NEWS Aug 18, 2021

Interview with Gumption Partner Liene De Bie: ‘I want to make a Gumption ambassador of each employee.'

Aurelie Favresse

Since the summer, Liene De Bie has been part of the Gumption management team. Together with Benjamin Kindt and Marcel van Buren, she strengthens the existing four-man management team. Liene is responsible for the Experience team that coordinates HR, marketing and facilities. She explains what her plans are.

Congratulations on your new role! How does it feel to be a new Gumption partner?

It’s a great opportunity. Over the last five years, I’ve had a total immersion in enterprise at Gumption. I’ve learnt things from several corporate leaders in the group, especially from Pieter and Koen from Brightest. I’ve never made any secret of my ambition. I’ve always said that I’d like to be a manager or lead a company. It characterises Gumption that I’ve now got that chance.

I’m responsible for the Experience team, which includes HR, marketing and facilities. That’s a unique combination. It’s also typical of Gumption to be innovative in this role. The main theme of these fields is ‘experience’. How do you perceive Gumption as an employee, a client or a follower? Experience is the key word in my job. We are committed to providing the best Gumption experience imaginable. Some companies in the group are really strong in this field, such as Oddball. We work together closely.

What does Gumption’ mean for you?

Nicolas sometimes says: Gumption is the dream factory for companies. I’d go a step further: Gumption is the dream factory for everyone involved in it. Business leaders, employees, clients. Those who are entrepreneurial get every opportunity at Gumption.
I’m a perfect example of that.

What are your plans?

In the next few years, we want at least to double the scope of Gumption. Our systems and structures have to be ready for that. We will work on that with the entire Gumption team. We can only realize our goal if our employees have the best possible ‘experience’ as soon as they are involved in Gumption.

We look for excellence in all we do. I regard being committed every day to that ‘operational excellence’ as a major task. If people feel good, they’ll want to carry on working for us. Candidates who immediately feel good at Gumption will look forward to starting work.

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Every voice counts. Imagine that you get a great idea tomorrow about, say, how to work more efficiently. You just send an e-mail and the managers will make time for you. At Gumption we don’t do anything ‘because we’ve always done it like that.’ There are no silos and no corporate structures. We have to preserve that at all costs, even though we’ve grown from being a small club to a company of 550 employees in just a few years’ time.

How do you preserve that open mind and flat hierarchy in a company which has grown so fast?

By continuing to talk to each other properly. In a small company you easily get a hearing, whilst in a bigger company you have to establish structures. In the GACs, the Gumption Ambassador Clubs, the company leaders get together each month. Following that example, the colleagues from the Gumption companies now also come together. The marketing officers meet each other in the MAC, our sales workers join together in the SAC and recruiters and HR managers organise the HAC, with the H of human capital.

In each company we choose Gumption Pioneers. They play an important part in spreading the Gumption mindset.

Despite our growth, we mustn’t lose our rock ’n roll attitude. We never want to lapse into cumbersome structures where everyone gets entrenched in their own box and no one thinks about the bigger picture. With this team there’s little chance of that (she laughs).

Imagine that you look back in a few years from now. When will you say your mission is accomplished?

My mission will be accomplished when people at a family event not only talk about their company, but also about the wonderful group of people of whom they are part.

Thanks to the umbrella of Gumption our companies enjoy some nice economies of scale. Think, for instance, of the pleasant features such as attractive offices and attractive cars. The Gumption network gives you a head start as a company, but also as an employee and client. I see it as my job to make everyone aware of that. I want to make a Gumption ambassador of each employee and client.

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