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Learning and Development at Panda: Cultivating Excellence with Head of L&D, Rick Bleijenberg

Panda's commitment to a culture of continuous learning and development is drawing in talent from across the recruitment industry and beyond. 

Rick Bleijenberg, Panda's Head of Learning & Development, is at the helm of this transformative journey. And his passion for helping others to achieve their potential is an asset to everyone within the company. 

Rick shares insights into the innovative strategies and personal philosophies that have shaped Panda's unique employer brand and learning culture in this exclusive interview.

Rick's journey is as unique as it is familiar

Rick studied Music Management at the University of Arts, which is about as far removed from the world of recruitment as possible. However, this change of direction is a journey many graduates can relate to. 

"I've always been passionate about music. But after graduating, I was eager to start my career, ready to embrace any opportunity that came my way."

His openness to new experiences led him to the world of recruitment, marking the beginning of his career. But despite his success in the industry, Rick felt a more profound calling. 

"I was more motivated by the impact I could make on people's lives than the financial rewards of recruitment." 

This realisation steered him towards a career in learning and development, where he found his true calling in helping others to achieve their potential. 

Building Panda's L&D team

When Rick joined Panda in 2022, the company outsourced its learning and development. Recognising the potential for a more integrated approach, Rick set out to establish Panda's first in-house L&D department. 

"The goal was to create a learning culture that supports continuous improvement and personal growth," 

Within a year, he developed a company culture that celebrates progression at every career stage. His team of one has become two and now he is ready to grow his team with the ambitions of the business and its employees.

Cultivating an employer brand to attract high achievers

Panda's learning and development culture celebrates individuality and attracts ambitious professionals who are looking for a platform to excel and grow. 

"We don't want to create robots. We offer a culture that nurtures growth, supports career progression, and values individuality."

Since joining Panda, Rick has been instrumental in implementing comprehensive learning and development plans, creating clear career pathways, and enhancing learning opportunities. 

His efforts have fortified Panda's reputation as an employer of choice for professionals who are keen to succeed through continued learning and growth. 

Tailored training and development

Panda's L&D approach centres on personalised training programs, which cater to individual needs while fostering a collective spirit of excellence.

"We don't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Every individual has unique strengths and areas for development." 

From onboarding to managerial training, Panda's L&D initiatives support each employee's journey, ensuring they have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to excel.

The Path to Progression

Central to Panda's L&D strategy is a clear and standardised promotion pathway. 

"We make it clear what's required at each stage of advancement. Everyone knows when they start, what they have to do to get to the next stage of progression. But we also emphasise that growth is a personal journey." 

This transparent approach ensures all employees understand what's expected of them and how to achieve their career goals, supported by regular reviews and personalised coaching.

A Culture of Growth and Fun

At Panda, the emphasis on learning and development goes hand in hand with fostering a positive and inclusive work environment. 

"We want to help people achieve their personal and professional goals and look forward to coming to work, knowing they are working for a business that is helping people to change their lives."

The company's scale-up culture allows for flexibility, innovation and fun, encouraging employees to experiment and learn from their mistakes.

This blend of personal and professional development and a warm, supportive work environment make Panda a special and enjoyable place to grow a career.

Looking Forward

As Panda continues to evolve, Rick is excited about the future of L&D and its impact on the company's success. 

"There's nothing more rewarding than seeing someone grow and succeed because of the support and opportunities they've received."

With plans to expand his team and develop more tailored learning initiatives, Rick's vision for L&D at Panda will help even more people achieve their full potential.

This unique L&D culture makes Panda a standout employer for those looking to make a meaningful impact in their career. 

Working for Panda

Are you a recruiter who has reached a ceiling in your current role? Are you looking for something different with real meaning?

We can provide it. 

Panda has always invested in our employees and we would love to have you on the team. We reward hard effort and promise to never let your achievements go unappreciated.

Please reach out to the Principal Talent Acquisition Consultant – Polly Stafford - +31 20 20 44 502 – p.stafford@panda-int.com