Free Press Unlimited exists by the grace of its experienced, driven and expert employees. They give substance to our mission every day: giving people access to independent, reliable and timely information. We cannot offer them a huge salary, but we do offer a pleasant working environment, dedicated colleagues and the tools and training to do their job well.
In 2017 we put our brand-new HR policy into practice. It is based on 3 principles:
1. Employees are the most important pillars of the organisation.
2. Free Press Unlimited wants to be an appealing employer.
3. Personnel policy must be further professionalised.
In the past year, the job descriptions have been updated, compared with those of other organisations and linked to new salary scales that we will apply in January 2018. Due to the departure of our partner Greenhost (in full agreement; we had outgrown our premises and we were unable to find a larger office together), since 2017, we have been able to provide our employees with more space. We turned the canteen into a nice place for a lunch or short consultation, where we can also hold larger meetings. We also created places to work quietly or brainstorm together about new ideas.
In November we let an external party ask our employees: how satisfied are you with your work and the organisation? The questionnaire was drawn up in consultation with the Works Council. No less than 80% of the employees completed the survey. If one thing is clear from the results, it is that Free Press Unlimited has extremely dedicated employees who feel free to express their opinions. That was also an explicit question, which was answered positively by 81%. Opinions differ as to whether enough is being done with that result.
‘I feel that we are doing important work.’ Almost all employees are proud of Free Press Unlimited – that is much more than the average employee in the Netherlands (93% compared with an average of 78% in the Netherlands). Employees feel their work is appreciated, find the atmosphere pleasant and value the cooperation within their teams. However, the predominant opinion is that communication between the teams could be better. They still lack a clear vision of the future, but management is working on this, in consultation with employees; a new long-term plan will be presented in the spring. Employees also feel that work pressure is high – but not too high in 84% of cases. This may also be because of their great motivation – and to be exact – for all the new plans. Someone answered the question ‘What makes you enthusiastic?’ with: ‘The professionalisation steps we take.’ This dedication and drive are what make employees the most important pillar of the organisation.
After the turbulent growth of the past few years, the organisation came into slightly calmer waters in 2017. That is reflected in the number of employees: in the past year 64 people worked for Free Press Unlimited, 1 of whom in East Africa and 1 in Eastern Europe (55.9 FTE). That is 1 FTE less than in 2016, when we employed 66 employees. In 2017, we welcomed 8 new colleagues, 3 of whom were actually old acquaintances: they had previously worked as interns for Free Press Unlimited. We said goodbye to 10 colleagues who opted to take on a new challenge or whose contract was not renewed, partly due to the termination of a project.
How are we ourselves doing when it comes to gender equality? Very well, if you look at the male-female ratio among our employees. In 2017, 36 women and 28 men worked at Free Press Unlimited. The balance is also pretty good at management level, thanks to our policy of preferably appointing female managers for vacancies. The Board of Directors consists of a man and a woman, and in the management team that replaces the former MT there are 5 men and 4 women. In terms of age, there are the same number of employees between 20 and 35 years old, as employees between 36 and 50 years old: 24. The other 16 people are aged between 51 and 65.
Interns and volunteers
In 2017, 4 people worked as interns at Free Press Unlimited. We have a clear internship policy, with sharp guidelines about recruitment and job description. Interns gain relevant work experience and offer Free Press Unlimited a fresh perspective and ask critical questions. Seven highly valued volunteers were active in the Communication department, also during Free Press Live, and as writers of stories about our work. 1 indispensable volunteer helped to fill the media library of our worldwide children’s television project WADADA News for Kids.
After a spectacular drop in sick leave in 2016 (from 4.4% to 1.72%), it levelled out in 2017. At 1.83% this percentage is still far below the national average of 5%. Free Press Unlimited does its utmost to create a healthy working environment for its employees. In that context, we offered everyone a preventive medical examination in 2017; more than half (34 people) took advantage of this.