Women lose out in interview biasOn 10 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Women are being subtlydiscriminated against in job interviews, according to British PsychologicalSociety research.City University’s DrJo Silvester, author of the research, monitored the type of questionsinterviewers asked male and female job candidates looking for graduate-levelpositions in a multinational organisation. She found that men were given moreopportunity to shine by being asked more open questions.She said, “Theopportunity for talking and selling themselves was not as frequent for women asit is for men. That means women have to try harder.”Women were better atface-to-face interviews, but worse in phone interviews. She urged HRdepartments to look carefully at the way managers interviewed job candidates.”We are unlikely to understand how discrimination occurs until we considerwhat is actually said and how it is said during a selection interview,”she said. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.
Remote working wins loyaltyOn 10 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Mobile working practices can reduce costs and cut down on staff absenteeism,a new study has shown. The research by computer firm Compaq reveals that 38 per cent of businessmanagers believe that providing staff with the technology to work away fromtheir desks reduces overheads and almost a quarter of managers think it reducestime taken off sick. A third of managers surveyed would trust all their employees to workproductively while away from their normal workplace and a third would trustsome but not all of their employees to do so. A similar proportion of managers said they did not mind where their teamsworked as long as the work got done. Simon Nelson, head of wireless and mobile solutions at Compaq, said,”The message is clear – mobile working should not be viewed as a perk forthe privileged few but as a pivotal tool for business productivity. “UK businesses need to understand the benefits of investing in wirelesssolutions to create a more loyal and productive workforce.” The research was carried out by Mori and surveyed 300 office workers and 142managers. www.compaq.presscentre.co.uk Comments are closed.
Comments are closed. Royal & SunAlliance national information services training manager DavidBurgess-Joyce. 37, tells us why his new job requires some fast thinkingHow long have you been in this job? Four months. How long have you been with your organisation? 18 years. What does your role involve? The strategic roll-out of internal and external technical training to anewly unified population of 1,500 IT staff and exploring new ways of learning,while maintaining cost effectiveness. What’s the best thing about your job? The challenge of delivering high quality, focused and timely trainingpackages to an audience of technicians who dot every “I” and crossevery “T”. What is your current major project or strategic push? We are looking to be a centre of excellence in project management. That ispriority number one, closely followed by the development of unified proceduresfor the delivery of training across numerous UK sites populated by a diversityof people. Preferred terminology – training, development, education, learning? Although the products offered by my team are technical and would best bedescribed as training or education, I prefer learning and development as theyconjure up much more than just classroom training. Favourite buzzwords? Integrity, kindness, enthusiasm, savvy. Maybe not buzzwords, but they’ll dofor me. Without these, what is the point? Are you good at self development? No, like most training people, I do not practise what I preach. However, Ido challenge myself all the time by undertaking tasks that take me outside my comfortzone. What was the most useful learning experience you ever had? 360-degree feedback. It is good to look inwardly at yourself and to seewhat others you work with feel about you. It certainly changed the way Iinteract with my colleagues (and friends). Which is the best management book you have ever read? The One-minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. What was the worst course you ever went on? All courses give you something – even the poor ones. What did you want to do for a living when you were at school? Be a barrister, but I wasn’t clever enough. What was your first job? I worked for a bank and hated it. What was the best career decision you ever made? Applying for this job. What was the worst career decision you ever made? Applying to that bank. Which qualification do you most value? A degree in psychology. It has proved invaluable in negotiations andgetting past “no”. How many minutes is it since someone senior in your organisation said”People are our greatest assets”? Nanoseconds, if that doesn’t sound too Trekky! Royal and SunAllianceleadership is very committed to that ethos, and that’s why I enjoy working hereso much. Evaluation – holy grail or impossible dream? You have to evaluate in order to have some handle on return on investment,but I feel we go overboard at times. We should occasionally just stand back andask, “What did we really gain from that?” How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time? There will be much more outsourcing by then, and a greater emphasis onsupplier and relationship management training will be required, together with aneed for resource planning to identify training requirements sooner. What do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future? As the IT world increases in speed every day, it is essential that the jobcan identify trends in languages far quicker than it does now. We need to beable to identify training needs before our competitors. What advice would you give to someone starting out in T&D? Start in behavioural skills areas before moving on to technical ones. Youwill learn a great deal about how skill in the former ensures delivery of thelatter. