Previous Article Next Article Is IT missing obvious solution to its crisis?On 20 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Lastweek IT employers launched a charter to tackle the crisis of IT skillsthroughout industry. Meanwhile PC manufacturer Compaq announced it was to cut5,000 jobs worldwide leading to speculation that 3,000 jobs in Scotland couldbe affected. It was the latest in a series of announcements of job losses orprofit warnings in the high-tech sector. If you take the two developmentstogether they appear to present a conundrum. Why lay off staff when you haveskills shortages?Anattempt by employers to tackle the IT skills crisis is obviously welcome and isnot before time. And there is nothing wrong with the aims of the IT skillscharter. However,there is something missing. Oddly, nowhere does it say that the IT industrywill invest in more training. Surely it is cheaper to train existing staff inIT skills than to recruit new people, especially in companies which are makingmass lay-offs? Any explanations would be welcome. Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Is it necessary to have an HR background to be effective at HR? The answer is “no” according to 62 per cent of Personnel Todayreaders who took part in our news barometer survey published in our 15 Mayissue. A total of 242 people took part inthe online poll at www.personneltoday.com151 voted that an HR background is not necessary compared with 91 whobelieve that an HR grounding is essential. We ask HR professionals to expand on their answersNO – AN HR BACKGROUND IS NOT NECESSARY RayBaker, sustainable development controller, B&Q You don’t need a background in HR, but you do need to be able to call onpeople with expertise in issues such as employment law. You do need an inherent desire to have respect for people and to enhancepeople policies throughout the business. Des Pullen, HR director, Allied Bakeries The ability to influence your operational colleagues is not dependent on HRexpertise. It depends on your ability to understand the issues facing thebusiness and to come up with appropriate solutions. CarmelO’Kane, HR manager, Firefly Communications People who bring other experiences to HR are much more prepared to take astep back from the coal face of process and see HR for what it really is – acommercial, strategic discipline that contributes to business advantage byattracting, developing and retaining an organisation’s people. HR has changed. This means that increasingly the skills and attributesneeded to be a success are the skills and attributes that can be gained in anycommercial area. All of this has an impact on training and development for HRprofessionals. The CIPD needs to ensure that industry accreditation is equipping today’snovices with the skills they need for the future. The CIPD qualification should be attracting students that have board-levelaspirations, just like other professional organisations such as the CharteredInstitute of Marketing. SteveJames, HR director, Deloitte & Touche In my experience, the most successful HR leaders have always been those whounderstood both the HR and non-HR dynamics of their businesses, couldcommunicate the issues and solutions effectively and were able to influence andmanage change such that the business could grow. This requires more than just an HR background and, in some cases, perhapsnot even an HR background. With the right team, containing the necessary specialist skills andknowledge, one can certainly be effective without a strong personal HRbackground. Dorothy Leo, director of the Learning Centre for engineering group SKF We look at it in two ways. For our most senior HR jobs, such as HRdirectors for the business divisions and group HR, we believe that anunderstanding of the business and a people focus is equally or more importantthan a conventional HR background, and have had some success appointing seniorline managers to these roles. These positions have much more of a strategicfocus. When it comes to geographical positions, for example, country HR directors,then it is much more important to have an HR background because a lot of thejob role is to do with industrial relations and legal considerations. YES – AN HR BACKGROUND IS ESSENTIAL Andrew Sherwood, HR director, Carphone Warehouse A balance of business experience and CIPD qualifications is good. Iwouldn’t be able to manage my department without staff with CIPDqualifications. They have the specialist knowledge needed. We are running aprogramme to get more people equipped with the CIPD qualification. Alison Hodgson, International graduate programme manager for Internetcompany Worldcom I know of very successful people who have fallen into the profession, butit’s useful to have the CIPD qualification as you need to have an understandingof resourcing, development, relations and rewards. The results of your news barometer are really worrying, but it does notsurprise me. It harms the credibility of HR. PeterDeer, director of personnel, Cambridge University It is hard to have a knowledge of employment issues and legislation,develop people skills and have experience of dealing with managers, employeesand trade union representatives, unless