Improving and establishing staff information channels (University of Helsinki)

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Issues and Targets
The offer was developed to target problems in information flow and tacit knowledge reaching all the staff members equally, and fostering a knowledge exchange between the research groups.

Description of Offer/ Action
Common practices, news and other topical matters communicated to the staff of the department in the form of guide pages in the intranet and monthly newsletters.

Implementation Approach
A wikispace was created for internal guides. The work well-being and equality group members have developed and updated guide pages for staff, including example checklists for newcomers, practical detailed instructions for PhD students for the procedure of preparing and defending their PhD thesis. All staff members can update the wikipages if they notice mistakes, and the equality and work well being group checks at least once in two years that the content is up-to-date. A volunteer also collects information for a monthly newsletter, and conducts interviews among staff about research topics and sends it to the staff email list.

Formal Requirements
1-2 hours monthly working time from the key group (approx. 3-5 people) who update the pages. The newsletter takes approximately 3 working days per month.

Results and Modes of Action

The information flow has improved, a significant amount of tacit knowledge has been written down and made accessible to all staff members. Some bureaucratic work has been avoided as staff members can fill in information in wikipages instead of sending them to a contact person. The newsletter has been active for the past 4 years and the percentage of readers has maintained as high, indicating people still find it interesting and useful.

Success Criteria and Possible Obstacles

Keeping the information in the intranet updated can be challenging. Access to the intranet has to be effortless. To promote the use of the intranet, if possible, emails to staff should contain the link to the information in the intranet rather than the information itself (at least in full extent). Feedback on the newsletter included comments saying the staff felt a feeling of ‘belonging’ or ‘community’ from reading it.

This Offer is Part of the Category
Gender-sensitive organization culture