Empowering leaders and teams during a transformation: Head of HR at SABAM shares her experiences with Square Circle
Anyone who has ever organised a party knows Sabam as the Belgian association of authors, composers and publishers that collects copyrights for the music you play. But Sabam is so much more than an administrative collector. On the eve of its 100th anniversary – in January 2022 – new CEO Steven De Keyser presented its future: to be a solid, transparent and reliable partner for authors and users. Helping turn that vision into reality is a daily task for Head of HR Sofie Vlaeminck and her team. They enlisted the help of Square Circle to help support this transition. We asked Sofie to share her experiences with us.
Square Circle: We help companies strengthen their teams and individuals, how have we at Sabam contributed to that?
Sofie: “Sabam is in a big transformation, we have a new CEO who has implemented a different organisational structure with some big shifts for the employees, with a number of employees also moving from an expert role to a leadership role. So we have relied primarily on your support to coach those people in their leadership growth. For them, you also organised a New Leader Assimilation workshop to strengthen the connection between the leader and the team. In addition, you also coached the sales team to introduce a more commercially focused way of working and mapped out a customer journey of our customers.”
Why did you look for our help?
“The transformation is of such magnitude that we quickly felt in our small HR department that we could use some support for this. For example, we also moved to a new, smaller building where only about 100 people can work at a time. So we introduced a new, hybrid way of working In addition, we also went through a year of social negotiations on salary costs. In short, we understood very quickly that we needed support to manage that change.
“The transformation is of such magnitude that we quickly felt in our small HR department that we could use some support for this.”
How have the trajectories gone? What is the feedback from the coachees?
“Very positive. You know, a number of our managers are people who, mainly from their expertise, got the chance to take on a managerial role at some point. But they are not used to people management, Partly thanks to your coaching, we now notice change. For example, a people manager who struggled to hold difficult conversations and until recently always called on our help for this, now does so on her own. There are also managers who are somewhat insecure by nature, but after the coaching they dare to bring up certain things, whereas before this always went through us. The common thread in all trajectories is that our leaders become more autonomous, that we are much less solicited to provide support in certain matters.”
“The common thread in all trajectories is that our leaders become more autonomous, that we are much less solicited to go and support in certain matters.”
What does Square Circle’s help mean for you as an HR team?
“Until recently, HR was the typical payroll HR service. But human resources and working with people did not receive enough attention. We are now trying to make that turnaround. That means mainly focusing on people development, and making sure you create a working environment that is pleasant and in which they have every opportunity to develop themselves. And we cannot do that all by ourselves. When we feel an employee needs more support than we can offer ourselves, we call in external support. Actually, coaching is a job in itself, so why not call in expertise – which may be external – but with people who really have the experience to help someone further in concrete terms? A coach who really works with people day in day out, and who also does this in other organisations, is going to be able to offer support much more from his own experience.”
“It’s actually a specific skill, coaching, so why not call on expertise – which may be external – but with people who really have that experience to help someone concretely move forward?”
How did the collaboration with Square Circle go? Was there anything noteworthy you’d like to share?
“We always started with an intake interview. And we immediately felt – that time was taken to ask questions from different angles so that we got to the heart of the problem. What we also like is that you can offer different profiles as coaches. Depending on the problem, we can then choose a coach who is the best match. We then put you in contact with the coachee, and if that clicks, you’re off. We don’t have to stay so close to it because we know it’s going well and if there would be something, you signal it. And most importantly, we also see results in people.”
“We shouldn’t stay so close to it because we know it is going well and if there would be something, you signal it.”
Would you recommend these cooperation to HR colleagues?
“Yes definitely. The added value is that you have a very broad spectrum of areas in which you can provide guidance. And that you are reliable: the agreements that are made are really kept. You are also open and transparent, so if at any point something is not going well, or if we come up with certain questions, you take the time to solve it.”
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