you are exposed to these issues on aregular basis. AmandaRavey, HR director, Whitbread Hotels Employment law can be learnt, but if people come in from other area ofbusiness, they must have certain talents. These talents include being a”people champion”, understanding the importance of the employee tothe business, being able to tell the difference between high- and low-calibreemployees and how to get the best out of them. Madelaine Allen, HR director, Applied Materials People do need a background in HR to be efficient in it. It’s more of aspecialised part of the business now. The CIPD qualification gives peoplegrounding in employment law and strategic planning. But it’s also veryimportant to have wider business experience as you need to look at HR from abusiness perspective. DilysWynn, HR manager, Worcestershire County Council To achieve the range of knowledge and skills to be effective in strategicHR, I believe that an HR background is needed. Senior HR people need to understand motivation and management techniques,which is hard to get elsewhere. I also believe that to be effective in HR youneed to know your business and sector inside out. John Wrighthouse, head of personnel planning and development, NationwideBuilding Society As someone who is responsible for the development of people, I often havediscussions with both HR staff and generalists about the age-old question ofspecialist versus generalist. A straight choice between specialist/generalist is too limiting – too muchis lost about what broader qualities an individual can bring to the HR role, andit is these other qualities that can make or break a successful HR career. The expectations of HR and HR people are changing all the time, and some ofthe most effective HR people I have met have had a very varied background. Theybring a different perspective and drive and contribute in a different way. There is something else, something other than background, that leads toeffectiveness. Here at Nationwide Building Society, we believe that to beeffective in HR depends on the behaviours an individual brings to the role, notsimply if their background is “specialist” or “generalist”.We have developed six “leadership capabilities” that define thecore behaviours that are indicative of success throughout the organisation.They include being imaginative and having the ability to generate and encouragenew thinking and ways of working to take the organisation forward and livingthe values, and the ability to promote the excellence of Nationwide. As an individual who came through the HR specialist route, I spent fouryears out of HR as operations director running a £2bn mortgage subsidiary.Having just returned to an HR role, I can say that I am far more effective nowthan when I left. An effective HR person is more about what the individual does and how theydo it, not what they may or may not know. It’s about the behaviour theydemonstrate. Can anyone do HR?On 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Rapid reaction leadershipOn 1 Mar 2002 in Military, Personnel Today Comments are closed. The hours are long, and time off is often unpredictable. In a year, as manyas 120 days could be spent on assignment away from home, and in 2002 thatfigure will probably rise. The work itself is tough, so the training is gearedto produce mentally and physically tough, disciplined and skilled air commandoswho can operate in the most chaotic and hostile conditions. DeeDee Doke reportson leadership within one of the US’s elite warfighting groupsWhen hostilities break out in an area of US interest, such as Afghanistan,among the first, if not the first, to arrive on the scene will be rapidreaction teams of Special Operations forces from the air force, army and navywith highly specialised combat skills. In the air force, such skills willinclude flying in adverse conditions, combat search and rescue, establishingand operating air assault zones, target designation, evacuation co-ordinationand more. As a result, it takes ‘a special breed’ that chooses to stay in the US AirForce Special Operations Command (AFSOC) beyond an initial three- or four-yeartour of duty, says Col James Connors, the command’s director of operations (DO)who has served nearly 19 years in the special operations arena. “I’ve stuck with it because I get up every morning to come in here, andI know that no matter how I plan my day, there’s going to be somethingdifferent that’s happened. I’m going to be challenged, and I enjoy that,”says Connors. “It’s an honour to come in every day and work with the kindof folks who also expect to come in, find a new challenge that they weren’texpecting and not only be able to handle that situation, but get ready for thenext day. There’s never a dull moment.” Compared to the board line-up of a commercial company, a military commandstaff has many of the same functions. At AFSOC, the ‘CEO’ is a three-star airforce general, whose ‘board’ includes a lawyer, flight surgeon, a financialwizard, a safety expert, chief engineer, senior enlisted force adviser andother top advisers. As the DO, which is arguably the hot seat on any command staff, Connors hasmultiple responsibilities: to organise, train and equip Afsoc’s forces,wherever they are based around the world. As such, he faces the full gamut ofHR issues daily, from ensuring the right combat forces are in the rightpositions, through training and leadership development, to overseeinginternational deployments and dealing with the families left behind. Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Force, the anti-terrorism campaignthat followed the New York and Washington bombings on 11 September, life inAfsoc has further intensified with global deployments and well-publicisedmilitary action. Its deadly AC-130 Spectre gunships vie for combat headlinesfrom Afghanistan with the more cumbersome B-52 bombers. Clearly, growing and maintaining as special a breed as Special Ops forcesrequires definitive command that leads by example. “They need to be ledbut not stifled,” says Connors. “They need to have a chance to learnby doing, as opposed to being ordered to do every single thing. We need to givethem a chance to try things, to plan, to exercise, and to see how things workout in training in peacetime so that when they have a chance to do the samething, only a little different, in combat, they understand how to do it. “I need to be able to give them an environment where they can think ontheir feet, where they’re not afraid to act. This is not a one-mistake commandwhere you’re out of here if you make a mistake. But we want people who arewilling to act on their best judgement, to act on what we’ve taught them –people who are not stopped by the fear that something will happen to them ifthey do something or make a mistake. “The ability to make mistakes is valuable. Letting people try things isvaluable. I think we do that in Afsoc more than the regular air forcedoes,” Connors says. Whereas many air force career fields involveconsiderable regulatory requirements and tried-and-tested formats forconducting business, Special Operations has a different focus. He adds:”We have regulatory guidance, but we also teach our people that there’s nosubstitute for common sense. And the guidance that we give folks never fits thenext situation they’re going to run into 100 per cent.” Connors’ original life plan did not include a military career, much lessSpecial Operations. In his youth, his only ambition was to live in New York,but the military draft system in place in the US then forced him to abandoneven that one goal. From 1969 until the end of the draft, which paralleled theend of the Vietnam War, a lottery system based on birth date determined whowould go. Connors’ number came up as 11. He completed his university studieswith a bachelor’s degree in urban studies in 1971, entered the air force and becamea billeting officer in his first assignment. He switched gears two years later by undergoing aircraft navigator training.For a few years, he served as an instructor navigator on two different aircrafttypes. In 1983, his course altered again, joining the special operations fieldfirst as a United Nations military observer for the UN Truce SupervisionOrganization in the Middle East. Business then heated up in the specialoperations world. The US has increasingly relied on its forces, somewhat toConnors’ chagrin, to take on more and more diverse missions from Grenada andPanama to Bosnia and various points in Africa. “Since the early 1990s,” Connors says, “there have never beenenough Special Operations forces to do what everybody wants us to do.” Asa result, his toughest challenge is prioritising resource requests from Afsoc’sfield operations, from aircraft and bullets to people and money “becauseyou never have enough”. Today, Afsoc forces tend to be “a little older, a little moreexperienced” than many airmen in the regular air force, Connors says,although “they really don’t know what they volunteered for until they getinto it. But the ones who are willing to accept the challenge, who are willingto learn new things and who are willing to continue to learn are the volunteersthat stay. They become a special breed. It amazes me every day the calibre ofpeople we get to do this job”. Motivating his forces on the front line is not difficult, Connors says, asthe objective and the means of executing it are clear. It’s tougher to keep thefocus on the mission outside the combat environment because of dailydistractions and competing priorities. “But everything we do needs to bedirected toward supporting those folks on the front line, and everybody herehas an important job doing that,” he says. “If there’s somethinggoing on in your job that you can’t control and it’s stopping you fromsupporting those guys out on the front line, you need to come see me, and we’llfix that.” Not only do his airmen and civilian employees need special leadership,however. Their spouses and children also form part of the “Afsocfamily” and require attention, especially when a mystery deployment isunder way. Often, families cannot know where their special operators have goneor when they’ll return. “It’s interesting. We recruit people to come here,but we keep families. We have more people leave Special Operations becausetheir family does not like the lifestyle rather than the individual member notliking the lifestyle,” Connors says. “It’s