An enthusiastic trinity with a heart for their colleagues

The operations managers of the Water, Infra and Energy unit

  • 9 July 2024
  • 5 minutes

Michèl Manders, Ellen Fijnvandraat and Matti van Hille fulfil the position of operations manager (OM'er) at the Water, Infra and Energy unit. 

ICT Group places great importance on the work that OM’ers do, which makes the company quite unique. Full of enthusiasm, Michèl, Ellen and Matti talk about their daily work, which for them is mainly about the well-being and professional and personal development of their colleagues. No matter how different they are due to their background and personal interpretation, they form a passionate trinity with a heart for their colleagues. "The fact that we spend so much energy and time on the well-being and development of employees - as an organisation, as a unit and as people - is only logical to me," says Matti, "but if you look at it closely, the position of OM’er is quite special. There are three main elements to it," he explains. "First of all, there is the HRM responsibility. As an OM’er, you facilitate an x number of colleagues, so that they can do their job properly." 

Michèl adds: "We are there to ensure that the colleagues we are responsible for feel comfortable at ICT Group and can do their work optimally, both in the unit's own project and externally. That means that they have the right education and qualities and have the right knowledge and skills, but above all that they feel at ease."

Providing interesting and appropriate work is the second important task of the operations managers. That is why they also fulfil the function of account manager. Finally, all three OM’ers are part of the unit's management team. "That makes us co-responsible for the ins and outs of the entire unit within ICT Group," says Matti.  Ellen adds: "It is precisely because of the combination of the previously mentioned tasks and responsibilities that we, as OM’ers, look at the strategy in relation to the employability of everyone within the unit and the agility of our people in the future."

"We are there to ensure that the colleagues we are responsible for feel comfortable"

Close-knit team

The three of them form a close-knit team. "Our backgrounds differ, which means that we have different emphases in our position as Public Prosecutors," Matti explains. "This means that we can also make use of each other's qualities, so that we complement each other. The colleagues we have committed ourselves to also benefit from this." When allocating employees among the three OM’ers in the Water, Infra and Energy unit, not only is it considered which employee fits which OM’er, but the location also plays a role, for example.

Michèl has been an OM’er since the beginning of 2018. "I had only been working at ICT Group for a short time when this position came my way. My background is technical, I have done the same work as the colleagues I work for now. That's why I'm putting more emphasis on the technical-project-based side. This also means, for example, that I am involved in tenders. As an OM’er, I am mainly there for colleagues who are working on projects. Above all, they ask me for substantive support."

"We get feedback that people feel heard and seen by us''

Ellen Fijnvandraat
Operations Manager at ICT Group

Added value

Of the three OM’ers, Ellen was the last to join ICT Group. Her background is in people lead/HRM. She has been working as OM’er for a year and a half now. "I find it interesting to see what added value I can provide for people. My goal is for colleagues to be happy with themselves and the work they do. That they can grow in this, so that they can achieve an even better result for the customer, for their own development and that of the unit in the short and longer term," she explains. 

"The development of people was central to all my previous positions. As a senior business coach, strategic account manager and as a people lead, the same three elements emerged. For the specialist technical knowledge, we can turn to Michel," she laughs. 

Matti has been working at ICT Group for five years. He is a psychologist and was previously active in the field of management development, coaching, training and assessments. "The position immediately appealed to me, partly because of the people-oriented and versatile role within the unit," he says. For Matti, working on the development of colleagues in combination with working on a strategic vision for the future for the entire unit is attractive. "Our colleagues certainly don't have the idea that they are here to put in the hours. We see them as a person, with whom we feel involved and work hard for as OM’er. Vice versa, we experience that this also makes colleagues much more involved in the unit. As a result, we also have little turnover."


"We get feedback that people feel heard and seen by us," says Ellen. "Yes, then you also perform better and you have more heart for the business." Matti continues: "Precisely because we pay so much attention to the well-being of our colleagues, we also notice when things are not going so well. It's not just facilitation. We feel responsible. So if necessary, we will stand up for them. You guide people intensively, which also allows you to anticipate. When we see that colleagues are taking on (too) much, we start a conversation and look for solutions together."

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