Introducing Rythmik, the Future of Work people. In this executive summary, Radha Bharj our Co-founder and Laurent Dumoulin our Chief Operating Officer will provide a concise overview of our proposal, highlighting the key factors that are foundational for transforming the meeting culture at Proximus.
The key elements from the proposal can be found in the factsheet that you can download below.
In a fast-moving, deregulated and competitive market, Proximus has the ambition to become a digital native company, to radically simplify its operations and to adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs. This ambition is supported by its 3-year strategy and vision: Bold2025 - “Boldly building a connected world that people trust so society blooms” (launched a year ago) and the “Think Possible” external promise. Proximus seeks to internalise its external promise, creating synergies between its customer and employee experiences through the “Think Possible” culture transformation.
In order to deliver on that promise, Proximus relies on 3 exceptional strengths, one of which is to foster an engaging culture and empower ways of working. A key part of making this a strength is to have the right meeting culture at Proximus.
Prior to that, the “Good to Gold” transformation journey helped lay the foundations through multiple change tracks and included embedding agile ways of working into the organisation with success, as well as improving the meeting culture. However, following transformation efforts and outputs, there has been a challenge around embracing some of the meeting practices that were developed and launched. A lack of discipline, role modelling and consistent change efforts can explain that challenge. As a result, old and new meeting practices remain in the organisation, which can lead to confusion and complexity.
There is clear alignment in the organisation that the meeting culture needs improving, going beyond the practical guidance and training given to leaders and employees. Proximus has a set of assumptions that could explain why the meeting culture is not yet where it needs to be:
A more self-centred culture where the priority is given to the individual over the team and the company.
An environment where being busy is seen as good, where the fear of missing out is real
A need for more leadership accountability and role modelling.
A need for a systematic and sustainable approach to culture transformation and activation, using more emotional intelligence to drive change.
Not enough time spent on looking forward and innovation versus operational matters.
The meeting culture analysis seeks to understand root causes and what solutions can positively impact the performance, innovation and well-being of employees at Proximus.
Launched a year ago in support of its 3-year strategy, Bold2025, the “Think Possible” culture transformation is driving change at Proximus through creating a different mindset as well as a future-proofed and digital workplace.
To support the “Think Possible” mindset, Proximus has defined four key behaviours:
I make a difference
I radically simplify
I embrace the future
The initial focus has been on articulating and bringing to life what “I care” means, with the next phase diving deeper into “I radically simplify”.
While the meeting culture touches all four behaviours, it will be particularly relevant to this next phase.
Meetings, meetings, meetings
Number of meetings per day in the USA
Recognised proportion of bad meetings
Annual opportunity cost of bad meetings in the USA
Source: Business Insider / Runn Future of Work, February 2023
what could it mean for Proximus?
Assumed number of distinct meetings per day at Proximus
Average cost of a meeting
Annual opportunity cost of bad meetings at Proximus
Ratio of meetings per employee in the world per day: 0.08. Total number of employees at Proximus: 11634. Cost per meeting 50% lower than USA. 200 working days per year.
Having productive and relevant meetings has always been a challenge for organisations. However, with the shift to hybrid and remote working increasing, it has become harder to achieve consistent and efficient meeting practices. Individuals have naturally looked for ways to “replicate” what would have been spontaneous in-person discussions by formal meeting invites or emails, but without the purpose and structure for these interactions to be efficient. The impact is clear. Beyond the financial loss and the opportunity cost, it can negatively affect the ambition to build an engaging culture and to empower ways of working, leading individuals to feel inefficient or not having the time to do the work that matters.
There are some obvious reasons why meetings do not achieve desired outcomes:
Turning up late
Not being prepared
Death by PowerPoint
Thinking about the next meeting
Pushing own priorities
Running over time
Not having a clear agenda
However, other factors are at play, revealing how individuals perceive these meetings, in the context of the organisation’s culture.
