Interview with the Managing Director of VINCI Energies Belgium

Marc Lemaire

What is your vision for the future, and where do you see VINCI Energies Belgium in the world of tomorrow?

With VINCI Energies we deliver solutions and services in all the technologies that are relevant for our four business lines: infrastructure, industry, the services sector and ICT. In a rapidly changing and digitising world we are well positioned to do this, because we cover all the necessary expertise. The segments in which we are active are constantly evolving. The digital transformation and the energy transition are the driving forces and are the focus of our expertise and our offer to our customers.

We have a historically strong presence in Belgium and have had a strategy for continued growth for many years. We have also proven that we can achieve sustainable results. External growth via selective acquisitions is an important part of the strategy to further develop our activities in Belgium. We have selected a number of areas of expertise within VINCI Energies on which we want to focus and in which we are not yet strong enough in Belgium. Development of those areas via acquisitions is therefore an objective. We seek companies that are active in one of the four business lines of VINCI Energies and that offer potential synergies with our existing business units, but also constitute an added value in our strategy to remain an important player in the areas of digitisation and the energy transition.

More than ever, the ‘War for Talent’ is a priority in virtually all companies. How does VINCI Energies distinguish itself from other companies to win over talent?

At VINCI Energies it is our ambition to create an environment in which everyone can fully develop his talents through a management based on trust, solidarity, entrepreneurship, responsibility and autonomy. We offer a broad range of training opportunities via our own VINCI Energies Academy to help our employees further develop their technical and general skills.

In the VINCI Energies group, and by extension VINCI, the opportunities for personal development are virtually unlimited. In Belgium or abroad, in very diverse sectors, in very different jobs. Anyone who is committed to doing so can have a great career with us, and in addition our group chooses to let its employees share in the success through profit sharing and share programmes.

Diplomas and years of experience are no longer always the only criteria. We focus more often on competences, the right attitude and the desire to learn.

The development of skills and expertise of employees is more and more often a decisive factor in job choice. The same applies to the integration of newly hired employees. This is essential for successful recruitment. VINCI Energies Belgium therefore has a number of procedures to integrate new members of the workforce successfully, including:

  • An onboarding app that orients new employees within the company as of the day the contract is signed, so even before the first actual working day.
  • Introduction days that are organised to introduce the Group and its activities, and where new employees can get acquainted with new employees from other departments, but also with the top management.
  • Mentoring or coaching in which new employees are coached by more experienced colleagues, which contributes to transfer of business knowledge and culture.
  • An ambassador programme in which our own employees proudly talk about the company and their job, and so offer an authentic and convincing look behind the scenes.

We also notice a growing importance of the social commitment of a company.
Young people are quicker to choose companies that reinvest part of their profit in projects with a broader social purpose, and that see this as a commitment.

It’s in line with our way of thinking and doing to also be concerned with the society in which we live. So we make a commitment to society via the VINCI Fund.

We not only support organisations with a social purpose in terms of living together and access to the job market financially, we also encourage our employees to get involved in the form of sponsorship of these organisations. This can be done by making their professional competences available, a so-called skills-based sponsorship.

The involvement of all employees is of crucial importance in making the workplace safer and working together on the safety culture. What initiatives have been taken to evolve toward a Safety Excellence culture?

Safety is a top priority within VINCI Energies. We strive for a Safety Excellence culture in all our Business Units.

Our convictions and attitudes with regard to health and safety are of inestimable value in ensuring the wellbeing of our employees, and are essential for the success of our organisation.

Our Safety Excellence culture attaches the greatest importance to safety, health at work and the environment. Where such a culture exists and where it is supported by everyone, we notice that:

  • people are always alert to possible risks;
  • people fully understand what they should do in which situation;
  • people are open to suggestions;
  • people believe that their actions make the difference for themselves and for others;
  • managers not only manage, but show real leadership.

It is in essence the way that we do things, with the goal of continuous improvement. The Safety Excellence culture affects the conditions in which people work.

Therefore, for several years we have focused on the Look-Warn-Share principle within the topic of Safety Excellence; before our employees start a task they must ‘scan’ the working environment and assess the possible risks (Look). When they detect hazardous situations they should inform colleagues and take the necessary actions to control the hazardous situation (Warn). The hazardous situation is subsequently reported via our Safety Up app, and this constitutes part of our toolbox meetings in which everyone is informed of the possible risks to avoid such situations in the future (Share).

We also organise a Safety Week annually to promote better awareness among all employees, encourage broader debate and address safety and health problems at work. For a week, all our employees in our offices and on all our worksites form small groups to discuss this common topic.

Safety is everyone’s job. Only together can we ensure a safe and healthy working environment. In the area of occupational safety our employees should therefore accept no compromise, not from customers, not from colleagues and not from the line management.

Only a few years ago a good business model was still the key to a company’s success. Due to lightning-fast technological evolution, however, companies now have to innovate constantly. How does VINCI Energies Belgium respond to this?

The energy transition and the digital transformation generate more and more opportunities to pool the expertise that our brands offer. Our brands join forces to broaden their field of action and offer even better solutions to our customers.

Within VINCI Energies we also cultivate a start-up mentality in which continuing innovation is central. Because of the comprehensive segmentation, each Business Unit is at the top in its segments, both in terms of knowledge of the customer’s process and in terms of the latest technological developments. Actually you can see our Business Units as small SMEs. So there is no cumbersome corporate structure, and they maintain their capacity for fast response, flexibility and entrepreneurship. Personal initiative and creativity of employees are stimulated. Thanks to our network culture and open communication, they are encouraged to have ideas and to express them. Our employees are close to our customers, know what their needs are, and can offer suitable solutions quickly. This mentality is strongly rooted in the DNA of our organisation. Together with our values, this constitutes the VINCI Energies Way of Life.

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