very hard on them. We aska lot of the people in the service, and we ask a lot of the families.” But his leadership philosophy for dealing with both is the same: “Tellthe truth. It’s easier. You have less to remember.” In Special Operations,truth is particularly crucial. The truth can alert forces to a potentialproblem – how to avoid it, or perhaps, how it cannot be avoided. For families,telling them you can’t tell them where their units have gone or when they’ll beback is better than passing on a lie. “When I deal with people, that’s my leadership philosophy. As DO,”Connors continues, “my philosophy is to fly, fly, fly. The only way I geta pilot with 3,000 hours flying experience is to have him fly 3,000 hours. Ican’t go out into the street and hire a guy that’s flown 3,000 hours incivilian life and bring him into the military and say, ‘OK, that’s going totransfer exactly over to what we do here’ because it doesn’t. The job of thiscommand is to produce combat-ready aircrews. That’s it. That’s what wedo.” But keeping that focus is difficult. When VIPs visit, there are staticdisplays to develop; aircraft need maintenance or modifications that keep themout of the available fleet; perhaps an aircraft must be on standby. Then there’sthe question of money. “Resources to fly aeroplanes are very expensive.There’s never enough money. Everyone understands that producing combat-readyaircrews is the goal, but there are a lot of impediments to doing that,”he says. At 52, Connors will soon retire from the military, believing that it is agame for younger folks who can better handle sleeping in tents out in thefield. But he easily and fondly remembers his own proudest moment as a SpecialOperations leader. In June 1993, he deployed to the African country of Djibouti for 30 dayswith four aircraft under his command, dispatched by the UN and then-PresidentBill Clinton following the killing of 24 Pakistani UN troops by Somalianwarlord Mohammed Aidid’s forces. He was the senior US military man in Djibouti,and oversaw the establishment of a full-up military encampment to support hisand other forces that were in pursuit of Aidid. When his group returned to homebase, all went home alive. Says Connors: “I sat back and said, ‘Well, it all worked, if I’d had toretire right after that, I would have felt complete’.” US air force special operations command12,000 people include: 9,000 active-dutyairmen 1,200 reservists 1,000 Air NationalGuard 500 civiliansPermanent bases:Hurlburt Field, Florida, USKadena Air Base, Okinawa, JapanRAF Mildenhall, UK130 aircraft:AC-130H/U gunshipsMH-53M Pave Low helicoptersMC-130E/H Combat Talon transport MC-130P Combat Shadow aerial tankers Related posts: Previous Article Next Article Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…
Previous Article Next Article Advice leads to professional isolationOn 1 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today I would like to describe the professional isolation that can be experiencedby an OH professional when client management decide to go against health adviceand apply pressure directly through the OH adviser’s employing company ormanagement. Rehabilitation advice I recently devised a rehabilitation programme for an employee returning towork after suffering non-work-related stress. When she returned to work, thedepartmental manager told her to work the first two weeks at half days until hehad contacted HR to find out what the actual procedure was. The HR department informed her of the referral process via OH. On her secondday back at work I saw her following an HR referral. During the consultation Ifully assessed the employee and devised a rehabilitation plan consistent withmy findings and the ability of the employee. This plan would have seen theemployee back at work within four weeks. However, when the employee returned to her department and informed thesection manager of the plan, the manager telephoned me and challenged meregarding the proposed plan. During the conversation the manager became quiteangry, stating she would be logging a complaint. She also tried to gain medicalinformation from me and stated she knew about the employee’s problems and feltshe was fit to resume work. At this point I told her that I would not discuss any aspect of the casewith her and directed her to contact HR. She did this and logged a complaintabout my attitude and questioned my ability to implement the rehabilitationpackage. This complaint was then forwarded and my manager was asked to investigate.During this investigation it was found that I had acted within the boundariesof my role. However, after this, a cascade of minor events were brought to my attentionthrough my manager. I started to wonder if this had anything to do with myprevious actions. Out-of-hours presence Following this, the company had arranged a teambuilding exercise at a localhotel, which was followed by an evening meal. I had previously informed mymanager that I could not attend in the evening. Two days before the event, my manager asked me in front of eight otheremployees if I would be going to the evening function. I said I would be goingall day but could not attend in the meal. At this point she told