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Starting your career at Energy21 – new colleagues onboard online

New colleagues

While the vast majority of colleagues are working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, two new colleagues joined our Energy21 team. Naomi du Pree [NdP], MSc. Chemical Engineering at TU Delft joined Energy21 from the start of July 2020. Tom Rigter [TR], Msc. Industrial Technology at TU Delft joined in September 2020.

You both started working at Energy21 during the pandemic – how do you experience the digital onboarding?

[TR] Working from home means that the world you live in is somewhat smaller than in reality: it mainly consists of the people you have met and the teammates you work with. I do miss the social aspect and external stimuli of working at the office. [NdP] I completely agree. Since I started in July, I could work at the office on a couple of days. And in the summer, we even ate pizza with a small group of colleagues in Utrecht. Working online does mean you automatically reach out more to people who can help you find the answers to questions you have, rather than to contact other juniors. [TR] The upside of online boarding is that you  get the opportunity to absorb information in a dosed way and find your way on your own pace.

The Dynamics of the energy market asks for a flexible attitude

As an employee, you do need to have a flexible attitude. Faced by the dynamics of the energy market, we notice that long-term planning can be challenging. “People switch between teams depending on the projects that run at that time”, says Adam. “It is a great way to experience the wide range of activities with different technologies and solution domains, but you do need to be able to continuously adapt and it is not set in stone what your next week is looking like.”

How does your onboarding process look like?

[NdP] It was different than I expected. I thought that in the beginning, the first period would be challenging due to working remote, but I was facilitated with a screen right away and bought a desk on the same day. I now have a proper, personal workplace and in addition, have a dedicated buddy, Kyo Beyeler, who supports me in getting up and running. Our team chat is opened all day and I’m in real “stalker mode” to get all the information I need for work. As we miss out on office activities, we set up an online lunch every week to socially catch up.

[TR] I just completed the first training sessions as part of the onboarding process. When a lot of information is to be digested, I prefer a physical meeting instead of a digital one. It allows you to interact better and challenge each other more, which is difficult online. As the energy market training is quite intense, it was great to have it at the office. It is different with the scripting course as you drill down in exercises almost right away. Especially the 2nd day is motivating when the result of your work immediately shows. I am part of a team for a large industrial customer and discuss the project in 3 sprints per week. I also have a buddy, Maurits de Blécourt. Every morning we discuss the daily operations. When something is unclear or if I have any questions, we often share screens and go through it together.

Are there topics you would like to specialise in?

[NdP] To be honest, I now focus on knowledge development of EBASE and scripting as there is a lot to learn. When I feel comfortable with these topics, I will broaden my scope again. I think there are many different areas available to specialize in, but right now I really enjoy scripting, so who knows..

[TR] Yes indeed, with scripting it is pretty cool you create ‘something’ out of nothing. But I am particularly interested in energy prices on, for example, APEX and Endex, or other exchanges. During my studies I always enjoyed the financial courses and think the ‘business’ part of the energy market is fascinating. At Energy21 you can get a deep understanding of the energy market and how complex and intertwined it actually is.

How did you find Energy21 and the job opening?

[NdP] I was looking for a job in the energy market, in which scripting possibly could play a role. When I was introduced to Energy21, it all came together. I instantly had a positive impression of the company thanks to the open and pleasant interviews. [TR] I also knew I wanted to work in the energy market and was looking for a job at a company with energy expertise. When my search led me to Energy21, I noticed the education level is high and the size of the organization favorable, so my choice was quickly made.

Can you describe the working culture of Energy21?

[TR] Energy21 has a pleasant, friendly atmosphere in which to work. It’s informal character makes it easy to reach out to people and if you need a hand, there is always someone around to help you out. I felt welcome in the team from the very first start and, because you can directly contribute, it feels you add value from the very first beginning. [NdP] Yes, that’s very pleasant and at the same time you get the opportunity to find your own way. I really appreciate the openness and friendly culture, also in our customer relationship. In my first weeks, for example, the customer paid a graduated rate. That allowed me to attune in a pleasant way and prevented I experienced high pressure. After a couple of weeks, we positively evaluated my work -both internally and together with the customer- and I even got invited to experience the work done by the billing department of the customer.

Any closing thoughts?

[TR] My first impression of Energy21 was that it was more about energy efficiency in the context of sustainability. Although there are definitely efficiency matters, the main question rather seems to be: how can we help companies to automate energy processes in support of their commercial purposes? This does result in a more efficient use of energy, but that is not the main purpose.

[NdP] It might feel that there is less focus on sustainability but in fact, Energy21 makes it possible to integrate renewable energy sources. Of course we must continue to develop more green energy and sustainable solutions, but it becomes increasingly difficult to balance supply and demand in the energy market. It must be transparent and needs to be operational at all times. Other factors than the traditional ones suddenly become very relevant. For example, the price of energy is majorly influenced by the ‘supply’ of sun or wind. In the portfolio of the client we are working for, the green, sustainable solutions are all marked as ‘specials’ because they are more difficult to manage. That is where Energy21 can add value: with its energy expertise and specific, smart (software) solutions.