HR strategy forum

first_imgHR 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. last_img read more

Whole Foods opens doors to London

first_imgAmerican giant Whole Foods Market opened its UK flagship superstore on Kensington High Street, London, last week, with bakery a key attraction.A working bakery and bakery display section are the centrepiece in the entrance area of the store, with point of sale boasting that breads are: “made from scratch in house by our artisan bread bakers”.In total, 35 varieties are offered, baked throughout the day, using unbleached flour.The bakery range in this area includes teacakes, cookies, muffins, and products sourced from upmarket suppliers including Honeyrose Bakery and Popina. The offer also includes chilled cakes and large ambient ’coffee cakes’, to eat with coffee.In total, the new Whole Foods Market food store occupies an 80,000sq ft three-storey premises, with an eating area on the top level, takeaway foods on the ground floor and groceries in the basement.The takeaway area includes hot and cold foods to go. Unlike the company’s stores in the United States, sandwiches are not made to order. A small range of prepared sandwiches and filled croissants are sold from a chiller area at the back, priced from £2.99 for a filled croissant to £4.99 for a large bloomer or baguette sandwich.The grocery area in the basement has counters including a sweets counter, with select your own chocolates and a ’pies, pastries and quiche’ counter, selling items such as chicken spinach and old spot ham seven-inch pies at £34.99.Whole Foods plans to open around 40 stores in the UK. It currently operates 189 stores in the United States and Canada, as well as five Fresh & Wild shops in the UK.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces Establishment of New Charter School Division (Round-up)

first_img By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant August 26, 2016 Allentown Morning Call: Gov. Tom Wolf seeks more charter school oversight“Making good on a campaign promise to put tighter oversight controls on taxpayer-funded charter schools, Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday established a four-person unit within the state Department of Education to oversee the nontraditional public institutions.”Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. seeks better results, oversight with new charter school division“Wolf’s office said the new division would assist charter schools in setting goals for student achievement, increasing parent and community involvement, and ensuring academic and financial responsibility.”WHYY Newsworks: Pa. department of education enhancing oversight of charter schools“The division will take a specific interest in the health of the cyber charter sector – schools which are authorized at the state level and, overall, have a track record of poor performance.”Beaver County Times: Gov. Wolf announces new state division for charter school oversight“The Division of Charter Schools will help heighten accountability by overseeing fiscal and education programming reviews for charters and scrutinizing the reauthorization process for cyber charters, which the Department of Education administers.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Governor Wolf Announces Establishment of New Charter School Division (Round-up)   SHARE  TWEET Round-Up,  Schools That Teach,  The Blog Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the establishment of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Division of Charter Schools as an effort to improve quality and accountability of charter schools across the commonwealth. The office will assist charter school educators and leaders in setting goals to advance student achievement, increase parent and community involvement, and ensure academic and financial responsibility.“Charter schools play an important role in our education system, but that role must be accompanied by sufficient oversight,” Governor Wolf said. “Establishing this new division within the Department of Education will allow us to maximize our resources to not only ensure charters are being properly supported, but that they are being held accountable to taxpayers.”Take a look at the coverage below:last_img read more

USC students react to wildfire outbreaks

first_imgA Los Angeles Fire Air Operations Firehawk helicopter combats the Woolsey fire near Malibu. (Photo from the  Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations Section Twitter)Sophomore Maya Tribbitt’s hometown Thousand Oaks, Calif., is facing crisis after crisis. On Thursday night, one day after a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill, Tribbitt heard about how the Woolsey fire was encroaching on her community. She called fellow USC student and Thousand Oaks resident Deeksha Marla to help cope with the back-to-back disasters.“We went to the same high school, and her house was in the direct line of fire when it started,” Tribbitt said. “It was really hard for us to grapple with [the events] and explain how we were doing to other students who aren’t from California or from our area.”The USC community has felt the effects of California’s raging wildfires since Thursday. California is the most represented state among the University’s undergraduate student population, according to USC Admission’s freshman student profiles. And some USC students hail from Thousand Oaks, a community about 40 miles north of South Los Angeles that is being threatened by the Woolsey fire. The Los Angeles Times reports that about 370 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the blaze, and around 57,000 structures are still at risk.Northern California is also battling the Camp fire, the deadliest in state history.“It’s really weird being away from home when something like this is happening because I haven’t talked in person with a single person from Thousand Oaks in the last week,” said Quinn Jones, a freshman majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. “I just felt like I really wanted to go home, so I could [be] surrounded by people that understand my problems.”Through social media, students like Jones whose families affected by the fire have been able to stay connected, but some say they feel alienated by their peers as they try to comprehend the past week’s events. Associate Vice Provost for Campus Support and Intervention Lynette Merriman sent an email to students with addresses in zip codes affected by the fires to offer emotional support services and crisis counselors on Friday. “We are concerned about the effect the recent wildfires in California have had on members of the USC community,” the email read. “This can be a traumatic time for students, and we wanted to let you know that we are concerned about your well-being and the safety of your families.”Tribbitt, who is majoring in international relations and journalism, said her family was forced to evacuate on Nov. 8 and that the condition of their home remains undetermined. “My family just recently was allowed to go back,” Tribbitt said. “They went back [Sunday] and the air quality was so bad that they went back to their hotel … but we don’t think there’s any actual fire damage [to our home]. But my friends’ houses have burned down completely.”Tribbitt’s father is a professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, where classes have been canceled through Thanksgiving break because of the Woolsey Fire. Adam Omary, a freshman majoring in biophysics, said the fire reached a park near his Thousand Oaks home.As a Southern California native, Omary and his family have experienced fires and evacuations before. His family was updating him as they moved in with friends in Santa Barbara these last few days.“I knew they would be safe,” Omary said. “It’s nice knowing that I don’t have to be there to experience all of it because it’s pretty stressful, but it’s also weird sitting back and just watching and having to wonder what’s happening or where they are.” Interim President Wanda Austin sent an email to the USC community on Monday, encouraging affected students to reach out to USC Support and Advocacy, the Center for Work and Family Life, Trojans Care for Trojans or other counseling services.“The terribly destructive fires that have ravaged California this past week have directly and profoundly affected the USC community,” Austin wrote. “Some members of our community live in areas that have been evacuated, or have sustained tremendous damage, while many more have been feeling significant stress and worry about family members, loved ones, and friends who reside in these areas, and who now may be facing difficult recoveries.”Andrea Klick, Mia Speier and Sasha Urban contributed to this report.last_img read more