me I would begoing and that it was part of my contract to be flexible to the client’srequirements. Later that day my manager said she wanted a meeting with me to discuss theclient’s concerns over some aspects of my work. I attended and was shocked atallegations (without evidence) that there had been several complaints regardingmy work. Some of the issues being raised made me to think there was some sortof conspiracy going on. I would recommend anyone with similar problems to contact the RCN as it hasbeen a good source of support. Name and address supplied Has anyone experienced a similar situation or have any advice to offer ourreader? Call Eliza O’Driscoll on 020 8677 1951 or e-mail eliza [email protected] Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Consignia to outsource its OH service in a bid to cut lossesOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Congignia hopes to improve services and save money by using SchlumbergerSemato provide OH servicesConsignia, the troubled company behind Britain’s postal services, is poisedto outsource its occupational health service in a deal worth £70m. The deal is part of the firm’s three-year restructuring programme designedto stem losses of about £1.5m a day. Once signed, the five-year contract will see Schlumberger Sema, part ofFrench conglomerate Sema, take over the provision of OH services to Consignia’s220,000 staff. This includes pre-recruitment assessments, ill-health referrals and medicalretirement assessments. The OH team also offers preventative services such ashealth promotions and training. The company’s 240 occupational health staff will transfer toSchlumbergerSema on their existing terms and conditions, as required under TUPE(Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment) regulations. Consignia said it had decided to outsource the service because it was not acore part of its business. Overall, the company hopes to save £60m a year for10 years through a series of similar outsourcing agreements. Malcolm Kitchener, managing director of business services at Consignia,stressed the deal would not mean any downgrading of the service Consigniaemployees received. In fact, it was likely to improve, he argued. “Consignia’s OH service will be working with a major and focused playerin the OH market. There will be wider opportunities. There is quite an air ofexcitement about the prospect of joining SchlumbergerSema,” he said. OH nurses would have access to better systems and technology and SchlumbergerSemahad pledged to spend £5m upgrading the OH systems. They would also be able towork with clients other than Consignia, he added. www.consignia.com Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Learning from the coachOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Whateverthe literary flaws, a new novel about coaching is an original way of looking atexecutive development, writes Stephen Overell Some weeks ago (Research viewpoint, 4 June), I speculated that the workplacemight one day inspire a new genre of fiction called the management novel. Dreadof dreads, it seems I was behind the times. Published this month is The Coach by Lee Bryce, a coach herself at TheChange Partnership1. The book’s hero is Simon Bruce, son of a Scottish tenantfarmer who has progressed to chief executive of Andecis, a multinationalpharmaceutical company. Simon is married to the nagging Emily and has two children, but is having anaffair with Grace, an oriental virago who is hell-bent on breaking up hisfamily. Meanwhile, there are work problems of tumbling shares, drugregulations, a critical press and a shouting boss called Piers. Enter Angela Jones, a coach who delivers a talk at the Institute ofDirectors called ‘The Terrible Twins of Leadership: Fear and Control’, sobeginning Simon’s inevitable resurrection. As well as dealing in the usualcoach-type mush of ‘we write our own script’, Angela is not averse to makingremarks about more philosophical matters. “When you change your focus awayfrom ‘how can I protect myself’ to ‘how can I contribute to those around me’,you gain authentic power,” she tells him. Thin stuff for a novel, you might think. But throw in Red Roger, asoap-dodging animal rights activist who kidnaps Simon, love interest in theform of Carolyn, the green-eyed marketing director, and a clutch of lame sexscenes (‘you certainly know how to play a tune on my piano’) and it rattlesalong gamely enough. Shame about the dialogue, though: “Because you’vecreated such a climate of empowerment we all feel that we can challenge you,even when you revert to command and control,” coos Carolyn to Simon,during pillow talk. As redemptive fiction, the principal flaw is that Simon starts as a smug,narrow twit and finishes as a smug, narrow twit: so much for coaching. Yet theliterary worth of The Coach is not our primary concern. What is it like as an,ahem, learning tool? Here, Lee Bryce deserves some credit. She has attempted to convey thepeculiar alchemy of coaching in a brave and original format. True, in trying toilluminate the mystery, there are some unforgivable lapses into managerialhumbug: “See a world of incompetence, deviousness and danger and it comesto be confirmed,” trills