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Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Salesforce BELUX Country Leader Lien Ceulemans

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Salesforce BELUX Country Leader Lien Ceulemans

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 Salesforce’s turn! This company is our Nr. 2 Best Workplace of the ‘small category’! Although this company may (still) be relatively small in size in Belgium, Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). They enable companies to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, and artificial intelligence—to connect to their customers in a whole new way. Lien Ceulemans - Country Leader of Salesforce BELUX- explains that this result is only possible because of the work of a lot of people. She wants to “thank everybody in the BELUX organisation and in the other countries, contributing to the Belux organisation. It’s because of all these people that this is a great organisation! I couldn’t be more proud of what we’re achieving together.”

Find out what we can learn from these great employers!

Bringing out The Best - Blog series: An Interview with Salesforce BELUX Country Leader Lien Ceulemans

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

It is a place with a fantastic culture. One where you engage people and listen to them, learn new skills and perspectives and get challenged to be at your best. I often say that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, and I honestly believe that! You might have a great strategy with many great products, but ultimately this is a people-first organisation that goes back to the culture and the values that we have in common.

How do you become a Grea Place to Work?

It is up to the organisation to create an environment where you can have a good culture and where people can flourish. It is up to us to provide an open place that includes a great office, flexibility regarding where and when you can work, benefits, etc. In Salesforce, everyone contributes to what our culture stands for. We have a framework and values that unite us, but then it is every one of the individuals that truly bring it all together. This is not easy, but this is the most rewarding thing to do if you are a people person. It is bringing people together, having a clear vision and strategy, and then if you can achieve great things together, it is probably the most meaningful thing that you can offer people. There is much more than work in our lives, but it is a big part. Therefore, it is important to make it meaningful and fun. But I don’t think it is easy, and I believe that the pandemic hasn’t made it necessarily easier. It has been a great opportunity for many of us to rethink how we want to work and what is essential to us and do our jobs accordingly.

What is one thing that you learned from last year?

It is through mistakes that you learn. There is no finish line, meaning that if we X, Y and Z, suddenly we are there and have everything sorted. No, running a company is based on continuous improvement and a few marginal gains. So, I have learned this, although I knew this already. It is crucial that you listen, understand, get feedback, and take action together. If it is just me and some other people who are imposing it, it will not happen; it needs to be driven by everyone in the organisation. That means that you need to be open to feedback and sometimes need to have difficult conversations. It means that you genuinely need to create a culture where there is accountability and room to fail and get better and do things differently.

Can you name one thing where you excel at?

We’ve become good at bringing people together and being inclusive. Because with everything we try to do, it’s with many other people in the BELUX, but also outside Belgium and outside of the global organisation in general. So, I think we’ve become quite good at being super transparent about the good, the bad and the ugly and then getting feedback from many people and bringing these people together. When you are speaking about benefits or topics like DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), it is not just what the US thinks of any other affiliate country. I think you need to have the right amount of localisation. We all share the same five values as a global organisation, but then I think it is up to us to localise these values and think about what that means to us and how we want to achieve our goals. Cross-pollination is thus significant to us. So, I see it as having the best of both worlds.

Do you find it essential to be a Best Workplace?

I think it is a recognition for a lot of work, not only hard work, but it has been a lot of fun. So, I think people flourish when they have a culture where good work is recognised and essential. So that is one thing, but it is also necessary for us to hire talent and bring talent into the Salesforce ecosystem. So, in one way or another, we are known as an organisation with one of these best cultures, which will help us attract the right talent. This is something to be super proud of! But, I think it is much more than just employer branding. This is, of course, very nice, but ultimately it is excellent recognition for a lot of things we are doing in the BELUX organisation.

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?

You can always call me about value-driven leadership and why I believe in the importance of culture!

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.