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‘Continued development’ of the secretarial role takes shape in practice
It has been a lengthy process to get here, but from now on secretaries will have an additional opportunity to discuss their tasks and duties, current and future. In recent months, the implementation working group has introduced some new developments, one of which is a new interview route that gives secretaries the chance to discuss what their job involves as well as their ambitions.
Look at the tasks and duties assigned to secretaries and base their scale on these rather than on their place in the organization, as currently happens. Discuss whether secretaries are still in positions that suit them and suggest appropriate career paths. These are the most important recommendations made by the project group which last year submitted the ‘advice on the continued development of the future secretarial role at TU/e’ – as previously reported in Cursor.
This advice was approved by the Executive Board in April of last year and an implementation working group consisting of HR advisors was charged with deciding how the advice should take shape in practice. Among other things, this has meant a change in how secretaries are scaled. In accordance with the advice, from now on secretaries will be scaled based on the tasks and duties they perform and no longer on their position in the organization. Until now, the role of secretary could be scaled at one of the following levels: working at ‘institutional level’; secretary in a department or large TU/e service; employed in a group or a small TU/e service. The group has also worked out in greater detail how the scaling should be decided based on the secretary's tasks and duties.
For the rest, the working group has proposed that secretaries sit down with their manager and discuss at length their tasks and ambitions. These elements are on the agenda of the initial interview, which is itself part of what is called a ‘development-oriented interview route’. To facilitate this kind of interview, the members of the implementation working group have prepared an interview guideline, Chantal Beijers and Sandra van de Weijer tell Cursor. They are both HR advisors and members of the implementation working group. The members of the working group asked HR advisors and (managing) directors for their thoughts on what the ‘development-focused review route’ should involve and what the objective should be of the initial interview.
Beijers says, "In terms of the employee's further development, we see this as an initial interview. It will involve a discussion of what the job involves and factors that may influence this - such as project-based working and internationalization, as well as the job-holder's own ambitions. The secretaries have no guarantee of, say, training, but this interview provides an opportunity to discuss this possibility. And the outcome of the interview may well be that both the manager and the secretary are satisfied with the secretary's current tasks and duties and that little changes.”
According to the two HR advisors, the aim of the initial interview is therefore different from that of the 'routine' annual appraisal. Van de Weijer says, "That is about your current work and there is less emphasis on development issues. But the findings of the initial interview and subsequent interviews will be included in the annual appraisal.”
The first interviews between secretaries and their managers about job content and ambition have now been scheduled. The intention is that all TU/e secretaries should have their initial interview before May of this year.
Below you will find the flow diagram that is offering guidance.