How it all started


The challenge

"How can you recruit 1.800 people over a period of 18 months in a market lacking talented recruits?", that was the initial challenge which sparked the idea of Q7 Leader.

In 1995, mobile technology had just been invented. It was going through an extraordinary boom, which led to a great amount of new companies. While no one really knew what was going, they had to act fast when building their organizations. Over the course of several months, their only choice was to recruit 'beginners'. These newcomers then had to quickly recruit other beginners in a newly created structure. All the conditions for failure were brought together.

We needed to help the (beginner) managers structure their human resources needs, supplying them with simple and common tools to define the profile of positions they had to recruit for, the competences they needed. Then, they had to distinguish the right candidates, all of them beginners, based on an analysis of their potential. And what could they pay them for this potential? These were only some of the many challenges these actors faced during this extraordinary adventure.

The key values

The acronym L.O.T.U.S. - logic, objectivity, transparency, universality and simplicity - is the symbol for serenity, as well as the key values to successful human resources. HR solutions require these characteristics if they are to succeed in being adopted and used in extreme conditions such as these ones. And still today, all our solutions and applications developed in the context of Q7 Leader are certified L.O.T.U.S.

The foundations

As the academic literature frequently explains, the foundations of a good human resources management system start from what we call (even today) a good 'description' and a good 'classification' of functions. As such, a significant performance improvement immediately occurred in teams within which employees clearly understood the different roles and objectives of each member. But this only represented half of the challenge. Problems associated with equity quickly appeared. Managers and employees had to be given a framework for reading the weight of the different roles, in order that they could then determine and compare the work attributes and conditions for each member. It was impossible to use the hierarchical level or the organizational chart as a reference, as is done in sales (major accounts, minor accounts, mass market,...). In reality, with 50 new employees per week, the size, structure and positions within the organization evolved every single day. An in-depth analysis and a synthesis of the main classification systems for worldwide functions were then undertaken. This is the work that inspired the segmentation of positions and competences model integrated into Q7 Leader. It is this universal dimension that also allows Q7 Leader to be used today with data suppliers for pay structures, such as Hay, Towers Watson or Mercer.

The seven building blocks for successful HRM

Then, due to the interest shown by management and employees for the tool, the HRM at the time tried to create a tool capable of piloting recruitment, cascading objectives, talent development and payroll evolution at the same time. This all-in-one solution, designed in the spirit of Learning Organisations, contains the seven building blocks required for successful human resource management. It was tested and improved over the years at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). An academic version has existed since 2006, which is called the 'HR Leadership Canvas'. It proved to be ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which don’t have the means and sophisticated solutions available to the big players.