REWARDING AND DEVELOPING PEOPLE AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGY

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1 1. Introduction REWARDING AND DEVELOPING PEOPLE AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGY 1.1 Oxford s Human Resources (HR) Strategy relates, except where otherwise stated, to all those employed by the University and is designed to support the University s mission to achieve and sustain excellence in every area of its teaching and research, to maintain and develop its historical position as a world-class university, and to enrich the international, national, and regional communities through the fruits of its research and the skills of its graduates. It reflects Oxford s key values of academic freedom, subsidiarity, collegiality and the pursuit of excellence, as developed in the Corporate Plan, to and as set out in the Strategic Plan for to ; it is designed to deliver the Personnel Objective of the Strategic Plan, namely to attract, develop, reward and retain academic staff of the highest international calibre, and to make the University of Oxford and its colleges employers of choice for all staff in the international, national, and local environments. 1.2 Our first strategy for the period focussed on the six priority areas identified by HEFCE for the first phase of the Rewarding and Developing Staff (RDS) initiative 3. There were very substantial achievements during the initial phase and many of the initiatives in that plan continue, funded by HEFCE s baselined allocation. After 2001 HEFCE s requirements broadened to reflect the challenges identified in the Government s 2003 White Paper 4 and, in respect of the second phase of the RDS initiative (2004-8), focused specifically on teaching career progression (including specific recognition schemes), the use of flexible reward systems underpinned by institution-wide job evaluation (in the light of the National Framework Agreement on salary modernisation), annual performance review, the development of researchers and the professionalisation of support staff; and there have been significant developments in employment legislation (e.g. the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, the Fixed-Term Employees Regulations, and the Employment (Equality) Age Regulations 2006). This current strategy reflects the HR objectives and priorities of the collegiate University, as well as all of those external requirements. 1.3 In developing the current HR strategy we have taken a broad perspective, involving extensive consultation, strategic risk assessment 5, and extensive self-assessment of progress so far, in line with HEFCE s requirements, to ensure that all aspects of HR management which are essential to the achievement of the University s Strategic Plan 1 Supplement *1 to the Oxford University Gazette, Vol. 136 (September 2005), 2 See 3 The six areas were recruitment and retention, staff development and training, equal opportunities, reviews of staffing needs, annual performance review and reward, and tackling poor performance. 4 The Future of Higher Education, DfES, January The University s strategic risk register identifies failure to take adequate action on salaries, other benefits, and balance of duties as a major risk to the University and to the fulfilment of its Strategic Plan in terms of recruitment, retention, reward, and motivation of academic and other senior staff. Relevant objectives in the HR strategy are key responses for managing this risk. 1

2 - 2 - are covered. The HR Strategy is therefore a comprehensive strategy designed to cover all key HR initiatives. 1.4 The objectives of the strategy are grouped under broad five themes, namely (A) recruiting high-calibre staff; (B) managing and developing staff; (C) rewarding and retaining high-calibre staff; (D) the new reward framework; and (E) monitoring and evaluating the strategy. 1.5 Equality and diversity principles are not separately identified but integrated throughout the new strategy in line with the University s aim to embed equal opportunities monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment in all aspects of policy development and practice. 1.6 The remainder of this document sets out the institutional context for the HR strategy and its links to the Strategic Plan and other strategies. It reviews the principal HR issues which the University intends to address, and sets out specific objectives, priorities, and actions. 2. Oxford University s mission and corporate plan 2.1 The HR strategy supports the fundamental aim of the University s mission, namely to achieve and sustain excellence in all areas of its teaching and research, by focusing on the need to recruit, retain, and reward staff of the highest calibre in all employment groups, and to foster the motivation, morale, and continued development of such staff. The strategy underpins key elements of the specific objectives which the University has adopted in support of its mission 1, which are, in brief, that the University will: provide the facilities and support for its staff to pursue innovative research, building upon Oxford s outstanding research record; promote challenging and rigorous teaching which benefits from a fruitful interaction with the research environment; maintain and make best use of the advantages of its independent colleges, where members intellectual and personal development is fostered within a stimulating, multidisciplinary academic community; attract students of the highest calibre, from the UK and internationally, to its undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses, widening access by actively seeking applications from students from diverse backgrounds. 2.2 The University s Corporate Plan was agreed in 2005 after wide discussion and consultation and identified a number of critical HR issues. The Corporate Plan was then developed into a Strategic Plan for the period to 2013, and the personnel elements of that plan drew on, and are fully reflected in, the HR strategy. 2.3 The following actions are being taken forward by a Task Force on Academic Employment, the work of which is of the highest importance to the future of the collegiate University and its HR strategies, policies, and practices: 1 The University s mission statement is at

