Friday, 28 November 2014

Three employees recognized for their exceptional performance

Human Resources Services (HRS) is pleased to announce the winners of the Manager’s Discretionary Awards (MDA) in November 2014. They are Apinporn Phuengwattanapanich, Assistant Manager II - IRRI Thailand Office; Ramon Oliveros, Executive Assistant I - Office of the Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships; and Ria Anna Dimapilis, Assistant Manager II - Events, Visitors, and Exhibits Office (EVEO).

Manager's Descretionary Award recipients in November 2014 (from left to right): Apinporn Phuengwattanapanich,
Ramon Oliveros, and Ria Anna Dimapilis

Apinporn, Ramon, and Ria received a Manager’s Discretionary Award for demonstrating exceptional performance in their respective roles, which include supporting many of the Institute-wide events that were recently held. Their commitment and dedication beyond their duties and responsibilities contributed substantially to the success of the programs they have managed. In effect, such tremendous effort gave IRRI an opportunity to reach out to the international community, enhance existing ties with the current stakeholders and build up potentially productive partnerships in the future.

Apinporn, Ramon, and Ria were selected after a nomination process which began at Organizational Unit (OU) level and which included a review and assessment by the relevant Deputy Director General.

The award recipients will be honored on the upcoming 2014 Annual Service Awards and Recognition Program on December 12.

HRS through Workplace Relations & Advisory Services (HRS-WRAS) continues to receive MDA nominations. Please read the MDA Guidelines for details. For inquiries, please contact HRS-WRAS at HQ ext. 2363 or send email to HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-129. 

IRRI holds first "PostDocs' Day"

IRRI holds the first "PostDocs' Day" on 17 November 2014 at Scout Hall, Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna.

To formally start the program, Deputy Director General for Research (DDG-R) Matthew Morell  gave the welcome greetings and opening remarks to the participants. Program facilitators were Grant Singleton, Principal Scientist; Christine Croombes, Director for Human Resource Services; Noel Magor, Head of Training Center, and Chris Dixon, Director of Growing Edge Limited (based in Hong Kong).

33 PDFs joined the first PostDocs' Day. In attendance were Jessica Rey (PBGB), Shanta Karki (C4), Govinda Rizal (C4), Ando Radanielson (CESD), Balram Marathi (PBGB), Alexander Stuart (CESD), Alexandre Grondin (CESD), Hsiang-Chun Lin (C4), Sung Ryul Kim (PBGB), Mohammad Rahman (PBGB), Dixit Shalabh (PBGB), Sheetal Sharma (CESD), Khin Thawda Win (CESD), Maria Stefanie Dwiyanti (PBGB), Anca Macovei (PBGB), Suchit Shrestha (CESD), Ramkumar Gandhimani (PBGB), Vito Butardo Jr. (GQNC), Jolly Chatterjee (C4), Nyo Me Htwe (CESD), Janelle Jung (TC), Pieter Rutsaert (SSD), Hung Van Nguyen (CESD), Krishna Devkota (CESD), Millicent Sanciangco (GRC), Bryce Blackman (TC), Tun Tun Ye (PBGB), Prasad Senadheera (PBGB), Geoffrey Onaga (PBGB), Hedia Tnani (PBGB), James Quilty (CESD), Dmytro Chebotarov (GRC), and Parvesh Chandna Kumar (SSD).

Key topics include an overview of IRRI’s Research and Development (R&D) efforts and emphasized how PDFs play a significant role in R&D. There was also an open discussion on development plans for PDFs by giving participants an opportunity to explore their professional and personal strengths and weaknesses.

The day was capped with a dinner at the DDG-R's residence. HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-128

4th ​Essential First Aid Training Workshop held at HQ

This year’s 4th Essential First Aid Training concluded on November 11 at headquarters.

The seminar was attended by 21 HQ-based staff, IRS Spouses and dependents including, Julie Van Vlasselaer, Charmian Sackville-Hamilton, Gianina Vergara, Carla Lenore Calumpang (PBGB), Eliza Vie Simon (PBGB), Ma. Carmelita Alberto (CESD), Anny Ruth Pame (CESD), Adari Prasad Babu (PBGB), Darwin Cruz (SSS), Cindy Llorente (GQNC), Mary Jeanie Yanoria (PBGB), Benedick Labaco (PBGB), Bryce Blackman (TC), Maria Krishna De Guzman (GQNC), Cheryll Myra Mercado (HRS), Sara van Gaalen (HRS), Georgina Vergara (PBGB), Victor Francis Roxas (CNTRL), Irish Jean Cansanay (CNTRL), Prasad Senadheera (PBGB), and Margaret Catolos (PBGB).