The fear of missing out or being negatively perceived can play a role for both meeting participants and organisers. Meeting participants can worry about being judged or even forgotten if they do not turn up. Meeting organisers can worry about leaving people out. Our recent work at a large pharmaceutical group revealed that only 10% of meeting participants would feel psychologically safe to seek clarity should the purpose of a meeting be unclear, while only 39% of meeting organisers would always indicate the purpose of the meeting in their invite.
Meetings are too often used as commitment devices when efficient ways of working and discipline are lacking. They are also one of the most visible acts of leadership. The way leaders set up and run their own meetings, and make decisions in these meetings, serve as an example to their teams.
You partner of choice for sustainable performance
We exist to ignite and enable moments of leadership within your organisation.
We are not just partners; we are co-pilots, propelling together towards a horizon where each challenge is an opportunity and each team member a leader in the making.
We help organisations of all sizes create great places to work through transforming their culture, ways of working and mindset.
With Rythmik, you are not just keeping pace with the future; you are creating it, ensuring that your organisation moves to a whole new level of performance, innovation and wellbeing.
We heard you. "Inefficient meetings" is a recurring topic and various activities have taken place to address the challenge. We also heard that despite those activities, the organisation has a tendency to fall back to its old ways of working.
Our approach lies in the ability to work at the intersection of the consciousness and subconsciousness with large groups of people. In doing so, it will result in a deeper rooting of the possible solutions, as well as ownership by the organisation directly.
We, therefore, leverage the duality of insights generation and creative thinking.
Our objective is to shape a blueprint for your future meeting culture at Proximus, owned by Proximus’ people and ready to activate by Proximus’ people.
We propose to shape the project through 4 chapters:
Chapter 1: Onboarding
Preparing the work ahead, aligning key stakeholders, planning and selecting the audience for the insights, as well as obtaining access to and analysing existing data such as the Engagement survey.
Chapter 3: Breakthrough
Using personas and the insights captured, we set up 4 breakthrough thinking sessions using our HotHouse methodology. Achieving breakthrough thinking helps to shape a movement, creating a series of proposals and collective ownership. In itself, it creates a leap in the change efforts later.
Chapter 2: Insights
Once we get to the stage of Insights, the main part of the project is taking place. Using our Discovering methodology, we engage with the audience to capture quantitative and qualitative data, which will serve in the production of the report, personas and saturation for the creative breakthrough thinking.
Chapter 4: Closing
The moment has arrived where it's time to playback the work to the Proximus wider team and preparing the alignment of stakeholders for the outcomes and recommendations.
Researching the root causes
Whilst Chapter 1 focuses on preparing the detailed plan, identifying the stakeholders, project structure, governance and all the supporting activities that shape the project for success, Chapter 2 focuses on researching the root causes. We do that by leveraging the first two beats from our 6 Beats Methodology: Connecting and Discovering.
Our core insights approach resides on the perfect balancing of quantitative and qualitative research, ensuring we achieve an accurate representation of Proximus as an organisation. At this stage, we purposefully stay broad in audiences, to help shape the personas and behaviours.
During this stage we propose to run 5 distinct activities:
Gather and analyse any accessible company wide data, such as the latest Engagement survey results.
Gather and analyse meeting calendar data to assess the current ways of working.
Conduct quantitative research in the form of an online assessment/survey.
Conduct 5 focus groups with up to 8 employees per group.
Conduct 20 one to one interviews with employees representing a diverse research panel.
Once the quantitative and qualitative research is completed, we move to a critical stage: insights generation. Informed by our findings, we cluster the signals and research trends, ah-ha moments, surprises, differences, similarities, polarities, etc. All type of signals that can identify the traits of the meeting culture, as well as the behaviours which enable/disable the good meeting behaviours.
The final step of Chapter 2 is split into two:
Compile an extensive report with the results, which includes our analysis and root cause of the meeting culture challenges.
Create 4 Personas in consideration of the findings and clustering. Personas are fictional characters that represent real employee groups. They showcase the insights, bringing to life the root causes empathetically, aligning stakeholders with the challenges at hand.
