CWS 3.0


Because You Asked - CWS 30 July 2.13

CWS 30

Dear Surveying,
Despite the European Union, Europe is not really one homogenous entity. The culture, language and legislation vary considerably from country to country. That having been said, some markets are certainly "friendlier" than others to the use of contingent workers.

A primary consideration is language. Maybe it was fortuitous that your company has operations in the Netherlands -- it can be turned into a strategic advantage. To begin with, the use of English is widespread and well-established there, so you won't face significant language barriers. It's a very different story in France and Southern Europe. However, English does tend to be the language of international commerce, so in all likelihood, senior management will speak it, though their fluency may vary.

As you probably know, the temporary staffing market is also very well established in the Netherlands. The temporary staffing industry was faced with early regulation in the Netherlands, unlike other parts of Europe. In fact, Dutch unions' participation in regulating temporary staffing services resulted in temporary workers being treated well in the Netherlands.

Other factors to consider: The Netherlands is a consolidated staffing market, whereas the U.S. market is fragmented. The top five staffing companies in The Netherlands account for more than 40 percent of the market. Randstad is the leader with market share of 24 percent. Be prepared to pay more. Staffing margins are higher in The Netherlands than in the United States. Further, adoption rates of the managed service provider model in The Netherlands is not as advanced as here, so you may find some resistance to it, especially if you are thinking of introducing the model there.

I would advise to proceed with caution. It's not as simple as cutting and pasting a successful U.S. CW program. Start by adopting an inclusive approach. Include your local management team. You need their buy-in and local market expertise. Be prepared to adapt and compromise.

Caution notwithstanding, you can be relatively confident about expanding your program to The Netherlands. It is a mature staffing market and both the language/culture is not as foreign as other parts of Europe. But no international project like this is without risks, so take an incremental approach. Do your research.


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