Human resources policy for NTNU

The human resources policy for NTNU was adopted by the Rector on 14 December 2022 and describes the organizational culture that NTNU wants to have and provides direction for further development.

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NTNU’s human resources policy is subordinate to Norwegian legislation and regulations with supplementary NTNU regulations, as well as to the Basic Agreement for the Civil Service (Hovedavtalen i staten) with the associated NTNU local adjustment agreement (tilpasningsavtale). It has precedence over NTNU’s development plans and guidelines that affect the area of human resources.


The document describes goals, requirements, policies and principles for development and management of NTNU’s human resources.


The human resources policy applies to all areas of activity and organizational units, managers and employees, as well as to employees’ relationship with students and external partners. The policy applies to administrative and development work in the human resources area, as well as work with health, safety and the environment (HSE).


Academic freedom: The independent academic responsibility and right of academic staff to choose the content and method of teaching, research and artistic research within the framework that follows from teaching plans, employment conditions or special agreement, as well as the right to publish their results.

Work environment: Employees’ organizational, psychosocial and physical working conditions.
Sustainable development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Career development: Involves raising employees’ awareness of future work opportunities where they can realize their potential, and facilitating predictable career paths within the institution.

Competence development: Activity to update and develop the knowledge and skills of employees and managers to perform their work. This takes place through work experience and interaction, training courses and development programmes.

Qualification principle: This statutory principle means that hiring processes must be characterized by fairness, objectivity and equitable treatment so that the person who is best qualified for the position is appointed.

Management: The responsibility for promoting results in line with the organization’s strategies within the scope of the organization’s resources. This involves both management responsibility and exercising leadership.

Gender balance and diversity: Equality, equal opportunities and equal rights regardless of gender, disabilities and functional needs, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, religion and the like.

Participation and co-determination: Employees’ opportunity to participate in decision-making processes through informal, formal, direct and indirect influence on decisions that concern their work situation.

Temporary employment: People who are employed for a specified period. Examples of temporary appointments include substitute positions, fixed-term appointments, employment in a qualification track, project appointments, extra help, seasonal work and practical training. The work may be internally or externally funded.

Restructuring: Changes in the structure of the organization, position structure, work processes and the duties of individual employees.
Organizational culture: Involves “how we do things here” in the form of values, norms and behaviour.

Recruitment: The processes that NTNU uses to attract and take on new employees. Here, recruitment includes the entire process from when the need for competence arises, via advertising of positions and assessment of applicants to the onboarding and integration of new employees.

Overarching principles

The human resources policy is based on NTNU’s value statement, goals and strategies, as well as laws and sets of agreements related to development and management of NTNU’s human resources. Important national and European principles for the human resources policy are provided through:

Goals and principles for the human resources policy

NTNU is one of Norway’s most important knowledge institutions and an internationally recognized research university. The university is characterized by high quality in its programmes of study, internationally strong research communities and extensive collaboration with the working world to meet the knowledge needs of today and tomorrow. For NTNU to be able to fulfil its societal mission, it is vital that NTNU is an attractive employer that attracts skilled employees.

NTNU meets competition in recruiting employees by offering stimulating work assignments in an inclusive work environment. NTNU’s values – creative, constructive, critical and respectful – must characterize the work environment and organizational culture. Academic freedom is a fundamental principle in the academic activities.

The human resources policy describes the organizational culture that NTNU wants to have and provides direction for further development in the following areas:

  1. Management and employeeship
  2. Participation and co-determination
  3. Health, safety and the environment
  4. Flexibility and digital transformation
  5. Equality and diversity
  6. Recruitment and hiring
  7. Skills development and career development
  8. Salary

Supplementary policies, development plans, regulations, guidelines and agreements have been drawn up in several areas to contribute to consistent practices and organizational culture at NTNU. References are made to the most important documents in the selected areas of the human resources policy.

1 Management and employeeship

In a knowledge organization like NTNU, results are created by skilled employees who, in their respective areas of expertise, take their share of the responsibility for fulfilling NTNU’s societal mission. This influences the way that management is practised at NTNU.

