After More Than 17 Years at CTG…

Bart Kuppens, Service and Technical Owner, Business Productivity Solutions, Belgium

Bart Kuppens

This week, we had a team meeting and Jochen, our Unit Manager, had a great idea, “Why not tell the public how much you like your company?” This is indeed something we should do more often. He put his money where his mouth was and did it live on LinkedIn.

I’m going to do it my way…this will end up on LinkedIn anyway. 

What does CTG mean to me? Well, obviously a lot, because I have been working there for the last 17.5 years. I have seen many colleagues come and go, but I always stayed put and believed in my company. Why? There are a lot of reasons, but the main reason is the way that CTG treats their employees. CTG  has been recognized for this by being named to The Best Workplaces list in Belgium for many years. We have been an investor in people for a long time.

Every year, during my career appraisal, my manager asks the same question, “Are you still happy at CTG?” And I always respond with the same thing: “If I get to a point where I go to work unhappy, I quit. It’s as simple as that.” And this is something I literally mean.

So, what makes me so happy at CTG? It’s a combination of things. The culture is one thing. We have a very open culture. In my long career as a consultant, I have talked to a lot of people and it amazes me how many organizations are out there that have a culture where people work against each other as part of internal politics and internal competition. I can’t imagine myself working in such an environment. This is what I like about CTG. People are not working for their customers and their personal gain. They are working for OUR customers and to grow on a personal level, but also to grow and mature the company.
Most of the time, I’m working onsite with customers. On a day where I’m going to the office, it feels like coming home. You immediately feel the positive vibe. People enjoy what they are doing. It’s difficult to describe this feeling…you need to experience it to understand it.

Another thing is that everybody is trying to help each other. When I started at CTG, there was a thing they called a SIG (Special Interest Group). These SIGs were groups of people getting together occasionally to share knowledge on topics they were passionate about. Fast-forward 17 years and these SIGs have evolved to Centers of Excellence (CoE). At the core, it’s basically the same thing. Besides these centers, we also encourage knowledge sharing by organizing Master Classes and learning on the job by hosting regular Lunch & Learns where people get together during lunch to discuss specific topics of interest or have a small workshop. These L&L sessions are short, to the point, and they work. They enhance the interaction between the different teams and encourages people to share their knowledge. The internal communities are like small ecosystems that live independent from each other, but regularly bond and interact to join forces when needed. Not only on a professional level, but after work, these small communities also get together to have some fun.

On a personal note, CTG meant a lot to me during one of the most difficult periods of my life. In 2015, after nine years of trying, my wife and I were finally expecting our first child. But we lost our little boy during labor. After the initial shock, I notified my manager and unit manager that I was taking all of my vacation and that I needed time to process this. They immediately took action and relieved me from all administrative burdens. Family comes first. My customers were notified and colleagues took over some my most urgent assignments without any hesitation. The sheer amount of messages I received the first day from colleagues, office staff, and management was so overwhelming, it took me two days and a lot of courage and tears to get through them. It took me two months to find enough courage and energy to go back to work. I was a bit worried that I would see a lot of people trying to comfort me and I was not looking forward to those awkward moments. I didn’t feel like talking about it very much at that time. To my surprise, none of my customers confronted me with this, which meant that CTG handled my absence with the upmost discretion. And I respect that. It says a lot about a company and how much they care about the well-being of their employees. They understand it’s the people that make your company, not just numbers and figures. During the funeral service of our boy Kobe, we promised him that we would not give up and that we were going to keep fighting for a brother or sister when the time was right. In 2017, we welcomed Bram to our family. Since then, our lives have changed significantly. Being able to spend quality time with your family is the most important thing in life. We try to do this as much as possible, showing him all the beautiful things in life. CTG is an organization where the work-life balance leaves plenty of room for this. On top of that, our Flex Income Plan allows me to allocate extra vacation on top of my regular vacation.

I currently have the role of Service and Technical Owner (STO) of the Business Productivity Solutions team. This team focuses on Office 365 and SharePoint and assists our customers in setting up modern workplaces or transforming their traditional collaboration environments to modern collaboration workplaces. This is a very challenging role because Office 365 is a constantly changing platform where services come and go. Being an STO involves me on a higher level in decisions that are made to grow the company. Our management believes firmly in the importance of having senior consultants in these roles as they have a solid knowledge of their area of expertise and can be a bridge between management and employees who are doing their best every day to build and expand the services we offer to our customers. This emphasizes the effort management makes to involve people in decisions that might affect their professional lives.

Were there bad memories, or times where the dark side tried to lure me away? Sure, there have been times. I’m not going to lie about it. Everybody has those moments of frustration and irritation. Then I think back to those past 17 years—what are the chances I’m going to find another great company like that? Lots of colleagues left, but a lot of them also came back because they missed CTG and its unique culture. That says it all.

If you want to be part of this family, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Our doors are always open and we are always on the lookout for people who fit in the organization and are talented in what they do.

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