Job Journey: the tool for inspired employees at the OOZ school board

Job Journey: the tool for inspired employees at the OOZ school board

Published on

15 Oct 2022

Interview with Janny Huisman, organisation and team development consultant

Nearly 2,000 employees. 38 schools. 12,000 students. That’s the impressive size of Zwolle and Region Public Education (OOZ). As you might imagine, this calls for strong personnel management. The five HR staff only have one goal: happy, inspired employees who are in flow: ‘in their zone’. Because that is contagious and improves the quality of education. With that vision, they challenge current HR issues and take good care of their people. How? To this end, OOZ has developed the Job Journey tool with Popay. Janny Huisman tells us more about it.

Janny Huisman has particularly enjoyed working with the OOZ school board for 13 years. This includes schools in secondary, primary and special education. The locations? The schools are located across the Zwolle region, from Hardenberg to Elburg and everything in between. Janny lights up the minute she starts talking about her work and then you know: this is an HR consultant through and through. And that commitment is what you most want to see in all employees. Janny talks about her mission, vision and approach.

Janny, you have a mission. So tell us, what do you believe in?
‘I chose the wonderful profession of human resource management because I believe work should be enjoyable, for everyone. You spend a great deal of your life there, so it has to feel good. It has to be enjoyable. And energising. So my mission is to create the optimal situation from the triangle of people, labour and the organisation. By giving employees opportunities to develop (people) and by designing work well (labour), you can help an organisation move forward. When people are doing things they enjoy and doing what they are good at, they are happy to go to work. As an organisation, what more do you want than happy employees? You get into a flow with that. And that enthusiasm is contagious. That’s the essence of my work.’ 

‘Job Journey makes
our employees happier and thus contributes to better education.’

That sounds positive. But the trends don’t always make it easy for you. How do you respond to developments such as sustainable employability, ageing and the war on talent?
‘These current developments certainly play a big role in the HR profession and the OOZ is no exception. We are working hard on that. Having the right person, in the right place, at the right time matters. This is why talent development is one of our main themes. We want to empower people, allow them to grow. Then they enjoy going to work and stay longer. This is how we attract talent, retain them and work towards sustainable employability.’

With 2,000 employees, how do you encourage talent development?
‘For this, we have developed a fabulous tool with Popay: Job Journey, or the TSA app as we call it. We had two wishes: an online tool for our interview cycle and an online tool where people can share their qualities, talents and ambitions. These provided enough talking points to sit down with Popay and look at the options. And Job Journey tool is the result! It allows us to add depth to talent development. Employees can take charge of their own careers and enhance their daily work. And even better: colleagues can also connect with each other there. I’m delighted with this step; I think it’s a wonderful tool.’

‘As an organisation, what more do you
want than happy employees? This increases the quality of work.’

OK, now we’re curious! Tell us some more, why do you believe so strongly in this tool?
‘Because it lets employees follow their own route and it connects people. In this app, you can state your qualities, your talents and your ambitions. And in a particularly fun way too. You complete your passport, pack your suitcase and go on your trip! Along the way, you’ll encounter activities and training sessions. This is how you work on your talents step by step, getting you closer and closer to your final destination. This can be your individual tool, but you can also use it to connect with each other, with colleagues, and see as a team what qualities you have. And once you know that, you can start using these qualities smartly. This can also be across teams or even across schools: if you have the same qualities as a colleague at another school, you can work together on your development. As OOZ, we are happy that Job Journey has now reached the point where we can start using it in all schools.’

Was the introduction to the first schools stressful or mostly fun?
I loved it mostly. We start with the people who are enthusiastic, so I hear mostly positive reactions. What I do find a bit stressful is finding more colleagues who would be enthusiastic about this. But that will happen, the energy is there. The success stories will soon do the rounds and then it will catch on, I’m convinced of that. In a few years’ time, I think it will be an accepted and appreciated tool in the organisation.’  

‘Enthusiasm is contagious.
That’s the essence of my work.’

When all is said and done, how will you test whether this contributes to the HR vision?
‘We’ll see the effect when many employees start using the tool. And evaluate this as we go along. Especially by asking employees what they think. We’ll take this feedback and work with Popay to see if any adjustments to the tool are needed. The more users, the more feedback: and then it keeps getting better, until it eventually becomes a tool of the employees themselves.’

What benefits will the organisation experience if this succeeds?
‘It’s a great tool to support our vision of talent development. Once employees have accepted the tool and the tool is fully integrated, it benefits both the organisation and the people. It becomes a win-win situation. Employees start experiencing the benefits as they develop their own portfolio of things they are good at, and that energises them. They come into their own. And that will make everyone happy, I’m sure. This is how you get into a positive flow as an organisation. And this is where the benefit to the organisation comes in: it enhances the quality of education. Each and every school day!’