A scientifically substantiated wellbeing policy for Raffinerie Tirlemontoise
Raffinerie Tirlemontoise is a Belgian sugar refining company, producing sugar from sugar beets. The company’s workforce of 660 employees produces 600,000 tons of sugar each year. Like all modern organisations, the company wants to continue growing in step with internal needs and expectations in terms of employee wellbeing. But how could they go about this as part of a scientifically substantiated, dynamic process?
Raffinerie Tirlemontoise has always actively worked towards a new leadership style that is geared towards people management and wellbeing. However, the refinery’s management also wanted to know how to define a wellbeing policy that reflected the needs of its young and less young employees. Plenty of changes in the pipeline, in other words!
The cooperation in a nutshell
During an audit of the current situation, we extracted insights from existing objective data such as absenteeism and accidents at work. We supplemented this data with data from focus groups: qualitative group interviews with the refinery’s employees. Finally, we jointly developed a vision on wellbeing during a Wellbeing Lab. After presenting the results to management, Health Partner drafted a custom action plan. And that is how wellbeing became a dynamic, sustainable process at Raffinerie Tirlemontoise!
Raffinerie Tirlemontoise has always strived to do more than just comply with the legal requirements for wellbeing at work. So why did the company require a more substantiated, structured wellbeing policy? In addition to social trends such as increasing globalisation, changing mobility needs and HR developments, the refinery also faced some in-house challenges. Management did not always find it easy to promote wellbeing.
Any effective wellbeing policy requires a comprehensive, scientifically substantiated and phased approach. We developed this in a gradual manner, together with Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, supplementing the policy with a concrete action plan.
We started by organising focus groups at the company’s head office in Tirlemont (Tienen). Essentially these are qualitative group interviews with a representative selection of different employees. We took the various jobs and roles at the refinery into account for these discussions, dividing management members, employees, labourers, and so on, into smaller groups. Unions were also involved. We determined the employee interests and needs for each subgroup in a very targeted manner, after which we set about identifying the absolute wellbeing priorities for each subgroup during a series of interactive workshops.
In a second phase, we organised a Wellbeing Lab, which we felt was the best way to gain an insight into the level of wellbeing at Raffinerie Tirlemontoise and map out the psychosocial risk factors. We did this together with management and other important stakeholders. We started by reviewing the current situation with the refinery’s management. We then combined qualitative data from the Focus groups with the insights that we gained from an audit of the available data, using all these elements to formulate a more holistic vision. Essentially, the Wellbeing Lab painted a more comprehensive picture of the level of wellbeing at the company. After the presentation of the initial results and the analyses of the Focus groups, management gave us the green light to conduct focus group discussions in the company’s other branches.
‘During the Wellbeing Lab, we reflected on our vision, which was developed bottom-up, in a structured manner. The action plan gave rise to the implementation of a more coordinated wellbeing policy', Eric Stiers, HR Director, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise.
AG Health Partner put together an action plan, with shared responsibility for wellbeing as a common thread.
Four priorities were identified during the focus groups and the Wellbeing Lab, namely connection, resilience, health and appreciation. They served as pillars of the action plan for implementing the wellbeing policy. How could we promote enduring employee happiness, while taking into account the internal vision on wellbeing and these priorities? Based on a shared responsibility for wellbeing. After the on-site work, we used the collected data and the management’s feedback to develop this. We also involved HR and the management organisation, the company’s most important stakeholders.
Everyone needs to be on the same page when you are developing a result-oriented approach to sustainable wellbeing. Our data-driven method, supplemented with qualitative insights, provided Raffinerie Tirlemontoise with a solid base to build on, with the four pillars offering the required framework for this. Although the employer suggest a framework and levers, the company’s employees need to take matters in their own hands. The refinery’s vision on wellbeing was transposed into various programmes, workshops and actions. Since 2022, My Health Partner – the digital component of Wellbeing as a Service – was added to the mix with positive feedbacks. Then in February, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise launched a programme on hybrid working through My Health Partner. Several other programmes have since been implemented via this same central solution.