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Human Resources at the service of scientific strategy, managed at a local level
INRA has adhered to the European Charter for Researchers since 2006, and is therefore committed to continual improvements in its Human Resources policy. This approach underpinned the wide-ranging discussions on all HR processes that resulted in the Strategic Framework Document on Human Resources (2013-2017) that now provides the foundations for the policies implemented.
This framework document reflects implementation of the strategic plan for the modernisation of INRA's support functions. It has resulted from collective thinking with the different networks involved, following the intense discussions that were organised between June and October 2013 which involved meetings between the HR Directorate and different research units, Centres and Divisions.
The framework document is intended for all actors involved in Human Resources throughout the Institute: in research units (directors, team leaders, managers, and correspondents and actors involved in health and safety, training and disability), in Centres (Presidents, directors of support services, local HR staff), in support divisions, in Scientific Divisions (Division Heads and their HR teams) and in the HR Directorate.
This document focuses on the collective priorities for HR activities and the working methods necessary to respond to them.
Four underlying principles for HR activities have been identified:
- The need to promote strong and clearly understood values of equality, respect and personal development,
- To be at the service of scientific strategy,
- To focus on the continual improvement of processes,
- To prefer the local management of HR issues.
These principles for action can be broken down into three strategic areas:
- To base INRA's HR policy on its scientific strategy,
- To initiate a dynamic for the continual improvement of HR processes,
- To manage employee motivation and working conditions.
This framework document is accompanied by the first version of the action plan covering the period 2014-2017. This proposes practical implementation of the framework document, organised in ten chapters:
operational action plan and are broken down into several chapters:
- Human resources policy on contractual staff
- Management changes
- Implementation of the Strategic Workforce Planning policy
- Roll-out of the process approach
- Diversity management
- Managing employee work-life balance
- Physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial risk prevention
- Legal risk prevention for all staff, groups and the Institute
- Increasing international awareness and attractiveness
- Internal HR communication.
The final version of this action, accompanied by a timetable, will be available in mid-2014.
"Working to further the Institute’s scientific strategy"
Two questions for Fabrice Marty, Director of Human Resources at INRA
- What went into the thought process before this document was elaborated? How many work sessions were there, how many people were involved and how long did it take?
The first version of the framework document was drafted in August 2012. It underwent considerable changes and restructuring based on feedback received during some forty meetings about it. Several hundreds of people were involved throughout the process: they voiced ideas, discussed, debated and completed this document. More than twenty versions, each more thorough than the last, helped deepen our understanding of our shared values, the principles that guide our HR policy and the Institute’s priorities.
What are the major focal points – or the main chapters – of this framework document?
The document is divided into two main sections. The first, which came up during discussions, deals with the necessity of fostering the values shared by all members of our professional community: a sense of unity, mutual respect and listening, and collective action. This first section also outlines the principles espoused by the HR Directorate, which depends on HR personnel and the Institute’s leaders. The first principle is to promote strong values of equality, respect for rules and people, and empathy. The other three principles are about aiming for continual improvement, sharing a vision and priorities, and handling issues locally.
The second section details the HR Directorate’s three priorities: basing the HR policy on the Institute’s scientific strategy, encouraging continual improvement, and managing employee motivation and working conditions. The action plan is divided into ten chapters that each deals with a separate topic.
"HR Excellence": a broadened label and greater international attractiveness
The framework document, its working methods and action plan, was submitted to the European Commission in 2014 in order to broaden the "Human Resources Excellence" label obtained in 2010 for the Institute's HR policy on researchers to the entire process determined by this framework document. This label, which was renewed, ensures international visibility for the collective actions implemented by INRA, enhance its attractiveness and allow it to benefit from regular, internationally-recognised evaluations.