Several measures to address inappropriate conduct and balancing workloads

Based on the results of the personnel survey, Aalto University Board has confirmed that preventing inappropriate conduct and balancing workloads are the university's common development areas.

This decision was reached at the December meeting of the Board.

Inappropriate conduct may manifest itself in many ways. In addition to sexual harassment, it can include verbal or non-verbal abuse and intimidation, inappropriate electronic messaging, and simply hindering work or studies.

‘We want to reinforce an atmosphere in which every Aalto person can trust that they will be treated in an appropriate and respectful manner. Inappropriate conduct should always be reported and it must also be addressed without delay,’ says President Ilkka Niemelä.

‘I would like everyone at Aalto to read and follow the Aalto Code of Conduct, which will help us all make the right choices. I challenge Aalto community members to develop our organisation together, and to engage in constructive discussion, even on difficult issues, because each one of us is responsible for improving the operating environment that we share.’

Aalto’s existing procedures and instructions for dealing with inappropriate conduct have been renewed. In February, the updated operating instructions for how to intervene in and resolve situations will be communicated to personnel and students in a clearer manner than previously. The instructions will apply to the entire community.

A workshop model related to preventing inappropriate conduct is being prepared in co-operation with occupational health care, and it will be reviewed in the management teams of all departments and service units. Workshops targeting the entire personnel will begin in February. Training is also available for people who, due to their work role or position of trust, are involved in resolving situations of inappropriate conduct.

Online learning material about implementing the Aalto Code of Conduct will also be published in February, and training on this topic will be arranged for various personnel groups during the spring.

Workloads to be addressed in the spring objective discussions

As before, the focus in the spring objective discussions will be specifically on reaching agreement concerning objectives for the upcoming period. The objectives should be in line with common targets and clearly defined in order to estimate the workload and resources required to implement them. The objective discussion provides a good opportunity for building a shared understanding of role and expectations, planning work time allocation together and discussing workload.

A special focus for academic personnel will involve reviewing the teaching loads.

’It is important to compile the agreed tasks into a work plan in which the next academic year is planned through key areas: teaching and student guidance, research and artistic activities, and societal impact. We need to be able to estimate how much working time is needed for each of these fields/tasks,’ says Provost Kristiina Mäkelä.

‘A work plan is a useful tool for prioritising and allocating working time. It will also allow the management to follow up on the workloads.’

Another important element in balancing workload is the skill of self-leadership, and this is why Aalto has supplemented the training offered to the whole staff. Coaching related to holding objective discussions will be arranged for supervisors and, for example, groups will have access to training on using a reflective work approach to manage personal work.

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