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Dutch government uses Microsoft Dynamics to improve recruitment

Government recruitment and career management of senior civil servants in the Netherlands has been improved through a Microsoft Dynamics implementation

The Dutch government had to replace its customer relationship management (CRM) system for recruiting and developing managers when it became clear that its existing set-up could not incorporate new features.

After a six-month project, it has implemented Microsoft Dynamics, which enables it to view all the information about candidates in one place.

The previous system used by the Office for the Senior Civil Service (SCS) no longer met the government’s requirements for recruiting, selecting and developing top management. “It was on its last legs and I often received complaints about its usability,” said Bram de Klerck, director of the Office for the SCS. “We needed a new system with more functionality.”

Adding new features to the old application was not an option. Support for the software had ended and the database had become cobbled together as more and more functionality was added. “The application did not support new developments, such as digital CV matching or succession planning,” said Ruben Lamot, managing consultant of CRMatch, which managed the project.

CRMatch was chosen after the government invited tenders to supervise the implementation of the new CRM system. The Office for the SCS (Bureau Algemene Bestuursdienst) is the central management development organisation for the SCS, which includes most senior civil servants in the Dutch government.

The Top Management Group (TMG) is a group within the SCS and consists of secretaries-general, directors-general, inspectors-general and some other equivalent positions. The Office for the SCS is part of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

The Office for the SCS is responsible for recruiting and selecting SCS managers and acts as employer of the TMG. The office is responsible for 600 managers, and required a well-functioning and transparent CRM system to supervise both candidates and job procedures.

Off-the-shelf system

CRMatch supplied a standard application based on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Office of the SCS had wanted a system off the shelf rather than custom built, said De Klerck, because it wanted to avoid a lengthy and expensive implementation.

The proven technology and known usability of Microsoft systems was another a reason it choose an application based on Microsoft Dynamics. “Everyone knows the thinking and logic of Microsoft,” said Office for the SCS application manager Irene van der Kraats. “This is evident from the workflow of this package and the familiar look of it. And because we run on Windows platforms at the Office for the SCS, the implementation is being well regulated, for now and in the future.”

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The Microsoft Dynamics system works with process boards that show at a glance where individuals are in a given process. Each type of job has a different process, and  clicking on a candidate will reveal more information about them. If one candidate moves on to the next phase of a process, information about them can easily be dragged to the next phase of the application.

Before the new system was introduced, information was spread over several systems. Now all the data about a person is kept together. Work experience, previous positions and diet wishes are in one profile. “That might sound trivial, but it is convenient for meetings,” said Van der Kraats.

Also, individuals’ CVs and other documents can be immediately exported from SharePoint, but candidates’ privacy is guaranteed, said CRMatch’s Lamot. “For each field in the database – for example, name, age or address – there is a control on who can see what and at which time. There is an authorisation matrix which indicates who can make adjustments in any of these fields.”

Integration with other systems

The process becomes digital once someone’s CV is received by the Office for the SCS. Paper CVs are automatically scanned, indexed and entered into the database, so that after CVs are received, employees of the Office can search the database for them. Reports can be easily exported to Word and Excel, and the system has been integrated with Outlook.

“We can mail candidates from the system,” said Van der Kraats. “If they do not continue in the process, they will automatically receive an email.”

The system is currently being integrated with Skype for Business.

Lamot said disruption during the six-month migration was limited. “We were able to migrate the complete old database, which was a cobbled-together system,” he said. “During the implementation, normal processes were able to continue.”

Agile approach

CRMatch choose an agile approach to develop the new system. In short sprints of two to three weeks, it automated the process. Most of the time was taken to implement the system on the ministry’s servers, said Lamot.

The expected efficiency improvements are yet to come, said De Klerck, but he is confident the additional information available will bring improvements. “It is now very clear who has spoken to a candidate, what development activities and programmes are being followed, and what procedures the candidate has already been through,” he said. “That gives a clear overall picture at a glance.”

Other ministries have shown interest in the new set-up, said Van der Kraats. “It would be nice if this application is deployed government-wide,” he added. “That way, the development of middle management would be working more closely with the development of top management.”

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