Social safety

This section of the HR Toolkit informs you as a supervisor about Radboud University's policy on social safety and provides an overview of the various training courses available.

Radboud University aims to provide an open, inclusive and safe working and studying environment. Social safety is therefore a strategic goal. The support structure has been expanded and the various regulations on social safety have been given an overarching framework in the form of the Code of Conduct. To improve social safety in your section, it is important to have both incentivising as well as controlling policies.

Results from the university-wide staff survey show that social safety problems are quite diverse, but that gossiping and social exclusion are the most common. Paying extra attention to these undesirable patterns, both through exemplary behaviour and targeted interventions, could make a positive difference for many staff members. At the level of units and divisions, other or additional issues may obviously arise.

The central HR division offers expertise on this topic. Ilja Hijink, policy advisor, is the lead person on the file and is always willing to think along.


Code of conduct and regulations


a) Code of conduct

  • The Code of Conduct has been the organisation-wide framework for acting with integrity since August 2022. The Code of Conduct contains the common values of Radboud University that guide our professional behaviour and the specific rules on undesirable behaviour, relationships in the workplace, ancillary activities, scientific integrity, whistleblowers and (social) media.


b) Consolidating/strengthening support structure

  • When undesirable behaviour occurs, support from the help structure is available. There is a network of HR advisers, confidential advisers, an Ombuds Officer for employees, campus psychologists and more who can advise on creating social safety within teams and offer support to all involved in situations of undesirable behaviour. Positioning and/or (further) equipping local confidential contact persons strengthens the social safety policy.


c) Complaints scheme

  • The complaints scheme prescribes the procedure if an employee wishes to make a complaint about undesirable behaviour. Actively publicising the scheme ensures that undesirable forms are addressed.

Action-oriented policy frameworks


a) Gender, diversity, equity and inclusion


b) Social security

  • The 'guide' Social safety in Dutch science - From paper to practice, published by the KNAW in 2022, provides an overview for directors and supervisors to realise improvements in the structure, culture and system of their own (scientific) organisation. Radboud University embraces this overview.



a) Exemplary behaviour

  • Directors, supervisors, (university) lecturers, professors at the university have a special responsibility in propagating integrity and respectful behaviour. They propagate policy. They create the conditions for a safe working environment and for inspiring cooperation in teams. They listen to and engage with employees. They address employees on improper behaviour while being open to criticism and suggestions from employees. Supervisors are aware of the dependency and power imbalance that exists in relation to employees and students.


b) Appointment and promotion

  • When appointing and promoting supervisors, it is important to critically assess the extent to which they are capable of setting an example. Including social safety requirements in application/selection procedures is of value here.


c) Development

  • The importance of the exemplary role means that the organisation also has an explicit responsibility towards supervisors. They need advice and guidance to perform their role properly. Leadership development programmes can help in this regard. Consider the Core programmes Courage, Connection and Openness from the section on leadership.


d) Guideline for executives in case of signal inappropriate behaviour

  • Radboud University has developed a Social Safety module for all superivors.  In 60 minutes, they become more skilled in achieving a socially safe working environment and in fulfilling the role of supervisor in social safety. A key component is the Guideline in 10 phases: managing transgressive behaviour'. This 10-phase plan provides clarity on what supervisors should do when they receive a signal of repeated undesirable behaviour of of transgressive behaviour. For more information you can contact Ilja Hijink.

Team and individual

Increased awareness and skills

  • In Grow you can find an up-to-date overview of our extensive range of help for employees and managers.
  • Click here for info for supervisors.
  • Click here for info for employees.