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Looking back at the switch to Youforce

At some NWO Institutes, it was already a trusted system, whereas for others, it is completely new: this year, all institutes and the NWO-I office switched to the personnel information system Youforce. From now on, all NWO-I personnel will use the portal for tasks such as requesting salary slips, inspecting personal data and filing in AVOM (Tailor-made Terms of Employment) requests. P&O departments will also use Youforce for all personnel processes. Now that everybody has switched to this new system, it is time to take stock of how things have gone. Inside NWO-I asked P&O employees Gael Ndombele (CWI) and Robin Delenclos (DIFFER), and project leader Youforce Henry Bruins (NWO-I office) about their experiences.

New system

Introducing the new system is always a major effort. The P&O departments at the institutes and the S-unit (salary administration) of the NWO-I office were kept particularly busy. How do they like Youforce? Gael does not have to think long about his answer: “In a single word: fantastic. Previously, we worked with four different systems for all processes. Many things had to be done manually. For example, we had to print out contracts, place these in a signing book, have these signed and then scan the signed versions back into the system. That was laborious. Youforce makes my work much easier. Robin is also enthusiastic about the system: “I think it is an accessible and clear system.”

When Robin started at DIFFER last year, they already used Youforce. At CWI, Gael experienced the switch to the new system firsthand. Gael: “The switch went really smoothly. Mid-March, Henk Tamsma (head P&O, NWO-I office, ed.) and Ria Wemelsfelder (head salary administration, NWO-I office, ed.) dropped by to give a presentation. First of all, we tested the system with the P&O Department and checked various things. Subsequently, we made the switch in one go.”


To help the institutes with the introduction of Youforce, Ria and Henry (and often Henk too) went to all of the institutes for a number of ‘roadshows’. Henry really enjoyed doing those. “It was great to experience the dynamics of the institutes firsthand. We went to each institute twice. We introduced the system during a start day. Once the Institute had entirely switched over, we returned for a day to finalise the process. Then, we checked everything again and ensured the last modules were also switched on. Each institute has its own specific points of attention, so we deliver tailored solutions where possible.”

Robin: “Ria and Henry deserve a big compliment for all the sessions they attended, their enthusiasm, positivity, patience and especially all the help they provided! I realise that rolling out a system is not always easy, but Ria and Henry did it really well.”

Smooth implementation

And are the employees now able to use Youforce properly? CWI hardly experienced any problems since the system was introduced. Gael: “The number of questions I received after the switch was actually less than expected. These mostly concerned details such as how to enter remunerations or change the bank account number. We were able to answer all of those questions.” Robin had a similar experience: “It is mostly new employees from abroad who sometimes require a bit more explanation. Though we do devote attention to Youforce during their onboarding, they occasionally drop by to ask questions later on. Then you sit down with them and give them the help they need.”

And if you don’t know the answer? Robin laughs: “Then I always quickly phone Ria and often manage to swiftly solve the problem after all.” Henry: “It’s great to hear that our support is really appreciated. And we are very fortunate to have so much in-house knowledge about Youforce. I’ve had quite different experiences in other jobs, because there we had to hire in external specialists. But fortunately, that is not necessary here.”

Looking ahead

All three look back at the introduction of Youforce with satisfaction. And Henry is already casting a cautious glance ahead. “A system is never ‘finished’; new wishes arise within the organisation, and the supplier continues to offer new possibilities. Now that we all have the same starting point and work with the same system, new developments are easier to implement and we can more easily provide support from the NWO-I office.”

Text: Mirjam Hartman

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, June 2024
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