When Anik Stalmans took on the role of HR Director in July of 2016, she was quick to stamp her mark: a closer alignment between business and HR, increased targeted activities for recruitment as well as career management, and a focus on capturing and defining the essence of the Cegeka DNA and workplace culture.
“When I joined HR in July, I immediately took a pragmatic approach,” she says. “The core question for me was: what are our business goals, and how can HR contribute in reaching them? I keep up with all the HR theories out there, and they do inspire me, but I’m also very hands-on. My focus is on what’s relevant and feasible, not necessarily on what happens to be in vogue. Acting on trends is fine, and we do that, but only if it adds value and fits with our workplace culture.”
Hence the closer alignment between the business and HR: “HR is not an island in the organization,” she continues. “It is paramount that everyone in my team knows what the business goals are, and how they are supposed to contribute. HR staff, myself included, attend board and business meetings on an almost daily basis: not only to share expertise, but also to get the feel of what is happening, to spot bottlenecks before they occur, to detect opportunities. We don’t sit in an ivory tower, we are out there in the field connecting with the business and sharing knowledge.”
In last year’s report, the War for Talent was a number one topic. “Well, on that front, things haven’t changed,” says Stalmans, “the war is still on and some technical profiles are as hard to find as ever. We are also ramping up our recruitment efforts for ‘generalists’: people who help the customer make the right strategic IT choices, irrespective of technology. It fits with our mission: we don’t want to be an IT supplier, we want to be our customer’s trusted and strategic IT partner of choice.”
Stalmans is very proud of the 2016 Cegeka School recruitment initiative: “Instead of investing all our efforts in recruiting developers by fishing in the same old pool, we decided to train a number of people from scratch in what we dubbed the Cegeka School. These people had work experience - be it not in IT - and a common wish to change career track and become developers.” It paid off: almost 800 people applied, out of which 20 finalists were selected. All of them are getting a 14 week crash course in coding and received a salary from day 1.
We are ramping up our recruitment efforts for ‘generalists’: people who help the customer make the right strategic IT choices, irrespective of technology.
Defining the exact nature of the Cegeka workplace culture was also one of Stalmans’ priorities. “If you can pin that down very precisely, it helps both our recruiters and future applicants to check it against their own ‘DNA’ so to speak”, she says. “Everyone here shares a number of attributes which they either possess by nature, or are agile enough to adopt quickly. Empathy with the customer is one, flexibility another. But most crucial is the ability to deal with constant change. We live in a world where the only certainty is that things change fast in a direction we don’t know yet. You need to be totally comfortable with that in order to thrive here.”
Career management will remain a focus in 2017: “We invest a lot of time and money in giving people all the instruments and coaching they need to guide them to the next level. In 2017, we are going to invest in a tool which will help us do exactly that: map each person’s ideal career path, based on both skills and preferences. But we also champion people who are willing to carve out their own career path. In here, if you show initiative, take ownership and stand out, you can achieve a lot,” Stalmans concludes.
Anik Stalmans is 43 years old. She joined Cegeka in 1998 and has assumed several roles over the years, such as Manager Service Management and Director Supporting Business Services. In 2016 she became Corporate HR Director. Passionate about her job, Anik is always reading up on the latest insights in the field of collaboration and HR with a steaming cup of cappuccino within reach.