BeanTalk: Gerrit Van de Mosselaer

Jobcrafting independent civil servant at FOD Social Security

The new way of working at FOD Social Security

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In this episode of the podcast, Bean Greet Verhaest talks with Gerrit Van de Mosselaer, who describes himself as a job-crafting independent civil servant at FOD Social Security. He dives into the realm of the ‘new ways of working’ and how this has shaped the organization, ultimately resulting in increased autonomy for employees and an enriched organizational culture.

Gerrit notes, “I have been given the opportunity to take on various roles, to take responsibility, to make proposals. I experience the freedom, the autonomy to help my organization serve the citizens but also serve the organization as such, the employees.” He has held various ‘hats’ in his roles over the past 15 years in the organization and has witnessed its growth from the inside.

The concept of the ‘new ways of working’ is seen by Gerrit as more than just choosing where one works – it’s a profound ideology that permeates the organization. It is a means to provide employees with more autonomy and the ability to manage their lives, ensuring a balance between work and personal life. This shift was not just a beneficial gift to employees but also a massive paradigm shift for the organization itself, transitioning from a time-bound office setup to a results-driven organization.

A significant lesson learned from this shift, according to Gerrit, was the necessity for leadership to ‘walk the talk.’ One example he gives is in regards to place and time-independent working, where the management team no longer had their own desks, creating a sense of equality in the work environment. The transition from control to trust was another critical aspect they had to tackle. Gerrit notes, “We had to rely on trust to give people that chance.”

The challenges weren’t just technological, but also centered on human aspects. Gerrit mentions, “We had to focus heavily on the results-oriented and value-driven approach. We had defined five organizational values, and we looked at the concrete translation for each team.”

When asked about the organization’s future under new leadership, Gerrit reflects, “We have found that Frank’s story continues to live on. But new bosses, new laws.” The organization has seen an influx of new employees, each of whom has to familiarize themselves with the culture, which is no easy task. There are opportunities to ‘calibrate’ the organization based on the new chairman’s vision, keeping in mind the ever-changing world around them and the need for the organization to remain resilient and agile.

On the topic of feedback, Gerrit acknowledges its importance in promoting autonomous working, but also recognizes the challenges in embedding feedback in the organization and individual behavior. He states, “Feedback is individual; it is personal, not always easy to accept.” The organization has the responsibility of creating an environment where feedback can thrive. This environment needs to exist not just between individual employees and their superiors but also among teams, making it much more complex.

Looking towards the future, Gerrit mentions plans to work on team dynamics. He says, “In the culture work, we chose a few accents. We see that everything is linked.” They plan to lay bare the systems in the organization, relying on visualization, measurement, and objectification to validate their feelings and perceptions. They aim to implement an evidence-based policy, ensuring that they are constantly evolving based on concrete data and insights.

When asked about ‘thriving,’ Gerrit agrees that when employees feel good, they take on more responsibility, step up in leadership, and the organization benefits as a result. He says, “If you give them responsibility, trust, and inspire them by being a sounding board without directing too much, it gives beautiful results.” He also warns of the risk of employees becoming overly loyal due to their deep sense of connection to the organization: “It’s all about connection, connection, and connection!”.

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