A year with HR Award

It is just over a year since the Faculty of Arts of MU endorsed the European Comission human resources strategy in science and research. Find out what has been achieved in this agenda and what are the future plans.

8 Jan 2021 Lukáš Fasora Silvie Rampouchová Dáša Ayadi

The vice-dean Lukáš Fasora and the manager of the project Silvie Rampouchová. Photo by: Oksana Venzheha

It is just over a year since the Faculty of Arts of MU sent an official letter to the European Commission endorsing the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, namely the EC human resources strategy in science and research.

Over the last twelve months, the human resources policy of our faculty has undergone a detailed examination in terms of fulfilling the above-mentioned principles. Many ideas for its future development have emerged. On behalf of the smallest faculty team HR Award, we would like to summarize what is happening in this area. As the implementation of the EC personnel strategy by our faculty is a long-term process, we would also like to inform the faculty employees about the expected events of 2021.

The motivation for accepting the principles of the Charter and Code and for obtaining the HR Award was basically threefold: a) Awareness of a certain discomfort faced by some groups of researchers at our faculty. b) The need to adapt the human resources policy as MU and FA MU are increasingly becoming part of international research teams and thus will start to adopt foreign standards of human resources. c) The need to accept the requirements of some research investors (EU, TA ČR, prospectively GA ČR, etc.) This is necessary for the implementation of the EC human resources strategy into the research policy of the faculty.

Since the autumn of 2019, teams have been created at the FA MU to ensure the organization and supervision of the HR Award agenda. The highest body for the HR Award agenda is the Steering Committee headed by the Dean of the FA MU. This body is responsible for the final wording of documents sent to Brussels with the participation of members of the Dean's Board of the FA MU and HR professionals. Furthermore, a Working Group was formed consisting of academics nominated by the FA MU departments to discuss planned changes. A smaller HR Award Expert Team was tasked with the revision, in detail, of the current human resources policy of MU and FA MU related to research. It also organized and supported debate on the status of research at various levels of faculty operations, identifying shortcomings and formulating remedies and opportunities for development. The list of the members of all HR Award teams is available here.

The HR Award Expert Team drew inspiration for changes from three basic sources. First of all, it was a debate with the members of the Working Group. These were selected to best represent the individual groups of FA MU employees active in research. Therefore, when choosing the members of this committee, the Dean of the FA MU took into account both the professional specialization and representation of faculty members: different generations of researchers, men and women, people with foreign experience and leaders and assistants in research. The second source was an extensive questionnaire survey conducted at FA MU in 2020 with a return of almost 70%, brief results are available here. The third source was consultations with experts from the faculty, the university, external sources and experts from abroad. Furthermore, meetings were held with representatives from other areas of MU involved in the HR Award agenda and a working group chaired by Vice-Rector Jiří Hanuš.

The results of the analysis and debates were summarized in two documents: The Gap Analysis which was an analysis of possible new opportunities in human resources and human resources policy shortcomings. Secondly, the Action Plan which outlined a series of steps to remedy shortcomings and develop areas not yet addressed. These documents were sent to European Commission for assessment on 30 November 2020. Copies are available here. The EC's statement is expected in March 2021.

The results of the analysis and debates were summarized in two documents: the Gap Analysis (i.e. the analysis of reserves and human resources policy shortcomings) and the Action Plan (a series of steps to remedy shortcomings and develop areas not yet addressed), which were sent to European Commission for assessment on 30 November 2020. Both documents are available here. We expect the EC's statement in March 2021.

Photo by: Oksana Venzheha

What next? If the result in Brussels is positive, we will receive the HR Award and a challenging period of implementation of the Action Plan will begin. After two years, at the beginning of 2023, we will have an interim assessment – an evaluation of progress in the implementation of the measures of the Action Plan and its updating for the following period.

The plan is to make human resources at FA MU clearer. Functioning and transparent processes are the priority. It requires the processing of their detailed description, good information being available for researchers and the establishment of indicators for continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of the set procedures.

Individual human resources processes will gradually be developed. Firstly, the most important inputs will be created in the form of job descriptions and the career management rules. This will be followed by recruitment and selection, adaptation, a unified evaluation system, staff training and development, and supervision for early-stage researchers. Attention will be focused on the implementation of some important changes in the field of PhD studies and also conditions for postdoctoral positions. Work will take place to improve the environment for researchers by implementing a gender balance policy, developing a bilingual environment, streamlining the administrative support of researchers and rationalization of the use of space at FA MU. We will start joint work with the MU Rector´s Office to create a proposal for mediation services for employees. When processing the Gap Analysis, low employee awareness across many areas was found. The response to this will result in changes in internal communication.

All information about the HR Award at FA MU, including news, can be found on the FA MU website and we also communicate important events and milestones through information seminars for employees, targeted campaigns, meetings of the Dean´s Board and faculty management, etc.

Finally, on behalf of the HR Award team, we would like to invite you to the online presentation of the results of the HR Award FA MU 2020 questionnaire survey with the Vice-Dean for Research and Development of FA MU prof. Mgr. Lukáš Fasora, Ph.D. and HR Award Manager Mgr. Silvie Rampouchová, which will take place on 15 January 2021. All FA MU employees will receive an invitation to this event in their e-mail boxes.

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These activities are supported by the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education in frame of the project  “Development of Human Resources and other strategic areas to support research at MU (HR4MUII)“, nr. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/18_054/0014703.

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