A great work-life balance and open culture make the difference at Vanderlande

Vanderlande is serious when it says it cares about the work-life balance and equal opportunities for its employees. Just ask Ashwini K S, who was promoted soon after completing her maternity leave. Since joining the company’s Global Capability Centre in Pune five years ago, Ashwini’s career has gone from strength to strength, thanks to supportive colleagues and great training opportunities.


Ashwini K S

Group Manager for Quality and Business Analytics

I have a couple of roles that reflect our company’s regional way of working and global outlook. I’m the Group Manager for Quality and Business Analytics for project execution here in Pune and have 12 people in my team.

I also have a global role as Product Manager Analytics (PMA) for Project Execution, through which I link with our central data analytics team in The Netherlands. Alongside these responsibilities, I act as a subject matter expert for the global project controller board from Pune.

To be wearing so many hats is quite some journey, because I was only the second person recruited to our Quality team. At that time, the entire office only had around 190 people, and I was a little doubtful about working for a company that was not so well known in India.

So I did some research and two themes were constantly mentioned on job review portals – a positive work-life balance and an open culture. That was good enough for me, and soon after starting I realised that this was a really great place to pursue my career.

My previous job was hectic – I worked long hours and I always had my laptop with me. At Vanderlande, you’re not asked to work weekends, and while there are some evening calls to catch up with international colleagues, these are rare and the hours are regular.

A few years ago, I got the news I was to be a mum, and my manager assured me that my career would not stop. It was an inspiring and motivating message, and I was promoted soon after returning to work.

Colleagues and managers are open here, and always take the time to assist you. This was important when I first joined the company, because there was much to learn. Engineers, IT professionals and experts in operating technologies all helped me settle in, and didn’t mind taking questions during their coffee breaks!

That openness comes all the way from the top. This is the first place I’ve worked where I have met the MD face to face, as well as other directors who visit from our headquarters in The Netherlands.

The company’s commitment to learning and training is also great. I recently took part in a mentorship programme in which a director-level colleague guided me through various challenges and scenarios. For me, it was a big positive to collaborate with someone so knowledgeable.

In addition, I recently took part in Vanderlande’s Talent Acceleration programme, which provided training in areas such as time and team management. Participants were set a business challenge, and I was on the winning team that came up with a digital solution that could bring in more revenue. I am now using what I learned from these opportunities as a member of our newly established extended leadership team.

The positive working environment is reflected in a vibrant social scene. My team and I make sure Thursday is a common office day, so we can play badminton in the evening. We also like to dance and recently put on a show at our annual family day here in Pune.

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