Nurturing the long term

Electrabel and GDF Suez renew their Prime Foundation Partnership

“We aim for the long term. In our business, where investments typically have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, you just have to. That’s why we’re committed to establishing and nurturing long-term relationships with all our stakeholders, whether they’re customers, employees, suppliers or partners, like Vlerick. And we’ve been very satisfied with our partnership so far,” says Paul Hautekiet, Compensations & Benefits and Social Relations Manager at Electrabel, when asked why Electrabel and GDF Suez decided to renew their twofold Prime Foundation Partnership once again.

Electrabel is sponsoring the Centre of Excellence in Strategic Rewards, while GDF Suez is funding the Executive Remuneration Research Centre. Both centres are located within the Vlerick Reward Centre, headed by Professor Xavier Baeten.

Three areas of focus

Over the past few years, the partnership has focused on three distinct areas, as Paul explains: “First of all, recruitment & employer branding. Through the partnership we’ve attracted quite a lot of management trainees and by participating in job fairs and other events organised by Vlerick, we’ve been able to target and recruit the profiles we were looking for. Second, there’s been training & development. As Prime Foundation Partner, we’ve been in close contact with Vlerick’s faculty and staff, so it’s been easy to discuss whether the available programmes meet the requirements of our organisations and, if not, to have company-specific solutions developed. And third, we’ve been working on compensations & benefits. We’ve participated in several committees and work groups, sharing knowledge and expertise with Vlerick faculty, but also – and not least – with representatives from other organisations. It’s given us insight into their priorities and the type of initiatives they’ve been taking.”


In the coming three years our partnership will continue to focus on training & development and on compensations & benefits. “We want to encourage and facilitate greater internal career mobility and career development. So this aspect of our partnership is bound to grow in importance,” says Paul. “As far as compensations & benefits are concerned, we’ll be further internationalising our approach, which makes it all the more interesting for us that Vlerick is also taking a global stance with a new programme covering the international aspects of reward management.”

The Global Reward Management Programme is a new 11-day executive programme, the first module of which just started in March. It’s organised with two international partners, Grenoble Ecole de Management and ESPC Europe, and aims to enhance participants’ expertise in how to develop strategically aligned reward policies in a global business context.

Feedback culture

Electrabel signed its first partnership agreement with us in 1993. So our organisations go back a long way. Looking ahead to the coming three years, what does Paul still expect from this partnership? “I personally look forward to watching and learning from how Vlerick approaches things. You know, I’m really impressed with Vlerick’s feedback culture. I know only a few organisations that ask for feedback as much as Vlerick does and even fewer that go to such great lengths to take that feedback into account in new versions of their programmes or events. It’s an example for many other companies.”

About Electrabel and GDF SUEZ

Electrabel is part of the GDF SUEZ Group. The company is the energy leader in the Belgian market, where it produces electricity and sells electricity, natural gas and energy services. It offers its 2.9 million residential, professional and industrial customers energy solutions with added value and a customised service.

 Electrabel manages diversified generating facilities of 9,200 MW in Belgium. These consist of power stations using renewable energy sources, power stations working on fossil fuels and nuclear power stations. The company is the country’s top green energy producer, with a renewable energy capacity of 461 MW. Electrabel employs more than 5,000 people.