Within the MIVB are seeds of opportunity

After a challenging time at the VIP, I had the opportunity to start my next assignment at the STIB-MIVB. Coincidentally all my assignments take place in organizations that are in some sort of crisis. The first 6 months of my ORMIT track I spent as a Pricing Analyst at bpost, a company accused and punished of misuse of its monopolistic position. As all operations of the Pricing department had to be halted until further notice, this verdict had a considerable impact on my day to day job. Next I gathered experience at BNP Paribas Fortis, which as a bank evidently was confronted with the global financial crisis but also with a domestic problem. More specifically, as Belgium’s largest retail bank, BNPPF shows the lowest customer satisfaction figures compared to its domestic competitor’s. As a result, most of the banks internal initiatives aimed directly or indirectly at the improvement of this competitive situation.

Sadly the STIB-MIVB faced a crisis on a more humane level. A 56-year-old controller of the Brussels local transport company died after he was attacked in the line of duty. This personal drama is a hard example of the daily environment in which this company has to offer its services. However, other elements define the turbulent character of this organization’s playing field as well. For instance, between now and 10 years the number of public transport passengers in Brussels will double, and over 30% of the MIVB’s staff members will retire in the near future.

These challenges are very tangible for the MIVB. In order to cope with these evolutions, the company will need to invest considerably in the increase of its capacity in the coming years. Not only will these efforts be focused on its public transportation network, a considerable boost in human capital will be as paramount. With its 6.549 employees in 2011, the MIVB is already ranked as the largest employer in the region of Brussels. However, over the last 15 years the corporation didn’t recruit any new employee except from essential replacements.  This explains why 700 new staff members had to be hired during last year, and a goal to hire another 2000 was set for the current year. These ambitions are visible in our daily routine through the amount of fresh minds that continuously enter the company. As a result of the recruitment policy in the past, a generation is missing and from times to times tension between junior and senior employees builds up.

Therefore it is very important to be aware of the fact that many co-workers are very inexperienced with change. Others, who in most cases come from the private sector and only recently joined the company, show more spontaneous enthusiasm to support the mindset of change. As my project of “Capacity Planning & Time Tracking” is all about changing current habits, it tends to provoke discussion between generations.

However, all the people that collaborate on my project are very open-minded and constructive. Sometimes it is just a matter of explaining the project’s purpose more than just once, and providing the assurance that habits of the past aren’t necessarily bad or inefficient. In my eyes the MIVB is a good example of what extraordinary things can be realized when senior experience meets young enthusiasm.

Sebastiaan Dhollander

Alumni at ORMIT

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