NEWS Healthy UCoins

5 questions for Bert Van Rompaey, co-founder of Unbox and inventor of the UCoin

Bert Van Rompaey on the invention of the UCoin.

News 2
1. Who are you?

I'm Bert Van Rompaey. I live with my wife and daughter in the center of Brussels. My first job was at the counter of a predecessor of KBC, then at the HR department of Dexia, after which I worked at BNP Paribas Fortis for 16 years in various HR positions, and since October last year I have been working at Eurowings. Eurowings, which Brussels Airlines belongs to, is a subsidiary of Lufthansa.

2. How did you come up with the idea of Unbox & UCoins?

The idea came after a long series of recurring dilemmas that I had to deal with in my HR career. Employers have to decide what benefits their employees receive. However, both the value and the usefulness of these benefits are experienced differently by each individual employee. Ultimately, it’s inefficient, and nobody is really happy with it. So I wondered how we could personalize these benefits and thus increase their value for the person in question. But as a company, and therefore an important player in society, you do not only want to increase the value of the reward package, but you also want to encourage people to make conscious choices. And ideally to make those choices in such a way that they will support the company's long-term strategy as well as social goals. That's how the concept of the UCoins was born: you make certain choices more attractive when they support social goals. The choice remains with the individual, but a choice that supports those goals is made easier and more fun. But in order to implement UCoins, we had to come up with new ways of working together, personal development of employees, dealing with sustainability, and so on. That's why we (red. BNP Paribas Fortis) have decided, together with Brandhome and USG, our very first partners, to establish Unbox.

3. How would you describe the Healthy UCoins project® in one sentence?

The Healthy UCoins project® stimulates the purchase of a balanced diet by increasing the purchasing power of employees for better food choices. It's identical to all other forms of UCoins we have.

4. What do you expect from the test project?

The Healthy UCoins project® is a test, it's a start, and I expect lots of interesting insights. Today we encourage people to eat in a balanced way by waving a finger. Perhaps it would be better to combine the message of a balanced diet with the choice of making it attractive, without taking away the choice itself. In addition, I also believe that in the long run there is a need to make (and keep) a balanced diet affordable for everyone, and that employers and the government should encourage better eating in a positive way. This test project is a great start.

5. Do you have some tips for the team that supervises this pilot?

Based on my experience with UCoins I have one tip for them: keep emphasizing the choice of the employee. UCoins are a positive tool to stimulate behavioral change (e.g. healthier eating). You want to encourage and reward employees for positive individual choices, but in the end, they will decide for themselves whether they want to eat healthier or not, how often, how much, what, etc.

Delhaize Delhaize