Rythmik's 6 Beats Methodology
The 6 Beats Methodology is our framework when creating employee centric experiences. The framework can be used to assess and improve almost anything, from standalone projects (processes, communications, and policy) to large scale transformations (mindset and change interventions). It is a proven framework which uses empathy at its core to understand challenges and opportunities.
Achieving breakthrough thinking
Chapter 3 is uniquely positioned. In traditional design thinking methods, the insights drive a journey mapping activity which can then lead to solutions. We propose something different.
Our experience in transforming organisational cultures has taught us that enduring and sustainable transformations require early ownership, coupled with the shape of a "PULL" movement. Where change management traditionally offers a "PUSH" process, we propose to leverage our catalytic breakthrough thinking methodology called "HotHouse" with 4 groups across Proximus.
During the HotHouses, we will use the insights and personas as one of the key inputs to create empathy, then saturate the minds of the participants with new information. Doing so unleashes a new level of thinking and removes the fears of the unknown to arrive at a moment of breakthrough.
With the new emerging patterns created collectively, we shape the blueprint of your future meeting culture, the myths to bust, the practices to implement and a plan for further experiments (technology, leadership, etc.).
Each HotHouse requires up to 20 attendees selected during Chapter 1 and 2. The HotHouses can take place at the Proximus office, or at a separate venue of your choice.
The final step of our proposal is to facilitate the sharing of the results, personas, findings, blueprint and recommendations for Proximus to move forward.
Rythmik's HotHouse Methodology
A HotHouse is an intensive and immersive workshop, designed to accelerate learning, foster creativity and breakthrough thinking. Results are achieved through collaboration, building networks and relationships based on trust. Each workshop is a bespoke experience taking on board your processes, ways of working and company culture.
The project deliverables in a nutshell
Minimum number of employee touchpoints across Proximus which achieve 95% confidence with <4% margin of error
Total number of interviews across Proximus which will help produce the depth in the qualitative research
Total number of focus groups consisting of up to 8 employees per group
Expected number of Personas, bringing life to the research, allowing stakeholders to connect and empathise with the findings
Expected participants joining catalytic breakthrough thinking "HotHouses", driving ideation to a new edge
Detailed blueprint for the new meeting culture, demonstrating how to shift, practice and sustain new ways of working
We firmly believe that, together, through the research and breakthrough thinking, we can tackle the first steps that shift € 253 million from opportunity cost into realised performance.
Meetings are at the core of work. By shaping a blueprint for better meetings, it also unleashes a new level of performance, innovation and wellbeing.
We therefore plan to deliver the following:
An extensive report with the Chapter 2 results, which includes our analysis and root cause of the challenges with the meeting culture.
4 Personas in consideration of the findings and clustering.
A booklet of meeting practices to get started and get the basics right, Proximus branded. To signal the next steps and the start of a journey.
A proposed storytelling and approach to go hand in hand with Bold2025 vision – a “blueprint” for the blueprint.
A series of testimonials and engaging short videos from employees talking about the future meeting culture.
A final report to summarise methodology, key insights and recommendations – presented to key stakeholders onsite. This will be supported by highlights from HotHouse workshops.
"A manager's ability to turn meetings into a thinking environment is probably an organization's greatest asset."
High level timeline, risks & assumptions
Our chapters are not sequential, rather we make the most of Agile ways of working and leverage Agile ceremonials and techniques to progress throughout the project. Our high level timeline is represented as follows:
The key risks we identified for this project:
Misalignment of key stakeholders on objectives and scope
Lack of timely decisions and flow of information which affect project milestones
The recommendations are not adapted to Proximus context
Lack of traction with Proximus employees in scope for the insights and breakthrough chapters
Lack of availability of Proximus employees to participate in the insights impact project timings and delivery
Project kick-off with key stakeholders
Proximus project lead and sponsor in place
Our breakthrough chapter will ensure that Proximus co-creates recommendations that are fit for purpose, thus helping change the ownership within the organisation
Early communication of the project scope and timeline
Identification and early communication with the employees involved
And finally, the key assumptions we have made whilst creating this proposal:
Will be using Proximus email addresses throughout the project via a web interface (no computers shall be provided by Proximus).
