"My role at Eastern Network IT? To make my colleagues happier!”
Since joining Eastern Network IT in January 2021, Fatiha Khaffane, Senior HR Manager EU, has been aiming high in HR terms to make her colleagues happier and more efficient. Here, she explains how she plans to succeed in her challenge.
"Here at Eastern Network IT (EastNets), we're one big family", explains Khaffane enthusiastically. "A global company of course, but one that's manageable in size, where the values of love, respect, honesty, autonomy and sharing mean something. These values show each employee the path to professional fulfilment.
And when there are problems, there are always solutions. It's all about communication and sharing. Doors are always open, and we can talk to each other. Of course, as in all families, there are different characters, mindsets, sensitivities and so on, but in the end, we're all united and mutually supportive."
Happy employees work better
"My role? To unify and motivate my colleagues so they feel happy at work. I want to be a driving force. And for that, I need everyone's support. When I listen to them, I often forget that I'm an HR manager – I just feel like a friend. I adopt a positive approach, with awareness of others. Which is something that never hurts.
Because a happy colleague is loyal and feels good about themselves, and they'll give their best and be ill less often. Conversely, there's nothing worse than an unhappy employee, who just feels like a number. If we're happy, it's because we have recognition and visibility. We don't feel like we're nobody."
A more ethical world of finance
Eastern Network IT is one of the leading IT providers of compliance and payment solutions for financial services. "We have 36 employees on the Belgian payroll from our head office in Waterloo. But the nerve centre of the company – which has been around for 35 years – is in Amman, Jordan and employs 300 people in major cities and financial centres around the world.
And we've seen some success: today, 750 banks have placed their trust in us. Our vision? To combat cybercrime to create a more ethical world of finance. And to achieve this, we continuously recruit high-calibre IT experts, geeks, data scientists and so on. So we don't just offer a salary: we offer the opportunity to be involved in a new chapter that is in the process of being written."
Incorporating diversity into the company
"At Eastern Network IT, talent is the only thing that counts. There is room for diversity. So we look for our employees around the world: in India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, South Africa and so on. We have some very senior profiles as well as some very young profiles. With us, everyone gets a chance!
And when I interview an applicant, something needs to happen at a human level. Independently from the skills aspect of course. We're not robots. Things have to fit on every level. They must be a fit for the family. If there's no human dimension, it's not going to work."
In terms of Covid, there's a 'before' and an 'after'
"Covid has transformed how we do things. As surprising as it may seem, there was little or no working from home here, even for management. Of course, we worked together remotely, but always from an Eastern Network IT office somewhere in the world. But people had to stay at home and we had to adapt: we had to implement remote management that stimulated productivity and motivation among colleagues.
We favoured horizontal organisation, forming multi-disciplinary teams and allowing maximum freedom and responsibility. We created a lot of cross-functionality, as everyone was forced to take an interest in what was going on around them to move forward. Our employees have worked together to a greater extent, with, in the end, a good result in terms of productivity. And at the end of a project, there's recognition for the team.
The experience has been so positive that today, we're looking into a new way of working. Flexibility needs to become the norm. The right balance for now? Three days in the office and two days at home. Because too much working from home means a loss of social connection and it's also harmful to the work-life balance.
A tailor-made salary package
"I have many HR challenges that need to be organised. Of course, there's the whole contractual part. My priorities? To deal with administrative issues and to optimise the pay policy so that each employee can be paid in line with their position and skills, and so that they can make the most of any tax breaks.
This is why, in order to retain (and recruit) talent, I'm currently working on a very attractive, flexible pay package that will allow us to offer a tailor-made salary package, without increasing wage costs. Thanks to the Cafeteria Plan, part of the salary will be fixed and the other part will be 'à la carte'. With this, employees decide which benefits they want.
And as the transition to zero-emission mobility has recently accelerated for company cars,I'm also preparing the transition to hybrid by 2024."
"I also need to help my colleagues grow. Here, there's no marketing communication about happiness to enhance our employer brand, but rather the development of specific actions to improve well-being at work. These include creating a kind of happiness barometer. To give colleagues a voice, I've introduced some very basic tools.
For example, with the entire UK team – who I haven't yet met in person – I've set up an online coffee break. I use this break to ask them about their expectations. All factors affecting their working conditions are carefully assessed: organisation, workload, management, pay and more. They're even more involved because they're agents of change.
And since it is, of course, important to give meaning to work and to support employees in developing their skills, we've created an academy as well as a company-specific training platform where employees are free to learn at all levels of expertise – finance, customers, coaching for managers, stress management, safety, ergonomics and more."
Real interactivity with SD Worx
"Thanks to SD Worx, who help me to implement my ideas, what I say to my colleagues is backed up with action. During my career, I'd already worked with this HR partner, from afar, above the fray. Because, apart from the cutting-edge innovative technical aspect, they also offer extremely professional support.
I'm inspired by their expertise. I very respectfully listen to their advice. And I really like this sharing because it helps me implement things I don't necessarily think of. And they're increasingly present in Europe. For example, I recently used their services in Luxembourg to digitalise the payroll of our Luxembourg and cross-border employees."