TMA Talent Management at the Municipality of Zundert


"There is a lot of talk internally about the TMA; a dialogue and connection is being created. Every week, colleagues report with the TMA in hand to take the next step with their talents."

Catharine Verberne is Deputy Director at the municipality of Zundert and is responsible for the further development of the municipal organization, among other duties. For this development, she has entered into a collaboration with We Build Bridges.

"Traditionally, the municipality has been more focused on developing internally and then rolling out the plans made. This resulted in a siloed organization that operated in a traditional manner. The municipal organization was truly ready for the next step, allowing it to better connect with its residents. Putting the citizen in the lead, empowering employees, and working together hand in hand for results. This calls for a development process where the organization builds on its strengths without dismantling everything that was in place. We consciously chose to shape this development as a network organization together with colleagues, the council, and citizens, moving away from traditional restructuring."

What does this further development mean for the organization and its people?

Being a network organization means operating as an independent municipality while simultaneously being part of a whole. Think of it as a patchwork quilt where activities such as maintaining relationships, investing in networks, and developing programs together with other organizations, businesses, and people take center stage. This requires different competencies from your employees. The people in this organization are our greatest asset, and our approach is to collectively take the next step with all colleagues working here.

How do you take the next step within the organization?

"To gain a good understanding of which talents and competencies we have within our organization, we collaborate with We Build Bridges on a Talent Motivation Analysis for every employee. As a municipality, we have consciously opted for a larger organization like We Build Bridges. The decisive factor for us was the solid organization with broad expertise; not only regarding the tool itself but also in guiding the various program components."

How does the municipality of Zundert ensure continued development?

"In terms of consolidation, we want to shape a learning organization. For this purpose, we have a number of experts who take on the supportive role of TMA coach. You can see it as a ripple effect; more and more colleagues are engaging in coaching activities within the organization. There is a lot of internal discussion about the TMA; a dialogue and connection are emerging. Every week, colleagues come forward with the TMA in hand, eager to take the next step with their talents. For some, the TMA can be quite daunting. You then see that it sometimes shakes people to their core, but the most important result so far is that colleagues are stepping out of their comfort zones and working on projects in new configurations. We are moving away from traditional clusters and departments and moving towards roles."

Which roles help the organization to develop?

"You see more and more colleagues fulfilling a variety of roles. Take, for example, the role of program coordinator. This person is responsible for the strategic objectives and shapes the question 'Which expertise and motivations are desired in an individual to achieve our objectives?'. This moves away from traditional job descriptions and brings together the right talents and motivations around our objectives. Thus, the program coordinators are simultaneously content coaches. Their task is to bring together the right talents."


What does the learning organization mean for management?

"As management, we have chosen to be in the middle of the organization, so we also participate in project groups with substantive expertise, in a role structure. For example, I am involved in the social domain as a member of the project team, and not as the ultimate responsible of the organization. Being in the middle of the organization also means that we must connect with the triangle of the municipal council, the board, and the administrative organization. The three of us must pursue one strategy, so you can be sure you are on the same path. We also call this 'dovetailing', resulting in the administrative process aligning nicely with what the council does."

What would you recommend to other organizations that need to change?

"Everything starts with trust and connection. Ultimately, you must believe in yourself that you have all the talents in-house. Only the right alignment of people allows talents to shine. In traditional ways of reorganizing, in my opinion, there's too much of a tendency to think too easily about swapping one person for another. Moreover, if you don't get the conditions right, you still won't move forward. Therefore, I would recommend to every organization that has traditionally set up bureaucratic and hierarchical structures to choose an approach in which the talents of employees and the learning organization are leading. Initially, it may sound like an unconventional change strategy, while you're actually touching and setting in motion exactly what you ultimately can't use anymore. You immediately start working on your strength without tearing down everything that exists."



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