New Ways of Working at the municipality if Ede
2012 – The municipality of Ede has introduced New Ways of Working (NWW). There are created flexible workstations where employees work activity oriented and employees and managers have learned to work result-oriented respectively to coach. Remarkably is that the implementation has taken place bottom up, with a strong role for workgroups and the works council, and that NWW slowly spreads until everyone in the organization participates.
The municipality of Ede is a medium sized Dutch town with more than 100,000 inhabitants. At this municipality more than 800 employees work, spread across five locations near the center of Ede. The departments that focus on facility services have started NWW. The other divisions followed in the course of 2012.
In the beginning lack of space and cost cuts were the reason to start thinking about NWW. Quickly its focus shifted toward culture change and new forms of leadership. There was a broad sense in the organization that in a dynamic society the municipality has to operate more effectively and that a strong hierarchical organization does not fit there. The parties consider output-oriented control and responsibilities low in the organization as conditions. The link between the necessary decisiveness and NWW was then quickly laid. NWW became an integral part of the deployed organizational development.
Prior to the introduction of NWW internally the conversation is started about the needs of employees and customers. The works council contributed to this by sending an email with a questionnaire about NWW among employees to get an idea of how they view parts of NWW. Next is a learning course about output oriented working was offered and then flexible workplace were established. The introduction began with a pilot project for 150 employees and is expanding slowly to immediately deploy lessons learned for new participants.
The new work will be implemented in two phases. Firstly people working within the setting of the town hall work flexibly. All fixed workplaces have disappeared or will disappear. An employee chooses, a workplace for concentration, a semi-concentration workplace or a workplace to cooperate, depending on his work for that day. The next phase is that working time and place independent is entered, even outside the town hall. For the latter, it is a requirement that an effective system of performance agreements between manager and employee has been implemented. Moreover the ICT provision must be in order and all paper records digitized.
Most participants in the pilot are excited about the results even though it comes with trial and error. Exciting for example is the use of new media to collaborate across borders and divisions of the organization, which delivers a lot but requires a culture of openness – not screening of your own work – and that you have to learn. The experience so far is that NWW, with these new forms of cooperation and a more supportive role for the manager, the old hierarchy is breaking.
More information about the municipality of Ede can be found on the website her website: www.ede.nl.