“Our main focus is the personal growth of our consultants”
Interview with Caroline Clercq & Leen De Reu
Care Managers @ T&S Brussels, offices of Louvain-la-Neuve and Zaventem
Caroline Clercq and Leen De Reu have some things in common. They both have a background in Finance, they started at TriFinance with the objective to evolve in Human Development, and they found a successful balance between private and professional life. Today they are Care Manager at T&S Brussels and they adore it. “I studied accountancy, which I liked”, Caroline kicks off. “But when I started working, I missed working together with people, the relational aspect.” Leen graduated as Commercial Engineer and followed an additional economic education in Spain. “I worked for five years in a financial profession, but in 2012 I decided to pursue my dream: a career in HRM.”
What’s your path at TriFinance?
Leen: Just like Caroline, I started as Business Consultant, a varying function with responsibilities for the whole recruitment process, both internally as externally. Moreover, the Business Consultant is involved in consultancy assignment; finding the right match between the competences and ambitions of our consultants and the requirements and needs of our clients.
As TriFinance grew out to a network organisation of more than 700 employees in three countries, we felt the need for a better operationalisation of ‘furthering people’. The role of Care Manager was born.
Caroline: Previously the role of Business Consultant was pretty much the same as today: the recruitment of consultants and permanent recruitment for our clients. In 2007 we launched our Young Hub Program and from then on I focussed on the recruitment of young people.In 2011, when the decision was made to open an office in Louvain-la-Neuve, I was really enthusiastic to participate in this bottom-up start-up. There my role as Care Manager gradually took shape.
What does a Care Manager do?
Leen: We are the link between the Hub - our consultants - and Basecamp - the internal team - during the whole career of a consultant at TriFinance. From the moment of recruitment to the exit-moment. Our main focus is the personal growth of our consultants. We advise and support them in determining the next steps in their career.
Caroline: Our role is not so easy to describe, because it includes many aspects. In fact it is a supporting and strategic function which makes the world turn. Consultants work on projects at our clients, so we’re not always sitting next to them. It is important that they know they can come back to Basecamp for a 360 degree support, at any time. For technical questions, practical issues, personal development or whatever they need.
Leen: Indeed, and always with a focus on the individual, keeping in mind the ‘as is’ – current behavior, skill and knowledge – and ‘to be’ – aspirations and goals – situation. Each employee has many contacts within TriFinance. The Mentor is project dependent and is best placed to support the consultant for his specific project. Whereas the Career Coach is focussing on the entire career path of the employee. The Business Manager has a close contact with client and consultant in order to see if things are working out fine. And then there is us, the Care Manager, who will assemble all necessary information and feedback of the above in order to let the employee grow.
Can you tell me something about personal development within TriFinance?
Caroline: Our great asset is our network of Finance profiles. We invite our people - who all have specific expertise and different competences - to share their knowledge. And we provide all the resources to do so. We have for example our Knowledge Circles, interactive sessions about a specific topic. The participants will a.o. discuss business cases. That’s so important. I strongly believe that we learn much more from sharing our experiences than from a classical training session.
Leen: Employees of TriFinance are called Me inc.®’ers, meaning they have the opportunity to take their career in their own hands. Considering the 70:20:10 model, consultants gain experience through their projects -70-, through others -20- and through classroom training -10-. Together with us they can decide how they want to share their knowledge within our organisation. It’s nice to see how they want to organise these things and how much involved they are.
Caroline: We have a lot of initiatives, fun as well as content. TriFinance motivates her employees to take initiatives such as the 20kms of Brussels and the shortski. We also have TriFinance Events, like the Teambuilding, Summer Event, Business Meeting,...
How do you experience the War for Talent?
Leen: We feel the increasing pressure on the labour market. Nowadays candidates often have the luxury of different contract proposals. The war for talent asks for a better alignment between efficient and proactive recruitment on the one hand and an effective retention policy on the other hand. In addition, the importance of intrinsic motivation increases and candidates - especially the Millennials - have become more demanding.
Caroline: The turning point was in 2008, the financial crash. Many people lost their job. There was a peak in the amount of jobseekers, which was a positive element for companies looking for new people. We had a lot of applications, so we had to be very demanding. In the meantime the economy is boosting, and the market is again favorable to candidates. They get different job offers, they can compare and be more demanding. And so it is up to us to be attractive.
Why do candidates have to choose for TriFinance?
Leen: No doubt about it: for our unique Me inc.® philosophy. Employees at TriFinance are at the steering wheel of their career and can enjoy the benefits of our flat network organization.
At TriFinance the employee comes first. TriFinance was founded by the family Smit and today we still feel it’s a family owned company. In our 17 year existence, we grew enormously, but the personal approach is still there.
Caroline: That’s true, you feel appreciated for who you are. TriFinance leaves you room to take initiatives, in a certain framework, but with a lot of freedom and responsibility. I really love this aspect.
Companies have to sell themselves, more than the candidates have to.
Caroline: And still my attitude hasn’t changed since 2008. If candidates come to TriFinance, it has to be for the right reasons. During the interview they have to feel the authenticity of what we propose. We’ll never try to sugarcoat, we always explain the positive and negative aspects of our flat network organisation, which is a little bit atypical. And the candidate identifies himself with it or not.
Leen: I agree with Caroline. We always do our best to present a realistic picture of the job content. The negative aspects included. We do not want to have expectations unfulfilled. This is a crucial element for TriFinance, as we truly believe in Economies of Motivation®.We are convinced that salary isn’t the only reason why employees choose a company. By talking with our candidates I’ve noticed that the culture of a company and the learning or growth possibilities are at least as important. And TriFinance is very strong in this, that’s for sure.
Caroline: Since I’ve been working here, our core proposal hasn’t changed. And we have evolved in our resources, such as coaching and mentoring. We know that every employee is unique. Since January we have our Flex Reward Plan for example. We understand the different needs and that’s our way of being attractive and authentic.
Leen: Each consultant has a specific profile and different ambitions. The art is to narrow the gap between profile and ambitions by offering challenging projects and investing in new approaches. We are only satisfied when we realise this, tailored to the needs of our consultants.
Which tips would you give to candidates who are interested in TriFinance?
Leen: Find out what you think is important in your job and what motivates you. A well prepared candidate who shows his motivation, is one step ahead.
Don’t be scared to show the real you. TriFinance is interested in the person behind the candidate. If we can see the match with our Me inc.® philosophy, you have a big chance of being hired.
Caroline: To be prepared is really a key to success. You feel it immediately if someone is well prepared. This shows his motivation.
Don’t hesitate to ask feedback at the end of the interview. Often candidates are scared to do so. While I think it shows your open spirit and your readiness to evolve.