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UR's Top 5

Appreciation, Flexibility, Teamwork, Competence, Service Orientation


Credit: Katharina Herkommer/UR

Open Discussion Fora

"Hours of Values" is the title of a series of discussion fora which are open to all interested employees. The new format was initiated by the University Chancellor, Christian Blomeyer.The fora's objective is to take another look at the precise content of the values which were chosen as a basis of the daily professional routine. Participants should discuss which other values they may also encompass or how much they overlap.

The discussions focused on two key questions: What do I personally understand by each value? How to contribute most effectively to living it within the working environment? Are there personal stories to share that are inspiring for everyone?

You will find below short summaries of the discussions in 2022.


Credit: Martina Stelzl/UR

On April 5, 2022, employees from administration and support structures came together to discuss the topic "appreciation". The participants agreed that appreciation could be lived in different ways. They were committed to sharing how they experience appreciation and what it means to them: Say hello, say good-bye, say thank you, commend the accomplishments of colleagues, apologize if things take longer than promised. Furthermore, they want friendliness and paying attention being a matter of course. Tasks should be transparent, and the employees handling them should communicate their own activities transparently.

"Appreciation is not one-dimensional, but could and should radiate in many directions - regardless of hierarchies, regardless of whether you are a staff worker or a department head, whether you are a scientist or a student", said University Chancellor Christian Blomeyer.


Credit: Martina Stelzl/UR

The second "Hour of Values" on April 28, 2022 was dedicated to the topic of flexibility. It was heard that specifications and guidelines restrict this flexibility - but "a little bit can always be done," as one participant remarked with a wink. Shortening official channels and actively searching for individual smart solutions whenever they are possible - these aspects were of importance to most of the participants. Recommendations were given as well: "Don't get rattled when there are a lot of tasks to be done"; "Enhance your skills"; "Learn about and engage in cross-departmental cooperation".  Another moment mentioned: When flexible action is required, it is essential to support each other - both within one's own team and beyond.

University Chancellor Christian Blomeyer encouraged the participants to take decisions when the situation was clear. Employees should not to be afraid of making decisions: "I fully support that action is taken directly on the spot." Regardless of whether it is students or employees who need decisions - it is "important to remember that it is always about people who are often in a very special, perhaps difficult situation", Blomeyer said. Referring to the official channels rarely helps, but active action does.


Credit: Martina Stelzl/UR

Professionalism, mutual support, transparency, and the communication of information were considered being core content of "teamwork", discussed by employees on May 5, 2022. This also included honesty as well as admitting when you don't know or can't do something: "Have the confidence to approach your colleagues with regard to support if you meet challenges", was one of the forum messages. "If you want to achieve the best -  together you can do it!" The participants also considered cross-departmental cooperation to be important, as well as being able to give and receive feedback.

There were further suggestions: Good managers should make an effort to put together suitable teams for the various tasks - then collaboration would be more productive. Another important piece of advice: For "third parties," it must be clear who is behind which function titles and what is the person's portfolio. Organizational developers also received positive feedback with regard to process management - "it helps precisely with identifying processes, you get to know new colleagues and their areas of responsibility". Additionally, it takes away the strain "when things got stuck". There was a further plea for objectivity, professionalism and further training: "To a certain extent, teamwork can also be learned", one participant noted.


Credit: Martina Stelzl/UR

Competence is multi-dimensional - it contains professional, social, emotional aspects. This was made clear by the employees discussing contents of the value "competence" on May 10, 2022. It is important to "do your job well." Key points, such as "networking," " transferring and sharing knowledge," "using own experience and that of others", were mentioned. It was important to bundle competencies and "to neglect pity as a category", one participant said. "However, do not forget about empathy." Thus, some discussants demanded that one should listen more to their clients and reflect about their needs.

Exchanging ideas was also mentioned as a central moment. Among colleagues, one's own experience should be of help, not least to new colleagues. Particularly those who started during the pandemic were experiencing many things on-site for the first time.

It was noted that one must invest in education, training and lifelong learning. It was suggested in the lively discussion to expand the institutional memory and make an effort when it comes to documenting processes and workflows. Process management was considered to be particularly helpful when it comes to increase the knowledge about background and the "who's who" as well as the "who does what" at the University and within the administration.

Service Orientation

Credit: Martina Stelzl/UR

Friendliness and accessibility were central topics in the "Hour of Values" on the topic of "service orientation" on May 12, 2022. Patience, helpfulness and taking the other person seriously were mentioned several times by the discussion participants. Every question should be allowed, they emphasized: "Students have the right to an answer."

On the keyword of service orientation, for some the most important thing was the idea that you exceed expectations: "Because when you do, people like to come back." This included answering inquiries quickly and redirecting the phone when telecommuting or working from home, rather than letting it ring off the hook. However, some participants also made it clear that there are limits to the willingness to provide service where you are "overwhelmed by the daily workload".

In conclusion, University Chancellor Christian Blomeyer drew a positive conclusion from the five "Hours of Values": "I believe that this dialog about our values will be our strength. We will repeat the format in 2023 to see where expectations were met or exceeded."

The Run-Up

At the beginning of 2022, the Organizational Development conducted a survey among all administrative employees in order to figure out the values they are practicing in their day-to-day work. The results (only available in German) can be found here.

In February 2022, more than 120 employees from administration and support structures discussed their professional values with University Chancellor Dr. Christian Blomeyer and the administration's organizational and personnel developers, Martina Fischer and Manuela Zachmayer. The idea was, as Dr. Blomeyer put it, "to find out which values are already lived, where we need to catch up, and which values one would like to live bindingly in their everyday work in the future".

Appreciation, Flexibility, Teamwork, Competence, and Service Orientation

are the five terms that received the highest approval.

We consider these as the binding commitment for our employees, with regard to internal cooperation as well as in the daily interaction with faculties and students.

University Administration


Martina Fischer

Sammelgebäude, Room 4.12

Phone +49 941 943-7411
E-Mail: martina.fischer@ur.de