3 - 3 - a review of the principles relating to all academic appointments made by the University alone or jointly with colleges, and the effect of current and possible alternative arrangements on both workload and the achievement of academic objectives; career structure and career development, including the implications for titles, remuneration, duties, and the role of developmental appraisal; a review of academic salary structures, including the number and structure of pay grades, promotion, arrangements for recruitment and retention payments, for merit pay and market pay, and for allowances and other additional payments and benefits; the implications of inequalities in remuneration between the colleges; the promotion of the principles of equality and diversity; and a review of arrangements for tenure. The deliberations of the task force have major relevance across all of the themes of the HR Strategy. Its work represents in itself a substantial theme of the strategy, a key objective of which is to take its discussions forward towards recommendations for the future. Hereafter in this paper and in the general objectives that follow, other particular issues which will be affected by the task force s proposals are marked (TF). 2.4 Other key HR activities emphasised in the Corporate Plan and the Strategic Plan comprise: dealing with excessive workloads and rebalancing workloads, ensuring that academics devote sufficient time to their core activities, reducing bureaucratic burdens (TF); recruiting and retaining scholars of the highest distinction and potential, and providing extra administrative support and staff development opportunities, in order to contribute to the delivery of the strategy on research; increasing flexibility in the assignment of teaching duties, preparing contract research staff (CRS) and graduate students for academic practice, and rewarding successful teaching, in order to contribute to the delivery of the strategy on teaching and learning (TF); finding ways to integrate CRS more fully into the collegiate University, as part of a general initiative to improve CRS management and career development (TF); creating improved systems for developmental appraisal and staff development which are consistent with Oxford s values and institutional structures; and devising a coherent and effective system of management and administration across the collegiate University. 2.5 None of these objectives is fully achievable without a significant improvement in the finances of the collegiate University. Given the range and importance of the HR issues set out above, it is crucial that significant funds continue to be applied to HR purposes. Beyond that, the Strategic Plan indicates that improved reward systems for staff will be

4 - 4 - a first priority call on the additional income Oxford hopes to generate under its strategy on finance. 3. Development of the HR strategy 3.1 In addition to a careful assessment of strategic direction, the University s HR strategy derives from analysis of quantitative trends over a considerable period. Staffing, recruitment, and turnover statistics have been monitored in detail for many years, with findings reviewed regularly. Data on recruitment and retention problems have played a key role in the University s development of discretionary salary systems which are more extensive than in many other universities. Further detailed analyses of recruitment and retention issues affecting academic staff, as well as updating market pay data, are planned in order to refine the targeting of HR initiatives. 3.2 The University s concern for equality of opportunity has led to the development of monitoring arrangements to evaluate the impact of HR initiatives (including recruitment monitoring and regular equal pay audits), which have in turn informed specific positive action initiatives. 3.3 This HR strategy has been developed by the University s Personnel Committee and follows extensive internal consultation with academic divisions, inter-collegiate bodies, departmental managers and joint committees with trade union and staff representatives over the period of the evolution of personnel strategy since 2000 and in the context of the development of the Corporate and Strategic Plans. Achieving the aims of the HR strategy will require close dialogue between the Personnel Committee, Council and its main committees (especially the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee), the academic divisions, the Department for Continuing Education, and those responsible for providing academic and other services. It will also involve close co-operation with the colleges, as well as detailed discussion and negotiation with staff representatives and departmental managers. Formal mechanisms to review the progress and effectiveness of the strategy, and to refine it as appropriate, are embedded in the strategy itself under theme E. Factors underpinning the strategy 3.4 The strategy has been developed in recognition of the following key factors: the values set out in the Corporate Plan and the Strategic Plan, and in the consultative papers issued by the task force, relating to academic freedom, subsidiarity, collegiality, and the pursuit of excellence; the high degree of personal responsibility inherent in world-class research, teaching, and supporting activities; the collegiate structure of the University and of its undergraduate teaching; the important role played by all staff in enabling the institution to achieve its mission and the need to tailor approaches to becoming an employer of choice appropriately in respect of each staff group; the particular importance of maintaining and enhancing the quality of our academic staff in general, as well as recruiting and retaining key individual academics;

