People and Culture Strategy

The People and Culture pillar of Oxford Brookes University's Strategy 2035

Our organisational strategy identifies People and Culture as one of the four pillars fundamental to achieving our Vision for 2035.

Our new People and Culture Strategy was approved by the Vice-Chancellor’s Group in February 2023. It will drive the capacity, capability and commitment we need to build the culture that will underpin our Vision.

These pages outline the steps we have taken to understand both ‘how things are now’ and the culture that our staff want to work in and that will enable us to achieve our objectives. This started with the O.C. Tanner survey in 2021 and culminated with an all-staff consultation on a draft strategy in January 2023.  You will find more information about the final all-staff consultation below.

To support our achievement of the main People and Culture Strategy we also have a number of related strategies that focus on key areas including EDI, wellbeing and development.

Oxford Brookes employee experience

As part of the work to develop the strategy we worked with colleagues from across the University to understand the experience that our colleagues want to have whilst working at Brookes. This underpins the People and Culture Strategy and the supporting strategies (EDI, Wellbeing, and Personal and Organisational Development). 

Delivering the strategy

The People and Culture Strategy sets out our ambitions, but we recognise that we will only achieve them through focussed and consistent action.  We have developed an operational plan to support the delivery of the strategy, and will provide regular updates around the progress that has been made and the actions and activities that are planned.

The all-staff consultation

In January 2023, a draft of the People and Culture Strategy was published on this page and all staff were invited to give us their feedback on what they thought worked well within it, what their priorities were and what was missing. We are grateful to the 57 staff who responded. Much of the feedback given was incorporated in the strategy itself and other ideas will feature in the delivery plans or the supporting strategies. Themes included:

  • The content was broadly right and reflects the culture in which people want to work, but there was concern about the extent of organisational capability to implement the strategy; 
  • Staff who work on campuses other than Headington reported a less positive experience and perceived that they are less valued; 
  • Popular elements were: the focus on work/life balance, managing workload and wellbeing; staff development and progression; getting the structures and support mechanisms right e.g. workload planning, induction; building cohesion, connectedness and engagement across staff groups; organisational agility; 
  • Respondents sought more emphasis on: development opportunities for all; performance management; support for those with caring responsibilities other than childcare; and employee voice; 
  • The strategy needed to include more specific actions or definitions e.g. what ‘inclusivity’, ‘valued’ etc mean here; 
  • When asked to list seven elements (each drawn from the definition of our desired employee  experience) in order of importance, the most popular were: (1) fulfilment and wellbeing, (2) personal growth and development, (3) being well-led.