Matthias du Mez's first shift as a supermarket associate was at age 16 at an Albert Heijn – a brand of Ahold Delhaize – in his hometown of Dordrecht. He distinctly remembers feeling utterly ‘knackered’ afterward. “And to think my shift was only two hours long,” he laughs. These days, two-hour workdays are a thing of the past. As an international HR trainee at Ahold Delhaize’s Global Support Office (GSO), 25-year-old Matthias is wholly committed to the full-time responsibility that the traineeship entails.
Matthias was promoted to team lead after three years at the Dordrecht store. “As team lead, it’s your responsibility to ensure customers have the best shopping experience. On a practical level, this means you make sure everything runs smoothly in the supermarket, and that all shelves are stocked. I often worked 30-40 hours per week. Sometimes it was challenging to combine it with school and, later on, my studies, but the fact that I really enjoyed it helped!”
His work as team lead was very fulfilling, he says. “It’s essentially a business with short-term goals, and I found great pleasure in being able to tick off each day’s tasks and responsibilities. At the company’s head office, it’s a completely different world. Here, we focus mainly on long-term goals, and projects often take months, if not longer. To be honest, it took me some time to get used to the new way of working. At the same time, I like being part of a more strategic apparatus, where we develop policies and processes that impact all of our brands. I look forward to truly making a difference.”
‘The traineeship offers me the chance to decide which area of HR I find most interesting and choose the domains in which I want to develop myself further.’
Operating at the heart of the company
The International HR Traineeship landed him at Ahold Delhaize’s GSO in Zaandam. “As this is the nexus that supports and monitors all of its different brands, you’re really at the heart of the company. I’m the HR Business Partner for the internal audit team Europe and for the communications team. I support them in various HR-related matters. I’m also involved in a number of separate projects. One of them looks at how new employees experienced online onboarding during COVID-times, for instance. Another project is focused on the staff’s ‘homecoming’ – now that everybody is slowly but surely returning to the office, we’re thinking of a nice ‘welcome’ for them. I absolutely love the scope and diversity of my tasks and activities.”