For realizing NTNU’s goals and strategies, it is a key management duty to create the best possible conditions for the core activities through strategic leadership, motivation and involvement of employees, appropriate organizational structures and effective management of resources. Management is exercised with respect and trust in the academic integrity of the employees. NTNU is to establish consistency between managers’ responsibilities and tasks on the one hand, and competence, authority and tools on the other.

NTNU’s values – creative, constructive, critical and respectful – must characterize the relationships of managers and employees to colleagues, students and external partners. At NTNU, managers give recognition for good work, act fairly, and set boundaries when needed. Mutual respect for each other's roles, openness and clear expectations contribute to a good climate for cooperation and prevent conflict.

2 Participation and co-determination

NTNU will develop its organization through established systems for co-determination and participation from employees and employee organizations. In practice, this means that there must be open processes where the goals and consequences are known and predictable, and that employees are informed and involved at an early stage.

Staff meetings and mutual contact between managers and employees enable local participation, while formal co-determination takes place in regular meetings between the employer and the employee organizations. Safety representatives are involved in issues involving the working environment. NTNU creates the conditions for local participation and co-determination in matters that concern the campuses in Trondheim, Gjøvik and Ålesund.

A lively university democracy with elected representatives of employees and students contributes to good decisions in NTNU’s governing bodies.

3 Health, safety and the environment

All employees are responsible for contributing to a good work environment and a positive organizational culture where employees have a sense of academic and personal development and can identify with the university’s values and goals.
NTNU must be a safe place to work and study. Professional distance and respect are especially important where relationships are characterized by power imbalances.

NTNU’s safety and security challenges vary in nature, and they change over time. Managers and employees must therefore share responsibility for safeguarding the people in the organization and the university’s physical and intangible assets.

To achieve these goals, NTNU will conduct continuous development and systematic improvement of the work environment, health and safety for the benefit of the individual and of NTNU.

In line with NTNU’s vision of knowledge for a better world, managers and employees are to promote sustainable development in NTNU’s operations and day-to-day activities.

4 Flexibility and digital transformation

The world of work is changing. Not least, digitalization has laid the foundation for new forms of work and cooperation. The flexibility to work from another location may benefit the environment and is valued in different life situations. Managers and employees must find the right balance together. Everyone should be able to work effectively and feel that they are included in “One Unified NTNU”. Flexibility must not compromise the quality of work and the needs of the community.

NTNU will take advantage of the potential that lies in streamlining and digitalizing administrative services. Digital tools will also support the core activities related to education, research, innovation, dissemination and outreach. New needs for competence will be met through recruitment, internal training and mobility, but may also entail a need for reorganization.

NTNU will need continuous renewal, productivity improvements and transformation resulting from changes in requirements and the operating context. Transformation processes will help to make NTNU more effective and improve technical and administrative services. A goal of transformation processes is to provide employees with meaningful tasks and opportunities to use and develop their skills. If changes arise in the individual employee’s tasks, the necessary skills development must be provided. If workforce reductions are made due to loss of income or tasks, efforts must be made to find other suitable work at NTNU.

5 Equality and diversity

NTNU’s societal mission can best be fulfilled in an organization characterized by equality and diversity among employees and students. Varied experiences and perspectives enrich the work and study environment and are valuable in problem solving and the development of knowledge.

Respect and equal status, non-discrimination and inclusion should characterize NTNU’s organizational culture. Equality and diversity must be emphasized in recruitment, workplace adaptations, as well as in the development of skills, careers and salaries. As an international research university, NTNU must give high priority to inclusive practice to support the integration of international researchers. Institutional and local measures must be adapted to the units’ challenges and needs.

6 Recruitment and hiring

NTNU aims to be an attractive educational institution and an internationally recognized research university with good technical and administrative support services. To achieve this, NTNU needs to recruit talented employees with complementary experience and skills enabling them to perform current work assignments as well as those of the future.

Public advertisement, transparency about the assessment criteria, qualitative assessment and the qualifications principle are intended to promote equal opportunities for applicants. The process from strategic assessment of competence until appointment is intended to ensure that NTNU recruits the best qualified candidate based on an overall assessment of the applicants’ qualifications in relation to NTNU’s needs. Gender equality and diversity must be included in the needs assessment in connection with advertisement of vacancies and appointments.

