Our social responsibility

As an ever growing HR tech solutions provider, we take seriously our role as we concern our responsibility for the impact on people, the environment and society. The future is where success is measured not only in terms of profitability, but also by the value we create and the impact we have. It is important to move to a sustainable future now by aiming for positive social impact and a value chain with the lowest possible carbon emissions. We accept this responsibility not only with respect to our own organisation and employees, but also to our clients, professionals and suppliers. We believe our biggest impact is social. This reflects in our purpose. With this impact we shape the changes towards the next world of work, that is increasingly tech-enabled, without bias and regardless of contract form. Together with our network, we strive for one common goal: a transparent, balanced and inclusive job market, where organisations and mission-critical talent are perfectly connected.

Materiality matrix

In 2022, we conducted our first materiality analysis to identify which of our activities have the most impact on people, the environment and society. We started by identifying a broad range of potential material Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues which resulted in a longlist. We then ranked these topics on the longlist for the degree of impact that the company has on people, the environment and society. This resulted in the elimination of several topics and a shortlist consisting of 24 topics. Stakeholder groups were then asked to prioritise the items on the shortlist based on the degree of impact that HeadFirst Group has on people, the environment and society. This resulted in a final list of the seven most material topics linked to ESG.

  • Climate action (environmental);
  • Supply chain management (environmental);
  • Decent work & economic growth (social);
  • Digital equality (social);
  • Inspiring professionals & suppliers through work (social);
  • Diversity (social);
  • Data protection, privacy and cyber security (governance).

Corporate Social Responsibility

In 2022, we further implemented our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy as we can and want to play an active role in the transition to a sustainable society. Together with our clients, suppliers, professionals and partners, we support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we actively contribute to these goals. With our CSR policy based on our four CSR axes, we are preparing HFG for the future.

For each axis, we have determined the activities through which we can make the greatest impact on people, the environment and society (see also our materiality analysis). To determine the content of our policy, we looked at a number of leading frameworks, such as GRI (Global Reporting Initiative).

We want to be transparent in our journey towards a sustainable future. For this reason, we have chosen to have our sustainability scored in Ecovadis, a well-known universal scorecard for CSR. In 2023 we were awarded a silver medal for our CSR policy and actions. In the process, we increased our environmental score from 60 to 80. We are very proud of this result. By making our policy more concrete, we will again improve our score on all subjects in the 2024 assessment.

CO2 footprint

We report on our CO2 Footprint in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. We will continue to improve the completeness and accuracy of our environmental data as we are gaining a better understanding of the challenges in collecting and reporting on this data. By 2023, full insight into scope 3 will be completed.

Despite the tremendous growth we have experienced in both revenue and FTE, we see that we have already taken a giant step in reaching our science based target. Compared to the base year (2021), our total emissions in ton CO2 have already decreased by 18%. Because of this success we will reevaluate our emission reduction target in 2023.


As an HR tech solutions provider, our impact on the environment is relatively small. Despite this, we are determined to do what we can for the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. Climate action and supply chain management are therefore two of our material topics.

Climate action
Management of our carbon footprint is well set out and ambitious. We have comprehensive insight in our energy use and emissions, ambitious targets set and demonstrable progress. Our targets relate to minimising our energy consumption, electrifying our fleet, reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing GHG emissions, using green energy sources, separating waste, and a climate-neutral building.

As a group we have committed  ourselves to the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) and set a science-based ‘near-term target’ in 2022 to contribute to limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

We commit to reducing absolute scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions by 23% by 2030 from a 2021 base year, and to measuring and reducing our scope 3 emissions. This is an absolute reduction of 2.6% per year.

Reduction matters
To illustrate what we have done to reduce our impact, here are some examples:

  • We have installed LED lighting with motion sensors at all sites.
  • Our headquarters are located in a carbon-neutral park and  have a sustainable cradle-to-cradle design with A-Label and  BREEAM-NL Excellent sustainability certificate.
  • The carpet in our headquarters is made from bio-based raw  materials by Interface, whose products carry the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) label issued by  an external party. Thanks to this carpet, we avoided over  17,000 kg of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the  emissions of a car driving a distance of 68,742 kilometres.
  • As a result of the pandemic, people have been working from home more often and meetings with customers are also more frequently held online. We will continue to encourage and  facilitate working from home. As of January 2023, a professional recording studio has become available at our headquarters to make major corporate presentations and webinars look more professional and enable everyone to follow them.

Supply chain management
Additionally we focus on sustainability in our supply chain. We have implemented supplier code to ensure that our procurement of goods and services takes place in a way that is responsible for society, people and the environment and in line with our business principles.

