's Heeren Loo: best training company for MBO students


Investing and innovating are highly valued at 's Heeren Loo. The organization achieves this by looking at the talents of (future) employees. In 2018, 's Heeren Loo was named the best training company for vocational students in the province of Utrecht.

Warm, open-hearted, and compassionate: these are important and beautiful qualities for someone who wants to work in healthcare. However, not every person who possesses these qualities is necessarily the right fit for the job, says Elise Nieuwhof, Manager of Practical Learning at 's Heeren Loo.

"We now know that being very loving but, for example, not being able to set boundaries effectively in an environment that demands a lot from you can lead to burnout. We want to prevent that."

's Heeren Loo: Best training company for vocational students

Relying solely on intuition is no longer sufficient in today's world, says Nieuwhof. The majority of people being trained within the organization do not yet possess that level of self-awareness, especially if they are young, flexible, and highly compassionate.

When Nieuwhof heard about the TMA Method through colleagues, she was intrigued and decided to...

'If you work in healthcare, you also go through a personal journey'

Surprising outcome

Nieuwhof herself underwent a TMA Talent Analysis and found the outcome surprising. "I've been a manager for thirty years, but it turns out I have zero discipline. Yet I'm very efficient; my tasks are always completed on time. I do it out of a sense of responsibility."

Colleague Annelies de Hoog, who has been working at 's Heeren Loo for 22 years, now as a Specialist in Practical Learning, also learned something new from the outcome of her Talent Analysis. "I tend to avoid mistakes and often ask others to double-check my work. This is quickly perceived as insecurity. Now I know that I can also approach it from my high sense of responsibility. I simply want to deliver quality."

The two were so impressed by this positive psychology approach that a TMA is administered to all students who embark on a learning trajectory within the organization nationwide. "This immediately reveals their drive and talents, but also their pitfalls," De Hoog explains. "What makes you happy and what doesn't? The analysis provides a personal profile viewed from a talent perspective."

She continues: "When you work in healthcare, you also undergo a personal journey. You are the tool you need to perform your role, so you must ensure that you handle it correctly. And that can only happen if you know who you are and where you stand. In the region where I work, we immediately implement the Talent Analysis, and after six months, we conduct 360-degree feedback, involving both the supervisor and a colleague, as well as someone from the personal sphere."

More alert to signals

It has changed the conversations we have with students," says Nieuwhof. "Previously, we would ask questions and had to make do with the answers someone gave. With the TMA report added, the conversation becomes deeper more quickly.

It provides us with a language with which we can neutrally discuss both positive and negative aspects. This allows us to prepare people well for the work they are likely to do for years to come."

Especially the less pleasant aspects of the work and the employee's learning points are important to discuss, De Hoog sees now that she has been working with the TMA Method for a few years. "It is very rewarding work, but sometimes very heavy as well. There have been employees who dropped out, about whom I had doubts at the beginning of the process. But you don't want to let people fall too hard because they also need to be able to develop themselves. Nowadays, I am more alert to the signals at the beginning. I also mention them to the employee."

Experience with the method is crucial, says Nieuwhof. "The TMA Method is a fantastic instrument, but you really have to learn to read it. Now that I have been working with it for longer, I also see that drive and talent do not always manifest in behavior. Sometimes there are scars in people that are so big that it takes more to make that drive and talent visible: more conversations, or even coaching and therapy."

Beautiful Gift

Both see their approach as a beautiful gift to the people who take the test, even if they do not end up working for or staying at 's Heeren Loo. "The report can still help someone in the search for a suitable job. Even a rejected candidate can become an ambassador for our organization in this way."

The fact that this approach bears fruit is evident from the fact that 's Heeren Loo has been named the best training company for vocational students in the Utrecht region in the sector of Care, Welfare, and Sports by the Foundation for Vocational Education and Business (SBB). The SBB awarded the prize in 2018 because the organization "invests significantly in the quality of practical training and the learning climate."

"It's a regional award. But we operate nationally, so it also feels like national recognition for us," Nieuwhof says with a wink. And such recognition is valuable, according to De Hoog. "We invest time and money in guiding the development of our students because they are the employees of tomorrow. The world is changing rapidly, even in healthcare. More independence, collaboration, and better communication are being demanded. We must ensure that employees can continue to stand their ground in the future."


To ensure this, Nieuwhof and De Hoog want to use the TMA Method even more within their organization. "If another employee wants to do a TMA, they can request it through our learning environment. That's how we try to promote it. And ultimately, we would also like to use the Team Analysis," says Nieuwhof.

"In the Southwest region, where I work, we recently had employee days," says De Hoog. "There was a workshop on the TMA Method, and beforehand, we had people take a shortened version of the Talent Analysis. If they want to do the full version later on, they can. My dream is that eventually, all supervisors will know what their competencies are. Self-awareness makes it even easier to guide others."

'Insight into yourself makes guiding others even easier'

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