Diante Stremmelaar started as an intern at P5COM a year and a half ago. Now she’s training on the job to become a consultant. She’s grown incredibility fast, thanks in part to her colleagues. ‘It’s great that I can rely more and more on what I know while still having a whole world to discover.’
As a consultant, you immediately see the result of your work too. You think and work with organizations to make them better for real.
Diante studied Biomedical Science. ‘That’s close to Medicine. But one big difference is that instead of being a doctor for individual patients you can have an impact on a whole bunch of patients as a researcher or consultant. As a consultant, you immediately see the result of your work too. You think and work with organizations to make them better for real. That’s exactly why I decided to become an intern at P5COM a year and a half ago.’
‘They immediately added me to the group chat app and invited me to the introduction days for new employees. I wasn’t used to that kind of thing at all. As an intern, you’re often a bit of an outsider.’
‘The first time I was here, I thought: wow, these people are really professional; they know their stuff. They want to know how things work down to the smallest detail and take the same approach with their own work. That got me going.’ Diante felt like part of the team even before her first day as an intern. ‘They immediately added me to the group chat app and invited me to the introduction days for new employees. I wasn’t used to that kind of thing at all. As an intern, you’re often a bit of an outsider.’
‘I remember my first day like it was yesterday. I tagged along with one of my colleagues at a provider of care for the handicapped. We were sitting there with a group of eight clients and two chaperons: “So, how do things work here?” That same afternoon we put on a smart jacket and met with the board. That’s a change, I thought.’
That was also the last day that much happened on-site. ‘We started working from home, due to COVID. And I started working on some extra jobs. For example, I looked at what digitalization could mean for MHCs and how we could hold onto the good things that came about from working online. That’s when I realized how great my colleagues at P5COM were. I was looking for organizations where I could ask some questions. I simply left a message in our group chat app, and they started sending me the contact details for all kinds of people who were willing to help me.’
Diante also helped with the digitalization of P5COM herself. ‘One of the partners asked who’d want to lead that project. It sounded interesting, and I thought I’d be able to handle it too. So I raised my hand. Setting up meetings in MS Teams, building a studio, writing manuals: I did it all. I got to know my colleagues personally really fast as a result. I was the MS Teams help desk, and I made the rounds along all my colleagues to make sure everything was working.’
Yeah, I run projects on my own and am responsible, but my colleagues give me great guidance. And I have one or two days of training a week.
Her time as an intern was a success for Diante and for P5COM. And so she grew to become an trainee. ‘I was a little put off by that word at first. I thought: now it’s sink or swim, and you’ll get a workshop once a year if you’re lucky. That’s what I’d heard from others. But that’s completely different at P5COM. Yeah, I run projects on my own and am responsible, but my colleagues give me great guidance. And I have one or two days of training a week. Part of it’s internal, like about how finance works in healthcare. But they also address P5COM’s approach to projects and your own way of working. You get the opportunity to reflect, and you can apply the things you learn on your next job assignment. I’m also following an external program at Talent for Care. You zoom out there a little more, to personal leadership and healthcare in general.’
‘I love being able to bounce my ideas off colleagues. One of my colleagues and I’ve been working on improving their customer mediation at a facility for the handicapped. That’s exactly what I did during my internship. So I said to that colleague: maybe we should do it this way. And he said: What do you mean by “maybe”? You’re the expert here! Of course we’re going to do it that way.’
‘We’re always there for each other whenever we have any questions, from strategic issues to, for example, asking whether someone has a computer tool for duty scheduling. And I regularly ask: How do you think I’m doing? Got any tips?’
‘And I further boosted my talent for learning on the job. I didn’t want to start out too small, but neither did I want to take my PhD in a subject before getting to know it in practice. Now I can strike that balance.’
Diante has been at P5COM for a year and half now and has really progressed. ‘I’ve become more experienced in all areas. I have more technical knowledge, of course: I know a lot more about different sectors and business operations. And I further boosted my talent for learning on the job. I didn’t want to start out too small, but neither did I want to take my PhD in a subject before getting to know it in practice. Now I can strike that balance. Just like I have more of a sense of project management. During my jobs on the side, that was always about keeping lists and meeting deadlines. Now it’s all about how to get all levels of the organization involved – who you inform on what level and when. I also feel like I’ve become more relaxed. Even though I have a lot more responsibilities now, I feel less stress. Above all, my colleagues have taught me how to prioritize: is this really part of the job? And will it help us achieve our goal?’
‘I’m learning to watch and let others do their part. My pitfall was that I always wanted to come to the rescue when others in the organization didn’t have the time. Otherwise we wouldn’t meet our deadline. By now I also really feel that while that may be true, when we’re nearing the end of a project, it doesn’t help people for us to keep doing everything for them. The same goes for resistance. Now I can handle that much better. Sometimes it’s better to sit back and let time do its work.’
Diante has far from finished learning. ‘From providing the board with strategic advice to sales skills and technical expertise. And I wouldn’t mind going on interim assignments at some of our clients for a while, to experience for myself what dilemmas managers face in their work. at some of our clients for a while, to experience for myself what dilemmas managers face in their work. How great is that combination: I can rely more and more on what I know while still having a whole world to discover.’