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Collaboration at KI

From January the 1st, 2019, there is a new collaboration agreement between Karolinska Institutet and the trade unions Saco-S at KI, OFR / S, P, O and Seko. The shared purpose of the collaboration is that it is part of creating a sustainable everyday life, with a balanced working life where the organization is in focus. Collaboration is the tool for creating participation and influence, which contributes to a greater understanding of one's own situation and organization goals.

As an employee, you should read the agreement through and think about what it can mean for you and your workplace. If you have questions about the agreement or how the collaboration works - bring it up for dialogue in your group, unit or department, with your superior manager or with your union representative.

The purpose of collaboration is to conduct an open and trustful dialogue in the organization, which contributes to influence and participation. Employees and managers are given good opportunities for early information and commitment. The principle is that questions must be decided where they naturally belong in the organization. The goal is to achieve continuous development for the employee, the workplace and the organization.

A well-functioning collaboration system is based on responsibility, trust and a willingness to engage by both employees and managers, union representatives and safety representatives. Collaboration is a part of the entire organization.

Together, we create the conditions for a positive work climate, a good work environment and an organization that is developing.

A prerequisite for influence and participation is that there are meeting forms and clear mandates for decisions. Feedback on the issues raised in collaboration is also important.

The formal base for collaboration

The local collaboration agreement, “Sustainable collaboration and participation for the future”, puts the organization in focus. The purpose is that it will provide conditions for organization development, a good work environment, equal conditions and development of the workforce and leadership. The agreement highlights the workplace and the individual employee. In addition to being mainly influenced by union representatives and safety representatives, you as an employee are in this agreement more involved and can influence your workplace in a better way.

The collaboration is a development of the labor law bases in the Co-determination Act (MBL), the Work Environment Act (AML), the Discrimination Act (DL) and the Confidential Employees Act (FML). Karolinska Institutet's collaboration agreement is based on the central framework agreement ”Collaboration in the future”.

The collaboration system

The meeting forums; the dialogue between co-worker and manager, group / unit / department meetings and collaboration councils (samverkansråd) are all part of the collaboration system. In the collaboration system, all parts are dependent of each other.

Collaboration is part of the regular tasks and everyone (employees, managers, union representatives and safety representatives) needs to take responsibility for their participation and use the forums available for collaboration. An important condition for the collaboration to function, is that there is trust between the parties and trust between the manager and employees.

The collaboration levels follow the Karolinska Institutet's organization and rules of procedure, and are available at three levels:

• Group / Unit - direct collaboration

• Department level – employer and union

• Government level - employer and union

Group / unit meetings handle issues that are direct related to the group / unit.

The collaboration council at the department handles issues relating to several groups / units. The department collaboration council also act as support for managers and employees.

A department collaboration council consists of representatives of the employer, trade unions and safety representatives. The parties appoint their own representatives.

Collaboration on government level handles issues that affect the whole government and the parties appoint their own representatives. Collaboration on government level supports the collaboration councils at the departments if needed.

Employees and manager in dialogue

The dialogue between employee and manager is aimed at creating understanding, motivation, commitment and development. Both employees and managers have a shared responsibility for ensuring a good dialogue. This is where questions about the workplace and the work environment, linked to the employees' own work situation, are raised. The dialogue should be characterized by participation, openness and respect.

The dialogue should be possible both on an ongoing basis and in the annual Performance dialogue 1 (Medarbetarsamtal 1).

Group / Unit meetings

It is at regular group / unit meetings that the main collaboration takes place. They are the natural meeting places for the organization, the systematic work environment work as well as the work with accessibility and equal conditions.

It is important to set rules for the meetings so that both employees and managers know the procedure and can take their responsibility.

Current issues related to the workplace should be addressed at the meetings in dialogue. Everyone should feel that they have the right to comment - whether they agree with what is being said or if they have a different opinion. It is not only a right for employees to gain influence, it is also an obligation to contribute to the best of their ability. Similarly, it is the manager's duty to inform and listen to the employees' thoughts and opinions in a serious manner and with full transparency, to develop, discuss and consider them.

Collaboration council on Department level

A collaboration council normally also functions as a work environment committee, but exactly how collaboration should work at the department is a collaboration issue in itself. This means that the parties need to agree on how the invitation is sent, how the agenda is formulated etc. All parties must take responsibility for ensuring that collaboration takes place through a meaningful dialogue. It shall be stated which errands are the collaboration errands, and which are not. The employer is responsible for documenting that collaboration took place on issues of a more important nature.

Collaboration in practice

In order for collaboration to work and to have the opportunity for influence, it is important that collaboration issues are raised in an early stage. This creates conditions for a meaningful dialogue. When the employees have had the opportunity to present their views so that the issue can be considered sufficiently well understood, the manager can make her/his decision. The ambition in collaboration is to reach consensus, but it is always the responsible manager who decides when decisions can be made.

Feedback on issues raised is important. No questions should be left unanswered. This is accurate in all collaboration processes.

Collaboration is an approach. The collaboration can cover issues in the organization such as recruitment, planning of activities, follow-up of activities, well-being issues, and work environment, but not for example:

• Conflicts

• Salary negotiations

• Employment

• Adaptation activities for staff during closures and rationalizations

• Management of work environment issues in accordance with § 6: 6a and § 6: 7 in AML

Collaboration should normally take place at the level at which the decision is made or at the level affected by the decision, which means, for example, that collaboration for a recruitment must take place by the manager who will hire a new employee, even if it is the head of the department who formally decides on the employment.

Sustainable collaboration

All employees and managers should know the approach, meaning and content of collaboration at Karolinska Institutet. Employees and managers receive information about collaboration in the introductory training. Managers also receive information and training on collaboration in the Karolinska Institutet's management training programs.

Follow-up of how the collaboration agreement is applied and developed, is done by the parties on an ongoing basis for each level of collaboration. If other information that is of significance for the collaboration work appears, it is also included in the follow-up. The result can show whether the forms of collaboration need to be developed or if other efforts are needed for the collaboration to work.

The HR department, together with the trade unions is managing the collaboration, they provide support and develop the collaboration process.

[1] The Work Environment Committee is a consultation group with employers, trade unions and safety representatives. It handles issues related to planning, implementation and monitoring of systematic work environment work. The purpose of the local work environment committee's work, is to contribute to the development of the work environment work, and to a good work environment.

Carolina Ström

UF Central Administration

Jenny Wärnlund

UF Central Administration

Åsa Agréus

UF Central Administration

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