Déhora Consultancy Group’s story starts with its founder, Ben Jansen. Ben was born in 1951
Déhora Consultancy Group’s story starts with its founder, Ben Jansen. Ben was born in 1951in the Netherlands, more specifically in Dieren, Gelderland. He performed well at school, especially excelling in the sciences. At the age of 17, once it came time for Ben to decide on which course of study he wanted to pursue, the electrical engineering programme seemed like an obvious choice. Here, too, his marks were excellent; however, something was still lacking.
When he was in his early twenties during his apprenticeship at a Philips site where computer memories were being developed, it didn’t take him long to realise that he wasn’t just interested in complex technology, but that he was also fascinated by how the department was organised.
This experience made a lasting impression on him when he graduated. This led him, at the age of 21, to a crossroads in his life. He was no longer sure that a career in engineering would make him happy, which is how he discovered the field of occupational psychology. The subject fascinated him. He took the plunge and decided to forge a new, different path for himself. In the early 1980s, he graduated cum laude as an occupational and organisational psychologist. He obtained his PhD and began working as a researcher and professor at the University of Amsterdam.
During one of his projects, Ben was seriously confronted with the well-being of his colleagues. He noticed workers in key positions suffering from incredibly demanding working conditions. His attention eventually settled on the long, terribly stressful night shifts that employees were carrying out in the scorching heat and oppressive roar of the paper machines. He observed the impact that working time can have on the well-being of people, which naturally entails an impact on the functioning of the organisation as well. This experience made a deep impression on young Ben. The years that followed were filled with turmoil and he was confronted numerous times by the impact that time and the lack thereof can have on people’s well-being, to include on himself. He became spellbound by the subject of time.
So, what do you do with an obsession with time and an enterprising spirit in combination with several different organisations coming to you for advice? Ben decided to start a company in 1987, a next step that made sense given his experiences. He was one of the pioneers in the Netherlands and Europe to set up a consultancy firm in the field now known as workforce planning and management. It wasn’t long before he was able to claim trade unions and employer organisations as part of his clientele, in addition to the large and medium-sized companies he was already working with. It serves as a good illustration of how Ben enjoys using his company to build bridges. Everything had come full circle. In the years to follow, the organisation grew steadily and Déhora’s customer base even managed to expand far beyond the borders of the Netherlands.
However, as ambitious as he was, Ben only saw this success as a start, the start of a much longer story. His love of humanity, society and time are what inspired his decision to focus his efforts more on the subject of time. This was also his rationale for founding the Time Design Foundation in 2012. The heart of the Foundation’s message is that time is precious and ought to be treated as such. This is also the justification for the foundation’s objective, which is to transform the inattention to time visible in society into time consciousness. Through the foundation, Ben and its members are eager to demonstrate society, organisations and individuals how a time-conscious approach is essential to achieving success and making a happier life reality.
What started out as a man fascinated by time and the well-being of his fellow people in relation to work, has over time developed into a perfect, generous foundation, the Time Design Foundation, and a thriving organisation, the Déhora Consultancy Group. It is an organisation with offices in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Warsaw and Prague, with customers in Europe and all over the world. And all 200 Déhora employees and members of the Time Design Foundation share the same fascination, a fascination with time.