People, campuses, values and facts










Is the VUB in practice the employer that it aims at being in theory? That was the key question that we asked ourselves in early 2018. Therefore, we launched an internal survey regarding the VUB’s employer brand. The goal: to bring our identity into focus and develop our image accordingly. 

We passed the test with flying colours, but there is still room for improvement


These are the main lessons we draw from the survey:

How can the VUB optimally fulfil its role in society? The answer stands or falls with the 3.494 employees who help shape our mission every single day. How our colleagues experience working at the VUB is an important yardstick for making adjustments to our organisation and living up to our mission. That's why, in April 2018, we mounted a large-scale survey of all VUB employees to find out why they chose the VUB as employer.

In total, no fewer than 1.241 VUB colleagues fully completed the online questionnaire. There was not only a good distribution in terms of age, gender and seniority, but it was a representative sample of the various functions within the VUB. A solid basis on which to build further. 








What is working well?

A solid 7.2 out of 10 – that is the average score you gave us. In order to put this score in perspective, we analysed in-depth 4375 unique (and anonymous) comments from VUB employees.

“Our relatively high sentiment score is especially due to the freedom employees experience at the VUB,” according to the Rector, Caroline Pauwels.

“Working for the VUB means self-enrichment and personal development. The results show that our university is known for its open-mindedness and flexibility, offering a great many learning opportunities amongst colleagues. Additionally, our values and norms have a broad support base.”

Furthermore, a sense of community is very high amongst colleagues, but also between employees and the VUB as an organisation.

Where is there room for improvement?

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, of course. “The survey brought to light a number of points for improvement”, explains Raf Devos, People & Organisation Director. “Our employees feel closely involved, and devote a lot of time and energy to their work. There’s no shortage of commitment. The downside is that many people experience the administrative burden as a straitjacket and report that the VUB processes are not always transparent. The heavy workload and lack of clarity about personal opportunities for advancement within the VUB are other major areas for attention. How could we build a better organisation that supports this highly-valued freedom: that is the question that the administration must answer. A passion for science is what drives our professors. Which means that we need to minimise the passion killers: pointless rules, needless documents, endless loops of approvals, …










Processes for improvement are underway

“Many colleagues experience the internal communication as insufficient. We have received this signal loud and clear. MarCom will tackle this in the coming academic year, according to Ann Van Driessche, Director of Marketing, Communication and Events. “There’s a good reason why openness and critical thinking are fundamental pillars of the VUB. After all, the soul of the ‘VUB’ brand is in the sum total of all our colleagues. We could certainly stand to further emphasise these typical VUB values.”

In summary, the VUB is appreciated as an employer, but there is room for improving the well-being in the workplace. “In order to thoroughly address this, an in-depth well-being survey will soon be conducted, overseen by professor Elke Van Hoof”, concludes Caroline Pauwels. “The results it generates will form the basis for an overall well-being plan and a targeted annual action plan.” To be continued!