The training focused on responding to cardiac and breathing emergencies, including the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED); responding to common first aid emergencies, including burns, cuts, head, neck and back injuries; and recognizing and preventing cardiac arrest.

The workshop was organized by Human Resource Services - Organization and People Development Services (HRS-OPDS) in partnership with Pilipinas 911, provider of the Citywatch brand of emergency assistance services, and the Safety & Security Services (SSS).

For inquiries on future Learning & Development (L&D) Programs, please contact HRS-OPDS at or access the L&D online calendar at HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-127

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

2014 IRRI Blood Donation Program on November 21!

HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-126

Request for On-the-Job Trainees at IRRI Headquarters

All IRRI employees at headquarters who may wish to request for On-the-Job Trainees (OJTs) are required to complete the online form below.

For related inquiries, please contact HRS Staffing Services at HQ ext. 2775 or send email to HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-125

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Employees believe that their work delivers an impact to IRRI’s mission and goals

This year’s Staff Survey was conducted in May by the Human Resource Services. All 1363 employees from HQ and country offices were invited to take part in the survey. A total of 493 employees across different organization units completed either a web-based or paper-based survey, giving a sound overall response rate of 36.1%.

The survey was conducted in order to better understand its employees and their perceptions of the IRRI working environment. The survey also provided an opportunity to collect information about the work experiences and to find out changes or improvements in employee perspectives due to initiatives taken in the last three years since the previous survey.
Since the 2010 survey, a number of actions and initiatives have been undertaken by the Human Resource Services to maintain or improve the quality of employment within IRRI.  Some of these include:
  • New pay scale  for NRS
  • NRS Career Paths and transition to standard job profiles 
  • Modernized approach to Associate appointments 
  • Roll out of the Code of Conduct and Guidelines on IRRI’s Disciplinary Procedures
  • Introduction of the Semi-Annual Team and Manager’s Discretionary Award Programs 
  • New HRS web presence
  • Increased scope of HRS that includes Occupational Health
  • Increased range of employee learning and development programs
  • A range of materials have been developed around Recruitment and C&B Guidelines for country offices
  • Greater emphasis on employee communications through information sessions, staff survey, post activity surveys, focused group discussions, activity-based brochures and posters
  • Strengthening  of the IRRI workplace through health and wellness and social programs
A total of 21 questions including general inquiries were distributed online through the Survey Monkey and was fully accessible from 01 May to 30 June 2014. All were notified of the survey in advance by email from the Human Resource Services. The anonymity of responses was assured in order to encourage higher participation rates and more honest feedback.  Results are provided at an aggregate level and comments to open-ended questions were also taken verbatimly. While there were some new items for the 2014 survey, much of the content remained the same as the 2010 survey, allowing a direct comparison across most items. Therefore it was possible to see what changes have occurred in three years.  The survey questions assessed the following areas: Jobs at IRRI, Workplace, Leadership and Supervision.

An Overall Survey Score is calculated for each group by averaging the responses across all survey items. Each respondent had to rate each item on a 5-point scale, assigned as follows: 5 strongly agree, 4 agree, 3 neither agree nor disagree, 2 is disagree and 1 is strongly disagree. 72.62% of employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, with 46.25% of employees indicating they were satisfied and 26.37% strongly satisfied. Overall Agreement Score as shown in the graph below is 4.08. This indicates a fairly satisfied workforce, with responses across all survey questions around a strongly agree and agree rating.


Many strengths were identified, including:
  • The highest scoring concepts were that the Institute is meeting its mission and that employee’s work delivers an impact to IRRI’s missions and goals with 91% agreement rating. 
  • Other concept that scored highly was employees would likely refer a friend to work at IRRI with 88% agreement rating.
  • There was also a clear agreement among employees that they are committed to a long term employment at IRRI with 85% agreement rating.
  • Another statement that received strong support was employees have the resources to do their job well with 84% agreement rating.
  • Employees also obtained accomplishment in doing their job and believe that IRRI values diversity with 83% agreement rating. 

The main improvements compared to the 2010 survey were:
  • The concept of fair wage for work showed quite a marked improvement compared to the 2010 survey; there was an increase of 15% in the percentage of employees who indicated that they are being paid a fair wage for their work. 
  • The concept of commitment to a long term employment was another area that showed a notable increase of 12% compared to the 2010 survey.  
  • There was also stronger agreement amongst employees regarding their view that their work delivers an impact to IRRI’s mission and goals with 10% increase in score compared to 2010 survey. 
  • Staff also reported increased confidence that IRRI values diversity with 8% increase in score compared to the 2010 survey. 
  • There was a marked increase in the percentage of employees who reported having adequate opportunities for professional growth and development, the Institute attracts high quality employees as well as fosters teamwork across organizational units, with 7% increase in score compared to the 2010 survey. 


