The UvA’s HR policy can be strengthened following the adoption of policy papers on annual consultations, career development policy, academic leadership and strategic staff planning.
In the past period, these policy papers have been developed in close cooperation with the faculties and shared services, and in frequent consultation with the representative advisory bodies. The key objective is to ensure a professional HR policy aimed at attracting, retaining and developing employees (and their talents), thus enhancing education and research.
Geert ten Dam, President of the Executive Board: ‘Maintenance was overdue, so to speak. The necessary steps have been taken in recent years and these policy documents provide a framework for further improvements. The policy is based on investments in personnel policy, more attention for teaching in careers, guidance, and creating the right conditions for people to carry out their work and pursue their personal and professional development as effectively as possible. It’s also about good employership: what employees can expect, for example in the annual consultations. We take the interests of both the organisation and its employees into consideration, and these plans give concrete form to this.’
After the HR-Agenda was adopted in 2015, the development of the policy papers began. In these policy papers, five priorities have been specified in further detail. Between October 2016 and September 2017, there were regular and thorough discussions with policy officers in faculties, representatives of the employees’ organisations (UCLO) and the representative advisory bodies (COR). Round-table discussions and individual meetings with employees and supervisors were conducted as well. All these efforts generated valuable input and a broad base of support for the policy documents. Five policy papers were eventually submitted to the Central Works Council; four of these were mostly met with approval, while one was not.
Ten Dam: ‘After careful consideration of the additional wishes and conditions, we were able to satisfy the Central Works Council's wishes on as many points as possible. We then adopted these four policy documents, because we feel it is very important for the entire UvA to begin implementing this policy. We would have also liked to adopt the fifth policy document on an appropriate balance between permanent and temporary staff.’
The policy paper ‘Temporary and permanent staff: On the path towards an appropriate balance’ was not approved by the Central Works Council and was therefore withdrawn.
To ensure an appropriate balance between temporary and permanent staff, the UvA has already taken the necessary measures in the recent period and will continue to do so despite the withdrawal of the policy document. For example, the UvA has opted to reduce undesirable forms of flexibilisation and invest in the career prospects of staff with temporary contracts. In principle, the UvA offers employment for an indefinite period of time, unless a temporary employment is deemed necessary. Decisions to grant temporary appointments must be duly substantiated. The UvA has also explicitly committed itself to observing the maximum percentage of temporary employment contracts for the job categories of professor, associate professor, assistant professor and lecturer (22%) as stipulated in the Collective Labour Agreement, and has now fulfilled this commitment.
The plans will be implemented in keeping with the way in which the HR-Agenda was developed: through close consultation and collaboration between the HR policy department and the P&O departments of the faculties and services. The first of these discussions have already taken place, and their content, and the implementation schedule, will be shared with the organisation as soon as more details become available.