Employees at Microsoft and Schoenen Torfs crown their companies with the title Best Employer of Belgium 2011

On the evening of Tuesday 15 March the Best Employers of Belgium 2011 were announced during an event held by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. The winner for companies with FEWER than 500 employees is Microsoft, followed by SAS Institute at number 2 and Accent Jobs for People in third place. First place in the category for companies with MORE than 500 employees goes to Schoenen Torfs; second is Randstad, and third is KBC. Special Awards are going to KBC (Award for Lifelong learning), Cisco Systems (Award for Diversity) and Mars (Award for Inspiring Leadership).

With the title ‘Best Employer Belgium 2011’, Microsoft and Schoenen Torfs remain an example of a people-oriented and qualitative personnel policy. Last year Schoenen Torfs was also number 1 in the category for companies with more than 500 employees. Microsoft hits the top spot this year; in 2010 the company was second place in the category of companies with fewer than 500 employees.

This large-scale survey among employees is carried out every year by the People & Organisation Competence Centre at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. The initiative is run together with the Great Place to Work Institute Europe, which aims to define a professional and European standard for a quality personnel policy, and is supported by media partners Vacature and Références.

Prof. Dirk Buyens, head of the People & Organisation Competence Centre at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, confirms the value of the survey: “We are very pleased to see a positive development in the points given by employees to their employers, especially when we compare with the results from last year. 2010 was a difficult year for many companies. We have found that companies have taken up the reins once more and are investing back in the development and welfare of their staff. The figurative bar is raised once again when we look at ‘good employment practices’ and a qualitative HR policy. We can also see clearly that, over the years, a number of organisations within the top 10 have remained strong. To us, this is a signal that sustainable HR policies are certainly coming to fruition and that investing in people is paying off.

Employees’ opinions

It is largely down to the employees themselves to decide whether their company ranks in the top 10 of the Best Employers in Belgium. Their score accounts for 2/3 of the final ranking (for more information on the methodology, see at the bottom of this press release).

And what do employees think of the ‘Best Employers in Belgium’?:

  • 92% of employees think that ‘when you start working for this organisation, they ensure that you soon feel welcome.’
  • 91% of employees think that ‘their organisation offers a pleasant working environment.’
  • 90% of people ‘are prepared to devote extra effort to get the job done.’
  • 90% of people ‘are proud to say they work for this organisation.’
  • 89% of employees believe that ‘the management’s policy is to act fairly and ethically.’

Onto the winners: what are their strengths?

At Microsoft particular attention is paid to ‘a new way of working’. The key idea behind the ‘New World of Work’, which is central to Microsoft’s corporate philosophy, is the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want. This is based on core values such as management by values, flexibility, and a culture of trust and empowerment. Microsoft is thereby very much engaged with social mobility problems and the expectations of the new and current generations with regard to a work/life balance. Thus Microsoft was partly responsible for the launch of the first National Working from Home Day.

Employees at Schoenen Torfs are proud to work for this organisation. Schoenen Torfs’ HR strategy uses the tradition of a family-run company where people look after each other as its starting point, but translates this into the modern view of life and work. Authenticity, complementarity and teamwork are its keywords. The idea of partnership, where employee and employer represent real, mutual added value, is and remains essential. Thus Torfs organises a thinktank 4 times a year to bring employees together to think about a ‘hot’ topic.

Overview of the Top 10

Ranking

Organisation < 500 employees

Ranking

Organisation > 500 employees

1

Microsoft

1

Schoenen Torfs

2

SAS Institute

2

Randstad

3

Accent Jobs for People

3

KBC

4

AE

4

McDonald's

5

Mars Belgium

5

FedEx Express

6

Grünenthal

6

Dow corning

7

Amgen

7

Carglass

8

CTG Belgium

8

Partena ziekenfonds & partners

9

Secretary Plus Management Support

9

Cisco Systems Belgium

10

Plus Uitzendkrachten

10

CenterParcs De Vossemeren & Erperheide

Special Awards

Besides ranking the Top 10 Companies <500 employees and the Top 10 Companies >500 employees Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School also honours three outstanding companies for Inspiring Leadership, Diversity and Lifelong Learning.

Mars won the award for Inspiring Leadership. Started as a family business 90 years ago, Mars has grown into one of the largest family-owned businesses in the world. The fourth generation of the Mars family is still playing an active role through a ‘Family Council’ which monitors the principles and values within the company and forms the unique link between the Mars family and the business. The secret to Mars’ success lies in its unique, inspiring form of leadership with its five key principles – quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom – making its employees valued every day, as has been the case since the company’s inception.

Cisco Systems received the award for Diversity. Diversity is not a stand-alone initiative for Cisco. It is part of a diverse number of activities for which the Belgian ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ team is responsible. Thus ‘Diversity Goals’ are included in the development plan of each employee. These are concrete objectives giving diversity a prominent role in the way in which the employee deals with colleagues, managers and external (professional) relations within Cisco. Cisco also launched a ‘More Together’ campaign which informed employees about original ways in which they can bring diversity into their everyday work.

Finally, KBC won the award for Lifelong learning. KBC invests strongly in the talents of its employees: firstly, so that employees can carry out their current job well and become proficient in their area of expertise; and secondly, so that staff employability is raised throughout their careers. Thus newly-recruited managers can follow a KBC Master to obtain an essential insight into KBC’s strategy, policy and core activities. In addition, KBC’s ‘Open Learning’ evening classes are available free of charge, offering a wide range of courses on topics such as languages, personal development, IT and digital photography, for the personal development of its staff.

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