Putting people first

Published: 22 October 2020

New initiative will address challenges faced by colleagues during pandemic

The University’s People First initiative is recommending a series of actions which will mitigate against some of the impacts felt by staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People First was established to consider how we can better support staff and fast-track a series of tangible measures to improve working life across the institution.

Using evidence drawn from Colleges and University Services, SMG has approved the recommendations of the People First Working Group.

These measures will:

  • Improve access to existing mental health support on offer including the development of further resources for managers;
  • Adjust both promotion and PDR processes to take account of individual circumstances, including extending timeframes to deliver objectives and/or revision of objectives to take account of, for example, periods of furlough;
  • Expand our existing voucher scheme to recognise ‘above and beyond’ efforts made during the pandemic;
  • Launch new development programmes around agile working. For example, a digital skills programme run jointly by IT and Organisational Development starts at the beginning of November and is now available to book through CORE HR;
  • Continue to relax and shift deadlines that don’t adversely affect business needs with respect to essential or critical work, or external deadlines.

Furthermore, the group has heard concerns relating to Academic Promotions, Zone Movement and similar professional services related processes and is pleased to confirm that SMG will reinstate these arrangements for AY2020-21, financial considerations and affordability permitting.

Director of HR, Christine Barr, said: “The People First initiative is a hugely important step in making sure our policies and procedures keep pace with the rate of change that we’re seeing across the institution. In many ways the pandemic has transformed how we live and work, and it’s right that the University considers how we can accommodate this change in a sustainable way and better support people going forwards.

“I believe we have identified some areas where we can begin to deliver positive change, including supporting promotion and recognition, agile working and health and wellbeing. We look forward to beginning to implement these in the near future.”

Future plans

  • People First is committed to delivering further improvements in the following areas:
  • Promoting equality and reducing any differential impact by protected characteristics, eg gender, ethnicity, age, disability;
  • Enabling personal/professional development and career progression; 
  • Balancing workload and productivity including workload management and the role of the manager;
  • Supporting mental health, wellbeing and work-life balance;
  • Maximising provision in ‘upping our game’ on reward and recognition;
  • Embedding new ways of working for the long term
  • Flexible and remote working and enabling infrastructure and capability building
  • Creating a great ‘return to campus’ experience.
  • Future MyGlasgow editions will have further details on actions being taken across these areas.

First published: 22 October 2020