CERN Accelerating science

In FAIRness

At the beginning of May, all staff members received an email informing them about their performance qualification. A few days later, a colleague, Pi1, said, disheartened: “That’s it, my boss has landed me with a ‘fair’. I’ve had it now!” Yet he felt he had done a good job throughout the year. Certainly, he strives to find a good balance between work and private life, as one could expect from someone with three children, while others clearly prioritise work… but, after all, isn’t that a personal choice?

Certainly, during the evaluation interview, he had had the opportunity to speak with his supervisor, but on that occasion, no more than during the year, the latter had not stated that he wanted more of this or less of that. It was not even him who made the announcement about the qualification: it was an email, with no clear information on the progress that is perhaps expected! Then again, Pi does not see the point in being told the same as Martina1 from the floor above: “It’s not the end of the world; quite the opposite: you’ll have had the chance to talk about your performance during your appraisal interview.” So, he decides to go meet his delegate at the Staff Association and then his HRA.

At the Association, Pi has a good discussion with his delegate. He leaves the meeting full of ideas. He could ask his supervisor for an interview, perhaps in the presence of his delegate, to finally understand what is happening and what is expected of him in the future. He could document as much of the information as possible during this interview and send the most important parts to his supervisor for confirmation. And, above all, he could look through the emails from his hierarchy in which the appraisal of his work is indicated and make sure he understands them well. In any case, in the future, he should never hesitate to summarise in an email any interview with his hierarchy and ask if his summary accurately reflects what has been said. He might want to get closer to his colleagues, see what they say, and what advice they may have, also for issues related to the relationship with the supervisor and his or her expectations.

Now, Pi feels reassured because if it were really necessary, if his hierarchy really had not played its part in the past or would not do so in the future, there is the possibility to contest such a decision. If the expectations of the hierarchy would really imply an imbalance between work and private life and/or too much stress, there is the possibility of discussing it with his supervisor’s supervisor, perhaps accompanied by his delegate.

Finally, Pi has a clearer understanding of what he can expect from his HRA, and he now knows that the HRA has a role to play, especially if the interview with his supervisor is not entirely satisfying. But, above all else, he knows that he can and will be able to count on his delegate and, if necessary, the Association’s Individual Cases Commission.


1 Names have been changed