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City of Rennes and its greater area - Solving the employee mobility challenge in the public sector

Context and objectives


Although SWP and internal mobility have been the center of much attention recently, few large organizations have been able to steer these projects successfully. The reason? Internal obstacles that hamper these projects. However, there is a cost to not tackling these challenges…


SWP, internal mobility and anticipation


At the heart of the problem lie 3 key notions:


  • SWP (management the future evolution of jobs and skills): a forward-looking HR management approach that adapts the structure of the workforce to the evolution of professions and skills given the economic, social, technological and regulatory changes. Since 2005, the SWP completion every 3 years is a legal obligation in France for companies with 300 employees or more, and for community groups employing at least 150 people.


  • Internal mobility: change of position or function for an employee within a company. It is a strategic component of the SWP insofar as it boosts employability, encourages motivation and loyalty, and fosters synergies within the company.


  • Foresight: the underlying theme binding SWP and mobility together. While somewhat obvious for the SWP, anticipation is also key for mobility. In fact, mobility forecast is done using the very same SWP building blocks: skills mapping based on a jobs & skills repository.


While conceptually simple, these projects are often difficult to manage and do not always succeed due to large and complex footprint of local and state authorities.

« SWP is somewhat of a holy grail in the HR management of the civil service sector, or at least in its largest organizations. We've been talking about it for almost two decades. To my knowledge, not many people actually do it, or at least have a dedicated approach to solving it. »

Johan Theuret, EVP Human Resources - City of Rennes and its greater area

Barriers to internal mobility in the public sector


Setting up internal mobility for local authorities is confronted by two major limitations:


  • The great diversity of occupations: the sheer number and variety of occupations in the public sector (referred to as “A”, “B” and “C” categories) make mobility projects very complex to organize. Putting in place standardized jobs and skills repositories, as well as mapping employee skills, is a complex exercise.


  • The operational load: even when repositories do exist, the implementation and execution of a full-scale mobility project requires significant HR involvement. Often no dedicated HR resources exist to sustain this added operational project workload.



Nevertheless, ignoring the internal mobility challenge was sure to create negative long-term impact, and thus had to be tackled head on if the City of Rennes and its Greater Area was to succeed and thrive in the future.



The costs of a lacking internal mobility 


Among the dire consequences of a low internal mobility, or complete lack thereof, are the following:


  • Physical and psychological wear and tear of employees: it particularly affects employees who occupy highly demanding jobs for many years.


  • Loss of employee motivation and engagement: this particularly affects employees who have been working in the same job for a long time. This effect is amplified by the manifest lengthening of people’s careers.


  • The silo effect and a lack of cross-functionality: mobility is also a management tool, which makes it possible to share best practices and facilitate communication and exchanges among experts and professionals at large.


Faced with these observations, the local authority of Rennes decided to make the development of staff mobility a priority and to overcome these obstacles by partnering with Boostrs.





Thanks to Boostrs, the City of Rennes and its Greater Area has been able, as part of its SWP project, to initiate and deploy an internal mobility program, and to overcome the significant time and operational load barriers.



The Rennes x Boostrs collaboration in 3 words: Speed, Accuracy, and Expertise


  • Speed: a jobs and skills custom repository created in 8 weeks. This includes notably the standardization of all internal jobs, which enables and extends career pathways toward the private and the public sectors alike.

« The interest of a tool like Boostrs is to avoid the deployment of a huge number of agents, at the level of the HR department, in a very long and time-consuming project. »

Johan Theuret, EVP Human Resources - City of Rennes and its greater area

  • Accuracy: precise results which allow the City of Rennes to anticipate upcoming trends and recommend personalized development plans for its employees.

« The interest of Boostrs is, first and foremost, a tool that facilitates the implementation of internal mobility and the forward-looking management of jobs and skills (SWP). »

Johan Theuret, EVP Human Resources - City of Rennes and its greater area

  • Actionable expertise: concrete recommendations that make it possible to recommend 5 distinct career options to each employee.

« Boostrs is the answer to an old dream I've had for years. I think it's the digital translation of what we've tried to do in several of the communities I've been in. »

Johan Theuret, EVP Human Resources - City of Rennes and its greater area

The 4 keys to successful deployment 


The secret to deploying to 5,500 agents? Here are the 4 keys to its success:


  • Use events and forums as a lever: be present at community fairs to socialize the approach and inform agents of the changes to come and the benefits they bring.


  • Collaborate with HR and operations departments: build an internal network to help with dissemination and deployment.


  • Communicate internally: use internal communication channels to present the solution and its added value for key internal stakeholders (heads of departments, operational managers, etc).


  • See deployment as a long-term project: be consistent and regular in communication. The competency management tool must be integrated into the company’s processes both at HR manager and at general employee levels.



What’s next?


For the City of Rennes and its Greater Area, the follow-up is two-pronged:


First of all, continue getting Rennes stakeholders to massively adopt Boostrs :

« Strong use will allow a fine knowledge of the profiles and skills of the agents, thus increasing internal mobility within the local authorities.
It is important that staff, like operational departments, really grasp and appreciate the usefulness and potential of Boostrs.
This is fundamental to the success of projects such as mobility and SWP.

Johan Theuret, EVP Human Resources - City of Rennes and its greater area

Second, consider the new opportunities opening up and look to solve the next level of HR challenges using the Boostrs skill-based approach:


  • Anticipating possible retirements, and the arrival of new skills


  • Retaining and developing internal talents


  • Expandinging the approach to neighboring areas by including new communities and extend internal mobility at regional level.




We thank again Johan Theuret and his teams for their trust; it is a fruitful collaboration and a very exciting project to carry out together.


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