5 - 5 - the structure of the University s governance, which combines central planning and oversight with substantial devolution of decision-making on detailed matters to bodies best equipped to take the decisions; 1 the need to streamline regulatory and bureaucratic burdens and ensure that the HR Strategy and other initiatives do not themselves add to these burdens; the importance of complying with employment legislation, developing a new reward framework, and contributing to conceptions of best practice in the sector; the importance of diversity and equality and of appropriate impact assessments to monitor the effect of policy and practice on all staff groups in accordance with relevant legislation; the importance of monitoring the effect of HR policies and practices on the evolving needs and aspirations of the University s departments; and the limited resources available to the University, within which expenditure on staffing issues must be properly prioritised, and the impact on those resources of increasing costs in areas such as pension contributions and employer s national insurance, as well as pay. 3.5 Working within the tensions characterised above, the strategy has been designed to avoid a proliferation of small centrally-driven initiatives, and to create flexibility within a general framework so that detailed decisions can be taken at divisional or department level, with appropriate support from the centre, to respond to specific local needs. This is particularly reflected in the devolution of the recurrent RDS funding en bloc to spending sectors, on condition that they devote these sums to the objectives of the HR Strategy but with the freedom to determine the precise use of those funds as between those objectives, in the light of local priorities. 4. Structure of the HR Strategy 4.1 The strategy is presented under five broad themes, the first three of which reflect the main stages of employment: recruiting high-calibre staff (theme A), managing and developing them effectively (theme B), and rewarding and retaining them (theme C). Underpinning these three main areas is a commitment to providing professional support from the centre to assist departments to match staffing profiles to academic plans. Theme D reflects the requirement to establish and develop a modernised salary structure and to harmonise conditions between different staff groups. Theme E pulls together a set of second-level objectives concerned with monitoring and evaluation of the strategy, and contains actions to further strengthen HR management information systems. 4.2 The HR strategy had a separate heading for equality of opportunity objectives, as required by the HEFCE template. All of our policies are informed by our welldeveloped equal opportunities strategy, which is promulgated via an annual rolling 1 Throughout this document and the strategy itself, references to organisational units such as divisions and departments may reflect a wider variety of spending body, in the light of the University s particular governance arrangements.

6 - 6 - action plan. Staffing and recruitment are monitored by ethnicity, gender, and disability, and the results are reviewed annually. Any data suggesting under-representation or disparate impact are further investigated, resulting in the development of appropriate positive action initiatives. In the past this has included an Athena-funded research project investigating the reasons for the relatively small number of applications from women for academic posts in science, engineering, and technology: as a result of this a highly successful Career Development Fellowship scheme was established under the first phase of the HR strategy, and continued in the second phase, as one means of widening the pool of suitably qualified applicants for such posts, including women and ethnic minority applicants. Such considerations will continue to feature in the key priorities for the current HR Strategy. The strategy covers part-time and full-time staff equally: and contains specific objectives in relation to fixed-term contract research staff. 4.3 In line with the University s policy to integrate equality and diversity issues into all its activities, and the requirements of the recent equality legislation, such objectives have therefore been included within each of the main themes, although there is also a specific and separately identified objective to monitor the University s progress towards equality of opportunity within theme E, and diversity issues figure prominently in our key priorities and actions for the next period. The University s Head of Equality and Diversity has been a member of the HR Strategy Steering Group. 4.4 In the first two phases of HECFE s RDS initiative, the recurrent and non-recurrent funding was internally earmarked by the University for use by specific spending sectors for particular HR purposes. From onwards, the recurrent (first-phase) funding was in principle allocated internally under the University s Resource Allocation Method, subject to the provision of sufficient funding to the services to enable them to continue to undertake the objectives which the HR Strategy requires them to pursue. This proviso covered two elements: (i) the services, like academic departments, continued to receive sufficient funding to enable them to carry out activities which all departments are required by the strategy to undertake; and (ii) the particular services which directly undertake specific HR Strategy objectives continued to receive resources to enable them to continue to do so. From all the relevant funding for Oxford under RDS became recurrent, and was allocated internally in that way on the understanding that relevant spending sectors will continue to devote appropriate resources to the objectives of this HR Strategy for which they remain responsible. 4.5 The strategy is kept under review by the HR Strategy Steering Group (a forum which draws together all human resources services and includes representatives of Personnel and Administrative Services, the Oxford Learning Institute, the Diversity and Equality Unit, Occupational Health, and Health and Safety) and by the University s Personnel Committee and Council, in particular in the light of ongoing implementation of the University s Strategic Plan and the work of the Task Force on Academic Employment, outcomes from which will be key to the further implementation of the HR Strategy.

