Another year with the HR Award

Recall the activities we have planned in the Action Plan and find out how we have progressed and what lies ahead.

1 Jul 2022 Lubomír Spurný Silvie Rampouchová Dáša Ayadi

Vice-dean Lubomír Spurný and the two main coordinators of the project Silvie Rampouchová (left) and Dáša Ayadi (right). Photo: Alexandra Snováková

For more than a year, the Faculty of Arts MU has been the holder of the prestigious HR Excellence in Research Award (hereinafter referred to as the "HR Award"). This award is given by the European Commission to research institutions that implement the HRS4R (The Human Resources Strategy For Researchers). The rules that set the standards for the research environment within EU countries are defined in the forty principles set out in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Obtaining the "HR Award" certificate is a formal qualification marking the affiliation of a research organization to the community of organizations that share the European Research Area enabling effective communication, cooperation, mobility, but also funding of research, development, innovation ensuring further economic and social development and competitiveness of EU countries.

By obtaining this award in April 2021, the preparatory phase of the certification process has ended and our Faculty has moved into the phase of putting the HR strategy into practice, all in line with the Action Plan aimed at covering the weaknesses identified during the critical assessment of reserves and gaps (so-called gap analysis).

This seemingly inconspicuous activity may be of key importance to our faculty. The award-winning institution is committed to making a sustained contribution to the development of an open and functioning European labor market for domestic and international staff, where framework conditions will enable the recruitment and retention of high-quality researchers in an environment that promotes effective work and productivity. The HR Award can thus significantly help institutions to attract international experts, provide better links with organizations at the international level and a head start in applying for certain grants.

2021-2022: Implementation of the Action Plan

In the spring of 2021, the faculty was briefed on the content of the Action Plan and how it will be put into practice. Each employee then received an informational brochure entitled Our Journey to the HR Award.

Our team carried out a questionnaire survey for doctoral students, the results of which were subsequently followed up by a working group focused on proposing future measures in the field of doctoral studies. A Guide for new doctoral students at the Faculty of Arts MU was published and a special section for doctoral students was created on the Student page of the Faculty's website. Both will now be updated for new doctoral students.

A frequently discussed topic was the creation of the so-called Open Recruitment Policy (OTM-R Policy: Open, Transparent, and Merit-based Recruitment). This document defines open and transparent recruitment and selection based on the merit of applicants. As a result of the debate at the university-wide level, a new draft version of the Masaryk University Selection Procedure Regulations was recently approved and sent to the Ministry of Education. It is planned to come into force on 1 January 2023.

A specially assembled faculty working group for the gender equality plan conducted a demanding gender audit during the spring and summer of 2021. Detailed analyses of statistical data, results of HR Award questionnaires, promotional materials, regulations, opinions of male and female employees from group interviews, etc. were carried out. On the basis of these analyses, an assessment of the state of gender equality at our faculty was made, which, together with proposals for measures in this area, was submitted to the MU Rector's Office in the form of a final report and, together with materials from other MU units, served as the basis for the creation of the MU Gender Equality Plan for 2022-2024.

In December 2021, one of the objectives of the HR Award project was supported by the faculty's adoption of bilingual Czech and English internal communication in relevant areas. Faculty regulations have been translated into English, minutes of management and college meetings and mass email communication from the Dean's Office have been supplemented with English translation since the end of last year. The faculty newsletter is also published in two languages. The use of English in relevant internal communication is enshrined in MU Faculty of Arts Instruction No. 2/2021 Use of the English Language in the Internal Communication of the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. Support in the form of language courses has been prepared for the staff of the dean's office of our faculty, who are most affected by the expansion of communication with English. Licenses for the renowned translator DeepL and the English spelling and style checker Grammarly have also been purchased.

At the end of last year, a concept for how to inform staff of new or updated internal rules and documents was also prepared. The approval and piloting of the concept were accompanied by a number of comments that had to be incorporated. Since June 2022, the application has been launched and employees are gradually familiarising themselves with the internal rules already through the application.

2022: Present and new expectations

As of March 2022, the new MU Faculty of Arts Instruction No. 1/2022 Preparation and implementation of projects of international and supranational providers will facilitate the preparation and implementation of international research projects. The document clearly summarises the individual phases and steps of the process of planning, preparation, and implementation of projects of international and supranational providers. This is primarily to offer sufficient support in the preparation of international projects and to increase the chances of their implementation. For the sake of clarity, the guidance is accompanied by a detailed flowchart of the whole process.

In the area of measures against sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence, a university-wide methodology for dealing with sexual harassment cases at MU has been developed. Along with this activity, a website on the topic of sexual harassment has been launched and workshops and awareness-raising events on the topic are organized as additional activities. A questionnaire survey conducted at the MU Faculty of Arts will accompany the establishment of the Faculty Gender Equality Plan. The management of our faculty also wants to help working parents. Therefore, from 1 September 2022, places in the children's group at the nearby MU premises on Komenský náměstí in Brno will be secured.

Before the new version of the MU Selection Procedure Regulations comes into force on 1 January 2023, this general document will be supplemented by a faculty implementing regulation specifying the rules for recruitment and selection of new employees at the MU Faculty of Arts. The follow-up documents will include a methodology for persons involved in the recruitment and selection of new employees (also effective from the beginning of 2023). At the same time, a training program for these persons is being developed, focused on conducting selection interviews (also in e-learning form).

In 2022, FF MU will start to provide newly recruited employees with a more sophisticated form of the adaptation process, including a support application, which the HR Award project team helped to create in a university-wide working group in 2021. The role of the HR department and managers will be clearly defined and the function of informal adaptation guides will be newly introduced. New colleagues will be provided with a handbook containing links to relevant information resources alongside their induction training. The progress of the adaptation process will be evaluated at the end of their probationary period.

Our project team is working intensively on the creation of a faculty part of the Employee Portal, which will bring together information from many areas of staff issues. In this context, the web pages of the Dean's office and service departments are being completed and updated.

We expect the new MU Code of Ethics to be published in 2022. To help employees better understand all the important changes, we are preparing an information campaign for employees
and students at the MU Faculty of Arts.

Finally, we would like to remind you of one of the upcoming milestones of the HR Award certification process, which is the so-called internal self-assessment of the institution. According to the requirements of the European Commission, by April 2023 a Report on the implementation of the Action Plan will be prepared and a Revised Action Plan will be proposed, including measures for the next three years. Prior to the development of these documents, we would like to conduct a questionnaire survey at the end of 2022 to provide feedback from the faculty staff on the implemented steps of the HR Award project.

All information about the HR Award at FF MU, including news, can be found in the relevant section of the FF MU website. Important events are also communicated by our team through information seminars, newsletters, and news on our website. Upcoming topics are discussed with the working group and the faculty management at the HR Award Oversight Committee meetings. The Academic Senate of the Faculty of Arts of MU is also informed in advance about key upcoming actions.

More about HR Award

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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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