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Home Secretary or opera singer. What is your motto? I have two: “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” and “IfI can’t do you any good, I won’t do you any harm”. Describe your management style in three words or less? Innovative, sharing, patient. How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues? I’d like to be thought of as a person who didn’t take himself, or the worldin which he worked, too seriously. Keeping pace with the businessOn 1 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. A drive to recruit hundreds of overseas doctors to work in the NHS waslaunched last week. But NHS experts have warned that the Government needs to provide bettertraining and support for overseas doctors if they are to provide an effectivesolution to skills shortages. Dr Surendar Kumar, chairman of the Overseas Doctors Association, said,”There needs to be a proper training and induction structure in place forrecruits from different cultures. “To expect a doctor coming from a different culture to be proficient inhow the NHS works is ridiculous. We need to introduce four- to six-week clinicalplacements for overseas recruits so they can see how the NHS works.” The recruitment drive involves a worldwide advertising campaign targetingsenior doctors in Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia and the US. Spain, Germanyand Italy will receive particular attention because they train more medicalstudents than they have jobs for. John Adsett, secretary for Association of Healthcare Human ResourcesManagement, said, “It is a big culture shock and you have to prepareproper induction packages and be fully aware of the cultural background of therecruits.” Adsett argued that overseas recruitment was only a short-term solution to astaffing crisis. “You must recruit and retain your own staff. The difficulty the NHSfaces is getting the training numbers for doctors right in the UK andattracting enough students to the profession,” he said. Last year, the NHS Plan set a target of employing 7,500 more consultants and2,000 more GPs by the end of 2004. #By Karen Higginbottom Previous Article Next Article Training warning as NHSseeks doctors overseasOn 4 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Recruitment advertising awards 2003 – the winnersOn 21 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today The winners of the Recruitment Advertising Awards were announced at theGrosvenor House Hotel last week. Judgesassessed entries on originality as well as how an organisation’srecruitment advertising fitted intoit’s overall business strategy. LondonFire Brigade won the prestigious Best Work of the Year AwardCategory Client AgencyIT, ELECTRONICS & TELECOMMUNICATIONS BestInternational ThirtyThreeLtd ENGINEERING, BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION Selfridges TCS SALES, MEDIA, CREATIVE & MARKETING StopAids Campaign People MediaPROFESSIONAL SERVICES ASDA TCS CENTRAL GOVT & GOVT AGENCIES MetropolitanPolice McCann EricksonPeople Marketing HEALTH, SCIENCE, SOCIAL CARE & CHARITIES IDEXX Laboratories TMP Worldwide LOCAL GOVERNMENT / EDUCATION Thurrock CouncilKingsway RETAIL, HOSPITALITY, TRAVEL & LEISURE GreeneKing Pub Co ThirtyThree LtdGRADUATE / SCHOOL LEAVERS MI5– The Security Service BartlettScott Edgar GENERAL APPOINTMENTS WilliamHill plc JKLM RECRUITMENT BROCHURES SamworthBrothers TMP Worldwide OUTDOOR & AMBIENT MEDIA LondonFire Brigade TMP WorldwideDIRECT MARKETING MetropolitanPolice TMP Worldwide BEST ONLINE MARKETING CAMPAIGN Sainsburys TMPWorldwide MOST INNOVATIVE CD-ROM HertfordshireConstabulary Bernard Hodes BEST EMPLOYER WEBSITE TheBritish Army EmpowerGroup BEST CAMPAIGN (jointwinners) TescoStores BernardHodes Capita RAS & The CPS JWTSpecialized Communications BEST WORK OF THE YEAR LondonFire Brigade TMP Worldwide Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Sir Richard Branson has fallen into that dangerous media category also occupiedby the likes of Robbie Williams, Chris Tarrant and Tony Blair – theover-exposed. One day they were all the darlings of the media, up on a pedestal; the next,they were over-exposed and heading earthwards. It can be a simple trigger – onesong too many about yourself, another contrived pause for the audience, or thatlast insincere promise. The press may have tired of them, but that doesn’t mean they have becomeunpopular with