Decent work & lifelong learning

As an employer, we are aware of our impact on healthy and safe work for both our own employees and our professionals at clients. We consider the mental health and well-being of our people, suppliers/professionals as a basic need and a prerequisite for a healthy work-life balance. Our core value Learn Every Day is strongly reflected in this pillar, linked to the material topic ‘Inspiring people and suppliers/professionals through work’. We provide training and career coaching and help overcome skills shortages with re- and upskilling tools, improving access to diverse candidates, including in some of the most in-demand areas, such as digital & IT skills. In this way, we are increasing sustainable employability. In addition, it means making sure that our working conditions are good and that we will go the extra mile to achieve this. Our efforts are clearly appreciated, as we are now also a certified ‘Great Place to Work’!

Social return

To create more employment opportunities for people who are at a distance from the labour market, we launched the ‘Social Return Action Plan’ in September 2022. In this plan, we brought together all of the Social Return initiatives within the HeadFirst Group so that, we can ensure a more inclusive labour market by working together. With this Social Return Action Plan, we create an efficient, sustainable and valuable partnership with our clients and social partners, focusing on the strength of our organisation: connecting professionals and clients. In this, we particularly focus on the target groups:  

  • Social Return candidates (Examples include partners such as AutiTalent and Specialisterren.
  • Women in the labour market
  • Job seekers with an unusual CV 

Sustainable employability of flex workers

We contribute to a continuously developing and skilled workforce by offering personal development guidance and career counselling for professionals. In this way, we ensure that workers remain employable in a rapidly changing labour market.

Fair and transparent labour market

Our platform is the connector between supply and demand of – temporary expertise. By connecting clients with independent professionals and suppliers, we create jobs and give companies insight into the most qualified professionals. Moreover, our platform contributes to market transparency and fair rates for specialised and qualified work.

Continuous development

We encourage self-development of our employees. Our performance management programme gives employees control over their own development. In addition, we offer plenty of training sessions, courses and webinars to continuously educate our employees.

Diversity & Inclusion

We consider it our social responsibility to create an inclusive, equal and safe environment. We accept this responsibility not only with respect to our own employees, but also to our clients, professionals and suppliers. For this reason, we oppose employment discrimination and focus on our number one priority: the right person in the right place. An inclusive culture is paramount in this, providing room for diversity while also fostering a sense of unity. We take many initiatives to improve D&I over a broad set of dimensions, and report progress on targets.

We have signed the SER’s Diversity in Business Charter, thereby explicitly declaring our support of diversity in many dimensions (i.a. ethnic-cultural background, age, gender). We are obliged to report every year on internal satisfaction in terms of inclusive corporate culture and internal diversity figures. This ensures our attention, focus and commitment to diversity and inclusion objectives.

The workforce of HeadFirst Group is diverse in terms of gender, age, origin, motivation and life experience. Every person is equal but also unique. We take these differences into account. The male/female balance in the organisation is equal. Our management team is also diverse in gender: 46% are women. The diversity in terms of age remain almost the same as last year: the number of employees in the under-40 category is almost equal (53%) to the 40-and-over category (47%). We are satisfied with these data points and are taking actions to further strenghten diversity and inclusion in our organisation.

Diversity is the cornerstone of all our corporate value statements. We aim to fulfil the following objectives:

  • Talent: we provide equitable opportunities to recruit, retain and develop talent that sparks our innovation.
  • Workplace: we celebrate individual uniqueness and are inclusive in the way we work.
  • Marketplace: we represent diversity when we go to the market and foster inclusion across our stakeholders. We reduce inequalities by not discriminating on grounds of gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, parental status, education, physical and mental ability, and sexual orientation.

To further develop our internal and external services in the area of diversity and inclusion, in 2021, we established the ‘Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce’ within the HeadFirst Group. Members of this Taskforce come from different levels and departments in the organisation and act as drivers and confidential advisors on topics such as LGBTQIA+, cultural diversity, religion, gender equality, age and disabilities.

Governance & Ethics

We consider compliance as essential to our licence to operate. We have a clear governance structure in which the organisational chart, business strategy and its translation into objectives, goals, strategies and measures (OGSMs) for each department are the starting point. Based on set KPIs for each department, it monitors whether the organisation is on track to achieve its business objectives. The governance model further contains policies on business continuity, privacy, and quality and information security.

We are responsible for the integrity and protection of all personal data we store within business processes and IT systems. We continuously invest in cybersecurity-related processes and systems. With investments in compliance resources, business processes and technology, the group complies with relevant statutory GDPR principles. Additionally the integrated 27001, 9001 and 14001 management system ensures that we continuously work on quality, information security and environmental objectives.

We have started preparing for the implementation of the CSRD which resulted in the publication of our first integrated annual report over 2022. We will use the years until final implementation to structure data collection processes and test the disclosures.