the simpering Angela; such a pity Red Roger, theonly character with principles and backbone, did not kidnap the coach. Yet the format of the novel does provide a glimpse of the coachingphenomenon – the use of open questions, the refusal to directly advise inreaching decisions and the way energy is intuitively communicated. For insightinto the breathtaking fees, however, we shall have to wait. The novel is interesting, too, for what it says about contemporary debatesabout coaching. Simon’s coaching is part of a wider change programme thataffects senior managers and functional heads at Andecis. He is not the onlyperson being coached and the object of the exercise seems to be aboutinstilling a coaching culture at the company, without cascading it too far downthe hierarchy. The message is this: coaching should not be a one-person initiative;it needs to be externally, independently facilitated; yet there is little pointgoing much beyond director-level executives. This gels with some of the research. A survey by the Hay Group involving 170HR professionals found that 70 per cent believe coaching is more effective thantraining as a means of changing the behaviour and improving the performance ofsenior executives and high flyers (my own italics)2. In other words, coachingis exclusive. The book is faithful to the research, too, in the way that coaching isassociated with gloom. Simon’s personal and professional woes are the spur forbecoming Angela’s client. In the real world, coaching is seldom linked with apositive climate – rarely used to help organisations build for growth, for instance3.In the novel, the success of coaching is demonstrated by the way that thecoached executive radiates like a moral philosopher, while corporate problemsare smoothly vanquished. Life is not so compliant. A study by the thenIndustrial Society from March this year found that while a striking 80 per centof employers claim to use coaching, only a third ever bother to evaluate itseffectiveness4. This feeds a distorted appreciation of its impact. Those whoare being coached give an ‘overly rosy picture’ of its success, while othersare rather less appreciative, according to the Institute of EmploymentStudies5. Yet, arguably, something so wholly personal as the coaching experience doesnot lend itself easily to rigorous, statistical analysis. Many organisationsseem happy enough leaving measurement in the realm of anecdote. In a case studythat could well have furnished the inspiration for the novel, Autoglass, thecar window specialist, put 17 senior managers through an 18-month programme andare now reporting its success in terms of better financial procedures, fasterturnover of repairs and replacements and improved customer perceptions6. HR director Carol Madeley said at the end of the programme: “It gives amanager energy and motivation for the job in hand and cultivates a willingnessto develop personal skills and get the most from a team.” Now that management is mostly a matter of persuasion and inspiration, ratherthan instruction, it is hardly surprising that coaching has become such adominant motif in business life. The figure of the coach brings togetherpersonal development with corporate goals – the ultimate embodiment of how workand life are truly, unavoidably intertwined. Yet as a few observers have noted, it is unfortunate that coaching isleading to a perception of managers ‘becoming nicer’ – a perception that formsthe basic storyline of The Coach. In the long term, it won’t serve anyone verywell. “If strong coaching isn’t balanced by strong management, you’relosing the game,” argues Myles Downey, from the School of Coaching.”You have to be able to hold people to account.”7 References: 1 The Coach by Lee Bryce, Piatkus Publishing, 2002 2 For more on this study, see Personnel Today, 4 June 3 See Is Coaching Being Abused by Margaret Kubicek, Training Magazine, May2002 4 School of Coaching, www.theworkfoundation.co.uk 5 See Kubicek, above 6 Training Magazine, January 2002 7 See Kubicek, above Research Viewpoint plusRead related articles on this topic from XpertHR’s extensive databasefree. Go to www.xperthr.co.uk/researchviewpointJoin the Xperts take a free trialBy calling 01483 257775 or e-mail: [email protected] is a new web-based information service bringing together leadinginformation providers: IRS, Butterworths Tolley and Personnel Today. Itfeatures a new Butterworths Tolley employment law reference manual, a researchdatabase and guidance from 13 specialist IRS journals, including IRS EmploymentReview. Comments are closed.
