You may at some point experience problems in your employment relationship with the university. You might feel as if your supervisor will never be satisfied with your performance, or you may not be comfortable with certain decisions. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to ask for advice. The confidential counsellor will help you look for a solution, so you can go back to feeling good at work. All your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential, and nothing will be done without your permission.
Confidential counsellor for personnel affairs
“A person might feel like they can never meet their supervisor’s expectations, as if more is always expected of them. Or something could go wrong with the balance of power. There’s always more than one side to the story, so you try to get to the heart of the problem.”
Bedaux works in the Faculty of Law’s Career Service as a career coach for students. She has taken a number of professional courses and is trained in mediation.
Contact Marije Bedaux by email.
Confidential counsellor for personnel affairs
“I’m employed as a psychologist, but I also offer care. It makes me feel good to help people.”
Garnefski is a healthcare psychologist (GZ-psycholoog) and a senior lecturer in the Clinical Psychology department of the Institute of Psychology. One of her research areas is the development of e-health programmes for adults and young people dealing with feelings of depression.
Contact Nadia Garnefski by email.
Don’t hesitate to ask for advice
Your first port of call to discuss your concerns is your supervisor or HR adviser. It may be that you are unable to resolve the issue with him/her, and your supervisor may even be part of the problem. In that case, you can talk to the confidential adviser for personnel affairs. The university employs two confidential counsellors focused on personnel affairs. They can help you with:
- Problems with your manager and/or colleagues, including communication problems.
- Changes to your work or in the organisation, possibly as a result of a reorganisation, which you consider to have improper or unwarranted consequences.
- Misunderstandings in your immediate working environment that you are not confident in addressing openly.
- Referring you to the right confidential counsellor if you need specific expertise.
What the confidential counsellor does
You and the confidential counsellor will first look at whether, and how, the problem can be discussed and resolved by the people concerned. HR or a mediator could also get involved to help find a solution. The goal is to really discuss the problems and to look for a solution. In the first instance, the confidential counsellor will help you to address the issue yourself. Sometimes the confidential counsellor might go with you to a meeting, but only if you’re comfortable with that.
What the confidential counsellor does not do
The confidential counsellor will not do anything that is the supervisor’s responsibility, nor is it her/his mission to search for the truth of an issue. The counsellor’s aim is to support you until a solution is found that is acceptable to everyone concerned. He/she is not a mediator, and will never get involved in the normal judicial process or act as legal counsel in any complaints or appeals proceedings.
Your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential. The counsellor will not take any of the steps you discuss without your permission. You always have the final say, and it is ultimately your decision whether you want to refer the matter to the Appeals and Objections Committee.
Appeals and Objections Committee
If you disagree with a decision, and you cannot resolve the matter among yourselves, you can lodge an appeal against the decision with the Committee for Appeals and Objections. The committee, the secretary and the associated secretarial staff are all bound by a duty of confidentiality. All information will be handled in confidence.
Dissatisfaction with the work environment and the occurrence of conflicts with supervisors and management in general happen in all kinds of organisations irrespective of whatever safety measures have been taken to ensure optimal functioning on the work floor. Many of such conflicts are often the result of miscommunication, misunderstanding, prejudice, etc. and can adequately be resolved if raised in time.
For dealing with such problems the Leiden Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences as an organisation has its own independent confidential counsellor in Dr. Henk Tromp. He is available to all staff members and PhD candidates.
When to appeal?
The counseloor is the right person to consult on, or to report to, all kinds of sensitive work-related issues, which staff members cannot openly discuss with their direct supervisor or institute’s board. Or in case the actions already taken for resolving the problems have failed to achieve the desired results.
Which kind of complaints can the adviser deal with?
The complaints and points of dissatisfaction should primarily be work-related. For example, conflicts with a supervisor about work load or future perspective, suspicions of discrimination, plagiarism, sexual harassment, feelings of intimidation, hostility, neglect and disrespect. In addition, issues which apply to PhD candidates such as excessive pressure on publishing or lecturing, dissatisfaction with the quality of the supervision, meeting’s frequency with (daily) supervisor, feedback’s quality and delay and work conditions in general.
What does confidentiality mean?
It is important to emphasize that due to the sensitive character of the consultations the counsellor is obliged to act with the utmost prudence. Confidentiality means that the identity of the staff members and their specific complaints will not be revealed to anyone and that no action will be undertaken without their direct request and full consent as well.
You can make an appointment by sending an e-mail to Dr. Henk Tromp.