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Frieder De Borger about the development of Proximus employees

Published on 22/11/2016 in Inspire

Frieder De Borger about the development of Proximus employees

Companies are constantly facing new challenges. In the world of technology, changes occur at lightning speed. We are evolving from the cloud and big data towards connected cars and smart cities. As a company, how best do you respond to this? Frieder De Borger, Director, Talent & Development Center at Proximus explains.

How can you prepare the culture of a company for this?

“At Proximus, cooperation, business agility and responsibility are the core values of our ‘Good to Gold’ culture. We also do an enormous amount to create space to venture, to try out new things and to learn from them. At Proximus we do that by ensuring that there is a strong learning environment. We put the staff in charge. They are responsible for the route they take. It’s about learning accountability. We encourage staff to keep on developing. A positive learning climate is important. As an organization, you have to show appreciation for the efforts that the staff make to constantly go on learning.”

How does the organization support the learning path?

“We are seeing exponential growth in digital learning. The average staff member prefers a mixed path, part digital, part traditional education. We note that the learning culture is evolving quickly. We are constantly extending our learning portal with new digital content. Among other things, we see a lot of potential in the use of MOOCs (massive open online courses): online education via video colleges, article and blogs, etc. The big advantage is that staff can assimilate the course material at their own pace. All these forms of digital learning are a crucial lever to help shape the digital DNA of the organization.”

Is digital learning mainly an individual method or can it be done in groups, too?

“Group dynamics are very important. Our starting point is the inherent strength of community learning. Proximus’ role is to make it easy for staff to share knowledge. This is why we are actively working to develop topic communities within the organization. We offer virtual platforms – such as SharePoint and various teaching apps – where staff can share their knowledge and experience. As a staff member, you can join various communities. That is precisely the strength of this approach, certainly within a large organization like Proximus. We also arrange ‘discovery tours’, when we take staff to towns and cities or regions that are heavily involved in innovation. These initiatives provide new insight into the way in which companies can respond to the fast pace of technological development.”

What is the result of all this learning in your working environment?

“This finds expression in a high level of internal mobility. We fill around 70% of the job vacancies with internal candidates. Over 40% of the internal mobility takes place between different divisions. When recruiting, we pay particular attention to a growth mentality, attitude, potential and an eagerness to learn. If these things are right, then a candidate just has to meet 60 to 80% of the required profile. You can adjust the rest through individual courses and training.”

How does Proximus approach the recruitment of new staff?

“We bring in about 400 new staff members every year. To do that, we are developing a strong employer brand, which resonates positively both internally and externally. Ultimately, an organization’s own staff are its main brand ambassadors. As an employer, we tell the story via our staff. It’s the staff who bring in most of the potential job applicants. And we are very proud of that. Other candidates apply via the website or we find them through LinkedIn. We also focus on cooperation with universities and colleges, for instance by offering internships.”

Frieder De Borger 

Is Director, Talent & Development Center at Proximus. He studied organizational psychology at KU Leuven. Over the past 10 years he has held various HR-related positions at Proximus, including head of Recruitment & Mobility and head of Learning & Development.


One magazine is the Proximus B2B magazine for CIOs and IT professionals in large and medium-sized organisations.

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