7 Overview of the HR Strategy themes Theme A: recruiting high-calibre staff 5.1 This theme is critical to the University s position as an international centre of academic excellence. In particular, the ability to attract the very best academics worldwide is very likely to require individual arrangements, while we will also need to equip ourselves to continue to recruit high-calibre staff in an international market to all of our senior posts. A commitment to equality and diversity is integral to our recruitment objectives. Thus, more broadly, widening the recruitment pool for academic posts and becoming an employer of choice in all staff groups will help improve our ability to compete and attract the best and most diverse fields of candidates. The continued use of targeted discretionary payment schemes, that have been shown to be effective in recruiting staff and that are consistent with equal pay requirements, will enable the University to recruit high-calibre staff while complying with employment legislation. Provision for market supplements will further increase the University s ability to respond to exceptional recruitment pressures in areas of critical skill shortage. Theme B: managing and developing staff; achieving departmental staffing objectives 5.2 Under this theme we will continue to improve the quality of leadership and management at all levels; and work towards mechanisms for enabling academic staff and senior administrators to focus on key priorities, and systems for appropriate career and professional development for all staff. Underpinning the latter is the development of more effective appraisal for all staff to support institutional needs and facilitate staff development. Specific staff development initiatives for the professionalisation of key groups of support staff are also included. Managers at all levels need timely and effective support from HR services if they are to deliver plans within the requirements of employment and other legislation, and lead the management of change at a time of considerable major developments within the University (not least in terms of IT and other systems). Particular importance is attached to reviewing staffing needs in the light of institutional plans and facilitating transition to new staffing profiles where required; and to dealing fairly and effectively with restructuring, redeployment, redundancy and capability issues. All of these may require, within financial constraints, more handson support for departments from Personnel Services and the Oxford Learning Institute. 5.3 Within this broad objective, special emphasis is also placed on equipping administrative staff to provide excellent support for the University s mission; and on the development of research staff in order to ensure that the University retains and enhances its leading position as a centre of research excellence. Building on the achievements under the Research Careers Initiative and the pilot activity undertaken locally during the first phase of the RDS initiative, a significant enhancement of support and development for fixed-term contract research staff is underway. This being a very diverse staff group, equality principles will be particularly important in the design and impact evaluation of staff development activities. Theme C: rewarding and retaining high-calibre staff 5.4 This theme builds on recent developments to extend the range of ways of rewarding and retaining world-class academics and other high-calibre staff. Reward is not narrowly defined as simply pay, but includes other factors that have been shown to influence individuals career decisions, such as work-life balance. Special attention will

