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‘Imperial Together’ launches to promote positive culture

@ImperialCollege has established a new initiative to help drive a positive culture for working and learning.

Through Imperial Together, the College aims to develop an environment that promotes kindness and mutual support, as well as enabling open, honest, and respectful conversations and interactions.

The positive culture initiative brings together a series of interconnected projects, starting this term. Imperial Together emphasises the role that all staff and students play in shaping the College’s culture, while also providing learning opportunities and tools.

Imperial’s Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, said: “We know that a positive, respectful and inclusive culture enables people to do their best work.

“Behaving in a way that creates a positive environment is everyone’s responsibility. Imperial Together reinforces that. All staff and all students play an important part in developing a positive culture, turning individual actions into a collective experience.”

Imperial Together is underpinned by a new Values and Behaviours framework, drawing on consultation with hundreds of staff and students over a two-year period. Those values and behaviours are defined by:

  • Respect
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Innovation

The Values framework makes explicit the key Behaviours that can help the Imperial community achieve a consistently positive culture. Additional Behaviours for managers and leaders will also help articulate the style of leadership expected at the College.

The Imperial Together initiative includes an associated Action Plan. Emerging from the College’s Working Together Task Group (WTTG), the Action Plan provides an overview of key ambitions and actions across all the projects and activities designed to help build and strengthen a positive and kind culture. Additionally, an Action Group will be established to ensure that objectives are met.

The Imperial Together campaign also highlights the Report and Support tool for seeking support and speaking out in the event of unacceptable behaviour.

Creating a positive environment

The College Values project, directed by Provost Ian Walmsley, has, over the past two years, explored a set of valued Behaviours to cultivate a positive, respectful and inclusive culture for all staff and students.

The Values and Behaviours framework was developed in conversation with staff and students at different levels of the College. Through multiple focus groups, surveys and feedback from staff networks, over 500 individuals shared their views. The framework was further refined in conversation with the College’s Faculties and Departments and was approved by Provost’s Board.

Emma McCoy, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience), said, “It is heartening to see such widespread engagement with this crucial work throughout the College. Our community has developed a strong framework; now we all have to work to live those values.”

Imperial’s new Values and Behaviours fall into five themes, which consistently arose in the focus groups:

We treat each other fairly and appropriately, with kindness and respect, valuing each person’s individual experience, perspectives and contribution.

We work together, cultivating an inclusive and impactful College community.

We aim for quality in everything we do, taking pride in our work, delivering impact (making a positive difference) through our passion and commitment.

We act in a principled way, being honest and open, checking, challenging and changing our practices and behaviours.

We become inspired by possibilities, venturing into the unknown with open minds and having the courage to embrace change.

Embedding the Values

The Values and Behaviours framework will be incorporated across all of Imperial’s processes. It will inform how the College recruits and inducts staff, decides on promotions and carries out day-to-day interactions with colleagues, providing greater clarity about valued behaviours which contribute to a positive environment.

The focus groups showed a range of experiences across the College. The framework will help achieve a greater degree of consistency, so that a positive experience is not dependent on job level, seniority or location at the College.

The College’s senior leaders are key to implementing the framework and have been attending awareness sessions this autumn to better understand the Values and how to embed them in their working practices, act as role models and set high standards for their teams.

Nichola Stallwood, Head of People and Organisational Development at the College, said: “The framework acts as a tool for development, for everyone. The more we can understand about the personal impact we can have from talking together, the more we contribute to a positive working and learning environment. The Values and Behaviours help us to develop skills which will allow us to better interact and communicate with people at all levels.”

Further awareness sessions will be rolled out to the wider College community later this autumn.

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