From which conviction stems the unique bridge that Square Circle builds between HR and communication? What makes Square Circle both a centre of expertise and a trusted sparring partner for professionals? Partners Katrien Decroos and An Dewaele sit down for an exclusive double interview about Square Circle’s distinguishing factors. An inspiring conversation tailored to corporates, SMEs and experts who want to (further) prioritise their people and their communication.
Hello Katrien, hi An! Let’s go back in time 21 years. What was the mission behind the founding of Square Circle in 2002?
Katrien: “Square Circle was started with the aim of engaging people to grow along with the changing context within their company. Communication and hr are the ideal levers for this. It is crucial in change to get managers and employees on board. If they do not get on board, the hoped-for change or transformation will not happen. What is the potential hidden in change? We help translate high-level plans into effective realisation on the work floor. Anno 2023, we are essentially doing the same as when we started: supporting our clients through change.”
An: “When getting to know Katrien in 2021, it quickly became clear to me that Square Circle’s mission is unique and still relevant. Today more than ever, there is a need to pay attention to the human factor in the business world. It is not processes that ensure that business objectives are achieved. It is exactly the other way round: people get companies moving and help them achieve results. As a result, a focus on communication and HR remains indispensable.”
Three different target groups can call on your expertise: large companies, SMEs and experts. Why this choice?
Katrien: “The division evolved organically from the companies that we have served over the past +20 years. After all, what we do is not limited to one type of company. Regardless of the size order, it pays to initiate and support change in a well-founded and human way.”
An: “True. We want to offer added value to the organisations that engage us. In large firms, for example, we see that support structures and processes are usually in place. The experts are also familiar with the matter. Yet both look to us for additional expertise or capacity and experience. SMEs, on the other hand, are more often somewhat lost. When a problem arises, we can make big differences with our experience already with small actions.”
Square Circle has a unique selling point. Can you explain the power of communication and HR?
Katrien: “Every business revolves around people, because every company wants to achieve results. You can’t achieve goals without people. From this point of view, you have everything to gain from your employees, from managers to executives, doing their jobs in the best possible way. Staff is not a machine; you don’t have a fitting solution that applies to everyone. It takes time and attention to get and keep people motivated. What drives them? What tools and resources are appropriate to activate those drivers? Square Circle combines the two domains that make that happen: communication and hr.”
An: “We offer the sum of communications expertise and HR practices, for us an obvious combination for success. But if we are to take our clients and our newest expert, Helena Schalenbourg, at their word, this is quite a special mix. For example, when we assist a company in announcing a new corporate structure or reorganisation, we not only provide the right messaging, but we look at the entire process for the announcement from the perspective of the executives and employees. We prepare the leadership to make the announcement in the most optimal way and to pay attention to aftercare. For example, when a team is downsized, the job is not done after the employees leave the company. Those left behind also go through a change process. This is something you need to pay attention to.”
If today you were allowed to plot the future, what do you wish for Square Circle? Feel free to dream!
Katrien: “Gosh! (laughs) That’s not an easy question to formulate an answer to. Or perhaps it is. I greatly appreciate it when clients we have supported in the past find their way back to us. I hope to build and maintain more of these strong collaborations in the future. My ambition: to remain top of mind with organisations and managers looking for a pragmatic approach to communication and HR-related issues.
In short, to continue to be a centre of expertise and a reliable sparring partner for professionals.”
An: “I agree, our guiding principle is always to be ‘a house of people and communication practices’. In addition, I am looking forward to turning the knowledge we are providing today into tools that can be used immediately. Right now, success sometimes depends on our presence, whereas our years of experience, sector know-how and people knowledge can be fused into hands-on solutions that any company with the same questions can apply. Without wanting to expose too much at the moment, we are in the process of building a support tool for change projects that customers will be able to deploy themselves during the process and work on this independently.”
The future is promising, that much is certain! Thanks for the instructive conversation, Katrien and An.
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Square Circle, the story behind the name
For our company name, we draw inspiration from Chinese mythology. There, a square symbolises the earth, where we are, and a circle symbolises the sublime, to which we aspire. Square Circle’s field of activity is the complicated but fascinating force field in between. How can we improve? What does it take to realise a better version of ourselves, our organisation and our teams?