What is HRS4R?
The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) supports research institutions and funding organisations in the implementation of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers in their policies and practices. The Charter and Code document, in existence since 2005 as a set of recommendations of the European Commission, defines the roles, responsibilities and rights of researchers and their employers and supporters. It aims to promote attractive research careers and improve employment and working conditions across Europe. Institutions implement the Charter and Code principles via the HRS4R process, invented to facilitate the practical implementation process at the institutional level. Enrolment in the HRS4R is voluntary and non-binding, yet it implies a long-term commitment throughout many years, including joint efforts and coordination with various internal and external stakeholders. It is nevertheless a rewarding process, that ensures the institution’s transition from progress to quality. The European Commission grants the “HR Excellence in Research” award, which gives public recognition, to research institutions that have made progress in aligning their human resource policies with the principles set out in the Charter & Code. After the award is granted, the participating institution must document and cyclically evaluate the progress and quality of the actions and accompanying measures.
HR Strategy for Researchers at Bay Zoltán Research Institute
Bay Zoltán Research Institute started to prepare for the HRS4R process in early 2021. Following the institutional endorsement of the Charter and Code, the Steering Committee and The Working Group, two bodies involved in the preparation and the implementation process, were formed. Then a company-wide survey was designed and launched based on the Charter and Code principles and being available for filling it in online for every employee of the company. At the time of opening the survey, an online presentation was delivered explaining the HRS4R process, the practical steps towards the application and its significance for the institution. The recording and the ppt presentation were both made available for viewing for later in the company intranet. The survey was open for two months.
Based on the survey results, which were shared with the Steering Committee and the Working Group, work began on the Gap analysis and the Action plan. Three meetings took place, each meeting about a month apart, to design the Gap analysis; to fill in the OTM-R checklist; and to design the Action plan.
The preparation process, though the Steering Committee and the Working Group, has involved employees from all major research areas, at all employment levels covering both research and non-research (support) roles, including the company management. The main sites of the Research Institute are all represented and gender balance is ensured for both groups. In addition to participation in these two bodies, which have limited membership, all employees were invited to participate in the opening presentation about the HRS4R process and to anonymously fill in the online survey.
The implementation of the HR Strategy involves all levels of the organisation that have also been engaged in the application phase: the Managing Director, who is also part of the Steering Committee; the Management Team who will validate the progress in agreement with the organisational rules; the Steering Committee and the Working Group with their respective roles of overseeing and implementing the actions; the responsible units as mentioned in the Action Plan, whose representatives will be invited to the Steering Group and/or Working Group meetings according to demand; the project manager who will oversee the implementation phase; and the body of employees, both in research and support roles, who will receive updates either directly from the project manager or through the communication team, about the implemented actions. Opportunity for feedback is provided at all levels: for the employees, both the annual satisfaction surveys and the designated online information sessions about the progress will provide for giving feedback.
The HRS4R application package was submitted electronically in December 2021. Implementation of the HR strategy started in January 2022.
The Action Plan, comprising a central element of Bay Zoltán Research Institute’s HR Strategy, can be downloaded here.