“As a community manager, my job is to connect people. A campus like Noviotech Campus needs a force that connects people.” Yvette Akkermans started earlier this year as the new community manager. She now shares her vision and approach for the future.
The job of a community manager is to find a balance. “Always look from the point of view of our tenants and entrepreneurs. What do they need? What is behind their questions? At the same time, I should never be up front; I’m only there to connect people, not drive conversations and discussions.”
A tour of the campus
When Yvette started her job, she wanted to meet every business on the campus. “Visiting more than 75 companies takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. It is important that I go beyond individual questions to look at the larger, invisible needs.”
Yvette already notices that there is one thing most companies want. “More opportunities for spontaneous meetings. The funny thing is, those meetings are not spontaneous. We as Noviotech Campus are working hard to make sure people meet each other.” A meeting place in the form of a restaurant, coffee corner, or pub is one of the solutions.
Battle for talent
Another thing that Yvette notices is the race for talent that is rampant on campus. “Because it is so hard for companies to find new talent, retaining their staff has become very important. That means job satisfaction should increase, and the Campus can help. It’s my job to investigate what employees need to be happy.”
Making sure that self-employed people can find collegiality is also very important. “We want to be more than just a working space. We are social animals and should give people room to meet and inspire each other.”
One of the ways the Campus wants to show that they are more than just a workspace is the festival Vibe of the Future they organise after the summer holidays. “All the important parties for the development of the Campus will be there. From the municipality and educational institutions, to young kids who will shape the future of health and high tech.”
Every individual is part of the bigger picture
We are individuals, but community management means that we are all part of a bigger picture, together we are one! Based on their interests, people gather other people around them in their social life. But you can also use that in a business setting. You can move forward if you put people at the centre and aim at the future. Solely focussing on growth is not the right way. We need a strong community to grow.”
A community is not built in a day or even a week. That is why Yvette and the Campus have planned for a more extended period. “First, we want to present our community plan to all the current campus residents. What are we going to do and why?”
After that, it is time to make some fundamental changes. “The first big change will be our frontrunner building, opening next year in September. That will be the first new building on campus, with a catering facility.” In the long run, Yvette has more goals. “An experience centre, where past, present and future of Health and Hightech will get together. With shop windows for our companies, to show what they do. That also enables us to show visiting schools and students what is really happening on campus. We need to entice children and young people to like health and high tech, and we want to amaze visitors with our innovations.”
And her final goal? “Connecting all people in the Noviotech community, from production to research!”