the important people – the public. Their songs still get tonumber one, they still attract huge TV ratings and still live in DowningStreet. And they still inspire, entertain or lead large numbers of people. Despite Richard Branson’s love affair with the press being over, he hasdelivered all three of these things for more than 30 years, and the people lovehim. Whenever there is a poll for a hypothetical leader, Branson always wins –if the public had had their way, he would be the Mayor of London and theDemocratic Republic of Britain’s head of state. Branson may have pulled one publicity stunt too many (surely it was a crimeagainst humanity for him to don a wedding dress for the launch of VirginBride), but I challenge you to name a better British business leader. In fact,just try naming 10 British business leaders, good or bad. In a square mile ofgrey suits, Branson is a noisy maverick, a bit of fun. But does being exuberant and fun make him the Greatest Briton in Managementand Leadership? To win this title – and I am confident he will win – I have toprove three things. First, that he is a great businessman; second, a greatleader and, finally, a great Briton. His business record is no joke. While he claims to have only recently workedout the difference between net and gross, the 53-year-old has created abusiness empire of more than 270 branded companies. He is personally worth acool £1bn. While many have accused him of being a lucky chancer, this could not befurther from the truth. Branson does take chances, but he manages the riskcarefully. Look at his launches into the cola and mobile phones markets. In hiswar with the Coke giants, Branson ensured that the costs of producing VirginCola were negligible, so his risk only relates to the size of the marketingbudget. In the mobile phones market, the expensive part is setting up andmaintaining the communication network. But Branson hooked up with T-Mobile anduses its network, cutting overheads and allowing it to deliver better value tothe customer. This sort of opportunism, and his habitual re-investment in hisbusinesses, has led to the Virgin Group having an annual turnover of £3.5bn. But is he a great leader? People work for Virgin because they want to workfor Branson. He has imbued all of his companies with his enthusiasm, andconsequently, Virgin constantly vies with the BBC and the Foreign Office forthe top spot in graduates’ employer wish lists. Mike Broad is assistant editor of Personnel Today”Convention dictates that a company should look after its shareholdersfirst, its customers next and last of all worry about its employees,” saysBranson. “Virgin does the opposite. For us employees matter most. It justseems common sense to me that if you start with a happy, well-motivatedworkforce, you’re much more likely to have happy customers. In due course theresulting profits will make your shareholders happy.” A great Briton? Undoubtedly. We love an underdog, and Branson alwayspositions himself as the little man. He took on British Airways over their‘dirty tricks’ campaign and had his day in court. OK, he was less successful attaking on the ‘fat cats’ of Camelot – but he still received great publicsupport. “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparentlyunachievable challenges, and trying to rise above them,” he says. We also love a self-made man. Branson doesn’t have an Oxbridge degree, or arich daddy. He is one of us (despite owning a Caribbean island). There have also been the big gestures. He flew to Baghdad to rescue the‘human shield’ prior to the Gulf War, and bid to run the National Lotteryfranchise on a not-for-profit basis. But he is no saint. He had an early run-in with the authorities over musicbootlegging, and more recently journalists made a lot of the offshore financingof his businesses to reduce his tax liabilities. While legal, it is hardly thework of a great philanthropist. In contrast, Bill Gates is spending his timecreating the world’s largest charity. But surely this just adds to Branson’s charisma; he’s a scruffy,balloon-flying maverick, who gets his kicks from challenging the establishedorder and creating businesses that he can be proud of. He doesn’t have a highercalling, but who cares? The 35,000 employees who have helped him create one ofthe world’s leading brands certainly don’t. “Some people say that my vision for Virgin breaks all the rules and istoo wildly kaleidoscopic; others analyse it down to the last degree and thenwrite academic papers on it. As for me, I just pick up the phone and get onwith it,” he says. Gates may be a great philanthropist, and one of the few businessmen with apersonal and corporate brand as strong as Branson’s, but who would you ratherhave lunch with? And, more importantly, who would you rather work for? Branson’s CV1950 Branson is born in Surrey1968 After leaving school with few qualifications, Branson launches Studentmagazine1971 Opens first Virgin record shop in London1973 Virgin record label is launched and releases Mike Oldfield’s TubularBells1984 Takes to the air with Virgin Atlantic1993 Wins libel action against British Airways2000 Fails in bid to run National Lottery2001 Significant