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How Le Forem increases the employment rate in Wallonia through its digital transformation

19 Jan 2023

Many of the operations of Le Forem (the Walloon public service for employment and vocational training) were recently digitised. Jobseekers can manage and monitor their employment situation and training from home. Additionally, Le Forem’s internal operations have been streamlined, allowing team members to assist jobseekers faster. The result? A true digital revolution, made possible thanks to thorough preparation and expert guidance.

In recent years, the Walloon government has increased its focus on boosting the employment rate. Long-term unemployment urgently needs to be addressed, and everyone agreed that Le Forem should play a role in this. Inspired by the positive results of the digital transformation at VDAB, the Flemish employment and training agency, the decision was taken to launch a similar transformation project for Le Forem, to improve and diversify its employment services.

Tailored support for jobseekers

 The goal of this transformation was to offer jobseekers a service tailored to their situation (i.e. their ability to master digital tools and their proximity to the labour market). This was achieved through new tools, new processes and a new organisation. From the onset, Le Forem realised that such a project would have an enormous impact not only on its operations but on jobseekers’ user experience too. They therefore wanted to evolve towards customised support for jobseekers. This required not only better digital tools but also a complete revision of the processes and internal organisation. Managing such a project required an experienced partner with extensive expertise who thoroughly understands both the business requirements and the technical aspects of a digital transformation in this sector. Given that Capgemini had recently assisted VDAB, it came as no surprise when Le Forem also knocked on our door. For the record: Capgemini did not carry out any development or implementation work for Le Forem. However, we did assist them with just about everything else: drawing up clear business requirements, planning follow-up, as well as risk and budget management, coordination between the various stakeholders and more. In a nutshell, we helped ensure that the project went entirely as planned.

The project kicked off in 2020 and this past July we were able to launch the new customised service. On the one hand, it delivers support for specific sectors (because jobseekers tend to stay in the sector where they have worked before). On the other hand, it assists digitally savvy jobseekers who can easily find their way online via ‘e-counsellors’, offering different levels of guidance tailored to jobseekers’ needs. Le Forem also called on Capgemini to create dedicated spaces for the different target audiences. Together, we determined which ‘customer journeys’ needed to be set up, which tools this required, as well as the size of the teams and the assignment of roles within these teams.

Continuity and stability

Throughout the project, the Capgemini team was always available for support. At peak times, we even had a team of eight colleagues on site. This allowed Capgemini to ensure constant and consistent monitoring of the project. We also did not hesitate to question certain government guidelines when past experiences had shown that these could cause problems. It is thanks to our experience with the similar VDAB project that we were able to limit this transformation to a two-year process; otherwise it might have taken much longer.

The new services and tools have been in use for a few months now and we are already noticing enormous enthusiasm for new tools such as the ‘Matching Tool’, which tries to match jobseekers’ qualities and experience with specific job offers, thus partly automating the selection process. This is not only a huge time saver for job counsellors, but can also lead to a better service for employers and jobseekers, as it results in more targeted and better quality job offers.

Lessons learned

What did this project teach us? First of all, that starting from the customer journey really works. At each step or adjustment request, we always asked ourselves, “How does this benefit jobseekers?”.

Secondly, this project once again highlighted the importance of good interaction between ICT and business, especially in terms of agility: you can only set the right priorities in changing circumstances if both parties are on the same wavelength.

In addition, all government projects benefit from good knowledge of this sector. Every government works differently, be it local, regional, federal etc. It is important to know the influence and role of the various parties involved (government and jobseekers, but also trade unions and companies which have vacancies) and to take them into account when developing and communicating the various customer journeys and the associated changes.

Last but not least, always keep an eye on the governance aspect throughout the journey. Respect for privacy plays a key role in automating and streamlining certain processes. In this framework, an experienced partner like Capgemini can contribute significantly to the success of such a large-scale project.

Damien Dieryck is Head of Corporate Experience at Capgemini Invent Belux

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