While there have been improvements in a number of areas, the results indicate that there are opportunities in the following areas:
  • Teamwork and cooperation in the department. The results indicated 15% decrease in percentage score compared to the 2010 survey.  This was one of the lower scoring areas in the survey, where improvement is necessary. 
  • IRRI leadership.  The agreement rating has dropped slightly by 4% regarding the extent to which leaders are setting the research agenda and making it happen. Results also indicated  that employees believe that there could be improvement in leaders serving as role models. 
  • Treatment with respect and fairness. There was also a slightly higher concern about employees perceiving that they are treated with respect and fairness, with 2% decrease in percentage score compared to the 2010 survey.


Some additional analyses were conducted for the 2014 survey based on extra items that were included. These related to the experience or observation of harassment or discrimination in the workplace for the last 2 years. A clear majority of 66% employees have not observed or experienced discrimination or harassment in the last 2 years.  However, there are some concerning aspects of the survey wherein, 19.07% employees reported having experienced/observed   workplace bullying or intimidation, 7.30% racial discrimination and 3.25% said that they have witnessed or were victims of gender discrimination.


Results from the 2014 survey will be used to develop new policies and programs for employees as well as track changes and improvements through comparisons with the 2010 results. It is recognized that IRRI is constantly looking to improve procedures, guidelines, processes and systems. Future bulletin articles will share the work which has been undertaken in 2014 to address other employee concerns.

IRRI continues to welcome any staff feedback and ideas on how the Institute can deliver quality research while ensuring that the needs of the employees are addressed accordingly. For inquiries on IRRI Staff Survey, please contact Human Resource Services – Workplace Relations & Advisory Services (HRS-WRAS) at HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-124

Typhoon Glenda Relief Funds Final Update

Since 25 July 2014, the Typhoon Glenda Task Force for Staff Support (TGTFSS) has been monitoring the IRRI community’s financial response to employees who have suffered damage to their homes and personal belongings brought about by storm Glenda. In the final update, the overall total funding now stands at Php 311,073.00 or approximately USD 6,911.20. Of the total funding, the Task Force was able to grant financial assistance to 38 employees who have successfully passed all the eligibility and documentation requirements.

The Task Force was able to release Php 85,000 (or approximately USD 1,886.75) to the first batch of fund recipients (9 staff) on 11 August 2014; Php 77,500 (or approximately USD 1,720.28) to the second batch (10 staff) on 8 September 2014; Php 92,073 (or approximately USD 2,043.75) to the third batch (12 staff) on 29 September 2014; and Php 56,500 (or approximately USD 1,254.14) to the fourth and final batch (7 staff) on 5 November 2014.

A total of 19 IRRI staff gave voluntary financial contributions to the fund drive, including two external donors namely, SUHAY and Helmut Lehner. SUHAY is an organization of international spouses at IRRI that provides support to two feeding centers in Los Baños as well as other projects in the community. Helmut Lehner, on the other hand, is an entrepreneur and owner of the LEHNER Agrar GmbH, an agricultural company based in Germany since 1956.

TGTFSS would like to thank everyone who have contributed their financial donations to support the HQ-based NRS victims of the calamity. You can find the previous news on TGTFSS at For related inquiries, please email HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-123

2014 NRS Medical Insurance Review Task Force created

Chaired by the Director for Human Resource Services Christine Croombes, a Task Force has been recently created to review the medical insurance policy of HQ-based Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS), which is due to expire on 30 June 2015. The members of the Task Force include Wallace James Daniels, Jocelyn Finegan, Melba Aquino, Jose Luis, Mari Joyce Garcia, and Rogelio Cabunagan.

On 24 March 2014, Human Resource Services conducted a survey among employees at HQ to assess the current HMO provider’s performance. The survey summary will be provided to the Task Force members to help them identify what is working effectively and how improvements can be made.

The Task Force will submit its report and recommendations to the Director General by end of March 2015. Based on the assessment, IRRI will either continue coverage with the present provider, or sign an agreement with another company that commences immediately at the end of the current coverage. HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-122

NOMINATIONS OPEN: 2014 Year-end Semi-Annual Team Awards (SATA)

Completed nomination forms must be submitted on or before 5 December 2014.
HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-121

IRRI congratulates Sugandha Munshi of India Office on her nomination for the Indian National Women Achiever Award 2014

"Aadhi Aabadi" is a national award which honors the work of women of India, their contribution to society and their example to the next generation.

Sugandha Munshi has been awarded for her work on gender equity and women's empowerment over the last number of years in her native state of Bihar. She joined IRRI as a Gender Specialist in October 2013 and works with women farmers in Bihar to adopt new technologies and secure better livelihoods. HRS Workplace Communications Article No. 2014-120

Written by Sonya McGuinness, IRRI India Office