An Interview with Michou Vreeswijk

HR Manager at The Dylan

Tell us, what do you do at the Dylan
Literally, everything that concerns Human Resources Management: from the moment we open up a vacancy to recruitment, applications, onboarding and policies. I also make sure that departmental procedures are executed in time. Think for example of the end-of-year evaluations and the staff’s Christmas presents, which are both coming up now.  
However, my most important task is to be here for the team. I want them to know me and feel comfortable enough to get in touch whenever they need me. Therefore I make frequent rounds through the hotel, just to chat and to give the HR department a face. This daily contact with the staff is by far the best part of my job. 

So you were born for Human Resources Management? 
Haha, yes, perhaps. I suppose the main goal of an HR Manager is to increase the ‘happiness factor’ because only a cheerful team can look after happy guests. I am an involved and open person, which helps to establish such a culture. If you combine that with my planning and organizational skills, yes, you could say that I was born for this job. 

Is there any hot topic you are working on now? 
Since I arrived here 7 months ago, I have observed everything that could be improved or done differently. I am now converting this information into specific projects and next year I will start working on some of them. 
The onboarding process is probably the first project that I will run. There is still a lot that we can achieve in that respect. From the day they start, new team members should get the right experience, which you can call the ‘Dylan feeling’. The onboarding process is what makes them feel at home right away and keeps the team strong at all times. 

So do you think this is what drives effective teams?  
Yes, but the strongest teams flourish mainly through openness and honesty. There should be a sense of trust between all team members. That is only possible if their leaders give the right example. If they tend to be slightly negative for a moment, this will be picked up instantly. A leader should provide compliments and direct, honest feedback to create a positive atmosphere where everyone is prepared to help one another. I think The Dylan is managing this really well. 

Could it also be the success factor of the Dylan? 
I do believe so. The Dylan is a small boutique hotel, which makes it easier for the team to communicate directly and help one another. We can act quickly because we are not restricted by head offices. We make our own decisions and we can let our creativity flow to a certain extent. That is what motivates many of us here. 

Something else, how do you keep yourself going? Or let’s put it this way: what do you live for?  
Good food! Well, and shoes, but I guess that’s inevitable, as a woman. I am always ready for good food. In this time of the year, I can really look forward to my husband’s traditional stew. He actually knows exactly how I like it, he cuts off any excess fat – not too much, because then it gets tough – and then he lets it simmer day and night. Heaven!

Sounds delicious! And if you go out for dinner. Where do you go? 
On an Autumn Sunday, we usually make a long stroll through the Vondelpark before we end at Restaurant Moer. They always have a nice Sunday vibe and a program with for example live music or a Sunday brunch. After an early-morning walk along the canals, it is also great to unwind at the cosy fireplace of The Dylan. Such a romantic place! It may even be my favourite spot in the hotel. 
One other thing I love: artisan beers, those traditionally brewed ones. I usually go to ‘Brasserie Het IJ’ or a classic Amsterdam pub, which we call a “bruin café” (brown café). ‘In ‘t Aepjen’ is a good one. I think they have never changed the interior in the last decades…