VITO is committed to establish a great research environment for researchers.

HR Excellence Research

In the management agreement for the period 2014-2018 signed between VITO and the Flemish government, VITO has endorsed the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers .

VITO is committed to establish a great research environment for Researchers. Compliance with the European Charter and Code for Researchers is seen as an excellent way to achieve this. Endorsement letter

Since the end of 2014 VITO is intensively working on an HR Strategy for Researchers aligned with the Charter and Code. An in-depth analysis resulted into an action plan to further improve the VITO policies & procedures.

An impact framework for the HR strategy for researchers

The Applied Research Lifecycle is strongly leading the development of the HR Strategy within the “Vision 2018”. This resulted in a very broad plan with HR actions and projects in all the different HR domains. The action & project plan was the basis for the design of the HR Strategy for Researchers. For certain HR topics a specific approach is recommended for the Research Community within VITO. Based on the assessment and the result of the questionnaire, we defined a specific framework with actions formulated in 4 “key” areas; Recruitment & Selection, Talent Mobility, Sustainable Employability and “FIT @ VITO”.

The strong link with the VITO & general HR Strategy, and with the needs detected in the assessment, will guarantee a positive impact.

Figure: The applied research lifecycle and the four key areas


1. Recruitment and Selection

Attract and hire global research talent to strengthen the VITO workforce

VITO aims to attract the best talent from all over the world by offering them a high-quality working environment where people can further develop their skills and experience interesting career opportunities. To achieve the ambitious goals in our renewed strategy, it is necessary to strengthen our workforce with international talent. The Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers is a reference in the HR process and the personnel policies and practices.

The Applied Research Lifecycle with a dominant focus towards internationalization, commercialization, and excellence in research has a significant impact on the hire needs, job and competence profiles and selection criteria. Together with the hiring managers we want to maximize the impact of VITO’s talent acquisition process because new hires can really leverage a new strategy.

A clear visible employer brand is required to communicate the change and the new possibilities towards applicants from all over the world. We have to expose our job offers, facilities, (career) guidance programs and interesting opportunities to grow (personal and professional).

With an onboarding and mentoring program we want to facilitate the socialization and integration of newcomers in the organization. In these programs special attention goes to international candidates and intercultural actions.


Optimal performance of people and organisation due to a “fit” on several aspects

Because we care for the well-being of our staff we wanted to gain insight in their well-being perception. As a first step in the process, a questionnaire on that theme was rolled out in the organization. After analysing and discussing the results, a “FIT @ VITO” framework was created in 2015 to ensure that actions are set up in the organization. The “fit” refers to a fit on a mental and physical level, on the context of the person itself, the jobcontext, the relation with the management and the fit with and within the organization. We strongly believe that all aspects are necessary for an optimal job experience and performance. 

The FIT @ VITO framework covers all types of actions; “Analytics”, “FIT4All” (diversity & inclusion,…), “Mental FIT and Health” (stress management,…), “Employability”, “Work environment” (Activity Based Work), “Fun @ Work” & “Empowerment”.

Communication and information are important too in this context. When the information need fits the information offer, availability and accessibility (the right info at the right time), it will contribute to better performance. This is important in every career stage; when entering the organization (e.g. in introduction programs) or further in the career path.

3. Talent Mobility

Increase flexibility, agility and talent mobility

At VITO we put a lot of emphasis on flexibility and talent mobility given its importance in open innovation and co-creation in research. Mobility creates the opportunity for the VITO researchers to learn about the way of working in other companies, to exchange ideas and collaborate with internationally recognised researchers from different culture background and to open their view and expand their skill set. By attracting international researchers and welcoming visiting researchers from all over the word VITO strives to expand a diverse international talent pool. Therefore VITO experiments with all kind of mobility pilot projects related to exchange of knowledge; within the organization, exchange with industrial partners, exchange in an international context with other RTO’s,…. It’s also important that we keep the contacts with the network in an Alumni community. Inbound and outbound (employment) flows will be supported from a central support office. In this way we want to further promote and facilitate exchange and mobility in an international context.

4. Sustainable employability

Goal: Talent and career development

The Applied Research Lifecycle enlightens new competence needs for managers and researchers.  Not only new hires will fill these needs, supplementary we need to develop the skill set of current employees and co-workers. A renewed talent development offer will focus on leadership development, commercial development and development of the researcher portfolio.

Job descriptions, competence profiles and career paths will be adjusted in line with the new strategic needs. The change in the organization requires flexibility. A succession planning strategy and process for key positions will ensure the longer term stability and continuity in the changing context.

A virtual VITO Talent Center will align the offer and demand of personnel needs VITO wide. This internal flexibility and mobility will contribute to the agility of the organization and the sustainable employability of the employees.

VITO continuously stimulates its employees to actively steer their career and to make conscious choices. VITO supports this with complete and balanced training, development and guidance programmes in order to increase the employee's resilience and employability in a broader labour market beyond the VITO organisation.

4x4 action plan for researchers

A 4X4 (Four by four) action plan based on the HR priorities was designed to ensure impact.

Figure: 4X4 action plan (click on figure to enlarge)


More details can be found in the action plan description.


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