STAS is no ordinary manufacturing company. For several years, we have been working in an agile organisation to be resistant to internal and external factors. Thanks to that way of working, STAS employees enjoy autonomy and decision-making power of the highest level. This also applies to their personal development, which is why the Challenger programme was set up. In 2023, the track is revised to STAS Supporters with additional personal check-ins with someone from People and the Expert Lead.
We initially created challengers to give our employees all the support they need to stand up to a VUCA world. These are employees who volunteer their time to support colleagues 1-on-1 in their growth and development as individuals and employees.
Since the launch of the Challenger programme, we have kept our finger on the pulse of how it was received. Throughout the changes at STAS, the programme has been adjusted and now runs under the name STAS Supporters. The focus has shifted from challenging the employee, which mainly involves professional development, to being a supporter who builds a relationship of trust with the employee.
Relationship of trust
Each STAS employee has a supporter. Each employee is given the freedom to choose their own supporter. This way we’re sure that the employee chooses someone they connect with and feel comfortable with. We do recommend choosing someone outside their immediate working environment within STAS. That way, the employees get to know each other and an unbiased person with an open mind can offer a fresh perspective.
The supportee schedules their own check-in moments with their supporter whenever they feel the need, or simply because it’s been a while. This can take the form of a meeting, a short chat in the Smisse (our lunchroom with bar) or even during a short walk. During these confidential one-to-one conversations, the supporter checks how the employee is doing and how they feel in STAS. The supporter listens attentively and asks questions to get a clear picture of the topics discussed. Unlike the challenger conversation, there is less focus on growth, rather the check-in is for venting and knowing how you are really doing. Nothing’s off-topic.
Testimony of Pascale De Cooman – Marketing expert and Challenger:
“ I became a challenger because I wanted to pass on my positivity of 30 years and my love for STAS to others.”
How do you become a STAS Supporter?
Each STAS Supporter takes a handful of supportees under their wing. But how does someone become a supporter? Because being a supporter requires a unique set of skills. Employees interested in becoming a supporter first undergo a 360-degree feedback round so that they can best support their supportees. After this formation, the candidate supporter decides whether they are still open to taking on the role of supporter. If they answer a resounding yes to this, they become a supporter. The team of supporters meet regularly in the supporter café (De Smisse) to exchange experiences and findings as well as for training sessions to refresh or adjust their people skills.
The Expert Lead: A challenger in your corner
As an employee, you have an expert lead in addition to a supporter. This is the director who takes care of their department or expertise. Together with the expert lead, the employee draws up an annual action plan to set professional goals. The expert lead provides the necessary tools to achieve the personal goal(s) as efficiently as possible. This can be coaching, training, mentoring, self-study, etc. The expert lead will challenge the employee to perform to the best of their abilities, but ultimately it is always the employee's own motivation and commitment that will be decisive in achieving the goal(s).
To encourage the professional growth of our employees, everyone has 4 check-ins each year. Every quarter, the employee alternately sits with the expert lead or someone from the People team. However, the employee decides how they want to grow and where the focus is. Rather, the check-ins are to coordinate with the employee where they are at today, where they want to go and how STAS can help them do that.
Would you like to join our team and get support from your own supporter and expert lead? Or would you like to become a supporter yourself? Check out our vacancies! If they don't interest you directly, contact us and who knows, maybe we can still do something for each other.