HRN Europe spoke to Dorien Bauwens about the role of technology in the daily HR operations of the Flemish Administration. Dorien is a management consultant, advising public agencies in such areas as strategy, change management, and organisation values.
The Flemish Administration is part of the Organisation of the Flemish Authorities which includes both the parliament and government of Flanders. The Administration consists of 13 policy areas – each with its own department and several agencies. Dorien explains how the Administration utilizes technology and social platforms to facilitate employee mobility, improve engagement and overcome challenges arising from the lack of a unified IT policy across internal organizations. Dorien Bauwens is a member of the expert Speaker Board at HR Tech Europe 2014. Dorien and Frans Cornelis, the CEO of the Public Personnel Agency, will give a presentation titled ‘Put Your Talent on the Radar’ on Day 1 in the ‘Social Enterprise’ track.
You are currently working on the ‘Modern HR Policy’ programme for the Flemish Administration. What role does technology play in this program?
In the Modern HR Policy programme, technology has a supporting role. It’s one of the several means we use to obtain our goals. We use technology to provide easy access to information, but we also use it to facilitate certain processes. The basis of our personnel management lies in an IT-system called “Vlimpers”. Vlimpers is the tool, implemented by everybody in the Flemish Administration, used for the ‘hard side’ of HR (payroll, vacation requests,…) as well as for the ‘soft side’ (employee performance management, employee development…).
The online social platform ‘Radar’ was created by the Flemish Administration to facilitate temporary mobility for its 40,000 employees. When was the platform launched? How long did it take to build it? How fast did it get picked up by the employees, and what has been their feedback so far?
The platform was launched in February 2014. The building of the platform started in the beginning of 2013 with the functional analysis. But this project has a longer history: the idea of the platform grew earlier since the main goal wasn’t building a platform but enhancing mobility within the Flemish Administration. Mobility has many forms, one of them being temporary mobility. We made a business case for temporary mobility, in which we argued for the building of Radar to facilitate the process.
Some organisations are enthusiastic about the tool, they have a lot of profiles and vacancies. We also notice that other organisations have just a few profiles and no vacancies. A lot of organisations are in between, they are taking the first steps into the world of temporary mobility. They are certainly not against the idea but they are still careful. A change in organisational culture is needed if we want the tool to be a success. At this moment we are focusing on the organisations open to the concept. Together with those organisations, we investigate what we can do to remove thresholds.
What tools or channels does the Flemish Administration use for employee engagement?
We have several tools/channels:
- Of course, Radar for temporary mobility is one of them.
- We also have employee performance management for all the organisations of The Flemish Administration: we use Vlimpers talent (a module within the personnel management system) for planning, follow-up and evaluation of the employees. Another module in Vlimpers is Vlimpers Learning, used for the requests and registration of training.
- We use tools for the employee survey and bottom-up-evaluation.
- At the moment we are developing a tool for the onboarding process, using techniques like gamification.
- Yammer as an online company network
- We offer social services, for example a family day
- When we organise seminars, we also build a supporting app. We have also apps for the networks we manage.
How, if at all, does integration of HR technology in a public organization differ from that in a private company? What are the advantages? The limitations?
We see little differences between public organisations and private companies. There is one limitation that could be specific to the Flemish Administration. The Flemish Administration consists of different organisations, each with their own IT-policy and tools. This makes it difficult to create uniformity across the boundaries of the different organisations. We are working on this by creating a new agency called the Information Agency Flanders and one uniform personnel management system for the whole Administration instead of the many systems existing today.
How would you describe your expectations for HR Tech Europe 2014 in 5 words?
Innovation, inspiration, network, learning, exchange.
HR Tech Europe 2014, 23-24 October, Amsterdam RAI. Register here.