8 - 8 - be given to new initiatives focused on career progression and specific recognition and reward in respect of teaching excellence. Equality and diversity principles are integrated through the monitoring and evaluation of general and specific initiatives, and through targeted staff development which promotes career progression amongst underrepresented groups. Theme D: new reward framework 5.5 A modern flexible framework for reward, and greater harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment, provides the overall structure within which themes A to C can be implemented. The aim has been to create a single, rational, transparent, and fair structure underpinned by analytical job evaluation to replace the previous plethora of pay scales and grading arrangements. The new framework is intended to support a flexible reward system in an objective and transparent way, consistent with equal pay legislation and the requirements of HEFCE and the JNCHES national framework agreement (for example in relation to market pay, and the annual departmental merit award scheme to reward exceptional performance). The new structure removes confusing and unhelpful demarcation between staff groups, and will enhance career development, and reduce administrative overheads through more streamlined processes. This theme has major financial, organisational, and employee relations implications. 5.6 The University will continue, as under the first phases of the RDS initiative, to devote a considerable proportion of the HR strategy funding direct to differential pay to address recruitment, retention, and reward of merit according the needs of the different staff groups across the University. Theme E: monitoring and evaluating the strategy and the requirements of departments; strengthening HR management information systems 5.7 Monitoring and evaluating the HR Strategy is integral to the University s internal planning and budgetary procedures. The processes outlined in Theme E will enable the University to facilitate delivery of academic plans, assist the appropriate allocation of resources, and ensure compliance with employment legislation. The processes include more effective consultation arrangements, greater integration of an HR dimension into planning processes at all levels, and fostering the interaction between the University and colleges on the development of HR policy and practice. Provision of key HR information to those who need it, and replacing our current payroll/personnel system, OPENdoor, with an enhanced HR information system are also covered. In particular, the impact of policies on all groups, especially in the light of recent equality legislation, will be monitored to avoid disproportionate effects on certain staff groups.

9 - 9 - REWARDING AND DEVELOPING PEOPLE AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGY Major themes; general objectives; and specific key priorities and actions Theme A: recruiting high calibre staff This theme is critical to the University s position as an international centre of academic excellence. In particular, the ability to attract the very best academics worldwide is very likely to require individual arrangements, while we will also need to equip ourselves to continue to recruit high-calibre staff in an international market to all of our senior posts. A commitment to equality and diversity is integral to our recruitment objectives. Thus, more broadly, widening the recruitment pool for academic posts and becoming an employer of choice in all staff groups will help improve our ability to compete and attract the best and most diverse fields of candidates, and also enable us to meet our commitments under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act and other equality legislation. The continued use of targeted discretionary payment schemes, that have been shown to be effective in recruiting staff and that are consistent with equal pay requirements, will enable the University to recruit high-calibre staff while complying with employment legislation. Provision for market supplements will further increase the University s ability to respond to exceptional recruitment pressures in areas of critical skill shortage. Objectives A.1. To continue to recruit world-class staff at the most senior levels (TF) A.2. To continue to attract outstanding lecturers (both nationally and internationally) by developing a more effective and focussed approach to recruitment to academic posts (TF) A.3. To recruit key academic-related and university support staff through the targeted use of costeffective, fair, and transparent discretionary payment schemes A.4. To become an employer of choice in the local and national labour markets for support and academic-related staff, widening the recruitment pool in specific respects A.5. To review the operation of the electoral board processes for the appointment of statutory professors and readers Theme B: managing and developing staff; achieving departmental staffing objectives In this theme we attempt to work towards highly effective leadership and management at all levels, mechanisms for enabling academic staff and senior administrators to focus on key priorities, and systems for appropriate career and professional development for all staff. Underpinning the latter is the development of more effective appraisal for all staff to support institutional needs and facilitate staff development. Specific staff development initiatives for the professionalisation of key groups of support staff are also included. Effective high-level leadership facilitates the delivery of academic plans at all levels, and inspires and motivates university staff by giving clear direction and support. Similarly, middle- and first-line managers are crucial to the motivation and performance of staff across the University, and to the delivery of the University s policies (including this strategy). Managers in all these positions need timely and effective support from HR services if they are to deliver plans within the requirements of employment and other legislation, and lead the management of change at a time of considerable major developments within the University (not least in terms of IT and other systems). Particular importance is attached to reviewing staffing needs in the light of institutional plans and facilitating transition to new staffing profiles where required; and on dealing fairly and effectively with restructuring, redeployment, redundancy and capability issues. All of these may require, within financial constraints, more hands-on support for departments from Personnel Services and the Oxford Learning Institute. Within this broad objective, special emphasis is also placed on equipping administrative staff to provide excellent support for the University s mission; and on the development of research staff in order to ensure that the University retains and enhances its leading position as a centre of research excellence. Building on the achievements under the Research Careers Initiative and the pilot activity