expansion of Virgin companies, including Atlantic, Mobile,Money and ActiveMake your vote countHere’s a reminder of the nominees Geoffrey De Havilland Nominated by Linda Holbeche,director of research at Roffey ParkGeoffrey de Havilland was a pioneering pilot and led theaviation industry. He designed, tested and built planes that were vital to ourcountry’s success in the Second World War, such as the Mosquito fighter-bomber.He was a bold risk-taker, but treated his staff fairly. He ensured good workingconditions in his factories, trail-blazed sponsored apprenticeships, and wenton to launch the first commercial jet liner. Ernest BevinNominated by Brendan Barber,general secretary elect of the TUCDespite being the illegitimate seventh child of an impoverisheddomestic worker, Ernest Bevin rose to sit alongside Winston Churchill in theWar Cabinet. A manual worker until the age of 30, he rose rapidly through theunion ranks, working ceaselessly to deliver better living standards forworkers. In later life, he became foreign secretary and helped create thesettlement that led to Britain’s withdrawal from the Empire.Alexander Graham BellNominated by Paul Pagliari, HRdirector of Scottish WaterAlexander Graham Bell had a visionary understanding of thepower and potential of communication. On 7 March 1876, Bell patented thetelephone at the tender age of 29 – six years after immigrating to America. Heshrank the world and started the information revolution that continues in ourworkplaces today. He helped establish the Bell Telephone Company, and lobbiedvociferously for the education of deaf people.Mike Brearley Nominated by Tim Yeo, Shadow Secretaryof State for Trade and IndustryMike Brearley was one of the finest England cricket captainsever. He led the team in 31 test matches, winning 18 and losing only four. Hewas an inspired leader and motivator, and will be remembered for bringing homethe Ashes in 1981 – overcoming seemingly impossible odds. Following hiscricketing retirement, Brearley wrote a definitive work on leadership entitledThe Art of Captaincy.John ReithNominated by Will Hutton, chiefexecutive of The Work FoundationThe greatest test of leadership is an organisation’s ability toprosper over time. John Reith achieved this as the first director general ofthe BBC. Unlike so many organisations in the UK, the BBC works. Its strongreputation for creativity and professionalism has created extraordinaryloyalty. The BBC informs, educates and entertains as part of its duty to thepublic – and it was Reith who unwaveringly insisted on this ethic.Anita RoddickNominated by Max McKeown, leadingmanagement authorAnita Roddick created a $1bn, top 50 brand in The Body Shop,and yet profit was never her motive. She wanted to create an organisation thatdelivered more than shareholder value – one that brought ethics into business,inspired women, and gave its staff the best working conditions and benefits.Roddick stood down from the board last year, promising to campaign for humanrights in the future. Jack Jones Nominated by Stephen Bubb, chiefexecutive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary OrganisationsIn the 1970s, the press claimed that Jack Jones – then generalsecretary of the T&G union – ran the country. He brokered the pioneering‘social contract’ between the Government, industry and the unions, which sawthe unions restrain pay claims for the good of the economy. He also forged theidea of ‘industrial democracy’, which led to employees being treated asstakeholders.Adrian CadburyNominated by Geoff Armstrong,director general of the CIPDSir Adrian Cadbury led his family firm towards being a globalplayer – as Cadbury Schweppes – and pioneered business thinking on managementethics, governance and social responsibility. He articulated the valuesunderpinning progressive people management, and showed practices could bedesigned to draw the best from employees. He led the seminal review ofcorporate governance in the 1990s that bears his name.Ernest ShackletonNominated by Ruth Spellman, chiefexecutive, Investors in PeopleLeadership in the 20th century was typically hierarchical, butErnest Shackleton led by example. Despite all three of his polar missionsending in failure, he brought every member of his party back safely, againstthe odds. He offers a tangible role model not based on modern managementtheory, but on real-life experience. Through his experiences, we realise theimportance of building teams and recognising the strength of individuals.Richard BransonNominated by Mike Broad, assistanteditor, Personnel TodaySir Richard Branson has entertained and inspired his staff andthe public for more than 30 years. He has risen from running a strugglingstudent magazine in a basement flat to driving a global brand that turns over£3.5bn. His companies – which employ 35,000 people – are all imbued with hisvalues of opportunism and fun, and Virgin Group has become the pre-eminentemployer of choice. The greatest briton: Richard Branson by Mike BroadOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Independent arbitration to settle two-tier workforceOn 17 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Employers and unions