Human resources

Development and planning

Promoting lifelong learning, diversity, and health of employees; identifying new career paths; responsibly handling temporary employment; and establishing human resources management based on recognition, respect, and fairness

What do we mean by this?

Developing and designing strategies and concepts for employee recruitment and skill development opens up secure long-term job/career prospects for employees in and outside the research institution, and helps create the conditions for excellent research. Focus is primarily on the employer's social responsibility towards a good work-life balance, fair handling of temporary employees, diversity, and health promotion. Human resources management is an important strategic partner of governance when it comes to the systematic conceptualisation and design of the respective HR management activities.

Personnel marketing
Attracting and retaining highly qualified employees is a key objective for non-university research institutions, so that they can continue to contribute to the positive development of their nation as a science and business location. Research organisations and universities share the common goal, in particular, of recruiting young talent. A research institution can increase its attractiveness to young scientists by offering an organisational culture that promotes the development of its employees.

Personnel development
Personnel development is a core strategic and long-term, function- and qualification-oriented task that encompasses all measures for the education, promotion, and development of employees in the scientific and science-supporting fields. The focus is on opening up new development and career paths and avoiding precarious employment relationships, especially for young scientists. Other research institutions and universities also benefit from this. Personnel development enables lifelong learning, contributes to professional and personal development, supports compatible careers beyond the research organisation, and promotes the permeability of career paths between science and administration.

In that it involves the strategically oriented design of development processes and change processes, personnel development shares close links with the objectives of organisational development. For example, personnel development shares some of the tasks of implementing strategic sustainability management, wherever this is implemented as a change management process.

Fixed terms
Fixed-term employment contracts are an integral part of a dynamic and flexible science system. However, because planning uncertainty is inherent in fixed-term employment contracts for the employees concerned, fair handling of fixed-term employees must be ensured. Personnel and career planning should therefore be transparent, proactive, and continuous. Furthermore, fixed-term employees should also be offered development opportunities that help them to get into a successful career afterwards.

Cooperation between managers and employees based on recognition, respect, and fairness is an essential factor for employee satisfaction and thus also for career opportunities. Ideally, the predominant leadership style is characterised by mutual appreciation, trust, personal responsibility, and participation.

Leaders are also instrumental in fostering a value-based organisational culture and implementing organisational guidelines and principles. The tasks of leadership become particularly demanding in interdisciplinary or intercultural research alliances, for example, since coordination requires not only strategic and administrative skills but also a high level of social competence. The institution should create appropriate conditions for the development of a "good leadership culture", for example through qualification offers or guidelines.

By valuing diversity, the organisation helps to ensure equal professional opportunities, work-life balance, equal participation, and inclusion. Diversity refers, for example, to the gender, age, migration, religion, disability, sexual identity, culture, and education of (potential) employees.

Diversity management means, on the one hand, accounting for the different needs and life phases of employees and, on the other hand, making productive use of the associated variety in experience, perspectives, and ideas. A diverse employee structure also promotes innovation potential and is therefore a decisive success factor for research organisations and their research and innovation processes.

Health management
Occupational health management goes beyond the legal requirements for occupational health and safety. The various groups of employees at a research institution are confronted with various factors that can cause stress for them in their work environment. In addition to psychological factors, which can stem from the company culture, the team climate, the organisation of work, or the pressure to succeed in the science system, there are also physical factors, such as sitting for long periods at desks. Maintaining the health and performance of employees means organising the workplace, tasks, division of labour, and general and personal conditions to meet all needs.

How could a research organisation implement this?

  • Create transparency in the fixed-term employment policy, for example through internal and external communication or through internal organisational guidelines on fixed-term employment
  • Offer continued training and personnel development concepts that suit each life phase
  • Promote work-life balance, for example through childcare services, eldercare, a crisis hotline, or flexible working time models
  • Raise managers' awareness of their responsibilities in the areas of diversity and health
  • Provide target group-specific qualification services
  • Conduct regular employee surveys
  • Continually redevelop the qualification schemes to address the needs of specific target groups, for example new and/or experienced managers
  • Address prevention in the context of occupational health and safety, for example through health days and providing information on topics such as workplace ergonomics or stress and relaxation

Practical examples

Temporary employment policy guideline at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The temporary employment policy guideline sets a standard for handling temporary employment within the entire Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, and creates a basis for dealing with this as a cross-cutting task in all areas of personnel development, such as career planning, qualification, and leadership.

Visit the website

Work-life balance at the Fraunhofer-Institutszentrum Stuttgart

Award presentation "Re-entry into the labour market", ©Photo Ministry for Finance & Economic Affairs Baden-Württemberg
The Fraunhofer-Institutszentrum Stuttgart ensures a good work-life balance by offering a wide range of childcare services including holidays and emergencies, flexible working time models, and individual part-time arrangements offered by the Fraunhofer Institutes, together with the option of teleworking. A return-to-work rate of almost 100 per cent of employees after parental leave speaks for the success of this concept.

Visit the website

Career guidelines of the Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Guidelines on Career Development provide information on the promotion of scientists and academics in the Leibniz Association at all career stages.

Visit the website

Leibniz Mentoring in the Leibniz Association

Leibniz Mentoring aims at supporting highly qualified female PhD researchers on their path to a managerial position or professorship. It supports the scientists in managing their careers in a goal-driven way, in expanding their subject-specific networks, and in taking on managerial tasks with confidence.

Visit the website

Further information

Pact for Research and Innovation III
Show details

Sustainability reporting

DNK criteria

  • 15 Equal Opportunities
  • 16 Qualifications

GRI indicators

  • G4-LA 1–13