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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

HR Strategy

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Human Resources Strategy

Purpose and Context for an HR Strategy

The College evolves in response to educational and University policies, student expectations and to resourcing pressures. Within that context, we need to manage, develop and support our staff and fellows.

The College’s statutory objects are learning, education and research and maintaining a college for members to research and study for degrees in the University of Cambridge. The Strategic Direction focuses on, in the context of HR strategy in particular, the following:

  • The commitment to providing excellence in the education of outstanding young women from all backgrounds is clear and well established;
  • Maintaining the ethos of the college as inclusive, friendly and modern, maintaining the traditions of a Cambridge college but at the forefront of innovation;
  • Providing the environment, facilities, guidance and expertise to enable students and Fellows to achieve highly in their academic endeavours.

Our HR strategy and associated people plans and initiatives must underpin and support these as well as the College’s other main aims and objectives.

This document summarises the College’s approach in respect of how it manages, rewards, supports and develops its staff and Fellows. The aims are for each individual to understand and contribute to the College’s aims and objectives and to create a community where efforts are recognised.

HR strategy statements

Law, policies and management

The college will ensure that the rights and responsibilities of both individuals and the College as the employing organisation are clear, communicated and understood through a framework of contracts and hand-books which observe legal requirements and policies which promote good management.

The Personnel Committee, reporting to the Council is responsible for monitoring and maintaining compliance and good management and considering matters arising from organisational development or changes to structure.


Our HR strategy is underpinned by the following values designed to support the college community:

  • Respect in the way that individuals treat others and are treated themselves.
  • Fairness in our approach, with transparency and consistency in our decision-making.
  • Trust in the integrity of our intentions and behaviours.
  • Transparency of communication with respect to our policies and procedures.
  • Flexibility to address the reasonable needs of individuals and circumstance, through a shared framework of common standards and expectations across the college community.
  • Personal responsibility so that individuals are enabled to act with initiative and autonomy and feel encouraged and supported in so doing.
  • Team working including working between departments as an avenue for co-operation, collaboration and mutual support.
  • Constructive feedback from the top down and bottom up as a means to recognise contribution, to advise and to guide towards improvement.
  • Recognition and reward to acknowledge effort, achievement and consistent performance and commitment.
  • Fulfilment as a reasonable expectation from working in this community and within this working environment
  • Engaging to support the growth of the community.

The values inform the following strategy statements.

Motivating our staff and managing performance

  • Motivation and performance of staff will be managed through:
  • Involvement in governance by staff observer presence on the College Council and membership of committees as appropriate
  • Linking the operational plans of each of the College Departments to the College’s Strategic intent;
  • Effective line management to make individual staff aware of what is expected of them, guide and support them;
  • Appraisal and feedback, annually for staff and every two years for Fellows, to set clear expectations, assess job performance, offer the opportunity for two-way feedback, identify
  • areas for improvement and development and to underpin engagement between individual personnel and the college;
  • Training and development of staff and Fellows;
  • Providing staff and Fellows with an opportunity to contribute and to make their views known through open meetings and consultative committees;
  • Reward and recognition through pay and non-pay means.

Pay, grading and reward

The College wishes to promote teamwork in its structures and to reward a job well done.

The College will update and monitor an integrated pay system to support the HR goals of the overall strategy.

The staff bonus scheme introduced in consultation with staff in Michaelmas 2013 (replacing the previous award scheme for outstanding performance), has been designed to acknowledge the contribution of all individuals to the College’s achievements of its objectives. It will be continued for 2014/15 and monitored for effectiveness.

New posts or existing posts where there has been a change to the job description in response to the college’s requirements will continue to be subject to job evaluation reviews based upon objective criteria and the local market.

Non-pay benefits are reviewed for their ability to recognise contribution and motivation. We will consider how our pay, benefits, and working environment compare to others’, and possible relevant options for implementation, subject to affordability.

Recognising contribution through appreciation, and appropriate reward is also vitally important, and is crucial to the areas of recruitment and retention. Long service by personnel will also be honoured and recognised by the college.

Learning & Development

Induction processes will provide a foundation for the standards of performance and knowledge required for each role.

Job specific training and development needs will be identified via the appraisal process. Learning and development mechanisms may include on-the-job and in-house training activities, developmental training, professional, voluntary or academic studies opportunities and secondment.

Approval for significant investment of time or incurring external costs will involvement the HR manager and Bursar and delivered subject to budgetary constraints.

Personnel Policies and Procedures

We have updated and will continue to update the Staff Handbook to reflect changes to law, circumstance and emerging objectives of the college.

College policies will be updated to reflect the strategy set out in this document and any missing policies drafted.

Fellows’ information on the website will be regularly updated to reflect changes to policy and strategy.

The College will take into account the views and suggestions of staff and Fellows through staff open meetings, the Staff Joint Consultative Committee and Personnel Committee.

Process and systems improvement

Processes and systems must be efficient and effective to support good management that ensure compliance with regulations.

The college will implement an electronic HR database for staff and fellows which will be integrated with the pay systems and seek improvements in the quality and efficiency of administration of pay, pensions and benefits.


The strategy will be reviewed for effectiveness by the Council as it considers the performance against its strategic direction.


Approved: December 2014