Connectingthe dotsbetween hr &technology


Belgium’s Talent League

28 September 2022

How to find talent these days? We all know that the traditional way of recruiting is passé composé. This is why STIB and Stepstone joined forces and also started working with gamification and storytelling. One thing is certain: as a company you have to play all the cards nowadays. Christelle Habimana from StepStone and Johan Claes from STIB give us the lowdown.

Johan Claes has been an employer branding manager at STIB for almost 12 years. Previously, he worked in an HR communication agency. Johan doesn’t have a typical HR background "Employer branding is more than a nice image or a good slogan. It comes down to a strategic approach in which people are the starting point, not products.”

Christelle Habimana is content marketeer at StepStone. She keeps her finger firmly on the pulse of all developments in the world of work, for example, by joining forces with industry experts and customers like STIB to create content.

STIB has 10,277 employees. As is the case with large companies, they are not always as agile as they would like to be. They have a variety of profiles, professions and personalities, and this doesn't make things easier. "Our mission characterises us: we work for the community. What we do is not just for you and the company, but for the people around you. When you work together to improve public transport, you know that it helps people move forward – literally and figuratively," Johan summarises in short.


In this bitter war for talent, it is a struggle to get technical profiles on board. Playing the right trump cards is key, and STIB has them:

Johan: "We have long-term projects. You can start with us as a graduate, work in different departments and grow into an important management function. There is enormous internal mobility and a lot of room for promotion, both horizontally and vertically. Communication about internal mobility is very open and transparent because we see each employee's knowledge and expertise as an important part of the company.”

But applicants are becoming more and more demanding. Johan: "The war for talent has now also reached all media and employees know that it is more difficult for companies to hire. If, as an employee, you are called three times a week and offered a job, you get the chance to make certain demands. Thus, we see that salary has again become an important condition. A nuance that the employee can make is that salary is not everything. Above all, you have to ensure a fit with the corporate culture and the mission of the company."

Christelle makes a critical remark: "The war for talent certainly does not apply to every job. But when it comes to technical professions, it is striking. Willingness to apply is much higher among those who experience their career as unsustainable. In fact, 63% of employees responded to at least one job vacancy in the past six months.”

If, as an employee, you are called three times a week and offered a job, you get the chance to make certain demands

And then there is that one hard-to-reach target group of young graduates. The digital generation thinks differently about work and says "no" more quickly. That's why STIB is responding to them in cooperation with StepStone.

Christelle: "Throughout the year, we’re reaching young French and Dutch speaking talent from all over Belgium with our dedicated Salary Planner Campaign and our other hot topic campaigns​. We’re meeting young grads where they are the most active, with educative and  fun content on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, and also in our brand new StepStone monthly video series. To kick off their career, we have created an application guide, which will be distributed at key student locations and on our social media.” ​


Johan summarises what they regularly play out in recruitment campaigns: "As a company, we want to strengthen our brand by letting our employees talk openly in campaigns and showing the human aspect. If you work at least 8 hours a day it's important you do something you like, in an environment where you feel good. Next to that, education works motivational. Today, for example, technology is evolving at a rapid pace and schools find it difficult to keep up. That is why we offer technicians training and give them the opportunity to learn with us." says Johan.


It is one thing to play the trump card, but how do you do that effectively? This is where storytelling and gamification come in.  Johan: "StepStone puts time in our story, tries to understand where the problem is and helps us look for solutions. Storytelling and gamification are not an exact science, and surely it’s important a (media) investment also delivers. The idea of using gamification was developed internally and is really out of the box. With the SIMBUS application, we give an idea of what it is like to drive in Brussels and what a job as a driver entails. In a game you are given the task of driving the bus and, along the way, information about wages and other important aspects of the job appears."

But how does everything reach that potential employee? Christelle: "StepStone makes sure that the targeted campaigns in which storytelling and gamification are used reach the right people. We have a database of one million people to whom job opportunities are sent out." Johan adds: "So the SIMBUS campaign is definitely worth repeating. We are in the process of developing a new version so that it will be another success story."

Conclusion: the secret of our successful collaboration is in the approach of setting up hiring campaigns that pay off. "That’s why our mission statement is ‘the right job for everyone’. We want to make the best use of talent,” Christelle concludes.

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