In 2021, ASAP has 80 offices spread across the country and has a permanent team of 280 members of staff. Furthermore, the Limburg-based HR service provider is expanding its internationalisation plans. And, after four decades, ASAP is still a great family business. Three years ago, Human Engagement Director Ann Doucet faced the tough challenge of devising an HR strategy for the growing organisation. "An engaged team was my goal."
Ann Doucet's story at ASAP started in 2018. The management team gave her free reign to roll out a comprehensive HR policy for the growing organisation. At that time, she already had extensive experience in HR. "In HR, we still get bogged down in operational processes and tasks far too often", she recalls. "Yet on a fundamental level, we lack a strategic approach and, above all, direction. An engaged team must be the goal, and that was certainly the case as Human Engagement Director at ASAP."
What is the engagement like at a company with 'enjoy' in its tagline? Ann Doucet: "There's an effortless, friendly working atmosphere on the work floor. Our staff enjoy coming to work and we have an open door policy: everything can be discussed here."
"However, we can't avoid the fact that lots of younger staff members move on from being temporary employment agency consultants after roughly three years. The job is very intense, while many regard it as a springboard to a position in an HR department. There is high turnover in our sector. More often than not people move within our sector.”
"To cut a long story short, we put great emphasis on 'enjoy’ here, and we shall continue to do so. But to keep our staff committed to our organisation after the three-year threshold, we need to maintain their motivation and engagement."
The importance of growth opportunities and career prospects came up time and time again during exit interviews, but it also gradually became clear during the annual employee survey. "For newcomers to temporary employment agencies, we invest heavily in internal training programmes, external training courses and as much on-the-job coaching as possible", explains Ann Doucet. "Many people enter the job straight after leaving school, so with no work experience at all."
"In the support roles, on the other hand, we have large numbers of long-serving members of staff. In the employee survey, they expressed the concern that they've been offered few growth and development opportunities, unlike their younger colleagues. And they're right."
It was therefore crystal clear to the Human Engagement Director that a solid Learning and Development pillar was a must in ASAP's HR policy. This led the temporary employment agency to launch four different training modules as part of the 'ASAP Academy'.
Ann Doucet: "We focus on guiding our new recruits with 'well-coming', while 'well-being' looks at coaching and developing skills to be able to do the job even better following onboarding. The third module, 'well-feeling', supports our employees in taking care of their own well-being and keeping track of their work-life balance."
Finally, ASAP wants to use the 'well-dreaming' module to help staff who have been with the company for more than five years with their growth and talent development. Ann Doucet: "We want to take those members of staff out of their comfort zone and challenge them to think about their next career move. To this end, they receive an individual training budget based on their seniority that they can use to have their skills assessed, gain insight into their leadership style or learn the basics about finance, for example."
ASAP Academy’s training programmes go hand-in-hand with growth paths that have been set up throughout the organisation after first establishing the job classification.
Ann Doucet: "Temporary employment agency consultants know from their very first day at work that they'll have room to grow towards becoming a sales or administrative consultant, and then towards an account manager, business development manager or even business manager. Several international positions, each with their own training paths, may also be added as soon as our ambitions abroad take shape."
In addition to training, the company also offers remuneration packages in line with the market. And to develop its compensation and benefits policy – the final piece of the puzzle – ASAP started working with experts from its payroll partner SD Worx one year ago. Ann Doucet: "Their approach is pragmatic, always keeping their feet on the ground and remaining close to employees. In short, it was such a positive experience that we recently decided to add the ASAP Academy to their learning module."
All that's left to be seen is whether ASAP's engagement policy is already bearing fruit. Ann Doucet: "We had very little turnover in 2020, although the circumstances were unprecedented. Attributing this fact purely to the breath of fresh air blowing through staff policy is too simplistic. People may well decide to stay where they are until better times are on the horizon. It's too early to draw conclusions."
In the meantime, the Human Engagement Director continues to work on streamlining the engagement processes and making them more efficient. "We realise that we need to lean on the digital side of things much more", she concludes. "But without compromising the family feeling at ASAP, of course! In this respect, we're certainly on the same page as SD Worx."
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