The now of work: How TomTom is giving TomTom'ers what they need today
It’s easy to get nostalgic about the past or look ahead to the future. But then there’s the present. While TomTom has a keen eye on building the future of mapmaking, it is also providing TomTom’ers with the tools and environment they need now to make their future (and TomTom’s) a reality. I spoke to Arne-Christian van der Tang, Chief Human Resources Officer at TomTom, to learn more about how the location tech company is doing this by focusing on flexibility, impact and leadership for all TomTom’ers.
Giving TomTom’ers, or any employee, what they need seems like an obvious thing. But the last few years have challenged us, showing how quickly those needs can change.
Arne-Christian sets the scene, describing “a series of world-changing, transformative events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the social and political unrest around the globe, inflation, the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle. Everything happened in a matter of two years really.”
In the same space of time, everything that was discussed about the future of work – what the workspace could look like, how people will interact – was suddenly our reality. Remote working, for example, has long been touted as the next big thing. Then, during the pandemic, people were working from their sofas and bedrooms, proving it was possible for a post-pandemic world. Arne-Christian sums it up: “Work no longer means the same thing for people, in terms of its meaning, why they join a company, and so on.”
All of this led to Arne-Christian’s realization that we had it all wrong when it comes to thinking about work. Anyone can prepare for the future of work, but sometimes, the future can change or be a lot closer than you realize. Arne-Christian believes the focus must move away from this – the attention should be on the now of work.
What is the now of work?
The look and feel of the future workspace. How people interact with each other in the office and online. These are no longer distant dreams; they are today’s reality.
“Work is not the same as it was three years ago,” Arne-Christian explains. “When I talk about the now of work, I’ve come to the realization that we need to create an environment where TomTom’ers can find their purpose, connect with others and effectively collaborate to make an immediate impact.”
The result of this can be seen in TomTom’s new vision. Before, TomTom had the ambition to make the world safer, cleaner and congestion-free. This is something TomTom was able to positively influence, but never directly accomplish.
Now, TomTom is focused on creating something that it knows best: maps. More specifically, mapping the world in real-time. It hasn’t been done before. It will deliver the most accurate data to people that need it. And TomTom’ers will see the progression and immediate impact.
For TomTom’ers, this purpose gives them the reason to open that laptop and start working. As Arne-Christian shares, “TomTom’ers get excited by the domain we’re in – it’s super high-tech and it’s innovative. We’re having an impact on the world – when it comes to your personal impact, we want TomTom’ers to feel excited and equipped to get going from day one.”
That’s what the now of work is all about. It’s all well and good to have a long-term plan. But it’s important that a company gives its people the reason to take steps forward each day, getting them closer to their end goals with a helping hand to guide them along the way.
How is TomTom delivering the 'now of work' to TomTom'ers
TomTom’ers need flexibility and purpose. In response, TomTom’s ways of working have changed in two ways: with Working @ TomTom (W@TT) and the Leadership Foundation.
W@TT gives TomTom’ers the choice of work location. Home, the office, on the way, in another country or state. So long as it suits TomTom’ers for their next coding sprint or project. Also, “it applies to when you’re going to do it,” Arne-Christian says. If a TomTom’er needs to travel in the afternoon, they can work earlier and still deliver on their projects before they hop on the plane, train, or car.
This means all TomTom’ers can adjust on the go. There’s no preferred option – the idea is that anyone can choose what’s right for them at any time. As Arne-Christian mentions, “it’s all about how we can facilitate TomTom’ers having the most impact, and having the most energy to deliver that impact.” Work locations are not so easily defined. What matters for the now of work is what you’re able to achieve and making sure the environment enables that.
The same applies to the Leadership Foundation. Arne-Christian says that “Leadership is not a function. It’s not as simple as I’m the Head of HR, therefore I’m a leader. I’m only a leader when I am able to show ownership and take accountability for my actions.”
So, TomTom’ers should no longer consider leadership as something rooted in the future, like a dream role. Leadership is about decisions that can be taken in the moment. If a situation is going south, or motivation is being lost, every TomTom’er can “find their impact through leadership,” says Arne-Christian. This could be reminding a colleague of their strengths or suggesting a solution to a recurring problem. TomTom’ers can resolve even the smallest situation through leadership.
It doesn’t stop here. Arne-Christian says that TomTom is stepping up in its skills development offering, “making sure that those opportunities are available at any time in the flow of work, when people want and need it to help them solve complex problems.”
Then there’s Human Resources itself. The structure of the unit is being simplified, what Arne-Christian is calling the TomTom model. If TomTom is going to provide for TomTom’ers in the now, then it needs to be agile and flexible, ready to meet evolving needs. So, Arne-Christian says TomTom’s HR is “reorganizing itself by the different processes TomTom’ers follow. What we’re doing now is bringing all these processes together, bringing the people interaction with it and making the whole experience much more obvious and easy.”
Whether it’s the TomTom’ers building the first real-time map or the TomTom’ers supporting them in HR, everything is being done to set up a fluid, flexible workspace in which people can make an impact.
Why you should join TomTom
TomTom’s all about maps. But as Arne-Christian says “a map is a just a map at face value – it’s a collection of roads, address points, places to go. It’s what you do with it that makes it become more than that.”
The same can be said of TomTom’ers and their work lives. A job is just a job until purpose is injected into it. And, as Arne-Christian mentions, “the more value in that job, it’s going to define your life.”
Through the likes of W@TT and the Leadership Foundation, as well as the purpose to engineer the first real-time map, TomTom’ers can answer the all-important questions: “Who do I really want to be right now? What do I want to be known for not just in the future but in the present? What’s the kind of work environment that I’d excel in?”
Don’t wait for the solution to show itself. Take a step closer to TomTom today. Work in a way that’s right for you. Find the answers that you’re looking for now.
Do you want to become a TomTom'er and find your impact?
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