10 undertaken locally during the first phase of the RDS initiative, a significant enhancement of support and development and for research staff is underway. Equality and diversity principles are integral to all aspects of staff management and development, including the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of initiatives. Objectives B.1. B.2. B.3. B.4. B.5. B.6. B.7. B.8. B.9. B.10. B.11. B.12. To further enhance the effectiveness of those who lead the University at the highest levels To seek to reduce and/or vary the range of demands on academic staff, reducing and/or rebalancing workloads, so that they can focus on their core role in research and teaching activities key to the institution s academic mission (TF): this includes, but is not limited to increasing flexibility in the assignment of teaching duties, and preparing contract research staff and graduate students for academic practice To manage and develop research staff more effectively (TF), including finding ways to integrate CRS more fully into the collegiate University To develop more effective appraisal for all staff which supports institutional needs and facilitates staff development, through improved systems which are consistent with Oxford s values and institutional structures To assist departments to identify and achieve their staffing needs To strengthen administrative provision at the local level in order to manage strategic change To develop operational HR expertise and ensure effective policy implementation To improve the quality of leadership at middle and first-line management levels To provide staff development and other infrastructural provision to support equality initiatives To establish an institutional framework ensuring equal access to training and development tailored to the needs of each different group of staff To review grievance and disciplinary procedures in light of legislative change and other relevant developments To develop more effective mechanisms for staff communication and consultation Theme C: rewarding and retaining high-calibre staff This theme builds on recent developments to extend the range of ways of rewarding and retaining world-class academics and other high-calibre staff. Reward is not narrowly defined as pay, but includes other factors that have been shown to influence individuals career decisions, such as worklife balance. Special attention is given to new initiatives focused on career progression and specific recognition and reward schemes in respect of teaching excellence. Equality and diversity principles are integrated through the monitoring and evaluation of general and specific initiatives, and through targeted staff development which promotes career progression amongst under-represented groups. Objectives C.1. C.2. C.3. C.4. C.5. C.6. To ensure the long-term retention of excellent academic staff (TF) To retain scholars of the highest distinction, and other key staff, in acute cases through the use, where necessary and objectively justifiable, of discretionary payment schemes which are cost effective and consistent with equal pay for work of equal value (TF) To hold regular, well-funded gathered field exercises for distinction awards for professors and readers in post (TF) To define, measure, and consider appropriate rewards for teaching excellence in the Oxford context, in consultation with the colleges (TF) To reward exceptional performance amongst university support staff and academic-related staff To provide terms and conditions of employment which encourage existing staff to view the University as their employer of choice (TF)

11 Theme D: new reward framework A modern flexible framework for reward, and greater harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment, provides the overall structure within which themes A to C can be implemented. The aim has been to create a single, rational, transparent, and fair structure underpinned by analytical job evaluation to replace the previous plethora of pay scales and grading arrangements. The new framework is intended to support a flexible reward system in an objective and transparent way consistent with equal pay legislation and the requirements of HEFCE and the JNCHES national framework agreement (for example in relation to discretionary and market pay). The new structure removes confusing and unhelpful demarcation between staff groups, and will enhance career development, and reduce administrative overheads through more streamlined processes. This theme has major financial, organisational, and employee relations implications. Objectives D.1. To reform salary structures (TF) D.2. To ensure that various categories of staff receive salaries commensurate with the range of duties that they perform (TF) D.3. To continue to harmonise terms and conditions of employment in the context of a developing reward framework Theme E: monitoring and evaluating the strategy and the requirements of departments; strengthening HR management information systems Monitoring and evaluating the HR Strategy is integral to the University s internal planning and budgetary procedures. The processes outlined below, which include consultation arrangements and greater integration of an HR dimension into planning processes at all levels, will enable the University to facilitate the delivery of academic plans, assist the appropriate allocation of resources, and ensure compliance with employment legislation. Providing key HR information to those who need it, and replacing our current payroll/personnel system with an enhanced HR information system are also covered. In particular, the impact of policies on all groups, especially in the light of recent equality legislation, will be monitored to avoid disproportionate effects on certain staff groups. Objectives E.1. E.2. E.3. E.4. E.5. E.6. To provide accurate and timely HR information in support of policy and practice To consult divisions, departments and colleges on the University s HR strategy, policies and practices; with a particular emphasis on discussions with colleges to ensure that both the University and the colleges are employers of choice for all staff in the international, national and local environments To replace OPENdoor, the University s payroll/personnel system To assess the impact of the University s policies and practices to ensure that all staff are afforded equal opportunities at entry into employment and within employment (TF) To monitor staff patterns at key intervention points to ensure that the University s policies to promote equality of opportunity are having the intended effect (TF) To conduct evaluations of staff development and leadership programmes, including assessments of their impact.

