Company life

SPIE & Worksphere: stronger together

Published on 01 December 2023

In early 2022, SPIE acquired Worksphere, a Dutch specialist in building services.

SPIE Nederland merged it with its Tech FM business unit in January 2023 to form SPIE Building Solutions. SPIE Nederland is now the leading multi-technical services provider in the Netherlands.

Kees van oosteren
Interview with Kees Van Oosteren

Interview with Kees Van Oosteren, Regional Director for the North region at SPIE Building Solutions (from Worksphere)


Did you welcome the news that SPIE was buying Worksphere?

I can honestly say I did. I was at the management presentations during take-over and thought SPIE represented the best cultural and strategic fit.

Weren’t you concerned about the process of merging two companies?

At first, it felt strange to be talking to one of our direct competitors, SPIE, specifically about recruitment, as the Netherlands are facing a drastic shortage of technical staff. Companies even offers people recruitment bonuses. Luckily, given the good market fit, there wasn’t much overlap and disruption was minimal.

So integration has gone well?

Yes! Thanks to its acquisitions in Germany, SPIE has a professional approach to mergers and acquisitions. If anything, it has been harder for the Tech FM business unit, which was itself the result of several acquisitions and, in our region, had around 150 employees to Worksphere’s 450. There are now 600 of us under the name SPIE Building Solutions.

What opportunities does this new entity represent?

We are the largest multi-technical services provider in the Netherlands, increasing both our buying power and our ability to offer a full-service package. Moreover, we used to have to fight other areas for every Euro – not any more. Our staff now have more career options. And importantly, SPIE is a company on a mission to implement Europe’s energy transition. This offers our employees something not every competitor can: a clear purpose.

Interview with Edwin van der Knijff

INTERVIEW WITH EDWIN VAN DER KNIJFF, Business Unit Manager for the South region at SPIE Building Solutions (from SPIE’s Tech FM BU)


What has the acquisition and merger changed for you and your staff?

We’ve merged offices where we had two in one region, and our staff have had extensive training on new systems. Overall, Worksphere was a more process-orientated organisation, while the Tech FM business unit was more results-focused.

Couldn’t this kind of cultural difference lead to discord?

Integrating two organisations is never completely straightforward, but we spent months in 2022 preparing and I think it’s clear to most that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. You can never please 100% of people 100% of the time, but most of our staff understand that, if we learn from each other, we will come out stronger.

The majority of managers in the new entity are from Worksphere. So it doesn’t feel like a ‘reverse take-over’?

It’s about SPIE Building Solutions keeping the best of both worlds. As a manager, my role is to coach our staff through the integration, so I’m spending a lot of time on the workshop floor, talking to people, explaining the advantages we now have.

What opportunities does this new entity represent?

Put simply, we can shift up a gear in terms of the clients we serve. Whereas before, we were limited to smaller companies, as SPIE Building Solutions, we have the size and skillsets to service larger organisations: corporates, public service operators (government, hospitals, etc.). The possibilities are enormous.

In integration, four factors are crucial to success: a compatible culture, preparation, structure and communication. First, we prepared by defining guiding principles, a governance structure, and KPIs. Afterwards, bi-weekly meetings were scheduled to report on progress. Communication was supported with Q&As accessible to all and nominated employees as ambassadors.”
JOLIEN DRIESEN, Integration Manager, SPIE Nederland