Productivity in the UK is suffering because employers focus their resourceson developing high-earning skilled staff at the expense of low-incomeemployees. So concludes the HR Trends and Prospects 2003 report from the CharteredInstitute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which finds lower skilledworkers receive less training, and feature less in recruitment and rewardstrategies. They are also less likely to return to work when they becomeparents, owing to prohibitive childcare costs. The study, based on recent research by the CIPD, finds many UK workers donot believe their employers or senior executives have their interests at heart.Only one in three workers report they trust senior management “a lot”to look after their best interests. The CIPD’s chief economist John Philpott warned employers they risk damagingtheir productivity if they neglect their low-skilled workers. “It is easy to see why organisations devote so much attention towardsrecruiting and retaining the best staff, given the pressures of an increasinglycompet- itive marketplace,” he said. “But they do so at the expenseof improving performance and productivity at all levels.” Philpott said employers that place a greater emphasis on developing staff atall levels also find it easier to fill skills shortages by promoting fromwithin. The report shows firms are becoming more innovative in recruiting andretaining staff. Training and development is the most popular measure used toretain top performers (66 per cent), followed by promoting a good image (47 percent) and increased pay (44 per cent). www.cipd.org.uk Firms neglect low-paid staffOn 6 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
HR strategy forumOn 23 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Askour experts. Personnel Today would like readers to send in their strategic HRdilemma. All questions will remain anonymous and will be forwarded to our strategyforum members, two of whom will provide step-by-step advice in the magazine.Send your dilemmas to [email protected] dilemmaCommand and control culture A call centre employing 500 people has been in operation for five years, butforms only one division of a financial services business. It offers a 24/7service to customers and has managed to achieve high levels of customersatisfaction. It has an annual employee turnover of 45 per cent and has difficultyrecruiting the right calibre of staff. It is situated in an area of lowunemployment and faces increasing competition for the pool of available labour.It offers reasonably attractive salaries for a call centre and its terms andconditions are quite generous, when compared to its competitors. However, there are some serious issues around management style and a culturethat is more command and control than empowering. The business environment isbecoming more competitive, putting increasing strains on senior management.This strain is being transmitted down through the very minimal layers ofmanagement and supervision and is resulting in disgruntled employees seekingthe support of a union. However, the company does not currently recognise theunion. There is a shift system in operation and many are employed on part-time andquite flexible contracts. There is a large number of graduates and young mothersand the age profile is low. You are the new HR director. The managing director, who was not happy withthe way HR was dealing with the likely encroachment of the union, squeezed theprevious incumbent out. What are your priorities in your new role? Solution 1 By Ralph Tribe Ralph Tribe is vice-president of HR, Getty Images Step 1 Although the MD’s reaction to the possibility of trade unionrecognition is important, attempting to ‘fight’ the union is almost certainlythe wrong thing to do if your ultimate intention is to avoid a recognitionclaim. You need to mobilise the MD and senior team in devising an HR strategythat addresses the employment issues and work environment that are causing theworkforce to seek the support of an external body in preference to themanagement team. Step 2 So forget the trade union, and get the management team focusedon the rather more important issue of how much money you are losing by being atbest, an average employer. How much could the business could be making if it becamethe best employer in the region? Concentrate on the costs associated withturnover, retraining and low productivity. Identify the revenue andproductivity gains associated with high workforce loyalty, engagement andcommitment. Step 3 Having secured the senior team’s commitment to improving yourorganisation’s employment proposition and brand, you need to start talking tostaff quickly. Avoid falling into the trap of corporately defining what theorganisation’s new, compelling employment proposition will be from a ‘top down’perspective. The employees need to define it – your role is to provide a methodor tool that allows the organisation to capture and prioritise its feedback. Step 4 Having done so, you need to lead the process of building aplan that quickly delivers improvements in the four to six areas the workforcehas defined as being most important. If your objective is to differentiateyourself from other employers in the region among a young workforce, you mustkeep the plan simple and obvious, as they are likely to have little basis forsubtle comparisons. Step 5 If empowerment (or the lack of) comes up as an action item, aquick win with obvious bottom-line benefits might be to engage staff inidentifying opportunities for simple cross-selling or outbound selling in thecall centre environment. An improvedsales model offers the opportunity for more challenging and interesting work aswell as improved, affordable financial rewards for employees in the form ofsales incentives. Solution 2 By Paul Kearns Paul Kearns is director, PWL