Human Resources

Summary of the People Strategy for the University of Kent - 2015-2020

The People Strategy is an important supporting and enabling plan to the 2015-20 Institutional Plan.

At the heart of this strategy is one key idea and commitment:

Space for Passion, Room to Grow….

Kent is a distinctive and attractive place to work – and those who work here want to keep it that way. Since its founding it has maintained a focus on academic and professional values, and a collegial and collaborative style of working, that in turn has ensured it continues to attract people who value the opportunity to advance and share knowledge within a supportive and inspirational environment. It is also an ambitious and imaginative organisation, recognising the need for change if it is to continue to realise those ambitions in an ever more challenging environment.

Looking forward, the task of the People Strategy is to retain a focus on the university’s core values, giving all our employees space to exercise the creativity and passion that is so essential to academic endeavour, while attracting, engaging and enabling those who work here to grow personally and respond positively to the changes that will be necessary to continued success in an increasingly competitive and fast changing world. In undertaking this task we will focus particularly on supporting our objectives in Research, Teaching and Engagement.

Institutional Plan

The Institutional Plan for 2015-2020 sets ambitious targets for the recruitment of overseas fee paying students and continued success as a top 20 Institution. Specifically, it says as regards people:

  • We will recruit academic staff with exceptional research and innovation portfolios and those who demonstrate excellent potential.  We will support academic staff who have the potential to become world leaders in their fields through training, mentoring and effective performance review;
  • Through outstanding leadership and an effective and supportive governance structure, we will protect our collegial culture and enable our staff to thrive in a global environment; we will support them to make bold, sometimes difficult, decisions.

Targets include:

  • engage staff with the University’s vision and mission
  • Regularly undertake staff surveys to gain insight into changing views/expectations
  • Provide training in cross-cultural communication, networking and relationship building
  • Link appraisal mechanism to succession and recognition opportunities
  • Embed an equality, diversity and inclusivity culture throughout the Institution
  • Encourage a culture that rewards initiative
  • All science schools to receive an Athena SWAN Silver award, with others holding a Bronze award

This will be achieved through the following guiding principles

Our employees will feel enabled and supported to:-

  • Collaborate, develop and be a part of strong, creative, flexible and mutually supportive teams;
  • Exercise influence and communicate and pursue difficult propositions where this is necessary to our development and success;
  • Develop ideas, innovate and lead well – engaging others in joint purpose.

Our aim is to be increasingly recognised as an innovative and supportive employer who strives to combine the best academic traditions and commitment to equality with the fresh perspectives and approaches that will enable us to adapt to our fast changing environment.

Our Objectives

1. We will take a fresh approach that ensures we can continue to attract and employ the excellent people we need to fulfil our ambitions to be recognised, both nationally and internationally (1)

2. While safeguarding our collegial culture we will engage with and develop our leaders at all levels of the organisation to drive innovation and improvement, support staff through change, and increase our external visibility (2)

3. We will ensure that all our people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential while empowering them to realise our significant ambitions.

4. We will work to develop an environment and culture based on a shared sense of purpose, collaboration, confidence about the future and openness to change. (3)

5. We will develop our reward and recognition arrangements to encourage and incentivise the attributes we need in our people and support the achievement of our ambitions and reward initiative. (4)

6. We will contribute to the development of a responsive and agile organisation that equips us to meet the challenges of the future while protecting our core values of equality, fairness, collaboration and respect and maintain a collegial environment. 

The actions and commitments that will collectively ensure we achieve all we need to together can be found here.

Measuring Our Success

In keeping with a commitment to minimise the use of indicators and targets the success of the People Strategy will be measured initially through the following global KPIs:


  • Voluntary Staff Turnover to remain at or below the sector benchmark of  7.5%;
  • Formal staff grievances remain around the sector benchmark of 3.2 per 1000 staff;
  • Increase percentage of female staff at Professor level from 22% to at least 25% by end of plan period.
  • At least 2 Athena Swan Silver awards will be achieved in the period to 2020 within Science Schools with all others achieving a Bronze.
  • Productive time lost through sickness absence to be no higher than 6% of productive days;
  • Average percentage of staff agreeing with the statement “Kent is good place to work” (as measured through Staff Surveys) to exceed 75% of all respondents (split academic and non academic, and by protected characteristic);
  • Average percentage of staff agreeing with the statement “I am provided with the support I need to do the best work I can" (as measured through Staff Surveys) to exceed 75% of all respondents (split academic and non-academic, and by protected characteristic).


  • Average percentage of staff agreeing with the statement “I have access to an informal mentoring arrangement that that is supportive and constructively critical” (as measured through Staff Surveys) to exceed 75% of all T&R respondents.
  • Average percentage of staff agreeing with the statement “Kent a good place for research” to exceed 75% of all T&R respondents.
  • 25% of all outputs classified as 4* or equivalent in REF 2020.


  • Average percentage of staff agreeing with the statement “I would recommend studying at this university to friends and family members” to exceed 75% of all respondents.
  • 80% of relevant staff to hold a teaching qualification.
  • At least 75% % of those who responded to the National Student Survey rate “assessment and feedback” positively.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

Recognising that efficiency and agility will also be key to achieving our objectives we will also assess our performance against the following indicators:

  • Average time between advertisement and appointment to be less than 6 months for academic posts and less than 4 months for non-academic posts;
  • Staff costs as a percentage of operating costs to remain below 55%.

This strategy will be formally reviewed in 2017/18. In the meantime, progress against objectives will be measured annually and reported to Council.  


(1) “to provide an excellent education, delivered by world class researchers and accomplished educators” Institutional Plan 2015-20, page 9
(2) “Through outstanding leadership and an effective and supportive governance structure, we will protect our collegial culture and enable staff to thrive in a global environment; we will support them to make bold sometimes difficult decisions”.  Institutional Plan 2015-20, page12
(3) “We will engage our staff in the collective institutional vision”,  Institutional Plan 2015-20, page 13
(4) “Linking appraisal mechanisms to succession and recognition opportunities”, Institutional Plan, page 13

Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

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Last Updated: 31/10/2016