have agreed to independent and binding arbitration tosettle disputes over ‘two-tier’ workforces in local government. Under a new code of conduct unveiled earlier this year, which coverscontracts between local authorities and private firms, future staff willreceive pay and conditions which are no less favourable than those oftransferred staff. Subject to approval by local government minister NickRaynsford, the code will be enforceable through independent and bindingarbitration, which is expected to be delivered by Acas. Mary Mallett, president of the Society of Personnel in Local Government (Socpo),welcomed the agreement. “Enlightened public authorities have been doingthis sort of thing for years,” she said. “If you treat people likecommodities, they will behave as such. They will either jump ship or will notfeel committed.” The CBI described the new deal as “workable for business”. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article A lack of attention to rehabilitating stressed staff is costing businessesthousands of pounds every year, according to a report produced for the Healthand Safety Executive (HSE) by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for the return of employees towork after long-term illness, and over the past six years, there has been arapid increase in the numbers of people who report they are experiencingstress. The report, Best Practice in Rehabilitating Employees Following Absence Dueto Work-Related Stress, highlights how a range of methods are now being used byorganisations in the UK to rehabilitate staff. Efforts to deal with long-term absence were undermined by the use of ‘stress’as a catch-all term. “The key to being able to intervene effectively is understanding thespecific nature of the stress problem,” said report co-author, Jo Rick ofthe IES. “A GP will write ‘stress’ on a sick note because it is their dutyto decide whether or not a person is fit for work. Yet, stress is used todescribe a very wide range of conditions.” Examples of best practice include how to train managers to recognise theearly signs of problems in employees, risk assessments, coaching for managersin dealing with an employee once they are off work, the use of cognitivebehavioural therapy and the offer of phased returns to work, reduced hours andtemporary reassignments. The report is one of two being published by the HSE ahead of new guidance formanagers, which is due this autumn. The second report, Beacons of excellence in stress prevention, outlinescriteria for best practice in stress prevention. The reports, which cost £20 each, are available from HSE Books, tel 01787881165, or through the website. www.hsebooks.co.uk Lack of rehab for stress is costing UK plcOn 1 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Challenging absenceOn 2 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Derek Kemp of Human & Legal Resources outlines how to deal withpersistent absence in the workplaceDespite HR professionals being well acquainted with the costs associatedwith absence, they have to accept that organisations employ people, not robots;and people will call in sick from time to time. But what if an employee’sintermittent absence level becomes unacceptably high, or a long-term absentee’sjob needs filling on a permanent basis? Irrespective of whether we thinkemployees’ excuses are suspect or we have genuine sympathy for them, therecomes a time when action becomes necessary. The process to be followed depends upon the nature of the absence record –is it long-term or is it intermittent? Persistent short-term absences from work For a tribunal to recognise that an intermittent absence record isunacceptable, there should be: – A fair review by the employer of the attendance record and the reasons forabsence – An opportunity for the worker to make representations – Appropriate warnings of dismissal if things do not improve. Of course, if investigations suggest that there may be an underlying medicalcondition, the employer should seek proper medical opinion to determine theextent and likely duration of the condition. If it becomes clear that thenature of the condition is such that there is unlikely to be any improvement, thecase should then be regarded as one of long-term illness, and appropriate stepsshould be taken (see below). [Hint: We have all been tempted to question a GP over a sick note – don’tbother, it is not worth the trouble.] Although ‘warnings’ or ‘cautions’ may seem inappropriate in cases ofillness, they are a necessary measure. The following considerations have beentaken into account at both tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)levels: – Nature of any illness – Likelihood of reoccurrence – Length of absences/spacing of good health – How important the job is to the employer – Impact of the absences on the team – Adoption and the exercise of carrying out the organisation’s policy – The requirement to take into account the employee’s views – The employee’s awareness that the moment may be approaching when thedecision to dismiss may be made – The general effect on output or sale (particularly important in smallerorganisations where there is less possibility of