Will be applying a hybrid approach, with most of the work performed remotely.
Rythmik team is onsite for the kick off, insights focus groups, breakthrough thinking HotHouses and closing sessions as a minimum.
Will have access to a diverse group of employees to participate in this research and breakthrough thinking activities.
The scope for the insights will be the entire organisation of Proximus with the exception of the Sales department and "field" employees (engineering).
Will assign a project lead and team to work with Rythmik on the work outlined in this proposal.
Will send the online survey email to employees with the objective to achieve at least 340 responses.
To provide names and email addresses to Rythmik, for the setup of the focus groups and one to one interview invitations.
To sign off all communications before they are shared with employees for research purposes.
That a representative sample to achieve 95% confidence with less than 4% margin of error is acceptable.
Expect the unexpected
We are Rythmik, the Future of Work people. We go beyond what’s expected and partner with you to transform the complexity of this project into a unique and exciting challenge. We create a safe, creative, and trusting environment for all participants to make this challenge their own and contribute to the change journey ahead.
Our approach embodies the Proximus “Think Possible” Mindset:
We care about Proximus and its ambition, as well as the psychological safety of its people.
We make a difference through unique breakthrough thinking and insights methodologies.
We look for co-creation, to radically simplify and make it work for Proximus.
We create a safe space to dive into the unknown and embrace the future.
Our project team
We are a niche advisory firm, specialising in the Future of Work. Our team is made up of exceptional individuals, solid team players and strategic thinkers. With experience across a wide breadth of industries, our team for this project is able to blend seamlessly with your team at Proximus.
Leveraging Agile's approach to roles, we propose to have a Squad team focused on Insights and a second Squad team focused on the Blueprint. Laurent Dumoulin is our Agile Coordinator and will also act as the Client Director for the duration of the project.
Product Owner - Insights
Org Culture Guru
Within GDPR compliance
Optimises our delivery
Reduces our cost to client
Certified Agile Coach
Product Owner - Blueprint
Peak Performance Guru
Our clients and credentials
We combine our expertise in insights, employee experience and ways of working with our breakthrough thinking and catalytic leadership approaches.
We work across large and matrixed organisations around the world. Here is a non-exhaustive list of our recent interventions and products:
Meeting and wellbeing culture: Designing practice-led pilots across a global organisation to improve the meeting and well-being culture.
(Industrials | Global | 17k employees | Ongoing)
Ways of working transformation: Leading a transformation program on ways of working, including meeting culture, for 100k+ employees using an experiment-based and data-led approach.
(Life Sciences | Global | 2019-2023)
Workplace and Culture Transformation: Transformed the physical workplace from a paternalistic, authoritative culture to a collaborative, open, trust culture.
(Energy | Global | 65k employees | 2018-2019)
Employee Experience Transformation: Defining the employee experience across all areas of a major HR and Workday transformation program for a global energy organisation.
(Energy | Global | 65k employees | 2017-2019)
The impact of our work on a recent project which focused on new ways of working and a new meeting culture is illustrated in the figures below:
"Being a great place to work"
"Ability to prevent burnout"
"Ability to collaborate more effectively"
"Feeling supported by the organisation"
"Ability to manage workload"
"Ability to work more productively"
Impact measured on a large scale program in Life Sciences industry (108k employees)
Measured between 2020-2022. 32k employees reponded.
We are proud to shape the future of work with the following organisations:
To deliver the proposed scope of work, the total fee for the project is €225,000, which includes travel and expenses for the Rythmik team (estimated at 12% of the total fee), per the above assumptions.
Detailed plan including sprint plannings and product backlog
Insights report with both quantitative and qualitative insights
4 Personas developed and shared
Input for the breakthrough thinking and change activation
Inputs to build a meeting culture blueprint
Collective insights and recommendations to inform the meeting culture blueprint for Proximus
A meeting culture blueprint for better meetings at Proximus
Recommendations report focusing on activation and change
Fees exclude VAT.