In over eleven years, Vibe Group has experienced fantastic growth as an organisation, with 2017 seeing the achievement of an important milestone: the opening of an office in Düsseldorf. After expanding into Belgium, Germany was chosen as the new challenge. A new market, where there are many opportunities in the IT staffing & consulting field. And the opportunities continue to arise, as Sander Blankendaal, responsible for Vibe Group Germany, will also agree. “The digitalization that we now see in Germany goes perfectly with the niche focus and above all the DNA of Vibe Group”, says Sander.
Seizing opportunities, that is what Sander Blankendaal is all about. “Entrepreneurship has always been there for me,” he says. “After completing my bachelor’s degree, I started looking for opportunities in the market. This resulted in setting up a platform for boat events in Amsterdam. I really enjoyed it, but early on I had the feeling that this was not my final destination. I was working alone and missed having people around to inspire me to further develop myself.”
He joined Vibe Group in 2014. “I had no experience in the IT staffing industry, but I sensed that this was the right environment. I then went all-out to develop myself on both a personal and company level.” Sander quickly became a top performer and achieved promotion after promotion. Since 2021, he has been responsible for Vibe Group Germany. According to Sander, this is mainly due to the Vibe Group culture. “The culture within the company, having the right people around you and a transparent career path have a big impact on the development of consultants.”
“There are always reasons not to do something, but the trick is to keep challenging yourself and remain critical regarding your own performance.”
For Sander, however, the biggest challenge lies not in the language, but in conveying the Vibe Group DNA and adapting it to a completely new culture. “The Netherlands and Germany are two completely different countries. I therefore found it very important to sit down with my German colleagues and together find out what they find important. What do they understand by authenticity, quality, drive, intelligence and fun?” Transparency and honesty are essential for Vibe Group Germany to succeed, according to Sander.
“When I was appointed in Germany, I critically examined things like the commission schedule and promotion criteria. In addition, I think it is important to keep celebrating successes.” By celebrating successes together, you not only keep people motivated but also stimulate team spirit.“Sharing knowledge and each other’s highlights: to me, that is the core of Vibe Group. Everyone runs their own company, as it were, but we do feel that we are working towards a joint result.”
“When I was asked to go to Germany, I did not hesitate for a moment. I really enjoyed my time at Vibe Group and this felt like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was responsible for two teams at the time and this step was really an incredible challenge that came my way,” says Sander. According to him, this continuous development and challenge is also what typifies Vibe Group. “There are always reasons not to do something, but the trick is to keep challenging yourself and to remain critical regarding your own performance. At Vibe, they help you with this by providing extensive career paths, development opportunities and the right coaching. There is basically no stopping you: you can keep raising the bar.” And so, Sander left with his family for Düsseldorf. A minor detail: Sander didn’t speak a word of German at the time. “That’s what I mean by a challenge: throwing yourself into the deep end and simply learning a new language. As a Director, I think you should literally and figuratively speak your people’s language, so now I speak German every day. Not without faults, but I continue to learn in that area too.”
With Sander’s arrival, a breath of fresh air blows through Vibe Group Germany. The foundation has been laid in recent years, now it is time for a new phase. “Digitalisation is a hot topic in Germany. Now is the time for us to capitalise on it. The quality we stand for in IT offers enormous added value.” The challenge and motivation are high in Germany. “We are lucky to be a start-up with a very large company behind us: we have access to the best equipment, a lot of knowledge and a strong culture.”
The first step is the move to a new office: a nice space in the city centre, where there is enough room for the growth Sander envisages. “I see Vibe Group Germany as a kind of high-speed train: we are ready to pick up the pace. And whoever wants to grow with us is free to claim a seat on the train!” In his private life, however, Sander prefers to be on the proverbial express train. “As ambitious and busy as I am in my work, I am so calm at home. Relaxing with my family is what makes me happy.”