EASI and Torfs are Belgium’s Best Workplaces 2015

EASI and Torfs are number 1 in the top 10 of Belgium’s Best Workplaces 2015. The high rankings obtained by the two companies are mainly due to their employee satisfaction levels. This is because the result of this annual, large-scale study by Vlerick Business School in collaboration with the Great Place to Work® Institute Belgium and media partner Jobat is based on an employee survey which determines two-thirds of the final score.

The study examines three aspects which characterise a Best Workplace: the employees’ confidence in the management, the employees’ pride in their job and the pleasure they experience at their workplace (colleagues). The results are supplemented with an analysis of the personnel policy based on the results of a survey conducted among the management and HR, which determines one-third of the final score.

The title of Belgium’s Best Workplace 2015 makes EASI and Torfs good role models when it comes to a people-centred, high-quality personnel policy.

Changes in position and newcomers

Among the small companies (FEWER than 500 employees), the winner EASI has undergone a major evolution over the past two years. Last year, this publisher of business software and apps came in at number 5, and this year made it all the way to the top. According to Dirk Buyens (Professor of Human Resource Management), EASI won because it regards its employees as the driving force behind the organisation: ‘EASI offers its employees the chance to become shareholders in the company, for example. Not only does this create a greater sense of commitment towards the company, it also strengthens mutual relationships in the long term.’

AE, the winner for two years in a row, dropped one place as did Ormit (5). SAS Institute dropped out of the top 3, to number 6. Several companies shot up the rankings: Protime went from 10 to 3 and Handson & Partners from 8 to 4. Mars Belgium remained static at 7, as did CTG Belgium (9). Finally, there are also two newcomers: ALD Automotive (8) and Abbvie (10).

Dirk Buyens: ‘Leasing company ALD Automotive recently launched the ALD Experience. The three key words “One”, “Ready” and “Smile” represent what the company wishes to mean not only to its customers, but also to its employees.’ Newcomer Abbvie also regards its human capital as its most important asset: ‘This specialist in pharmaceutical R&D mainly focuses on development. The company makes use of a reward and recognition portfolio to satisfy the professional and personal needs of each individual employee. It also helps employees to succeed by offering various career paths and development options.

Just like last year, Torfs heads the top 10 list of large companies (OVER 500 employees). The company has been focusing on employee satisfaction for years and is a regular fixture in the top 3. Ever since the company was founded, its focus has been on people, explains Dirk Buyens: ‘Torfs constantly strives to satisfy both its customers and its employees and feels that the two go hand in hand. The company calls this “360° consideration”. This year, the focus was mainly on leadership. Over the course of the past year, all the shop managers and their assistants completed “360° Expedition”, a training course intended to raise the level of “considerate leadership”.’

Accent Jobs and McDonald’s Belgium have swapped places, both retaining their position in the top 3. Adecco is still at number 4. KBC and Monsanto have both gone up one place and occupy positions 5 and 6 this year. Additional newcomers can be found at 8 (Start People) and 10 (Media Markt).

At Start People, the main focus is on honest and transparent communication in two directions: ‘The Start People Guiding Coalition is a heterogeneous group of ambassadors who not only facilitate change but also form a sounding board. This guarantees the successful implementation of new initiatives.

Under the motto ‘From a Great Place to Work to a Great Place to Shop’, Media Markt is completely consistent in its application of the Best Workplaces concept: ‘According to Media Markt, you can’t have satisfied customers without committed employees. Thanks to a combination of more local initiatives and overarching HR projects that reflect the key words “pleasure”, “autonomy” and “responsibility”, Media Markt is really bringing this concept to life.’

Special Awards for three outstanding business cases

Well-being

Winning company AE was rewarded for its efforts in the area of well-being at work. In AE’s opinion, all too often a company’s health is measured from a purely economic or financial viewpoint. In order to measure whether the company was truly healthy, AE launched the ‘Business Happiness’ yardstick, which is based on the concept of Gross National Happiness. In concrete terms, AE is trying to continuously improve the following elements of Business Happiness: corporate culture (in which balance takes centre stage), freedom and commitment, vitality and resilience (both physical and mental), CSI (Corporate Social Involvement) and fairness in respect of market standards.
Other nominees were: Ormit and CTG.

Employee Involvement

Another winner, Torfs, involves its employees in the decision-making process by listening, gathering suggestions and feedback, and acting on them. The management are also open to questions from employees. In concrete terms, the sustainability policy was mainly shaped by adopting a bottom-up approach, allowing people to brainstorm on the subject of sustainability during the company’s employee days. The input resulted in a concrete action plan for the staff, suppliers, customers, environment and social partners.
Other nominees were: Accent Jobs and Protime.

Giving Back

With the arrival of a new CEO, the winner ALD Automotive changed tack completely in 2012. In order to increase the motivation and commitment of its employees and build more bridges between departments and job levels, an employee survey led to the creation of three Inspiration Teams: ALD Sport, ALD Eco and ALD Gives Back. Whereas until recently, decisions about CSR projects were usually made unilaterally on a top-down basis, the ALD Gives Back team reversed the approach, which resulted in greater involvement and appealing projects for organisations such as Make-a-Wish and PaikaProject (UZ Brussels academic hospital). The new Giving Back approach has also changed the entire DNA of the company: Giving Back has brought people together and is influencing the way in which people work together on a daily basis.
Other nominees were: Carglass and McDonald’s Belgium.

Lessons to be learned: what makes ‘Best Workplaces’ different from other companies?

  • On average, top 10 companies score 14% higher for respect, credibility, honesty, pride and camaraderie. Despite the difficult economic climate, the scores for pride and credibility are particularly high.
  • Top 10 companies receive around twice as many job applications as other companies.
  • Top 10 companies have lower levels of absenteeism.
  • On average, the employees of top 10 companies receive more training (expressed in hours).
  • The employees of top 10 companies have more confidence in both the company and the management.
  • The employees of top 10 companies experience greater equity in the workplace.
  • Top 10 companies are characterised by the sense of being one large family and their warm and pleasant working environment.

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