arranging cover for work) – Special nature of employment, which may require a higher than usual levelof attendance or that employees be of robust health. This only applies wherethere is a particular clause within the contract of employment. The dismissalcan therefore be deemed to be a result not merely of ill health, but forfailing to meet an essential requirement of the contract. Assuming that the appropriate procedural steps (similar to your disciplinaryprocedure) have been taken, the fairness or otherwise of the decision to dismisswill boil down to the question of ‘whether, in all the circumstances, theemployer can be expected to wait any longer and, if so, how much longer’. Thisis done by balancing the interests of the employer with those of the employee.The employer must show that the sanction of dismissal is within the range ofresponses that a reasonable employer would make. The decision to dismiss is anemployment decision not a medical one, to be made by the employer in the lightof the available evidence. Other important factors to consider include: – Any recent improvement in the employee’s attendance record – The employee’s past and likely future service – The importance of the job and the feasibility of employing a temporaryreplacement – Where an employee is in a key position, a shortening of the procedure maybe justified. However, a ‘key’ employee is only likely to be one without whomthe employer’s business cannot properly function – The effect of continued absence or illness on other employees. Other employeesmay be affected – such as where they lose a team bonus, or where anindividual’s ill health causes frightening or violent behaviour. [HINT: If you have a generally high level of intermittent absences, we havefound it is possible to halve it by scrapping the self-certification form.Replace it with a requirement for the employee to write a note (on their ownpaper) to their manager for approval at the return-to-work interview. Peoplefind it far harder to lie about their absence on their own paper than on yourform.] Long-term sickness The key to a fair dismissal is a fair procedure. Such procedure consists oftwo elements: – Medical investigation – Consultation with the employee. Sufficient medical enquiries should be made to enable the employer to makean informed decision about the continued employment of the employee. The first step is to ascertain the seriousness of the illness and its likelylength and effect. Often, though not always, this will involve obtaining amedical opinion. It is essential for the employer to ascertain the precisenature of the illness or disability wherever possible and a predicted period ofabsence. However, it is critically important that the employers do not rely on amedical opinion alone. Employers must discuss medical information with theindividual concerned and should not set themselves up as medical experts – thedecision to dismiss is not a medical question, but an employment question to beanswered by the employer in the light of available medical advice. The firstmedical opinion sought should be that of the employee’s own doctor. The information normally requested is: – the nature of the illness – the expected period of absence – the type of work the employee would be capable of upon their return. [HINT: In some cases it is identified that the employee may be able toreturn to work on ‘lighter duties’ or on a phased part-time basis. This isoften beneficial to all concerned and helps you assess what they are capableof. However, it is worth setting regular reviews so the employee’s progress canbe monitored and the arrangements changed to reflect their recovery (orotherwise) from the illness/condition.] Extra care Extra care is necessary in all of the following cases. Pregnancy dismissals: These are automatically unfair if the reason or principle for the dismissalis that the employee is pregnant or there is any other reason connected withpregnancy. Disabled workers: An employer must consider an employee’s personal circumstances, includingany disability, when deciding when to dismiss. This means that the standard bywhich a disabled worker’s performance is measured must take into account his orher disability. If, after making such allowances, the employee’s performance isstill below par, then dismissal may be fair. Mental Illness: The EAT has stated that ‘incapacity on the grounds of mental health is anexceptionally delicate and sensitive field’. Therefore, while dismissals involvingmental health should be approached in a similar manner to other types ofillness, there must be even greater tolerance and support. Drink and Drugs: The difficulty in this area, for the employer, is to determine whether todeal with the issue as one of misconduct or ill health. If an employee’smisconduct or deterioration in performance is due to chronic alcoholism or drugaddiction then a disciplinary procedure is inappropriate – sickness proceduresshould be used and medical opinion sought. Previous Article Next Article
Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 30 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. This week’s lettersAre you releasing potential or just sweating the asset?Company brochures often talk about the importance of ‘releasing thepotential’ of all employees, thereby enabling them to feel fulfilled in theworkplace. By finding out what their wants and needs are, by enrollingemployees on relevant training programmes and by encouraging them to take anactive part in company-wide activities, it is hoped their pent up and untappedabilities will be released. But every thesis has its antithesis, and I have noticed in my discussionswith work colleagues, business associates and friends that instead of feelingfulfilled by the added opportunities being presented to them, some simply feeldrained by the process. Instead of releasing potential, they feel that as acorporate asset they have been well and truly sweated. Many people neither want nor expect all of their potential to be used in theworkplace. They see work as a place to come to earn some money, to do the jobthey’ve been asked to do, and then return home in the evening unscathed andunstressed. The last thing many want is for the goalposts to be constantlymoved or to be presented with new ‘challenges’ or ‘personal developmentopportunities’. In a recent management meeting I attended, an HR director was attempting tointroduce a ‘skills analysis’ procedure. All managers were asked to return totheir teams and attempt to classify their various team members’ talents,knowledge and interests into categories such as ‘interpersonal’, ‘coaching/teaching’,‘technical’, ‘creative’, ‘managerial/supervisory’ and ‘practical’ in an attemptto investigate whether or not the organisation was releasing the potential ofits staff and, more importantly, whether staff were getting the most out of theiremployment. No doubt the HR director’s intentions were honourable, yet when anothermanager indicated that his team might be suspicious of the process, I realisedhow important it is to explain and manage it effectively. Exercises of thisnature can be seen as an attempt by management to get more out of their teammembers for no tangible return. So where should the line be drawn between ‘releasing potential’ and‘sweating the asset’? Is there always going to be a division between those whoperceive such initiatives as a threat and those who see them as a realopportunity for personal fulfilment? The majority of us are not motivated by money per se; being stretched andstimulated intellectually are much more important. There are also, of course,those who simply do no want to give any more than they are already giving anddo not see work as the main outlet for the release of their potential. Suchviews should be appreciated and, provided the team member is performing his/herjob to the required standard, no attempts made to ‘force’ any extra potentialfrom them. By communicating benefits to individuals effectively, by listening to theirneeds and wants and by being open about the consequent benefits to theorganisation as a whole, managers should be able to encourage people toundertake the processes that do release their full potential, creating a “win-win”situation for everyone. Additionally, a working environment should be provided which encourages andsupports knowledge sharing through coaching and mentoring schemes, and whichprovides thanks and recognition for a job well done. In this way employeesshould be more motivated to give closer to 100 per cent of their potential totheir employer – or at least have had the opportunity to do so. Jan Bailey Marketing manager, The Leadership Trust Public sector joins in the war for talentThe pipeline for talent is perhaps the most vital issue facing employers inthe current climate regardless of sector or type. Here we are, five years onfrom when McKinsey’s War for Talent hit desks across the HR community and manyof us still don’t have the answers to fill the skills gaps that will drive UKplc in to the future. I totally support the fact that the Employers Organisation has produced a‘Guide to Workforce Planning in Local Authorities’ (news, 16 September). Theneed to help assess ‘how many employees are and will be needed and to ensuresufficient and appropriate training and development is provided’ in the publicsector is no longer an issue for bluechips alone. The war for talent isn’t confined to the public sector. In the interimarena, rates have risen by 15-20 per cent in the past 12 months and in thepermanent sector, salaries for senior roles often equate to those expected byHR directors in the private sector. Good people see the public sector and local government as a good careermove, but candidates who may have cut it in an investment bank still need to bethe right ‘fit’ for an utterly different culture. Organisations need to rely onsuppliers who can create a pipeline for talent, thinking strategically andsupporting HR departments and candidates in identifying the skills they need toflourish in the future. Jane Robson Joint managing director, Courtenay HR The inter-personal e-learning paradox Your article ‘E-learning Curve’ (22 July) highlighted the challenge ofachieving e-learning success. Nowhere is this more of a challenge than in the area of achievingprofessional and management skills. It is broadly accepted