Wilco Bontenbal

How to blow the dust off working conditions?

3 min leestijd

As the way we work changes, our terms of employment often hobble a bit behind. How can you modernise those terms of employment or merge several terms of employment schemes? This is what HR professionals will learn in the CHE's new post-graduate programme 'Sustainable Terms of Employment'.

The course will start in January 2022 and has been developed in collaboration with HR consultancy Quintop. Quintop has been guiding employment conditions processes at both profit and non-profit organisations for over 25 years and is also making a solid substantive contribution to the programme. Partner Wilco Bontenbal of Quintop and CHE relations manager Petra Schoen talk about the new programme.

What questions do companies and organisations have when it comes to terms of employment?

Wilco: “A first question we hear a lot is: how can we modernise them? Many organisations have an employment conditions package that has been the same for years, while all kinds of things have changed in the organisation, the way of working and the vision of being a good employer. Themes such as sustainable employability and vitality, for instance, often do not yet have a fully-fledged place in the terms of employment. Also very topical is the emergence of hybrid forms of work, as a result of the corona pandemic. How do terms of employment support employees working from home for part of their week? We also see new issues in the field of remuneration and performance management. For example, appraisals are on their way out, but they still have a firm place in the terms of employment. In other organisations, you see that mergers and acquisitions sometimes result in several terms of employments schemes existing side by side and being remunerated through different collective labour agreements. The main question there is: how can we harmonise those terms of employment?

What do HR professionals find challenging in such a change process?

Petra: How do I shape the process? I think that is the key question for many HR consultants. You don’t do this every day and it’s incredibly complex. After all, when you start tinkering with terms of employment, you have to deal with many parties. From employees and the works council to managers, management and unions. They all have different wishes and interests. How do you involve everyone, create support and work in co-creation on a new terms of employment package? You can’t actually do such a process top-down, but it is exciting to allow others into your field. To enter such a trajectory without knowing exactly what the outcome will be. In the post-hbo, there is a lot of focus on this.

What makes this course different from other courses on terms of employment?

Petra: We assume that HR professionals can keep up with developments in the field of terms of employment themselves. We compile the most important trends for you, point you to literature and share knowledge via video clips so that we can go into depth during the teaching days. For example, what is your vision on employment conditions as an HR adviser: how do you think employer and employee should interact? And what does that mean for the way you do your job? So you not only learn how to tackle such a change process, but also develop as a professional.

Wilco: What I haven’t seen anywhere else either, is that during the programme you work on a working conditions issue in your organisation. That is a hard requirement for participation. That way you can immediately apply what you learn. Furthermore, we at Quintop bring in more than 25 years of experience when it comes to guiding such processes. We show you how other organisations have modernised or harmonised their terms of employment and outline various routes and ways of approaching such a process. Furthermore, the training pays attention to the strategic function of terms of employment. Terms of employment are a ‘knob’ you can turn to realise your organisation’s goals. This is sometimes underexposed.

Who is the training for and what does the training look like?

Petra: The training is intended for HR advisers, HR managers and HR directors. There are a total of 12 meetings spread over 9 months. The meetings take place at the CHE in Ede. During these meetings, there is plenty of room for intervision and dialogue. After all, we notice that there is a need for this. Many HR professionals work alone or do not have colleagues with whom they can spar about this specific topic. It is valuable to hear how a colleague in another sector approaches such an terms of employment project, to sharpen each other’s vision and to learn from each other’s challenges.

More information? Or register?