Find out about our People Strategy – our vision to improve the staff experience at Sussex.

About the strategy

Our People Strategy was launched in early 2023, after consultation with the University community and approval by Council. 

This strategy includes the following teams: 

  • Human Resources
  • Equality Diversity and Inclusion
  • Organisational Development
  • Reward & Retention.

With effect from 1 April 2023, the Health and Safety team have joined the HR Division. See further information about Health and Safety.

Watch a short (2.5 min) video of Director of HR Colin Shipp introducing our People Strategy:

  • Video transcript

    Hello. I'm Colin Shipp, the new Director of HR here at the University of Sussex, and I want to talk about our new People Strategy.

    It has four main aims, and I just want to run through them and give some examples.

    The first aim is all around being an inclusive and diverse employer. That is really important to me. That is one of the reasons why I joined this university, because of its commitment to create an inclusive environment where people can be themselves. I think everyone should be respected for who they are and who they want to be. We're doing a number of things in that area. There's an Inclusive Sussex strategy and we've got an absolute ambition to reduce our pay gaps and to create an environment, like I say, where people can be respected.

    The second strand is around supporting and developing our people both in their jobs right now to help them perform in their jobs and to also help with their careers. The ADR or Achievement and Development Review is critical to that. It's been recently introduced with some improvements and that is fundamental to you having honest conversations with your line manager or your reviewer to make sure that you have a conversation about what you want to do in your current role, what support you need and, if you're looking for a career, what you can do to support that and what we can do to help you. So that's fundamental to us supporting you.

    The third element, as I've said, is being best in sector, but I want to expand that to being world-leading. I want us to have the best practices and policies from an HR perspective. So that will mean looking at our policies now. What works, what doesn't? Negotiating with our trade union colleagues to make improvements. And also working with colleagues across the campus to make sure that we implement improvements, for example, digital HR. And that will be fantastic to work with IT colleagues, I'm really looking forward to that.

    And the fourth element is offering meaningful jobs with career progression. I've talked about development, but in terms of meaningful jobs, it's all about an action plan we have around wellbeing, around psychological safety. We want to provide an environment - like I've said, it hangs through everything - where people can be themselves. They feel safe, secure, and they can achieve their best. So that's really, really part of a whole connected People Strategy. I really, really am excited about our aims, about what we're going to do to make us a world-leading employer so that people can flourish, be themselves, and so that we are a great place to work. And I look forward to working with all of you to make that a success. Thank you.

Our vision

This strategy belongs to all of us and we all have a part to play in bringing it to life in order to deliver an exceptional experience for staff and students. We will actively work with you to create a vibrant culture that is open, transparent and inclusive. A culture that welcomes constructive challenge while remaining true to our values. We’re ambitious and we want:

  • to create an environment that is inclusive and supports and develops people, enabling them to flourish
  • Sussex to have the best employment practices and policies in the sector
  • to attract and retain staff by offering secure and meaningful jobs with opportunities for development and career progression
  • to be renowned in the sector as a champion of best practice in inclusivity and diversity that positively impacts on improved engagement and morale.


Our People Strategy has four key aims – explore these below.

Getting the basics right

We will:

  • build a digital HR solution which automates our processes to ensure consistency of experience for staff
  • ensure our processes are accessible, efficient, effective and streamlined
  • systematically review and create clear policies, which are fit for purpose.
  • ensure our policies are up to date, effective, inclusive, and easy-to-follow and offer our staff ‘best in sector’ employment.
Read about getting the basics right.
Image of close up of Sussex flint wall

Improving inclusivity

We will:

  • create an equitable pay framework, reducing pay gaps
  • develop open, transparent and equitable benefits, review processes and promotion and career progression criteria
  • ensure new policies are inclusive and support the creation of a work environment in which our diverse workforce feel they belong and can be their authentic selves
  • help staff feel valued for their contribution and recognised for their success.
Read about improving inclusivity.
Image of light shining through green, blue, red and orange windows in the Meeting House

Harnessing talent

We will:

  • ensure sure we keep and attract staff across all areas
  • develop a seamless employee journey from recruitment to annual reviews, recognising talents and supporting development needs
  • develop a learning culture that enables all our staff to grow and flourish
  • use effective talent management and succession planning to enable excellence
  • offer learning solutions and development pathways unconstrained by physical location.
Find out more about harnessing talent.
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Increasing engagement and wellbeing

We will:

  • help make Sussex a place where people feel truly engaged, as measured through staff surveys
  • write a research and data-led Wellbeing Plan to improve our staff wellbeing and enable a better supported, engaged and more motivated workforce
  • support managers and staff in managing their workload and that of their teams, ensuring that expectations of job roles (academic and Professional Services) are realistic and in line with agreed job descriptions.
Find out about increasing engagement and wellbeing.
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Our People Strategy, our values

Described in our Sussex 2025 strategy, our values are at the heart of how we will work to improve your experience here at Sussex.


We will use the People Strategy as a tool to bring stakeholder groups together to find solutions and deliver on the aims of the strategy.


Getting the basics right and automating our systems and processes will provide a better experience for our people, treating you confidentially and with integrity.


We want you to experience kind, inclusive and effective colleagues, and managers and leaders that you can trust, supported by appropriate development for everyone.


Along with our Inclusive Sussex Strategy, the People Strategy will help highlight injustices and inequalities as we continue to work to make Sussex a truly inclusive place to work and study.


The People Strategy is ambitious and courageous as part of the HR team and senior leadership’s genuine commitment to improve your experience here at Sussex.

See more

Log in with your Sussex account to download the full People Strategy document [PDF 342KB].

See more from Our strategy