TMA Talent Management at the Municipality of The Hague

20220509_143350(0) (1).jpg

"People don't have to be left out during a reorganization"

"The role of the manager is essential to help employees develop"

Frans van Drielen is an HR&O specialist. He worked for almost twenty years at the Municipality of The Hague, where he was the driving force behind encouraging more talent-oriented work.

How did you know that TMA could make a difference for the organization?

"We had TMA in-house for some time, but it was mainly used for guiding people transitioning to different roles due to illness until about eight years ago. At one point, we realized that we could utilize TMA much more extensively, such as in recruitment and selection, career development, mobility, team development, and leadership. We explored what TMA had to offer and found it to be more versatile than we had initially thought."

What need did you see within the organization that you wanted to address?

"We noticed that people wanted to grow and develop, but often didn't know how. TMA turned out to be an excellent tool for uncovering what motivates people, what they want and are capable of, and where their talents lie. This was something we didn't have before. Everyone was doing their best, but decisions were often based on intuition. With TMA, we could make the process more objective and provide clearer direction. The TMA Talent Analysis proved to be a great instrument for helping people make choices."

Can you measure the results of using the analysis?

"We never intended to measure the impact of TMA because there are so many environmental factors that also contribute positively or negatively to development. However, based on the conversations we've had about TMA and the changes we've observed, it has definitely been successful. People are more easily motivated and willing to discuss their development needs with their managers thanks to the insights from the talent management system."

The role of the manager is essential in helping employees develop. Have managers embraced this role effectively?

"Most of them have, yes. Some have even said they want all their employees to undergo TMA. It was voluntary, of course, but they wanted to provide the opportunity. This gave managers more guidance and control, making it easier for them to deploy people effectively in their roles."

In government organizations, there's a focus on task-driven work. How did the talent-oriented approach support this?

"That was challenging, especially in a matrix environment where responsibility is shared between the project leader, formal manager, and HR. Success depended on all managers being open-minded and willing to have conversations with their staff. Unfortunately, this hasn't been fully achieved in our organization due to the gap between the employee and their formal manager, caused by the division of functional and hierarchical management responsibilities."

What were the obstacles to implementing this approach, and what can other organizations learn from this?

"The main obstacle for us was the distance between employees and their formal managers due to the split between functional and hierarchical management responsibilities. Despite regularly conducting feedback analyses, managers often felt they didn't know their employees well enough to assess them accurately. This highlighted the importance of collaboration between project leaders and formal managers."

20220509_142853 (1).jpg

Are there differences in needs between young people and established employees who have joined the organization?

"In terms of needs, not necessarily. However, you do notice that new employees are more inclined to approach their managers to share the results of their talent analysis and discuss what they want to do with it. Established employees who have been with the organization for a longer time may find it less easy to do so. I'm not exactly sure why, but one possible reason could be that there hasn't been much focus on training and development for many years. Those who were interested often faced obstacles. Fortunately, that's changing now. If you don't involve people in developments, sooner or later you'll fall behind."

Is there an increasing awareness within the organization that today's employee is not the employee of the future?

"Yes, there is definitely awareness of that, but it's still challenging to have conversations about the future from managers to employees. It would be great if that gap could be bridged so that we don't just talk about the talents someone currently uses, but also about what else they can do with those talents and which talents are currently underutilized."

What do you hope for the municipality in the future?

"I hope that they listen to the employees, utilize their skills, and ensure continuous development. With every reorganization, some people are left behind, which shouldn't be necessary. It's not always the fault of the individual. A manager can greatly assist an employee by providing them with tools to continue their development. Using TMA can make goals more objective and also justify why, for example, a training course could further someone's career."

If talent management succeeds, what will it bring to the people and consequently the organization?

"Then work won't feel like work anymore. It'll be more like: I get to work, how great! An organization benefits greatly from enthusiastic employees."

What advice would you give to other municipalities looking to implement talent management?

"First, assess what you need. And if you choose a tool like TMA, involve the management and the works council in how you plan to use it and what you aim to achieve. Start small. Let a few people who are eager to fill out a talent analysis lead by example. Share success stories and also discuss it when things don't go smoothly; it's never going to be completely flawless. You need to let it grow within the organization so that it spreads like wildfire."

More information about what TMA can mean for your organization?
Send an email to or contact me via LinkedIn. I'm happy to assist you!

Maurice van Raalte