that e-learning, with the appropriate support andcustomisation, can achieve satisfactory results for knowledge, procedural andlower level technical subject areas. However, the case is not so clear whereinterpersonal skills are concerned. Paradoxically, surveys show the lack of interpersonal skills in ourworkforce is the single most significant limiting factor on corporate success. Experience shows that it is only when we combine e-learning with humancontact and communication, and appropriately structured opportunities topractice skills learned via e-learning, that real performance leaps in creatingwinning relationships can take place. Just half a day of intense, customised,classroom training will enable learners to reinforce and practice newtechniques learned in e-learning modules. As a result of this small but significant investment, learner motivationwill be greatly enhanced and they will gain the vital ability to apply newskills. For HR and training departments, this means an increased uptake ine-learning materials and a better-skilled workforce but perhaps mostsignificantly, a sure fire way of realising the benefits from the e-learninginvestment. Brian Sutton Chief educator, QA The men in white coats are waiting Terry Lunn filled me with dismay and concern (Letters, 19 August). Hislittle rant seems incompatible with his membership of the professional body forpeople he refers to as ‘unsavoury HR accomplices’. I see he is an independent consultant – many might hope he is not holdinghis breath waiting for new business, because few potential clients will beat apath to his door when they see what he thinks of corporations and HR people.Some also might feel he ought worry more about the men in white coats, ratherthan fixate on his obsession about black bags. Roger Loughney HR director, Corporate details supplied Read the smallprint or prepare to pay up Over a long period I was forced to buy an HR product (originally about £400which, with negotiation was reduced to £200) by a company that was constantlyabusive and harassing over the phone and by letter. My only fault was that I did not return the trial document within thecompany’s designated timescale. There are definitely some sharp practitioners and practices out there (News,5 August). You need to read the small print especially if they are lesser knownsuppliers. On the other hand, people like Croners appreciate the busy lives we lead anda phone call is all that is needed to extend a product trail. That sort ofunderstanding is invaluable to people like myself who hardly have time to readthe post let alone review a new product. Sue Smith HR director, Bowlplex plc Skills divide at the top is breachable I was not at all taken aback to see that research released this month foundthat just one in five senior managers throughout FTSE100 companies have atechnical background, whereas 90 per cent of chief executives are degreeeducated. At a time when boardroom diversity is under the spotlight, particularlyfollowing the publication of the Higgs Report (News, 5 August), this surveyhighlights the great extent of the skills divide at the top. This should come as no surprise to HR practitioners, who for decades havebeen considered secondary to other disciplines when it comes to boardpromotion. While the situation has improved to a great extent in recent years, thevalue that a strategically focused HR practitioner can add to a business hasyet to be realised by many senior management teams. Given that technology andpeople form the backbone of almost every organisation, it does confound thatsuch little emphasis is placed upon their management at the highest level. Itappears short-sighted and stagnant that British business has failed totransform the make-up of management in accordance with changing businessprocesses. Some may argue that technically-minded professionals and HR practitioners donot have the skills necessary to ascend to the board. However, while there is aneed for an understanding of the intricacies of the corporate world, of equalimportance is the sheer wealth of knowledge and ability to manage complexprocesses and issues that they bring. Certainly, I wouldn’t suggest that all management professionals besuperceded by IT and HR specialists, but in light of the present imbalancechange does need to occur. Balance sheets, profit and loss and financial reporting are essential to thecontinuation of a business, but equally important are the people that make ithappen. Ian Sharland Managing director, LogicaCMG Enterprise Services Wear their’s a spell cheque the CVs err… In his article on writing a perfect CV cover letter (Careerwise, 16September) Scott Beagrie quite rightly advises readers not to rely on their ownproof-reading abilities, but to involve a friend or colleague. From experience, I would add another warning: don’t rely on your computer’sspell checker to correct things for you. I’ve seen too many applications which include correctly-spelled words – butthey are the wrong words! For example, ‘there’ and ‘their’ are both spelledcorrectly, but they are not interchangeable – spell- check with great caution. Tim Wells Senior analyst, Nationwide Building Society