‘Looking out for each other’: a program about social safety at WUR

‘Oog voor elkaar’ (‘Looking out for each other’) is the title of the social safety programme at WUR. In this programme, actions are being and will be developed until the end of 2025 to strengthen and accelerate social safety at WUR. The programme focuses on the support structure at WUR, on specific key positions within it (such as managers) and on staff members, students and PhD candidates.

The pillars

The ‘Looking out for each other’ programme focuses on four pillars that are necessary for a culture change aimed at strengthening social safety at WUR. An open culture is essential for social safety in organisations.

These are the four pillars:

  1. Managers must be able to create a safe environment, take preventive measures, adequately respond to signals and correctly deal with signals and reports.
  2. Reporters and signallers must be able to (openly or anonymously) file a report, and the procedure to follow such a report must be transparent. Reporters must also have tools at their disposal for preventive actions.
  3. Bystanders should know how to respond and take responsibility. Together, we can create a safe work environment by openly talking about what we see and by taking our responsibility in this. This applies to colleagues, fellow students, lecturers and study advisers.
  4. The support structure is being strengthened with the above-mentioned measures, and, where necessary, with more and different types of staffing, such as the deployment of confidential counsellors and structural meetings between relevant actors in the support structure, who can learn from each other.

Completed and current actions

Over the past couple of years (2022-2024), the following actions have been worked on:

Next steps

Of course, a poster campaign and/or a few workshops alone are not enough to improve social safety; they are all building blocks that gradually contribute to a sustainable socially safe working environment. Activities and workshops for both students and staff members will be offered throughout the year, such as bystander training for staff and special training for managers. Explicit attention for social safety, among other topics, will also be stimulated among students. Social Safety for Students.

In the spring of 2024, a new work plan will be developed within the Social Safety programme outlining the priorities to be achieved by the end of 2025. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for the follow-up campaign or for improving social safety at WUR? Please send an email to socialsafety@wur.nl or to joyce.vandervelde@wur.nl.

Members of the Social Safety project group

Joyce van der Velde (manager of the ‘Looking out for each other’ programme on social safety), Brigitte van Heerde, Astrid Mars, Jacqueline Schoone, Barbara Veltrop, Nicole Rodenburg and Sjef Moling.