In the recruitment process and follow-up of new employees, NTNU must ensure that employees get a good start to their jobs, are included in the working environment and are familiar with NTNU’s organizational culture, values and goals.

All employees must have predictable terms of employment. Permanent employment provides the best opportunity for long-term planning and for carrying out teaching and research as well as technical and administrative services of high quality. NTNU will therefore make active efforts to reduce temporary employment. Fixed-term and part-time positions can be used to bring in expertise from working life and academic communities with a strong international reputation.

NTNU must be a flexible and inclusive employer if disabilities and functional needs, stage of life, or age make it desirable or necessary to make adjustments in the work situation. The skills and experience of older employees are valuable resources for NTNU. The university must create the conditions for employees to stay at work longer and for pensioners to be engaged on terms of employment for seniors or to be associated as emeriti when there is a mutual interest in this.

7 Skills development and predictable career paths

NTNU aims to have an organizational culture that stimulates employees to maintain their skills and develop them further so that they can achieve work of high quality. Development of skills must be based on NTNU’s strategies, goals and future challenges, the individual employee’s wishes and the employer’s needs. Individual initiatives will be supplemented by collective measures to develop skills where this approach is most effective and practical.

Experience-based learning takes place through challenging work assignments in interaction between employees, managers, students and collaborative partners. In addition, NTNU will create a foundation for systematic competence development by providing courses and programmes, professional networks and mentoring schemes.

Opportunities for increased internal mobility must be created. Through new work experience as well as continuing and further education, managers and staff will be able to qualify for changes in responsibilities and tasks in their own unit or in other parts of NTNU.

NTNU needs academic staff as well as technical and administrative support staff with expertise in research, artistic research, education, innovation, dissemination, external collaboration and management. NTNU will pave the way for predictable and equitable career paths where, during their careers, employees can emphasize different areas of competence and develop qualifications in them in line with their own interests as well as the needs of the academic communities and society. Academic leadership and institutional leadership as clear career paths will contribute to achievement of academic goals and a professionalization of the institution’s management.

Good academic supervision and an early introduction to relevant projects and networks will contribute to high quality in research training and valuable skills for a future career within and outside academia.

8 Salary

NTNU is to have a common institutional pay policy developed and practised in cooperation between the employer and employee organizations as parties of equal status. Salaries should be used to a greater extent as a proactive means of realizing adopted strategies and goals. There is scope for individual salary determination in order to recruit and recognize the value of skilled employees. In addition to individual remuneration, the parties must strive for a general development in pay that ensures equal pay for equal work or work of equal value. Specific criteria are drawn up in cooperation with the unions and must be openly accessible to managers and employees.

Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities follow from NTNU’s management and delegation regulations and its policy for internal control. The most important roles and arenas for participation and co-determination in matters related to human resources policy are as follows:

The Rector approves NTNU’s human resources policy.

The Director of Organization and Infrastructure has overall responsibility on the Rector’s behalf for implementation of the human resources policy.

The Departmental Director for HR and HSE is responsible for developing supplementary guidelines, regulations and routines for realizing “One Unified NTNU” where processes across the organization are appropriate and/or consistent practice is necessary to safeguard employees’ intellectual property rights.

The line manager is responsible for implementation of the human resources policy in their unit and for promoting an organizational culture in accordance with NTNU’s values and goals. Line managers with human resources responsibility are to take care of their employees through all phases of the employment relationship.

Employees are to perform their duties with professional integrity and participate in the work environment in accordance with NTNU’s values and goals.

All units must have arenas for employee participation in accordance with NTNU’s management regulations and NTNU’s local adjustment agreement to the Basic Agreement for the Civil Service.

IDF-SESAM and IDF-LOSAM are NTNU’s works councils in accordance with NTNU’s local adjustment agreement to the Basic Agreement for the Civil Service

The Working Environment Committee (AMU) takes care of statutory tasks under the Working Environment Act.