12 SPECIFIC KEY MEDIUM-TERM PRIORITIES AND ACTIONS Divisions, departments, faculties, and relevant administrative services will continue to pursue the general objectives on pp In addition, following a self-assessment exercise, and wide consultation, the Personnel Committee and Council have approved the following specific key medium-term priorities and actions. Recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-calibre staff Priorities to take the work of the Task Force on Academic Employment decisively forward, particularly in relation to the optimal use of increased income to improve the terms and conditions of academic staff, career progression for lecturers, revised contractual conditions for lecturers to permit greater variation in the pattern of duties, and the grade structure below lecturer, taking account of equality issues in general, and in particular the goals set for academic women s career development in the Gender Equality Scheme; to continue to focus on the most pressing recruitment, retention, and reward issues in relation to academic, academic-related, and university support staff, particularly at senior levels. Managing and developing staff Priorities to establish and implement systems for developmental appraisal and personal and career development which are consistent with Oxford s values and institutional structures (and with the principles set out in the integrated Equal Opportunities Policy), with an initial focus on university support staff, and to strengthen management training in this area; to sharpen the focus of work on contract research staff and expedite outcomes, in particular in terms of integrating those contract research staff on an academic career trajectory more fully into the research, teaching, and administrative work of the collegiate University, taking account of the particular barriers faced by women and black and ethnic minority staff; to develop a single profile of staff development needs and a strategy for staff and career development (not least for support staff); to improve managers understanding of tools for staff development; to ensure that equality principles inform the provision of staff development, and that staff development supports the University s strategy for equality and diversity;

13 to improve training and support for those acquiring management responsibilities; to continuously improve operational arrangements for personnel services, including revised arrangements to link the centre, the divisions, the departments, and the faculties on a business partner model, implementing Internal Audit recommendations on risk management, and fostering a more responsive and less risk-averse approach; to streamline procedures to produce a transparent, fair, proportionate and effective set of arrangements in relation to grievance, disciplinary, and capability procedures, and to strengthen management training in these areas; to further develop a coherent and responsive approach to workplace stress management; to consider the introduction of a policy for recording and managing sickness absence. Monitoring and further development of the HR Strategy, management information, and the requirements of employing departments Priorities to implement a new HR Information System, in consultation with all stakeholders, in order, in particular, to foster efficiencies in personnel administration, to integrate more fully the planning of staff numbers with other planning issues, to monitor recruitment and retention issues, and to ensure efficient arrangements for the administration of staff development, to inform equality impact assessments, and to inform discussions on the size and composition of the workforce (so that these can be seen alongside considerations of the size of the student body, research activity, capital developments, and estates provision); to improve liaison between the University and the colleges on personnel issues, including all elements of these specific key priorities which affect joint academic appointments; to improve liaison between the various human resources functions within the University; to ensure that good practice on diversity and equal opportunities informs the range of our HR policies and practice, that monitoring arrangements are complete and systematic, and that the conclusions drawn from this monitoring and other impact assessments are consistently followed through (e.g. in terms of the recruitment of women academics and of disabled people); to conduct and analyse the results of an equal pay audit; to review arrangements for staff consultation, especially in relation to support staff and to the requirements for consultation and meaningful involvement under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, and the Equality

14 Act, and including staff opinion surveys, and to maintain good employee relations; to survey the perception of HR functions such as central support on occupational health and staff welfare, and to review training and education programmes in this area; to contribute to the development of a more cohesive and streamlined system of administration in the collegiate University. G:\HR Strategy\2009\current strategy.doc

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