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Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Easi CEOs Jean-François Herremans & Thomas Van Eeckhout

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Easi CEOs Jean-François Herremans & Thomas Van Eeckhout

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 Easi’s turn! They can crown themselves the winner of the medium category for the eighth time in a row. Easi is a trusted IT service provider that believes companies can perform better and smarter using humanised technology. They value intrapreneurship and put their employees in the driver’s seat through their shareholder’s model. Today, nearly one in three employees is a shareholder! The company is run CEOs Jean-François Herremans and Thomas Van Eeckhout who “complement each other”. They are both extremely grateful for their colleagues who “allow us to be better every year, and contribute to the success and happiness of the business.” And they are excited about the future: “The story that we are writing with Easi is a fantastic adventure, and we’re only just at the beginning. So, buckle up and let’s go for it together!”

Find out what we can learn from these great employers!

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Easi CEOs Jean-François Herremans & Thomas Van Eeckhout

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

A Great Place to Work is a company for which people want to get up in the morning, for which they want to give their all and fight. It’s something you want to share with everyone all day, which will make a difference. It’s not something materialistic – because that’s often the first thing people think about. What makes a difference are the people you work with: your boss, your direct manager, and your colleagues. Thanks to them, we can build a Great Place to Work.

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

It’s essential and integrated into everything we do! It’s who we are—an integral part of our business strategy. Indeed, no gimmick or an extra thing on top of everything else. In culture, authenticity is crucial. Every year, the Great Place to Work Institute people hold up a mirror to us. That pushes us to ‘walk our talk’ and implement the Great Place to Work principles in every aspect of our business.
Also, we’re active in the IT industry and the biggest difficulty is attracting and retaining top talent. The Great Place to Work model allows us to convince the best talents in the labour market to work for us. So, it helps us recruit people more easily and retain them by giving them a realistic perspective to develop their careers with us and realise their dreams in our company!.

How do you become a Great Place to Work?

Jean-François: At Easi, everything revolves around our values. We’ve created a robust framework, representing a company in which it is great to work. Then, we give each of our employees the freedom to help us make this great working environment. For example, one vital value is ‘caring’. We want to ask our colleagues to pay attention to themselves and others through this value. We don’t want individuality at Easi. We want individuals to form one team in which they feel good to work, in which they wish to invest their energy and go the extra mile for. Because of these values, we manage to build a great working environment for everyone.
Thomas: What we do best is that we leave nothing to chance. So, if we agree – at a particular time – that we want to be a value-driven company, we’ll get the work done. We’ll define concrete values, describe them in detail, and use them effectively at crucial moments in our business. For example, we only hire people with whom we match in values. When it comes to promotion – and certainly when it comes to putting people in a leadership position – we’ll select those employees who fully endorse our values and culture. We shape our culture, and we make sure our values are reflected in everything we do. That is essential in a Great Place to Work.

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

Thomas: I am thinking of two things. The first one is agility. I think we’ve all noticed. The COVID-19 safety measures went from left to right, from top to bottom. Our government seldom knew what they would do, and it wasn’t easy to follow their logic. So, we had to adapt quickly, making our estimates and deciding what we found necessary. And that was: giving our people the perspective that they could come to the office occasionally – of course, in complete safety and by limiting the risks. The second one is communication. We were all working from home at our small desks, doing our things. People needed to feel like they belonged to a bigger community. Therefore, Jean-François and I made it a habit to record a video – every Monday morning – wherein we shared essential business updates and what we did during our weekends. You could tell that people looked forward to this moment – receiving information about the company they were working for.

Jean-François: I want to add two more things that we’ve learned during these turbulent years from my side. The first thing is to trust our colleagues. Today, we realise that control management is entirely outdated. We saw that our company continued to operate, even when we lost some direct control over our colleagues. Second, everyone is looking for close contact and relationships with their colleagues. Last year, we learned that as soon as we had the opportunity to organise a team activity, we had to take it. Everyone desperately needs these events and experiences great enthusiasm when attending them.

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?

Thomas: My colleagues can always contact me to answer the following question: ‘How can you make culture an integrated part of your business strategy?’ So, how can you use your values business-wise to benefit from them? Not a gimmick or hollow words on a poster on the walls, but how can your values truly impact your business?
Jean-François: I invite you to contact me regarding recognition at Easi. Recognising our colleagues is something we’re very good at. For example, we work with participative ownership: it’s an incredible tool to give our colleagues visibility and maximise their full potential. So please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about this topic!

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.