A Face in the Cloud – Elke Nijhoff, Cloudy Brand Lead
Here at Cloudreach, we believe that the growth of a great business is fuelled by great people. It is our talented individuals that make Cloudreach the success it is. Elke Nijhoff, Global Cloudy Brand Lead, tells us about her experience working and keeping it cloudy at Cloudreach.
Tell us a bit about your current role and your journey at Cloudreach?
I started my journey at Cloudreach almost 5 years ago as a Talent Acquisition Specialist. The Amsterdam office opened a month before I joined and there were only 5 people in total there. This office was Cloudreach’s third office, and the first office outside the UK (can you believe we have over 15 offices now!). I helped with setting up the Amsterdam office and facilitated its growth. After a year of massive growth, I took on the role of Employer and Brand Engagement Lead and was in charge of creating the Cloudreach brand identity. This was a very exciting role because of the quickly evolving and competitive industry we operate in. The work we do in this team is quite groundbreaking in our industry. Amongst many other things we managed to bring life to our identity, create a powerful employer value proposition and define a distinctive Cloudreach people brand. This resulted in increased awareness of our brand and good talent acquisition and employee engagement results, which in turn has a positive effect on the customer experience.
What was it like switching roles within Cloudreach?
When I joined Cloudreach we had 50 employees globally, and we stood at the forefront of massive growth. Job descriptions and KPIs were not as detailed as they are now. You picked up whatever came your way to help the business grow and flourish. Thinking how we can grow the business whilst maintaining our culture, constantly innovating whilst also executing quickly. I loved it! I was able to learn and move fast, it has given me amazing opportunities. This also resulted in getting familiar with many different aspects of the business, which I am very thankful for.
How would you describe the Amsterdam office?
In Dutch we would say “gezellig”! There is no English word for “gezellig” as there is nothing else like it. Just like our Amsterdam office, it is different from all other Cloudreach offices. Also, it’s the only Cloudreach office located in a penthouse with a roof terrace overlooking Amsterdam, just saying! Come say hi and have a look for yourself!
How has the branding of Cloudreach evolved over the years?
In a rapidly changing industry, don’t expect branding to remain the same. Strong brands find a way to be true to themselves while evolving with culture. Social media, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and more gives everyone a voice. Cloudreach brand identity evolved by empowering all Cloudreachers to act as brand ambassadors. Our “cloudy” brand, as we call it, is a tangible representation of our core values and the unique culture that we’ve cultivated. In today’s competitive tech industry, it’s important to show people who Cloudreach is and what we stand for, beyond the crazy cool technology of course. It’s important people understand who we are through all touchpoints of their Cloudreach experience, whether that’s interacting with us on social media, visiting one of our 15 offices, going through our Cloudy Roots onboarding program, or navigating through internal tools and systems. Cloudreach is not your average tech company, and our strong people identity is one of the things that sets us apart.
How important is a defined culture in a business?
I would say it’s one of the most important things! This is very well explained by a well known phrase from Peter Drucker (made famous by Mark Fields, president at Ford) - “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner”. Any company disconnecting the two are putting their success at risk. Culture change is complex and most efforts fail to meet expectations. This is in part because it is often approached separately from strategy and capabilities and becomes an “HR Thing”. Maintaining culture should be an essential factor when determining a business strategy. However do bear in mind that no culture, however strong it may be, can overcome poor choices when it comes to strategy. The impact of culture on company success is only as good as its strategy is sound.
What tips could you give on creating a brand identity?
Brand identity and culture is not a concept created in a marketing or HR meeting - it is the expressions, discussions, and output of the organisation as a whole. Our entire company encompasses our brand. You cannot fake it! Hence our team collaborates with many different business units within the company. My tip is to make sure every aspect of the business is aligned to ensure you have a clear and consistent brand promise. Employees should be treated as ‘internal customers’ who drive the mission, vision and culture. This will help you in turn to provide a more positive and consistent experience to customers and candidates.
Would you be able to tell us a bit about the work you have done on the “Alliance for Partnership and Inclusion” Council?
With this initiative we try to encourage a workplace in which the individual is respected, included, and empowered to bring their whole self to work. We have 3 areas of influence. Recruitment, in which we try to increase diversity of applicants. Internal, in which we try to foster an inclusive environment for everyone at Cloudreach. And finally, External, for which I am the EMEA committee head. Here we try to engage in the community and utilize partnerships to support initiatives. Work we have done in the past include partnering with diversity organisations like Findspark and WonderWomen, and active participation and sponsoring in the Women in Tech Meetup Community.
What do you value most about working at Cloudreach?
The people and way of working. I truly feel like I am working alongside some of the brightest minds in tech, which makes it very engaging and challenging, in a good way, to stay on top of my game. Cloudreach has always supported a very autonomous way of working which made it possible for me to shape my work environment in ways that allowed me to perform at my best. The free cloudy lunches, beer in the fridge, kick off events and uncapped holidays aren’t to bad as well...
What is your personal philosophy?
Embracing change! This is something I have recently learned and am trying to adopt as my personal philosophy. It’s cliche but true, the art of success lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.