Gemeente Midden-Drenthe

Almost thirty villages are united within Midden-Drenthe, which counts 33.000 inhabitants. Within the municipal organisation functions a coordinating layer of employees. “Because of that, the responsibility of other employees was (too) small. A coordinator was bothered for each question. While we were aiming to plant the responsibility deeper in the organisation”, says personnel consultant Coby Krolis. Ron Meeldijk, as trainer-advisor responsible for the trajectory: “In this case you talk about time saving, to start with. What you can also see with municipalities is that they struggle with finding employees and also hold on to them. If you give them more responsibilities, they tend to stay longer. You kill two birds with one stone.”

Coby Krolis: “We wanted the employees to start looking for the answers themselves. Only you saw that such an objective wasn’t feasible in reality. It didn’t work. People remained stuck in their old patterns.”

New layer senior-employees

Another organisational model had to overcome the impasse. Coordinators made way for a new layer of senior policy-employees. In order to increase self-reliance of the personnel, they had to start to manage in a coaching manner, a discipline to which not everybody was familiar with. “Just then I happened to speak to Ron about this and from that moment on the ball started to roll. His ideas about the training aligned precisely with our objectives. Often trainings are pretty much standard. But he integrated the problem of Midden-Drenthe very well into his advice they gave to our municipality”, Coby looks back. Ron Meeldijk: “Prior to the trajectory I naturally conducted a thorough research into the municipal organisation. I used that knowledge in the set-up. What we aim for with coaching is to make people more independent. Some already coached, others didn’t (yet). We started at the base: what is coaching actually about. With an actor involved we showed what it meant: coaching is mainly daring to keep asking questions. What we trained next is to continuously apply what you learn in practice.”

‘Refresher day'

After the training, intervention groups were set, divided into two groups, as a follow-up. The municipality also organised a ‘refresher day’ with the contribution of Moovs. Coby Krolis: “That feedback is useful. As senior-employee you also ask yourself the crucial question where your task ends and the task of a manager starts. This is what we will be working on now, but with the help of Moovs we took a big step in the right direction.”