Towards a negotiating organisation

Eandis and Vlerick renew their partnership

Vlerick and Prime Foundation Partner Eandis can look back on years of successful collaboration, and there’s no end in sight yet. Last July the Prime Foundation Partnership was renewed. Vlerick’s Professor Katia Tieleman, Walter Van den Bossche, CEO of Eandis, and Werner Verlinden, Eandis HR Director, comment on the drivers for the new partnership.

Walter Van den Bossche - Katia Tieleman - Werner Verlinden

Werner explains why Eandis is committed to working with us: “We aim to continually improve our business, at all levels. This time our efforts will focus on professionalising the HR function in general and the social dialogue in particular.” Walter nods. “We’re dedicated to achieving professional excellence.” He smiles as he adds: “In a technology-driven company, all too often this boils down to technical excellence. Obviously there’s more to it than that. Professional excellence is also about relationships with personnel and their representatives, and with any other stakeholders for that matter.”

Ready for change

Why this focus now? Werner: “We’re aware that the socio-economic context in which our organisation operates is changing rapidly. Employees don’t necessarily stay with the same employer for life. They increasingly want to take their career into their own hands. They want to have a say in how to do their job, negotiate their own remuneration and so on.” He continues: “Customers are becoming more demanding and vocal, people will have to work for longer before retirement, the regulatory environment is changing significantly and the social pact calls for wage restraint. All this has an impact on HR and the way the HR function needs to work. By extension, the same applies to the social dialogue negotiations.”

“We want to anticipate these changes and analyse how HR can best meet the demands of our staff and other stakeholders,” says Walter. But, as he’s quick to point out, “this is not about HR for HR’s sake. We want to professionalise HR to support our business even more effectively.”

Negotiation intelligence

“The HR function’s role is first and foremost one of networking, of facilitating collaboration between people. HR is therefore well placed to get change started and negotiation plays an important part in this,” explains Katia, who is professor of Management Practice and an authority in the field of negotiation, conflict management, leadership and coaching.

“Negotiation is no longer limited to specific functions such as sales or purchasing. It’s about how to enable people to collaborate in the best way possible to achieve the desired goals. What’s more, negotiation is not the task of an individual, but a skill that should be embedded in an organisation, in its people, processes and structures. We’ll share with Eandis the concepts, best practices and tools we’ve developed. One of these tools is the revolutionary Negotiation Intelligence® (NQ®) scan to screen individual, team and organisational negotiation and collaboration skills, identifying strong points as well as opportunities for improvement. And then we’ll work towards developing and honing these skills and anchoring them in the organisation.”

Walter concludes: “We strongly believe in the collaborative model of a Prime Foundation Partnership and the synergies between academically sound research and business practice. Our collaboration with Vlerick has always been fruitful and enjoyable and we’re looking forward to continuing this success.”

Eandis is the company that carries out operational tasks for the Flemish distribution network operators for electricity and natural gas, namely Gaselwest, IMEA, Imewo, Intergem, Iveka, Iverlek and Sibelgas.

More on a Prime Foundation Partnership with Vlerick.