The CPAM Yvelines has been transformed... And now?

Written by Sarah Spitz, on 08 September 2019


The transformation of CPAM Yvelines is today a remarkable story to tell. Through the implementation of an adapted Lean management, employees have learned to use simple tools autonomously. With encouraging results, the management has taken it a step further by introducing a participative innovation platform, which has given rise to over a thousand ideas. Simultaneously, a Quality of Work Life (QWL) approach, with the development of a well-being at work barometer, has allowed to gauge the feelings of employees and defuse latent tensions between managers and their teams. It was then that an extended autonomy, including the free determination of schedules and vacations for several teams, was successfully experimented with. The organization has matured at each stage of the journey, but it does not consider itself to have reached its destination yet!

Since 2011, several milestones have been achieved, barriers have been lifted, and trust has grown within CPAM Yvelines. For example, in 2017, the management decided not to control internet usage anymore. Anyone can now visit any website as they please. This is a symbolic measure; let's recall that some large companies still go as far as restricting access to professional sites like LinkedIn (which is quite inconvenient, based on experience)!

CPAM Yvelines is, therefore, the story of an impressive journey: benevolent and demanding management bears fruit, and trust prevails. Now, employees have the means to become active contributors to their organization, for instance, through the participative innovation platform ID'Nov. They also have the trust of their superiors to exercise these means. The management plays a role as a facilitator, respecting its commitments by choosing a transformation method consistent with the very values of this change: it relies on voluntarism because imposing initiatives to unleash the proposal power of employees wouldn't be quite coherent. It is precisely because the management embodies the values it advocates that volunteers mobilize.


"If tomorrow we had a new CEO without the desire to continue this momentum, I don't know... That's why it's up to us now to carry this momentum and inspire the future director, someday, to continue." - Francine, manager

The only exception to this voluntary rule is the debrief of the responses to the QWL (Quality of Work Life) questionnaire with one's manager, mandated by the leadership. This exception reveals the true objective of this transformation: to ensure that employees feel good at work in order to unleash their energies. With an expanded scope of action and a trusting leadership, employees take advantage of the opportunities presented to them, they dare. This is how the culture transforms: through a change in mindset resulting from a change in everyday organizational practices.

This is indicated by the voluntary participation rate in the "Values" workshops organized in 2018: 40% of employees decided to attend, and the "Vision" workshops in 2019, where everyone participated!

More than just indicators, the following anecdote probably illustrates the depth of the cultural change that has taken place. In October 2018, the leadership called for cooperation between departments. The mail opening and sorting activity was behind schedule, and this sorting did not require any specific expertise: anyone within the Health Insurance Fund could do it. But it had to be done quickly: the expected deadline was two weeks! This was an opportunity to test the "hummingbird" mindset, where everyone contributes their small part. A shared Excel file was set up by a small working group to allow everyone to sign up for sorting. It turned out that the agents (from different departments) were much more numerous than expected to contribute, in addition to the front desk staff and mail technicians. As a result, the files were processed in 2 days instead of 2 weeks!

However, there is still a long way to go: even if the "hummingbird" mindset has permeated every corner of the organization, the journey is not over. It is now necessary to involve not only the employees but also those for whom the Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) works – the policyholders.

Co-construction with policyholders

In 2017, inspired by the city of Nantes, the leadership conceived an outward-facing digital platform, following the ID'Nov model, to allow policyholders to express themselves and propose improvements to health insurance services and practices.

This platform was implemented between October and December 2018. During this period, policyholders could submit all their ideas. Just like the implementation of internal participatory innovation, idea trees were duplicated, this time on the walls of the Health Insurance Fund's offices. Another way to capture the ideas of users


Policyholders were engaged through two different and complementary projects:

  • Creation of a platform enabling the submission of ideas online (promoted through a press conference, communication on the website, Yvelines page, sending an email to policyholders who have accepted the use of their email address, and dissemination of a 'draw my life' video on the CPAM's Facebook page).

  • Participation in the Public Transformation Week organized by the DITP by offering an in-person workshop/focus group at the Health Insurance Fund's headquarters. On November 26, a two-hour workshop was organized to co-construct actions with willing clients. No less than 20 participating policyholders attended.

But after all... Why involve policyholders in the process? This is at the heart of the experiential approach: ensuring symmetry between the customer experience and the employee experience. But why? What's the point of dedicating so much energy to it? Undoubtedly, part of the answer lies in the first lever of transformation: meaning. The end customer, the user, is the one who gives meaning to the work. The work of the Health Insurance Fund is directed towards policyholders, so it is for them that employees work. The more employees interact with their users, the more they are exposed to the purpose of their work. Add to that the autonomy granted through adapted Lean management and the mastery of tools and skills ensured by the acculturation of managers and continuous training of agents: you have the three magical ingredients of intrinsic motivation according to Dan Pink.

8 years after the initiation of this transformation, it is clear that the organization radiates. The Health Insurance Fund organizes learning expeditions where various employees speak up and showcase their work. The energy that emanates from these events is impressive: go there, and you will likely feel the enthusiasm, pride, and authenticity that radiate from it. Something that is ultimately close to earnestness, that sincerity and almost childlike professionalism sought after by Sea Smoke Cellars, the absolute model of the liberated company founded by Bob Davids.