Opting for a change-driven career plunge
An interview with Tobania’s People & Culture Manager Fran De Backer
Just before summer, we welcomed Fran De Backer, Tobania’s new People & Culture Manager. The one thing that immediately caught our eye? Her drive and HR passion, but above all, her motivation to take the leap into our change-driven community. “The current integration process happening with Sopra Steria was actually one of the reasons for joining Tobania. It can offer a lot of growth opportunities, both on an individual and corporate level”, according to Fran.
Curious about her career aspirations within both companies, we sat down with Fran to engage in an inspiring chat.
Can you briefly introduce yourself, Fran?
Hello, my name is Fran. I joined Tobania in June as People & Culture Manager.
While studying Psychology, I quickly discovered a passion for people and organisational development. Meanwhile, I was able to build up a broad HR experience, which will come in handy in my current position. Besides work, I love running, cooking (and eating!) and spending time with my friends and family.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role as People & Culture Manager?
As People and Culture Manager, my role is twofold. On the one hand, I act as an HR Business Partner for the internal staff department, meaning I will support these teams along their career journey. On the other hand, I work on HR projects, processes and change with the aim of blending and continuing to improve the great working environments that Tobania and Sopra Steria currently already have.
What exactly attracted you to opt for this position?
As mentioned, I have a passion for people and organisational development and, meanwhile, I like to step out of my comfort zone. Given Tobania’s and Sopra Steria’s integration journey, I am provided with the perfect environment to work on my passion and strengths in a company where I immediately connected with the people and culture.
“In my role, you can create value for the company while simultaneously establishing a working environment in which people enjoy working and feel at home.”
What do you think is the most important skill of a People & Culture Manager?
I believe owning people skills along with the required business attitude is a perfect mix for this position. In this role, you can create value for the company while simultaneously establishing a working environment in which people enjoy working and feel at home. For example, supporting consultants in their growth development enabling them to take on new business challenges, generates a win-win scenario that gives me great satisfaction.
Some first impressions after your first months at Tobania?
Thanks to the warm welcome from all the Tobians I have met so far, I basically feel at home already. In Dutch, we say “Goed begonnen is half gewonnen”.
What do you think of Tobania’s TOBE (Together – Open – Bright – Entrepreneurial) values? Got a favourite yet?
I feel very comfortable working with the TOBE values as they match my personal values. The value “Open” surprised me the most. For instance, I sense a lot of openness in terms of communication and opportunities. Plus, the openness of fellow colleagues also made me feel at ease right away.
“The current integration process was actually one of the reasons for joining Tobania. It can offer a lot of growth opportunities, both on an individual and corporate level.”
We are in full integration mode together with Sopra Steria. As a new Tobian, how do you look at this?
For me, the current integration process was actually one of the reasons for joining Tobania. It can offer a lot of growth opportunities, both on an individual and corporate level. So far, I have already learnt many new things by joining Tobania, but also by collaborating with our Sopra Steria colleagues. Being part of a change process that allows you to get the best of two (and in the future three?) worlds can be very enriching.
In what way will you try to guide your fellow colleagues through that change as effectively as possible?
I believe that during these times of change, it is crucial to provide support and maintain open communication. So, I am there to listen to our Tobians, address issues and ensure that transparency is provided in order to successfully navigate the integration project together. Moreover, thanks to my experience with former merger projects, I can contribute to creating a comfortable working environment by operating with clear, aligned processes and ensuring that they remain in place.
How do you envision your next few months unfolding? And how can we, as colleagues, contribute to helping you settle into your role?
My calendar is already packed with meeting many people, tackling challenging situations and contributing to exciting projects. I just love to dive in. Feedback and tips and tricks from colleagues are very useful to me these days!