Higher & Company will become a part of the Leonis holding of which Leeuwendaal is also a part, the two HR firms become sister companies. As a part of this merger – both parties keep working independently – several agreements have been made in order to work together in the area of recruitment, talent development and service and product development.
Higher & Company was founded in 2002 by Henry Haaijer. Over the past fourteen years the advisory and training agency has grown to a team of fifteen professionals. Higher & Company focusses on the development of directors, managers and HR departments which are mainly active in the private sector.
Mid last year, Haaijer decided to step down as partner and to head for a new direction. Inca van Uuden – who joined Higher & Company in 2008 as partner and co-shareholder – decided to stay with the firm and started the search for a new partner in the market. After several interested parties Van Uuden found Leeuwendaal, with approximately 165 employees one of the biggest specialized HR firm in the Netherlands. “Leeuwendaal has been successful in delivering multidisciplinary HR-advice focused on actual change in organizations in the public sector. Leonis was looking for a label to respond to the growing demand for such integrated services”, says Edward Hermans, director of Leeuwendaal and co-owner of Leonis.
Both parties signed the agreement last month after several positive meetings and wrapping up the formalities. Per 23th of March 2016, Higher & Company is formally a part of the Leonis holding and acts as a sister company of the bigger industry partner form The Hague and Utrecht. Both firms will operate independently, but they will work together in various activities towards the market. Leeuwendaal and Higher & Company will work together closely on the development of new services and products in the area of leadership development, HR and change management. According to Van Uuden this ensures several advantages for clients: “The merger with a company like Leeuwendaal brings along attractive angels for our clients. For instance, they will receive access to extensive and high-end assessment service and lot of instrumentarium and knowledge about professional mobility and sustainable employability”, stated by the partner of Higher & Company.
Van Uuden and Hermans also see the synergies in some client sectors. Higher & Company mostly works for clients in the private sector, good for circa 75% of the client base according to Van Uuden, on other areas – such as education and healthcare – there is an overlap with the services of Leeuwendaal, which focuses on clients within the public domain.
Leeuwendaal will benefit from the great expertise in the area of leadership, which Van Uuden and her team have. Hermans explains: “They will reinforce Leeuwendaal as well with their expertise in the area of leadership and HR programs”, he also says that he believes both companies have a strong cultural fit: “just like Leeuwendaal, Higher & Company sees human behaviour as the decisive factor in success of companies.” Especially the Development and Training department of the firm will benefit from this.
With the support of Leeuwendaal, Van Uuden expects Higher & Company will go through a strong growth. The most important growth areas are to be able to execute bigger courses, the possibility to add new services to the current portfolio and to gain from the services and expertise of the bigger sister company.
Leeuwendaal acquired several HR service providers / firms the past few years. In 2014 they bought the assessment division of Meurs HRM, a year ago they took over consultancy division of AVS and in 2011 they acquired Alons & Partners.