Esmeralda: D’Hooge Schouw means “The High Fireplace”. It was the name of the old pub that used to belong to the grandparents of our company directors Jos, Paula and Chantal.
Mik: The pub used to be in the front part of the farmhouse near our current company premises. It was run by grandfather Luyckx. Father Luyckx, the founder of our current company, used to repair tractors in the barn in the back. The farmers often had a beer in grandfather’s pub while they waited for their tractors to be fixed. There were no opening hours: the door was always open to everyone, so we thought it would be a nice name for our new canteen.
Esmeralda: It's such a lovely link with the past. Everyone was welcome in the pub. It was a place where everyone was treated the same. It's a nice nod to the Luyckx family’s background.
Farmhouse D'Hooge Schouw.
Mik: Well, the old canteen was just a basic lunchroom, really. It was only used for eating in and to be honest it had not developed with the company.
Esmeralda: The old canteen was only used by our colleagues from the workshops to eat their sandwiches. The intention of D'Hooge Schouw was to build a welcoming canteen and meeting place for everyone.
Inge: I think we really succeeded in doing that. You can really feel it already. That group feeling was there instantly. You know, that feeling of belonging.
Esmeralda: It is also a place where you meet others. It is easier to have a chat with people you didn’t know that well yet.
Inge: It offers a different setting too. In the olden days, everyone used to sit in their own spot... Now we have a place where we all gather and grab a chair that is free.
Mik: During the coronavirus pandemic of course everyone kept their distance. It’s nice to see that we can sit close together again now. Just as it should be.
Mik: I did. I coordinated everything. The canteen was part of the expansion of our workshops. As we expanded, a lot of space became available, so we also created new toilets, showers and changing rooms at the same time.
Inge: In one central location for everyone.
Mik: When we were building D'Hooge Schouw, there were a few times when I thought: "Perhaps it's a bit much." It is a very attractive environment that exudes the atmosphere of a lounge. I was a bit worried that our people might not feel comfortable there, but I must confess that my concerns were completely unfounded.
Inge: Jos immediately made it clear that everyone is welcome here, even in greasy or oily overalls. The furniture is designed with that in mind, so everyone is truly welcome!
Mik: Yes, it was apparent from day one that our people really felt at home here. That was really nice to see.
Esmeralda: Absolutely! We also have picnic tables. They had been around for a while, but now they are nicely integrated into a newly planted forest area. There are lovely quiet places to have lunch there when the sun is out.
The perfect spot to eat a sandwich and have a chat on sunny days.
Inge: Oh, yes, there are. A lot of people really appreciate the free fresh fruit and soup we offer. There is also an installed kitchen with fridges and microwave ovens for reheating food...
Mik:And you can also buy freshly prepared meals here.
Esmeralda: We also had new coffee machines installed everywhere offering some delicious coffee flavours! And a fresh water cooler.
Mik: We notice that people really appreciate those. They also help people to connect with each other.
Inge: And so do the cosy seating areas of course, which offer a welcoming family atmosphere with beautiful views of the nature reserve nearby.
Fresh soup every day.
Inge: It really is. I notice that every day: people talk to me more easily. They don't go into too much detail straight away, but they might ask me to make an appointment so they can drop by with a question. It does give the company a new vibe. Eating together in a different, beautiful and welcoming setting feels great.
Esmeralda: We have also had quite a few new people join us. It has become the perfect place to get to know each other and get in touch with people.
Inge: It is also a place where our company can share our culture with our people. Our values are displayed in large letters on the wall: Character, Decisiveness & Inspiration. It conveys that special Luyckx feeling day after day.
Esmeralda: We also have a large screen showing news items about Luyckx.
Inge: That is how we involve people in the little and big things in life: birthdays, births, ...
Mik: ... but also company news about projects we have attracted, pictures of a new machine, ...
Esmeralda: Colleagues also gather there every month on a Friday evening. People really appreciate such occasions after the coronavirus pandemic.
A place where everyone from Luyckx gathers.
Inge: Of course, it also shows people that we are easy to get in touch with. That we are always nearby. People don’t always have to come and find us in our offices. They can approach us in an even easier, more natural way.
Esmeralda: You also get a better sense of what goes on.
Inge: These facilities are also a huge plus to attract new employees and motivate our people.
Inge: We certainly have. We are the buffer, or the link if you will, between our management and our daily operations. That aspect has really grown in recent years.
Esmeralda: We pay a lot of attention to that, and rightly so. We are a family business and we want to live up to that. We constantly chat to people about how they are feeling. We want people to feel welcome at Luyckx. The family also values that a great deal.
Inge: I love doing that. In addition to our operational tasks, we listen to people and help them with anything and everything. I personally get a lot of satisfaction from that.
Inge and Esmeralda from HR.
Inge: I think the family aspect, which is at the heart of everything. You are not a number here.
Esmeralda: We also offer a very attractive and comprehensive pay package that includes group and hospitalisation insurance, luncheon vouchers, gift vouchers for birthdays, soup and fruit every day, ...
Inge: When people's kids receive their first holy communion they receive a card, at other occasions flowers are sent, we have an annual BBQ and so much more. All this is very important to the family.
Esmeralda: And there is also a Saint Nicholas party for the children... All those little things mean so much.
Inge: We also offer you the chance to develop yourself. If I look at myself, I started here as a replacement for someone in accounting, I then worked in the warehouse office and then I moved into HR... There are so many opportunities here.
Mik: That's right! A long time ago, I applied for an engineering position here, but that job had just been taken. Still, they called me and we really got along well. Chantal then told me: "We want you to join us, but we don't have a position yet!" So they invented a position for me (laughter all around). That is how I first got into operations and then I became a project manager to implement the plans for the new build. I am very happy that they have done it that way, because I love doing this with all my heart.
Inge: Yes, it is. We are fishing in a smaller pond now. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing technical courses, too. However, we do pay a lot of attention to internal training sessions and courses here. We really customise our training by focusing on new technologies and the needs of our people.
Esmeralda: Here we show that engineering can be hugely challenging.
Mik: I agree that what we do here is special. When I take a tour of the company with visitors, they sometimes don't believe what they are seeing. They go: "Wow, what is this?".
Inge: Extremely positive.
Mik: I really get the feeling that people are happy, like to spend time there and are actually quite proud as well. They have really embraced D'Hooge Schouw. It’s really wonderful!
Welcome to D'Hooge Schouw!