In each issue of Swedish Chamber Insights, readers will have the opportunity to get to know one of our members better. This month, Swedish Chamber Insights asked Harm Voogt, CEO and Co-Founder of the new member Validata, about the strengths and challenges of being an international company, Validata’s strategic thinking, Swedish and Dutch business culture, and Validata’s future ambitions as members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce.
As a new member of the Swedish Chamber, tell us about your company, services, and the sector you are operating in.
Validata is a software company specialising in running the entire process of employment screening. We believe that the success of any organisation lies in its people. We see rules and regulations concerning background checks increasing in various industries across different countries which makes it important to have smooth and secure employment screening programs in place. Through our cutting-edge online platform, Valluga, and additional services, we help organisations make better, safer hiring decisions. This, in turn, will not only help them to be compliant but will also enable the organisation to consistently deliver quality and foster sustainable growth. Therefore, at Validata, our purpose is to give organisations ‘the comfort of being sure’.
With Validata having offices in Amsterdam and Stockholm, how do you effectively manage and embrace the diverse business cultures inherent in working within an international team? What are some of the key cultural strengths and challenges you have observed while entering the Swedish market?
We have always worked for both small and large companies, amongst which many are corporates and multinationals. This means that we have always had a focus on both national but also international businesses, and we quickly got used to working with different business cultures.
The reason for Validata to open a new office in Sweden before any other country is partly because we thought that the business culture between our two countries would be quite similar.
However, we found out that our business cultures are actually quite different. While the the Dutch are well known for their (sometimes too) direct approach, we’ve learnt that in Sweden a sales process is more a matter of building trust and relationships and getting to a real decision can take a bit longer. But once the decision is made it has the basis of becoming a strong partnership. Therefore, our challenge lies in being patient, which is not always our strongest point, but we are learning quickly.
How does Validata approach sustainability and corporate social responsibility?
Our commitment to social responsibility focuses on putting people first and ensuring data protection. Every year, Validata conducts thousands of screenings worldwide. This fuels our dedication to operate responsibly and contribute to the sustainable growth of organisations.
Putting People First – We believe that building sustainable growth begins with prioritising your people. We assist businesses in forming teams based on mutual trust and transparency. Internally, we are deeply committed to each project, striving for the best results—one screening, one employee, and one business at a time.
Ensuring Data Protection – Protecting our clients’ data is a top priority. We continuously enhance our approach to safeguard your employees’ privacy. With our dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO), we ensure compliance with all (inter)national privacy laws and regulations. Validata’s ISO certifications (27001 and 9001) further guarantee a secure and quality-driven process and service.
How does Validata invest in employee development and professional growth in the organisation?
Validata is an organization where talents get the opportunity to grow and develop in their own role. Although the roles are well described and fit in our annual plans, on an individual basis there is room for new opportunities and development. Within Validata, many young employees have had the chance to grow into new and different roles. On a more individual basis, we have a budget for courses or education and offer vitality perks. We also enjoy having our Friday drinks and to organize a variety of team and company events.
Validata recently received the best workplace award for the 2nd year in a row, which we are very proud of.
What upcoming events in the Swedish Chamber calendar are you most excited to attend, or perhaps organize, and who do you hope to meet there?
As a company, we would like to be part of the network and organise an event with the Swedish Chamber at some point. Ideally, we would like to arrange an event in 2024. Exchanging business ideas and the opportunities and challenges between our two countries is something that no doubt will help us improve what we do. More personally, I would like to join the group of patrons.
We also want to encourage our young professionals to come together, connect, and build meaningful relationships. Therefore, we are planning on becoming a part of the Young Professionals of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce as well and to actively participate in upcoming events. The Swedish Chamber community has always been a source of inspiration, and I am optimistic that these gatherings will further strengthen our bonds and contribute to the collective success of everyone involved.