3.2 Supporting the competence development and well-being of the staff

Identifying development needs in staff competence

The steering group for personnel well-being and competence development defines the principles and focus areas arising from the Strategy. Focus areas define the centralised staff training contents offered to the entire personnel and the support for work communities. The principles of leadership guides the leadership and management development needs. The training selection is available in the work community development plan. UTU has many ways of collecting information about the competence development needs.

Identifying training needs of the staff is implemented through performance reviews, development discussions, faculty tours which are conversational meetings with Deans and other management. Competence development and sharing practices, this Teams-channel is for bringing forth training needs, wishes and ideas, and sharing different types of competence among colleagues. Feedback from training participants. A steering group for personnel well-being and competence development which defines the focus areas of the personnel development and well-being services, monitors the methods, promotes the services and develops the support measures for unit and work community. International agreement on reforming research assessment and commitment to Finnish national guidelines on responsible research evaluation as well as UTU’s own policy on responsible research and evaluation.

The Graduate School’s working group focusing on training develops training based on feedback from doctoral researchers. UTU’s responsible research and researcher evaluation is aiming to recognise competences which researchers have developed during their careers. The teaching staff’s opportunities for participating in pedagogical training are supported as part of the quality assurance of education. Student feedback ensures that the teaching methods are relevant.

Supporting the development of staff competence

The Personnel Policy describes how the Strategy and Policy Programme are implemented as HR activities.

The UTU strategy 2021-2030 states that The University of Turku is an internationally competitive university whose operations are based on high-quality, multidisciplinary research. We promote education and free science and provide higher education that is based on research. The University is part of the international academic community. We coll¬aborate closely with the Finnish society and participate actively in the development of the region. We inspire unique learning experiences and outstanding learning outcomes. We cultivate an engaging and exceptional research environment. We are a proactive and dynamic partner. We are an active expert community. The personnel policy 2021-2030 states that we are experts in a thriving community and conduct meaningful work together at the responsibly led University of Turku. We are ambitious and proactive. Goals of the personnel policy are community well-being and diversity, competent and learning-oriented staff, open and high-quality leadership and sustainable campus of the future.

The work community development plan defines what kind of staff training will be organised. Several internal operators produce training services for the entire personnel and work communities. Training is organised also by external operators and as a collaboration between Finnish universities. Staff training are offered to all members of the UTU community. The training is free of charge and can be attended during working hours.

The open training courses are listed in Staff Training Calendar and in the Teams platform that is also used for sharing materials, competence and good practices (see chapter 3.3). The staff has licence to Eduhouse Online learning environment in digital skills and webinars in various themes. There are also other forms of support for competence and well-being development, such as mentoring, onboarding, on-demand training for work community, professional supervision, coaching, and peer groups. Those in a supervisory position are required to participate in leadership training.

UTUGS organises courses on transferable skills to researchers. The teaching staff can participate in pedagogical training. UNIPS is an online learning environment for teachers and other staff members.


The recruitment procedure is based on Universities Act, Act on the Openness of Government Activities and UTU’s own guidelines Procedure in Staff Recruitment, Appointment of Professors, Tenure Track System, and Fixed-term Employment Relationships. As a part of the EU’s HRS4R-certification, UTU is committed to implement the Charter and Code and the OTM-R Policy. These principles are integrated in UTU Strategy and Personnel Policy.

At UTU, recruitments are mainly carried out externally. Advertisement is done through both national and international channels. The assessment of applicants is based on pre-set requirements which are stated in the job advertisement. External expert procedure is used when recruiting professors or within the tenure track system and career path. Public selection memo is drawn on every recruitment. Throughout the recruitment process, the candidates are informed about the next steps and also about their own application status. The Personnel Pool supports career advancement and employees can express their interest to other positions in the Pool.

Well-being of personnel

The well-being of the personnel is continually monitored in co-operation with the occupational health care, and regularly assessed through Work Well-being Surveys and OHC’s Workplace Surveys. Data is collected annually with the Personnel Report.

The workplace survey process starts with workpl¬ace risk assessment in order to identify the risks at work and assess their impact on employee safety. The second step is briefing and the first meeting. Informing the  personnel of the workpl¬ace survey process and the results of the workp¬lace risk assessment. Participants include the entire personnel and supervisors, occupational health services and occupational health and safety. The third step is an electronic health survey to assess the work ability of the personnel. The survey is sent electronically by occupational health services. The fourth step is appointments to the physical examinations. The fifth step is visiting the unit which includes examining the working conditions and operational culture. Participants include occupational health services, occupational health and safety and representative of the unit. Sixth step is reporting the results of the workpl¬ace survey to the unit management and agreeing on follow-up measures. Participants include occupational health services, occupational health and safety manager and possibly study and Work Well-being Services. The seventh step is rel¬ating the results of the workp¬lace survey. Participants include the entire personnel and supervisors, occupational health services, occupational health and safety and possibly Study and Work Well-being Services. The eight step is follow-up of the workpl¬ace survey within 6-12 months. Checking how the development has progressed, if needed, new points of development will be identified with the unit management. Participants include occupational health services, occupational health and safety and unit management.

