A strategy of phasing out directors and managers
Easi has therefore decided to bet on the talent of its employees by adopting a strategy of phasing out its managers and directors, which means that all its employees have the chance to take on these roles. To this end, the Belgian company has invested in internal tools to ensure their development within the company and to prepare them to take on the responsibilities of these two functions. In particular, thanks to their managers who themselves become technical and functional coaches.
This gradual exit strategy therefore gives all new recruits the prospect - if they so wish and if they have the desire and the skills - of one day entering management, or even becoming part of the company's management. The plan does aim to provide for a gradual withdrawal for managers and directors, thus creating a rotation within the management. So there is a defined moment when the activity of the manager/director is reduced. The idea is not to terminate the contract, but to redirect their activity to projects that have a positive impact on Easi's growth. An important part of the manager/director's job is to coach, advise and mentor their replacement. "For Easi, a manager/director is only successful if he/she can develop his/her team. They ensure their own development by co-supervising and training their successor", explains Jean-François Herremans.
This phasing out strategy therefore completely revises the vision of hierarchical evolution within this IT company, which also distinguishes it from other companies. It is also important to note that this phase-out plan is a decision by Easi's managers and directors. They demonstrate to everyone that their role is not one that is assigned for life. This decision opens up great opportunities for all employees who are active in the company. On the other hand, the management also ensures that the company remains in the hands of its employees, who best represent Easi's expertise, both that accumulated over many years and that of new talent.
Managers recruited only internally
"Since we have decided to limit the careers of our managers and directors over time, we have also stopped hiring external managers since 2012. We believe that we have enough internal talent to fill this role and we are convinced that the people we train ourselves are suitable to become managers", explains Thomas Van Eeckhout, Easi's co-CEO. "For the employees, this offers many opportunities for development, but also many benefits for the company. If one of them becomes a manager, we know that they will share the right values, know the company very well and have the same goals. They will also be able to replicate the lessons they have learned from their manager. As Easi founder Salvatore Curaba says, "A true leader trains leaders," he continues.
In fact, when Salvatore Curaba left the company, two people were chosen to replace him as CEO, one Walloon, Jean-François Herremans, and the other Flemish, Thomas Van Eeckhout. They are the perfect example of what we have just explained above, as they both started their professional careers at Easi.
"This model was put in place to ensure a long-term vision for Easi, not based on profit or success. The main aim is to ensure the long-term future of the company, which employs almost 500 people", explains Jean-François Herremans. In 2023, the Belgian company has, for example, appointed ten new managers, all of whom have already been employed by Easi for several years. More specifically, one in two started their career with the company and all have an average of seven years' seniority. The average age of the ten new managers is 33 years, which means that they can move up the company relatively quickly depending on their performance. "Max de Hoon is a perfect example. He started his career with Easi after a placement as a student. When he joined my team, I could immediately sense his ambition to grow within the company. After a seven-year career, he has now become manager of his own team because he has been able to exploit his skills and potential and because he also embodies Easi's values", explains Philippe Poupeleer, Business Unit Manager at Easi. With a new role comes new challenges, including finding a successor. "As a manager, my aim now is to help my team members develop their full potential so that one day one of them will take over from me. I really see my new role as one of transmission and coaching", concludes Laure De Pauw, who was appointed manager this year in the Human Resources department.
Easi is a Belgian IT company that has been providing IT services and software to medium and large companies since 1999. Easi's focus on software, IT infrastructure, cloud and security is on short implementation times and high added value for its customers: flexible solutions for companies that want a partner close to them. Easi also places great emphasis on the well-being of its 480 employees. Every year since 2015, Easi has been voted 'Best Workplace' in Belgium.