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Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Axxes CEO Benjamin Goesaert & HR Manager Toon Verbuyst

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Axxes CEO Benjamin Goesaert  & HR Manager Toon Verbuyst

The Best Workplaces™ label distinguishes the very best employers from the certified organisations. In Belgium, we determine three lists: Large, Medium and Small, depending on the organisation’s size. These companies have the highest levels of trust and the most inclusive cultures in Belgium. They have seized the opportunity to become better—to courageously connect in new ways, deepen their commitment to their communities, and get creative in how they care for their people.

For this year’s Best Workplaces event, we interviewed the top 3 companies recognised on our Best Workplaces™ 2022 lists. In this blog series, “Bringing out The Best”, we will share these interviews so you get to know these companies better. This week, it’s Axxes’ turn! This company has the number two spot in our Best Workplaces™ List in the Category Medium, which is no surprise since they have already been certified six times and have been a Best Workplace 4 times. Since 1998, Axxes has brought together an ambitious team of passionate IT leaders who lead digital transformation at our international partners. They connect and reinforce technological expertise, always within a people-oriented collaboration. Benjamin Goesaert -CEO- and Toon Verbuyst -HR Manager- expressed multiple times that “this result is only possible because of every individual, every employee that makes Axxes a Best Workplace”!
On top of this, Axxes is also the deserved winner of the Special Award for Employee Empowerment! “Creating a great workplace is only possible when people take on their initiatives, where they can be themselves and exploit their ambitions. This is the core of Axxes, empowering people to do what they love.” - Benjamin Goesaert.

Find out what we can learn from these great employers!

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Axxes CEO Benjamin Goesaert & HR Manager Toon Verbuyst

According to you, what does a Great Place to Work® mean?

It is a nice working space in which people are essential. It is a Great Place to Work because of the people who work there, the culture that prevails, and how people treat each other. It is a place where there is trust between different teams and people. It is a place where people can be themselves. This is an important topic today, being yourself and feeling good. Therefore, this is something that we work hard on every day with everybody within the organisation.

Do you find it essential to be a Great Place to Work?

Yes, for sure! There are several reasons for this. We think that one of them, for every organisation, is the challenge of finding talent in today's world. This causes possible future employees to have strict selection criteria. You have a significant advantage when you can pull the ‘Great Place to Work- or Best Workplace-card’ and thus use the label. You put yourself at the front of the peloton.
New employees tell us that they are proud to work at Axxes since it is an organisation that focuses on the well-being of its employees. We are a people company. Therefore, the most important lesson is that you don’t make a Great Place to Work by yourself; everyone needs to be involved! It is more than just nice employer branding since continuously challenging yourself is more than a label. You are intensely working on it authentically; it is a way of life. It comes naturally at Axxes. Every year we try to become an even greater place to work!

How do you become a Great Place to Work?

You should do what you say and say what you do. It seems easy, but that is not always the case. Firstly, doing what you say or “walking your talk” ensures that your promises come true. This does not only concern that you only carry out your strategic or policy decisions, but it more prominently covers the things you say and promises daily. Secondly, saying what you do, is communicating. You need to ensure that everything is clear and transparent, removing the ambiguities. If you combine these two aspects, you will be an authentic employer. You respect your employees, which contributes to your organisation's trust. And this trust is what differentiates a Great Place to Work from other organisations.
You can only become a Great Place to Work by giving it a lot of attention and working on it for years, communicating openly to everyone, and involving as many people as possible in this project. This way, they will do a lot for your organisation, resulting in great results. This leads to the fact that people like to work there.

Can you name one thing where you excel at?

Where we excel has something to do with the business that we are in. We are a consultancy firm. We are good at connecting and strengthening technological knowledge. Our people are actively working on projects where they connect technological expertise to people who do not work together daily. They do this with a ‘feel-good sauce’ where there is time to have fun moments.
Moreover, most of our employees work at our customer’s offices. So, we do not work together often physically, but we make sure that there is a sense of unity and that we are one. When we ask our employees which organisation they work for, they will put Axxes as number one. This kind of togetherness is something that we excel at today. This starts with good communication directed to everyone in the organisation and carries a clear, unambiguous vision. Next to this, you also need to ensure that everybody is being individually followed up. This means making sure that you have close and frequent contact with every employee. These sorts of communication are essential, especially in this corona crisis.

What is one thing that you learned from last year during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Don’t quit!
The COVID-A9 pandemic challenged us hard in 2021 as well. We needed to reschedule many times, and we planned many actions that we suddenly needed to take on differently. Time and time again, we needed to challenge ourselves. We needed to make sure that we did not cancel our events but that we proposed a new time for them. And when this new date arrived, we did it. This characterised us and helped us not to give up. It is not so bad to do this once, but it becomes a challenge when you need to do it 10 to 20 times.
Next to this, we noticed that people are more than ever -meaning more than before COVID-19- searching for a connection with their colleagues. They work more than ever physically together at the Axxes office. This was not the case before, since everybody was located at their customer’s site.

As a Great Place to Work, you are part of an ecosystem of like-minded organisations aiming to improve the employee experience—addressing your ‘co-competitors’, for what can they always call you?

They can always contact us to exchange knowledge, which we can also do informally while drinking a pint. We already did this; we reached other Great Place to Work organisations to learn from each other. For example, we already sat together with Protime, learning a lot. We hope to become an even greater place to work each year by doing this.
Firstly, the Great Place to Work network is a significant added value since it comprises companies that pay attention, time, and energy to create a nice workplace. Letting these companies come together and giving the topic even more attention will inspire other companies. Every company has its way of putting its employees in a central place. There is not just one correct way. We can learn a lot from each other by sharing these experiences and best practices. Next to this, the network can also indirectly give an added value. You want to do better than your ‘co-competitors’. This motivates you to make an extra effort to become an even greater place to work each year.

Are you inspired to become a Best Workplace? Join one of our info sessions to start your journey HERE! or gain unique insights into the best practices of Belgium’s Best Workplaces 2022 by downloading HERE our full report.