The outcomes of the Work Well-being Survey are reported on the work-community level to allow concrete development. The supervisors are supported with materials and tailored facilitation services. Well-being is a topic in each employee’s development discussion.

UTU ensures the well-being of individuals and the functionality of the University community with extensive and accessible services, such as the Study and Work Well-being Services including the Campus Sport, which are also available for researchers irrespective of their funding position.

Study and work well-being services unit was established in 2017. The services include campus sport, study psychologist services, accessibility planning officers, well-being development services, occupational health and occupational safety and data protection and information security. Campus Sport is for all HEIs in Turku. The topics of study psychologist services include studying and learning skills, matters re¬lated to motivation in studying and learning, time management, ability to study and coping. The purpose is not to diagnose or treat mental health problems. Open also for doctoral researchers who do not have access to occupational psychologist services. Accessibility P¬lanning Officers offer support for learners with special needs. Well-being Development Services include Early Support of Work Ability (2011), Early Support of Study Ability (2018), Workp¬lace mediation for conflicts and training and facilitation and other services rel¬ated to well-being.  Occupational Health and Occupational Safety include Coordination of and co-operation with Occupational Health Care Services (Mehiläinen) for those who are in an employment re¬lationship. Every second year a Workpl¬ace Well-being Survey, ¬latest being in September 2021, and support for improving well-being on the basis of the results. Open for all doctoral researchers.

The early support guidelines and contacts help in situations where every day work is disturbed, by e.g. harassment, hate speech, or conflicts. The supervisor is responsible for solving problems, but all community members are encouraged to be active. For conflict resolution, UTU has an internal network of workplace mediators and a research-based workplace mediation process (see chapter 3.4).

Examples of individual or work community problems that disturb working. Employee early support situations. Absence pattern changes. Lowered work quality. Problems in working time management. L¬ack of commitment to rules. Substance abuse suspicion. Experience of bullying or harassment. Changes in behavior, for example constant tiredness, isol¬ation, ¬lack of motivation. Work community early support situations. Unclear division of duties and responsibilities. Divided into clashing cliques. More and more time spent on confrontation. Exhaustion and increase in sick leaves. Each member of the work community has the responsibility to recognise and address difficult issues. The supervisor is responsible for the well-being of the work community and the employees, i.e. recognising, clarifying and addressing difficult issues. Supervisor's leadership tools include onboarding, review discussions, staff meetings and one-on-one discussions.  Support for supervisor include the following actors. Study and Work Well-being Services, early support contact persons and Human Resources. Occupational Safety Manager and occupational safety delegates. Occupational health physicians, nurses and psychologists. Support for supervisor include the following instructions and processes. Early Support of Work Ability intranet pages, HR instructions and occupational safety instructions.

Everyone in the community has an important role in promoting equality and non-discrimination (related to e.g. age, sex, ethnicity). Promotion of accessibility and study and work well-being are at the heart of equality work.

UTU has an Equality Plan. The Equality Committee (EC) monitors the progress regularly and updates the measures as required. The advisor on equality issues offers instructions and guidance to both students and personnel, and collaborates with the EC and the Student Union.

UTU has a zero tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour and racism. There are several ways to report experiences of inappropriate behaviour.

Accessibility means the possibility for all types of actors to participate and act equally in the UTU community, regardless of their personal characteristics. The Accessibility Policy’s objective is to promote accessibility and develop practises and operations that support accessibility and which are also required by legislation. The implementation plan is updated annually.

The accessibility planning officers give advice, support and guidance on matters related to the accessibility of studying and teaching both for different kinds of learners and the staff. Their tasks also include individual arrangements for studies.

Open communication culture increases the organisation’s well-being. The University Communications highlights and shares current topics, decisions and strategic themes on the intranet. Staff and students receive their own internal newsletter and can comment on the intranet news. The intranet also provides key services and instructions as well as electronic tools for the UTU community.

Strengths. Development discussion on different levels at UTU. Extensive support for the well-being of personnel and development on the University level and in faculties. Concrete Development of well-being after Work Well-being Surveys. At UTU, the Work Well-being Survey outcomes are reported on work-community level. Concrete actions to improve well-being are generated in discussions led by the supervisors and involving all personnel. The chosen actions are reported annually. Enhancement areas. Developing international employer brand and services for relocation and families. Onboarding for new personnel. Diversity and inclusion have been identified as a development area in the UTU Equality Plan, and in the current discussions at Finnish universities (Kotamo project) and the Finnish society in general (Yhdenvertaisempi Suomi).