima said. “It’s confidential and the information cannot be shared. Expats especially face a lot of challenges when they come to the Netherlands. They can be open with an external coach and get help with the culture change.”
An expat-friendly consultancy
TMC now has more than 2,000 employeneurs representing more than 65 nationalities. Operations span 26 offices in 14 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the U.S., Canada and Dubai. Six of those offices are in the Netherlands, with Eindhoven continuing as the headquarters.
Although TMC hasn’t always been on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, its location is unique here. The company built its dedicated building on campus. The location allows them to be part of the high-tech environment while also being near customers.
All of TMC’s 26 offices are independently run. However, the offices collaborate closely. In the current war for talent, this collaboration ends up being a very unique factor in the search of experienced and entrepreneurial candidates.
Naima Hamdaoui is one of the people tasked with finding fresh talent for the Eindhoven area. She shared some of the ways TMC is successful at recruiting new hires in this challenging environment.
TMC draws from a global recruitment community and they share best practices and recruitment profiles with colleagues from other offices,” Naima says. “We know the companies in several countries inside and outside Europe where we’ve already hired someone. If it was a good candidate, we will focus on that community and those companies. We also use a lot of referrals from our engineers.
“They are our ambassadors.”
10K growth target
TMC’s long-term vision is to grow to 10,000 employeneurs by 2031. While that’s an ambitious goal, leadership is working to achieve this partly by cultivating talent from within the company by offering traineeships for junior engineers, as well as opening offices in new locales.
The latest is its new office in Germany that opened in early September. “At TMC, we put the employeneurs in the center. If the engineers are happy, then we can have a long-term working relationship,” Naima said.
In the end, TMC makes its employeneurs a top priority and is betting on this supportive culture as the key to achieving its goal. It believes the entrepreneurial spirit, cultivated in its employeneurs, is a big reason clients choose TMC when needing a boost in talent.