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The competency matrix is key

08 September 2021

The HR processes of the Vandemoortele Group are streamlined in an umbrella platform based primarily on SAP SuccessFactors, but also supplemented with company-specific modules. The focus is currently on the further rollout of performance & development management.

The HR department of the food company Vandemoortele uses the SAP SuccessFactors module on performance & development management intensively. It forms the backbone of the international rollout currently taking place on all levels for all executives, office staff and shop floor employees. Every employee has access to his or her personal data and performance & development plans, thereby making it easier to clarify professional goals. The shop floor staff primarily accesses this information by smartphone.

Vandemoortele has a staff of 4,200 permanent employees and an additional 800 to 900 temporary workers, depending on the season. The HR strategy is summarized in the slogan People for growth. Growth for people. Vandemoortele wants its employees to have the right skills and the right level of commitment. Conversely, the company wants employees who enjoy their jobs. The digital platform will also help them on their professional journey.

Marc Croonen, CHRO at Vandemoortele, comments, “We make sure that we have the right person in the right place. We evaluate each employee’s situation – also together with the employee, from executive to shop floor staff – to determine whether they have the right expertise and skills for the organization and for themselves personally, both now and in the future The philosophy behind this is People for growth. Growth for people. What can we offer as an organization to employees and what does the organization expect of its employees?”

Competency management

HR employees and managers often talk about competencies, but in the past, the approach taken was highly generic, strongly focused on executives and completely unsuitable for shop floor staff. Therefore, the company has developed a competency management tool based on a functionality already offered by Flexso. “For the shop floor employees, we’ve already started capturing manager expectations in the factories. The required competencies are very concrete, diverse and depend on the type of production operations, as well as differences in machinery. The new system enables the team leaders and site managers to manage daily staffing, while at the same time gaining a better overview of future operational needs. We also captured the competencies of the sales staff but using a more local approach. The desired competencies are registered in a more strategic manner that takes long-term trends and plans into account.”

“Flexso developed a competency matrix for another company. This matrix has now been adapted and refined to fully meet the needs of Vandemoortele,” says Tom Mentens, Competence Lead at Flexso for People.

Marc adds, “That matrix is absolutely key because it’s linked to the ‘professional journey’ and continuous follow-up of performance & development goals.”

Learning management

The company has also implemented a learning management module. “We call that platform the Vandemoortele Academy. Our goal is to plan and manage all training-related aspects more effectively. That implementation is still not complete, but we already have a better overview of everything related to training throughout the entire organization, both in the different departments and in the different countries. This kind of information was very difficult to obtain in the past. Together with Flexso, we are now expanding this to improve financial planning and training follow-up.”

The training and development options are numerous, ranging from brief sessions to two-year training programs. There is also a continuous supply of e-learnings. Vandemoortele has chosen to work with two external suppliers for these: LinkedIn and Bookboon. “LinkedIn is a more selective option that we only offer to a limited group, while Bookboon is available to all employees. It is slightly less structured than LinkedIn, but much more democratic in terms of price, so that we can offer it to everyone. Employees can take short refresher courses. And many of them are doing just that. In only a few months’ time, around half of employees have downloaded one or more modules. We’re also seeing that they return often,” says Marc.

Own content

In addition to the external e-learnings, Vandermoortele also uses its own platform to offer self-made digital content. Its use has been intensified since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. “We’re focusing more and more on hybrid forms of learning, entailing a combination of different teaching methods, individual sessions, sharing cafés and digital workshops, alongside the traditional classroom approach. We’re also seeing that the short digital sessions are being downloaded spontaneously more often. What also helps is that we create communities in which participants are offered specific, targeted sessions. The leadership program, for instance, has been available for some time, but thanks to digitalization, we can now make it a lot more continuous with participants from different countries. At any rate, digital learning is the future. We now use traditional classroom teaching more to bring people together, carry out specific assignments and exercises and for networking.”

And, of course, there are also learning moments. Vandemoortele also wanted to create a digital communication platform for employees and was considering using Microsoft Teams, already in use by the office staff. But it turned out to be too expensive to roll this out for everyone. “Instead, we opted for the social media platform developed by SAP (SAP Jam), a standard feature of SuccessFactors. But we encountered problems in terms of technology and adoption. Fortunately, these have been gradually resolved and are no longer an issue. The most important lesson we have learned is that we need to interact more with the end users. This tells us their exact interests, experiences with the tool and desired improvements,” concludes Marc

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