The municipal Hollands Kroon; Self managing teams and job crafting

2016 – The municipal Hollands Kroon (HK, the Netherlands) was founded on January 1, 2012 after a merger of four smaller municipalities in the north of the province Noord-Holland. Currently Hollands Kroon has approximately 47,000 inhabitants and employs 350 people.

In 2016 Jos Beeuwkes did casestudy of HK. The Dutch report is attached; below a summary.

Workplace innovation
The municipal officials work in self-managing teams, at Hollands Kroon called ‘pits’. A pit works on one work process (for example: Grant permits, Planting maintenance). The team is responsible for the execution of the work from development until delivery of the service, within the framework set by the management team. The teams work without a direct manager and do themselves the planning and division of work. Management is based on trust rather than control.
Employees are encouraged to go and see citizens, companies and institutions as far as that needed to fulfill their assignment. All employees have their own devices, so they can call all the necessary information – stored in the cloud – everywhere, anytime. Employees can determine their own working hours. A new system is being developed that allows the teams themselves to be responsible for their salary budget and the distribution of that budget among the team members (in 2021). 

Drivers for change

The merger in 2012 was considered necessary to form a powerful organization that could perform its tasks in the region better and more effectively. To this ambition fit a management vision and an organisation-concept of ‘trust, streamlining work processes and short lines to citizens’. 

Immediately after the merger there were 9 divisions with 9 division-heads and a senior management team of three persons. Starting from that point, more and more responsibility was shifted to the employees. That process was supported by instruments such as the HK Plein (a kind of marketplace for tasks, assignments or “jobs") and the HK academy providing for the necessary training and education. (Each employee can have a scholarship budget.) Starting in early 2012, results-oriented working was introduced. Initially targets were set for the individual employee, but later for self-managing teams as a whole. In addition, all work processes within the organization have been explored and were clustered in key processes. Based on that, the pits are formed. In the course of 2013, it appeared that the employees did not need any managers. And in 2014, a trajectory was started to make all teams self-managing. For this purpose, four years were planned, but the process was completed after three years. 

How teams operate
The management team provides each team with goals and a framework, derived from college agreements or agreements between councilors and the city council. In consultation with the MT, the team translates these goals into performance indicators and in a plan of action. Within the team, the work is carried out by mutual agreement and the progress is evaluated. Each three months the whole team discusses progress with the MT. Individual performance conversations no longer exist. Employees can provide individual feedback to each other using the WOP app (personal feedback). This app. has been developed especially for the municipality of Hollands Kroon. 

After the introduction of self-managing teams, approximately 5 million euros less have been spent on formation costs than before, on a total budget of 45 million euros. The absenteeism is now 3% (previously 5%, public organisations in general: 5% in av.) The innovation competency has increased by more critical attention to the work processes and working closer to the citizens. The latter also has led to more tailor made services for the citizens.
In 2016, Hollands Kroon scored 7.4 for work pleasure (7.1 in 2014) and 7.1 for best employer (6.7 in 2014).


Beeuwkes, Jos. ‘Gemeente Hollands Kroon: zelfsturende teams en job crafting’ (2017). Casestudy, executed in an internship at TNO.