AE and McDonald’s Belgium rank first in the list of ‘Best Workplaces 2013’ in Belgium

Last night Vlerick Business School and the Great Place to Work® Institute Belgium announced the Best Workplaces 2013 in Belgium during an Award Show. Compared to 2012, we’ve noted some remarkable shifts.

The winner in the category ‘companies with LESS than 500 employees’ is AE, a company from Louvain that helps businesses streamline their activities and IT operations better. AE ranked third last year but this year managed to push SAS Institute to second place. Number 3, thuiszorg vleminckveld, is new to the ranking. This organisation provides assistance to families and elderly people in the Antwerp region. The biggest loser is Microsoft, which last year featured in the top 3, but is now ranked fourth.

The category ‘companies with MORE than 500 employees’ is headed by McDonald’s Belgium, which, compared to last year, has made a major leap forward, jumping from fourth place to first place. Torfs, last year’s winner, now ranks second and in third place we find Accent Jobs for People, which ranked second in 2012.

AE and McDonald’s Belgium, which have both been awarded the title of ‘Best Workplace 2013’ in Belgium, are a lasting example of companies that have adopted a people-oriented and qualitative personnel policy.

Special Awards have been given to Mars Belgium (Award for Inspiring Leadership), Carglass (Award for Giving Back) and KBC Global Services (Award for New World of Work, a new prize for an organisation which, in the past twelve months, has made an effort to increase implementation of the NWOW principles of smart working).

This large-scale study of employees at Belgian companies is carried out yearly by the Great Place to Work® Institute Belgium in collaboration with the HRM Centre of Vlerick Business School as its academic partner. The study is carried out in the framework of Great Place to Work®, an organisation that is active in 45 countries on all 6 continents and whose aim it is to define a worldwide professional standard for high-quality personnel policy.

Prof Dr Dirk Buyens of Vlerick Business School agrees that this is a valuable study: “Once again, this year’s top-20 organisations have managed to clearly distinguish themselves from companies ranking lower. The general trust that employees have in their organisation is, on average, 9% higher for the ‘Best Workplaces’. That means that the employees of the winning organisations truly trust the companies they work for, which is the basis for a healthy and balanced organisation. Not only is the general trust of employees in their work environment clearly higher, the level of trust and comradeship is very high, and definitely much higher than in organisations which didn’t make the top 20. The employees of top-20 organisations are proud of their jobs and want to continue working for their organisation for years to come. They describe the atmosphere at work as warm and convivial, and feel they can always rely on their colleagues. All these elements contribute to a positive experience for the employees.”

About the winners: what are their assets?

That staff at AE are happy is thanks, among other things, to the many training and development opportunities within the organisation. Besides professional development, attention is also paid to the personal growth of staff members, which is one of the strategic initiatives of the organisation. Talent management, coaching and career development via the ‘Performance Management Improvement Project’, ‘Career Stories’ (stories describing the careers of several AE staff members), films of in-house training sessions etc. are also high on the agenda.

The employees of McDonald’s Belgium are clearly happy about their work environment, because they are one of the main pillars of the organisation – the slogan “I’m lovin’ it” is not only aimed at customers, it also refers to happy employees. This is reflected in the convivial atmosphere on the shop floor and in the various expressions of appreciation. Several fun activities are organised both for teams and the entire organisation, including drinks to celebrate good results, a party to celebrate the end of the year, to which the employees’ partners are also invited, and cinema nights at the organisation’s meeting room.

An overview of the top 10


Organisation < 500 employees


Organisation > 500 employees




McDonald's Belgium


SAS Institute




thuiszorg vleminckveld


Accent Jobs for People






Mars Belgium


Fedex Express




KBC Global Services








City of Ghent


Handson & Partners

9 /




Decathlon Belgium

Special Awards

Besides the top-10 rankings for companies with more and less than 500 employees, Vlerick Business School also grants an award to three extraordinary business cases related to Inspiring Leadership, Giving Back and New World of Work.


Mars is a family-owned company whose activities are based on five principles – responsibility, reciprocity, quality, efficiency and freedom. These are not empty values; they are part of people’s DNA. The company’s employees have stated that this is one of the reasons why they love working for Mars Belgium.

GIVING BACK – Carglass

At Carglass ‘Social Corporate Responsibility’ should be a priority for every employee. CEO Jean-Paul Teyssen set the example by launching a one-week project called ‘Keisolidair’ (‘Solidarity first’) in collaboration with more than 20 companies from Limburg. The proceeds were given to good causes.

NEW! NEW WORLD OF WORK – KBC Global Services

This year a new prize was launched: the special NWOW award, which is granted to the company or organisation that, in the past twelve months, has made the greatest effort to increase implementation of the NWOW principles. The NWOW coalition is a collaboration between ALD Automotive, Flanders Synergy, Microsoft, Out Of Office, SD Worx, Telenet and USG People, each of which promotes the ‘New World of Work’ in Belgium. Organisations that abide by the NWOW principles take a fresh new approach to both the work place and job descriptions so that talented employees get even more opportunities to develop their skills.

At KBC Global Services the NWOW project includes a wide range of measures and initiatives to promote flexible working hours, increased mobility, decentralised working and teleworking. KBC Global Services has one goal in this regard, namely to boost staff satisfaction with the new PEARL value system (PEARL stands for Performance, Empowerment, Accountability, Responsiveness and Local Embeddedness).

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