Samuel Zeller 14260 Unsplash

What is useful?

The notion 'useful' has to do with, on the one hand, the employee's contribution to a bigger picture and, on the other hand, whether or not the activities make sense. However, what makes sense for one person may be completely different for another. Let's consider the job of a coffee lady. Within the framework of reorientation, it is a major challenge to place something else in return for that service providing a win-win situation for both parties. But the learning ability also counts.

We cannot determine the usefulness of something. That varies from one person to another. Architect Luc Buelens

The panel does not entirely agree that some people will run out of options when their job is being reoriented. According to expert Elke Geraerts, we must protect ourselves against the culture of fear, for example with regard to AI, and HR myths created by thought leaders and futurologists. Will the further development of AI threaten even more jobs in the future? Elke Geraerts is convinced that certain jobs will continue to exist: “I think that AI can help us to create more depth, to revive human contact and to make time for it. The human factor. Let's talk about that first. "

People have often shown they can change. The brain has a large under-utilized capacity. It comes down to getting people with learning potential into the higher meaningful aspect that is an extension of what drives them. Claudia Poels, Telenet

House of HR, the holding of employment agency Accent, recently made a new acquisition of the Romanian Happy Recruiter, known as the company that launched the Dora recruitment robot. Dora helps recruiters during the recruitment process by automating pieces of recruitment (for example the matching process) based on the most modern digital developments. "I don't think jobs will disappear due to recruitment robot. They will be filled in a different way. Our recruiters may have more time to take on the role of advisor and job coach and to focus more on personal contact with the customer. ”- Julie Lavigne, Accent - House or HR


What does the job offer consist of?

A company wanting to attract talent must offer more than a good salary and fringe benefits. Although the range and creativity with regard to corporate culture also depends on the type of company (government or private company).

At Freestone we have "Freestoners", not "baby boomers" or "millennials." The triangle supply-culture-leadership style is decisive here. Koen Mees, CEO Freestone

“You can achieve vision, creativity and innovation more easily in one company than in another. Every company must find the right purpose and must think creatively within its framework. ”- An De Bel, De Lijn

The extent to which successful implementation of a corporate culture is related to the various generations in the workplace is being questioned. Moreover, there is very little scientific basis for assuming that there is much difference between generations. Those who resolutely opt for the salary often do this because of the personal situation or social context.


Freestone's corporate culture is based on freedom and flexibility, linked to the customer and performance rather than the hours spent in the office. Within that framework, we must dare to ask how flexible the concept of flexibility is and whether or not organizations should limit it. After all, building trust is key.

At De Lijn, for example, the focus is on phasing out the puncture system. However, there is a gap between the generation that only performs when supervised and the generation wanting more freedom. This makes balancing exercises difficult.

Daring to let go and getting leadership on the same page remains a challenge in many companies. Other determining factors are the leadership style, a good estimate of the learning potential of employees and the courage to make courageous choices with a view to a "futureproof team". Bene's international research shows that new employees should be given very clear values ​​and norms.

“I would not focus so much on the variety between generations. Rather, the trick is to be able to deal with the variation in what people want and can do. ”- Prof. Geert Van Hootegem, KU Leuven

An empowering leadership style gives people wings, so that confidence quickly rises. It is a magic formula. However, the audit notion is still very important at many companies. Coaching should be done based on the art of letting go. Claudia Poels, Telenet

Searching for the exception?

Should companies keep looking for the exception? Can they still afford to be very selective? Does the "Hollywood model", in which a "cast" with the most suitable "actors" is put together for each project, provide an answer? And to what extent can we expect radical changes with regard to employment contracts? Expert Elke Geraerts points out a recent Dutch report indicating that we need to move to contracts for a maximum of five years instead of permanent contracts up to retirement age.

Colliers International is very flexible for employees who, depending on the personal situation, initially work in permanent employment and later as a freelancer. We hereby note that, irrespective of personnel policy, the economic factor or cost price for the company will also play a role in the choice of whether or not to work in such a system. Or should we look more at the end result instead of asking ourselves how much someone costs per day?

"I think we will evolve towards a different way of working flexibly, with a mix of people working in a permanent contract and freelancers." - Annick Vandenbulcke, Colliers International


How to trigger ownership?

A Chinese saying goes that it is very difficult to tame a wild duck, but even harder to make a tame duck wild again. That is the cultural revolution we face now. ”- Prof. Geert Van Hootegem, KU Leuven


Elke Geraerts emphasizes that 80% of the questions for Better Minds at Work deal about ownership: how can people get involved again? Autonomy and the development of talents are becoming increasingly important. According to her, it will come down to "pressing the right buttons". But how do you as a company evolve towards the culture that brings out the best in people?

An example is the approach of the House of HR. Employees are recruited and paid on the basis of "intrapreneurship". The offices work as small independent entities or "salaried entrepreneurs". The better they perform, the greater their share in the profit. This ownership ensures great commitment and highly motivated employees.

Best practices within the government; the FPS Social Affairs and the Province of Limburg, where colleagues are now regarded as customers. This shows that it is important to involve people in a story and to stimulate them through a clear job description and interaction.

I regularly notice that people not deployed on their talents, lose energy and "lean back". This is untenable for our society. We must ask ourselves how we can create entrepreneurs within the company. Stimulate talent within the organization and the individual will be crucial. Elke Geraerts, Better Minds at Work

Research from KU Leuven shows that companies demand ownership, but at the same time discourage this by the way they are organized. Prof. Geert Van Hootegem recommends steering the organizational structure, the design of the organization, instead of managing the people. This also includes the importance of self-managing teams. Many organizations are still functionally organized, whereby the customer is ignored in the search for economies of scale. “The permanent contracts are a huge pain. It is quite a challenge within government companies to turn that culture around. ”- Dirk Van Dueren, Hospex

Today, according to the professor, it comes down to organizing end-to-end processes and detecting customer groups. This also applies to the organization of education. The problem can be summarized with the following metaphor: The giant tankers that were built for years now have to be dismantled into fleets with a different crew.

An inhibiting factor is that the Belgian is very traditional and does not pick up on trends quickly. In other words, a major cultural shift will be needed in Belgium. In addition, within the educational system, people are strongly conditioned to work without errors instead of learning from mistakes. Perfectionists often run into their limits. It is also important that parents realize that they have the power to make their children more agile. Being self-critical, daring to look in the mirror and saying no is very important. Organizations can also take responsibility instead of pointing the finger at the system. "Better minds at school" is an example of this.

People fear the unknown. The way in which something is communicated and it is dealt with is very important within that framework. rox

More than just profit?

Modern companies nowadays strive for more than just making a profit. They present themselves as an employer daring to make a difference, for example for the environment. In order to contribute to a liveable world, does a holistic vision of social, economic and environmental skills need to be developed? Although the question arises here to what extent this is limited by certain laws such as the expectations of the shareholders, the product and the life phase in which the company finds itself?

Corporate culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This quote from the well-known economist Peter Drucker is more true than ever in times of "war for talent". Stefan Geerkens, Bene

At Accent it is a one-and-one story. In addition to a strong focus on sales and growth for your own employees, the community feeling and company pride grows further by putting the social relevance of the job in the picture even more: you can change someone's life by giving him/her the right job. In addition, corporate social responsibility projects such as Jobroad provide a great sense of purpose and involvement between colleagues. Or how a lot can be set in motion through corporate culture and people focus.

There is a lot of power in people. It is also up to us as a manager to encourage employees, to take responsibility and to initiate a movement. Claudia Poels, Telenet