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

Assessment of the audit team

Doing the correct things right the first time means having the right competences

HAMK’s motto for its quality policy “doing the correct things right at the first time” implies having the right competences to fulfil one’s tasks. Thus, constant and well-targeted competence development plays an essential role in the institution’s strategic management. To this end, HAMK has set up various procedures and processes to capture competence development needs of its staff and uses a variety of tools to continuously monitor both individual as well as institutional competence development. Regular and well-prepared staff performance appraisals and personal meetings help defining individual competence needs and setting personal targets and milestones. Competence mapping and HAMK’s Competence Tree are diligently used tools to follow both development areas and outcomes achieved. In the interviews, staff also referred appreciatively to HAMK’s system of mentors and supervisors for personal guidance, as well as the encouragement for “taking the extra mile” with up-skilling courses or even doctoral studies. The opportunities for experiential teaching and project “experiments” provided by HAMK’s Design Factory are valuable means for innovation and personal learning and considered as an asset of HAMK, as the audit team learned in the interviews.

To cater for the rapidly changing pedagogical needs, driven by a dynamic labour market and progressing needs for digital learning, HAMK provides a specific training and coaching programme – HAMK100 – as well as the system of “digi-edu”. Labour market surveys and feedback from external stakeholders and partners also serve up-dating competence needs in order to aid graduates in a successful integration into the job-market. This information, too, feeds back into the competence development plans for HAMK’s teaching staff. The audit team could learn in the interviews that individual and collective learning for competence development of staff is well supported by HAMK’s various measures and initiatives, and that the set of tools, including plans for competence development, forms a comprehensive ”living system” of recognised value for all staff members. Furthermore, staff also referred to the ”competence gain” stemming from the necessity of providing digital teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic and how helpful ”digi-edu” had been in this respect.

Communication, cooperation, equality, and transparency nourish staff’s well-being

For HAMK, people are at the centre of all core areas: well-being of staff at work fostered by fairness and equality, open communication and a motivating work environment are key elements for human resource management. Supervisors help shape employee experiences, surveys are used to capture employee job satisfaction and arising needs for further development. Well-being is closely connected with equality and equal treatment at work and promoted by removing physical, mental and social barriers within operational environments and the practices of working. To prevent any form of discrimination and ensure that each person that is part of HAMK ”can study and work on an equal footing with others, regardless of the individual’s personal characteristics” (sic Guidelines), HAMK has comprehensively laid down the scope and principles for equality in specific documents (Equality Plan for staff, Guidelines on promoting equality among students and applicants) and published them on HAMK’s webpage. The implementation of equality principles for students and staff is monitored and periodically evaluated.

Specific surveys, in the self-evaluation report, referred to as ”atmospheric measurements”, such as PULSE or ParTy, are regularly used to measure staff well-being; the results of these surveys also feed back into the BI system and are used in HAMK’s strategic management. Specific indicators for well-being measurement might be supportive, particularly for strategic management, and are therefore recommended by the audit team.

The staff expressed explicit appreciation for HAMK’s caring attitude for their well-being and competence development, and mentioned the various services offered, such as healthcare and sports services, the flexible working hours, as well as multiple opportunities of cooperation, teamwork and learning from each other. HAMK’s actively practised “open door policy”, regular team meetings and collegial support also contribute the well-being of staff.

Open communication ensures fairness, equality and transparency within HAMK’s work community, and for all institutional processes.  Recruitment procedures and requirements are openly communicated and based on centralised decisions. In the interviews, staff convincingly confirmed that they feel well supported according to their needs and value the pleasant and stimulating working atmosphere at HAMK, that fosters their well-being, equality and personal development.