The solution offered here is based on an assumption that you have carriedout your own analysis of problems facing the business. Like most call centres,this is still a relatively young business and, as such, has had little or nostrategic HR input. Step 1 The first task is to bring the board up to speed from astrategic HR perspective. This will include taking a longer-term view, so thatsome of the underlying management issues (that is, management style) can beaddressed. You should also link whatever you plan to do directly to businessperformance indicators. Any HR strategy should be able to articulate how itwill impact on costs, efficiency and customer satisfaction in the medium to long-term.This is crucial for board commitment and buy-in. Step 2 The priority will then be to get an agreement from boardmembers that the union is not a welcome development. You must add, though, thatthe union, per se, is not the real issue but a symptom of it. The real issuesurrounds loss of trust and motivation in the workforce, which is having adamaging effect on the business as a whole. HR strategy is always about dealingwith root causes. Terms and conditions are already at an acceptable marketlevel, so the underlying issue will not be related to pay or conditions.Nevertheless, these may well become issues if employees achieve unionrecognition. Step 3 Once the board is behind you in principle, you need toidentify the key strategic steps. This might include identifying sections wherethere are serious cases of employee disengagement. These should be identifiablethrough inefficiencies or deteriorating levels of service, absenteeism orhigher turnover. A big strategic question is: do the managers who helped setthe business up have the right skills for managing in a much tightercompetitive environment? Step 4 One advantage you have as the new HR director is that youcould address a meeting of all employees to give your personal commitment andthat of the board to trying to resolve their problems. This may buy you sometime so that the big question of union recognition can be delayed long enoughfor you to be able to put your strategy into effect. How the forum worksThe HR Strategy Forum, which is supportedby some of the industry’s most experienced people (see below), is PersonnelToday’s major new initiative to help readers become more strategic in theirday-to-day operations. Over the coming months, Personnel Today will give a unique,developmental opportunity to hone your strategic skills using a wide range ofHR scenarios submitted by senior HR professionals. Each week, our panel ofexperienced practitioners and consultants will provide solutions to a typicalstrategic HR dilemma. You can get involved by sending in your own problems,marked ‘strategic dilemmas’, to [email protected] Brown, Assistant director general, CIPDPaul Kearns, Director, PWLJim Matthewma,n Worldwide partner, MercerHuman Resource ConsultingAndrew Mayo, Director,MLILouise Allen, Director, LAPartnersPenny Davis, Head of HR operations,T-MobileMarie Gill, Head of organisationaldevelopment, AsdaNeil Roden, HR director, Royal Bankof ScotlandRalph Tribe, Vice-president of HR,Getty ImagesDilys Winn, HR director,Gloucestershire County CouncilMargaret Savage, Head of HR strategy,BT Comments are closed.
Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Manufacturing sector gripped by pay freezesOn 27 Jan 2004 in Manufacturing, Personnel Today Nearly a quarter of all engineering and manufacturing firms that reportedpay settlements in the three months to the end of December 2003 alsoimplemented pay freezes. According to the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation which collected thefigures, it is the highest level of pay freezes reported since February 2002. David Yeandle, EEF deputy director of employment policy, said: “Thehigh level of pay freezes, together with the continuing low level of paysettlements, reinforces our view that wage inflationary pressures remainbenign, and should not be of concern to members of the monetary policycommittee when they next review the level of interest rates.” Related posts:
EU sets exposure limits for electromagnetism at workOn 27 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A European Union (EU) directive setting technical limits on the exposure ofworkers to electromagnetism has finally been approved by the EU Council ofMinisters and the European Parliament, following years of debate on the issue. All workers will be covered by the legislation, which includes rules on themaximum level of exposure that should be faced by staff working with or nearpower lines as well as those working near or with mobile phone and radarantennae. The EU legislation implements recommendations on exposure made by theInternational Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection. It gives employers the responsibility to assess exposure limits, to ensuremaximum levels are not exceeded, and to train and inform their workers aboutthe problem. The directive covers only the short-term effects of electromagneticexposure; information is too scant on long-term effects to legislate, said thecouncil. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.