ION welcomes 3 new directors
ION is joined by not just two but three new directors: Florence in HR, Geert in the Marketing Team, and Virginie in Finance. They made the switch around six months ago. Sheer coincidence? Not quite... Together they are taking a fresh look at their future here in Waregem.
Welcome Florence, Virginie, and Geert! How were your first days at ION?
Florence: “My first few days at ION were fascinating and overwhelming. I discovered a vibrant corporate culture with plenty of challenges. I was fortunate enough to be given ample time to become acquainted both formally and informally with the team, colleagues, suppliers, and internal processes. Starting out as an HR Manager was very exciting. It provided me with the necessary insights into the various HR processes. This was useful for outlining long-term and shortterm action items.
Geert: “The Marketing Team gave me a very warm welcome. Going from six to seven, we became ‘The Magnificent 7’. I was particularly impressed by how well organized it was. I had seldom experienced that in my career. I was given the necessary information without being overwhelmed by it, and was quickly accepted by the large ION family.”
Virginie: “My job is a new one, created as a buffer between the CFO and the direct reports. It meant that I had to do some searching during my first few days, especially since it was a challenge to determine who was going to take on which tasks. The team was immediately very open and flexible. That’s what is so unique about ION; it has such a fantastic team spirit.”
It’s remarkable that the three of you made the switch precisely during the Corona pandemic. Was it a coincidence
Florence: “In my case, like many people, I think that the Corona crisis made me reflect on my career. I was getting too comfortable at my previous employer. It was time for a new challenge, and so I moved!”
Virginie: “Although a management position was always my ambition, Corona really accelerated that process.”
Geert: “I would not have been here without Covid. After spending ten years in New Zealand, I came back to Belgium during the lockdown to be closer to my family. To cut a long story short, I stayed. I used to work as a freelancer, but wanted to develop another marketing strategy from start to finish and build a strong brand.”
What were your first action items at ION?
Geert: “Most of all, I want to pass on my experience to the marketing team. This is a growing company with many talented young people, and you can really feel that sense of hunger. So, I consider it my mission to coach the team and pass on my knowledge.”
Virginie: “We place great importance on internal and external training at ION. That’s why long-term retention of employees at ION is so important. This year, I’m focusing on creating a sustainable story.”
Florence: “This business project in which we are working involves a lot of stress. I noticed that there was too much focus on the physical component of the initiatives. The mental aspect needed to be addressed. That’s why in recent months, we have been intensely engaged in learning initiatives related to stress and resilience. The effect of these initiatives should be that wellbeing gradually becomes embedded in our organization to garner happy employees. The teleworking aspect was also a hot topic, and we have now made some clear agreements about this.
Virginie: “My second action item, the digitization project, is also perfectly in line with this. Too much work is still done manually. Digitization helps us avoid repetitive work, improves our ability to perform in terms of content, and provides us with a clearer view of our data. Fortunately, we can always count on the support of our CEOs in these initiatives.”
Your departments have been intimately involved in ION’s growth. What is your approach to this?
Florence: “There’s tremendous enthusiasm and drive at ION. But I believe we should be careful about speed. We sometimes need to stand back and ask ourselves why we are doing the things we do and what we want to achieve in concrete terms. The HR team is equally responsible for keeping the right people on board and anticipating the projected growth by being an employer of choice.
Virginie: “The finance team has to meet tight deadlines every quarter. Setting the right priorities is essential since the reports follow each other in rapid succession.” Geert: “That’s true! Setting priorities. Everything is urgent and essential. I often say to my team: ‘in giusto tempo,’ which means ‘fast if you must, slow if you can’. But it’s fantastic to see the dynamism and energy that such growth generates!”