What started as an ambitious start-up in 2011 is now a company with more than 60 employees: ION is the fastest growing project developer in Belgium. How do you keep such a team in full development together? Lies Van Biervliet, who joined the company in February as HR manager, took up the challenge with enthusiasm.
"I can describe the culture at ION in three words: dynamic, driven and positive. Sometimes, in the morning, one of the managers will walk by and shout, "Hey you, come on!". That would be unheard of in most companies, but here... It boosts our morale."
“Our new employees immediately become part of our dynamic team. On their first day at work, they find all the ION gadgets on their desks, including the Polar watch and sports outfit. After two weeks, there is a good chance that a new colleague has already taken part in a boot camp, dinner or other activity. On the other hand, of course, it's hard work and you're thrown in the deep end immediately. I've already introduced several measures to make sure that things go smoothly. Our new employees enjoy breakfast with the managers, a speed date with someone from each department and after 1, 3 and 6 months, they have a meeting with me and/or the manager".
An energetic bunch
"If there is a bad atmosphere at the company, you can’t solve the problem simply by putting a fruit hamper on the table to share. The first step is trust, in each other and in the management. At ION, that is a kind of a vicious circle - albeit a positive one: things are going well, everyone is on board, enthusiastic and working hard. I also notice that when I organise something, like a training session or an activity after work, a lot of employees always choose to take part. Instead of work-life balance, this is more like work-life integration: work and leisure kind of blend together. Of course, this also works in the opposite direction. If you have a personal appointment in the morning, you can start working a bit later than usual. This type of business culture is not for everyone, but for me, it’s a dream come true".
ION is not afraid of extreme challenges. Four employees walked the 100-km Dodentocht and asked their colleagues to sponsor them for a good cause. In all its enthusiasm, ION went one step further, allowing colleagues to raise money through their own activities. During an auction evening, employees could auction off an activity, ranging from car washing to a barbecue and even a boat trip on the river Lys. The proceeds of the auction were doubled by ION, so together we raised more than €8,000 for the non-profit organisation Voor Kinderen and we brought all the staff together.
€750 for 750 km
An activity during Mobility Week is a must for a CO2-neutral project developer. All ION employees who carpooled or cycled to work were allowed to take part in a lottery. They wrote their name on a piece of paper and left it in the raffle box every day. At the end of the week, the team enjoyed a healthy lunch and 6 prizes were awarded to the randomly drawn winners of the raffle. The partners stepped it up a notch by converting the 750 km of car kilometres saved into €750 for the charity Somival vzw.
It may be a scorching hot summer, but the ION team is always up for a sporty challenge. In July and August, the sports enthusiasts, including the two managers, gathered four times for an intensive boot camp. After all, what better way to end a day of work than with some exercise to clear your head?