AE and Schoenen Torfs are Belgium's ‘Best Workplaces 2014’

AE and Schoenen Torfs are head up the top 10 of Belgium's ‘Best Workplaces 2014’. A ‘Best Workplace’ is a company in which the employees trust their supervisors (management), are proud of their performance (job) and enjoy their working environment (colleagues). The good scores obtained by AE and Schoenen Torfs are mainly due to their employee satisfaction levels.

The result of this annual, large-scale study by Vlerick Business School in collaboration with the Great Place to Work® Institute Belgium is based on an employee survey which determines two-thirds of the final score. In addition, the personnel policy is also charted by means of a survey among the management and HR. With their title of ‘Best Workplaces 2014’ in Belgium, AE and Schoenen Torfs are good role models when it comes to a people-centred, high-quality personnel policy.

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

The employees of these ‘Best Workplaces’ regard their company as a great place to work. The survey also reveals that their workplace gives them a family feeling. They look forward to going to work in the morning and are prepared to make a major effort.

Other strong points of these companies:

  • They score better for absenteeism: they achieve this by paying more attention to new employees and making them feel welcome during their first steps within the organisation. It is also clear that it is worthwhile investing in inspiring employees and supporting them in their attempts to achieve a good work/life balance.
  • They invest in training and development: as a result, employees regard the management as more credible and honest. Training and development also increase the pride they take in their work and make them feel they are receiving fairer treatment. 
  • They attach importance to ‘the new way of working’: working from home and flexible hours positively influence the feeling that a good work/life balance is being achieved. When a company permits flexible hours and working from home, this also shows that it trusts its employees. Employees regard this as a significant benefit and a sign of appreciation.
  • They receive more applications: commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility is the main way to attract a larger pool of applicants and therefore to recruit new talent.
  • They help employees find meaning in their work: their employees feel that their work makes a difference. They feel pride in their achievements and intend to keep working for the organisation for a long time. This often makes co-workers a source of inspiration for each other. They share their successes, focus on good results and are outstanding ambassadors when it comes to the outside world.

Changes in rank and newcomers

In comparison with 2013, there are some rather striking changes in rank and newcomers.

The winner in the category of companies with FEWER than 500 employees is AE for the second year in a row. This company, which is based in the municipality of Leuven, helps companies to integrate their business and IT more effectively and toppled the SAS Institute from the throne last year. The latter is now at number 3. At number 2 we have Microsoft, which has moved up two places. Both Mars Belgium and CTG Belgium NV dropped two places in comparison with 2013. Handson & Partners went up 1 place. Finally, there are no less than four newcomers in the top 10, namely Ormit NV, Easi, Diageo and Protime.

First place in the category of companies with MORE than 500 employees goes to Schoenen Torfs, which has been a regular fixture on the list of Best Workplaces for many years. This year, the company overtook McDonald’s Belgium, which has dropped to number 2. Accent Jobs remains stable in third place. The most striking change in rank was achieved by Adecco, which rose 3 places to number 4. Apart from newcomers Monsanto and Elia, the other companies in this top ten are in the same positions as last year.

Special Awards

As well as the ranking of ‘Best Workplaces’, there are also three outstanding business cases.

Innovative Hiring Practices

As a result of the shortages on the labour market, the winner AE does not just focus on people who are actively looking for work, it also proactively seeks out young people who will soon be graduating. This IT company stands out because of its integrated approach towards its clients. It also wishes to extend this integration internally, by means of a comprehensible competency manual and a company culture which serves as the golden thread for the entire HR policy. During the recruitment and selection procedure, AE checks the fit between the candidate and the organisation in various different ways.

Inspiring Culture

This award went to winner Mars Belgium for its clear, honest and ethically sound mission and vision for the future. The company extends this culture to its employees, establishing links with their daily activities. This takes place on the basis of six company principles: responsibility, reciprocity, quality, efficiency, freedom and fun. The employees are also given clear examples of how each of these principles can be incorporated into their daily business activities.


In the case of winner Adecco, the diversity of society is reflected in its labour force. A clear mission statement sums up the various factors: ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, age and people with a handicap. In addition, Adecco has appointed employees to constantly monitor this diversity.

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