Community projects key to M&S recovery tactics

first_imgCommunity projects key to M&S recovery tacticsOn 6 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Community projects will be central to Marks & Spencer’saction plan to revive its ailing business and improve staff skill levels.The retailer aims to support initiatives to improve safety,health and education in the communities around stores, which will also boostits business.Ed Williams, head of corporate community involvement, toldthe Building a Skilled Workforce conference in London that community investmentplans were key to the company’s recovery.An external evaluation showed the store’s own community involvementprogramme, which takes up one day a week for three months, led to a 30 per centincrease in employees’ skill levels.Employees taking part in the Prince’s Trust scheme, who wereall aged under 25, showed a 50 per cent increase in skill levels.The results came from competency reports from both theemployees and their managers.Williams hopes healthy eating and education campaigns willlead to more people buying Marks & Spencer products.He said, “Employees between the ages of 16 and 25 willbenefit the most.”We will no longer just be signing big cheques, butinvesting in the communities and customers we serve.”Within the next year, Williams hopes each employee willspend at least 100 hours in the community on development programmes.Other schemes include the “Seeing is Believing”tour, which involves managers from Marks & Spencer looking at issuesincluding homelessness.Williams hopes this will lead to Marks & Spenceroffering work placements to homeless people.By Richard Staines Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Net system slashes time taken to fill empty posts

first_imgSeniorHR professionals from Cadbury Schweppes and Glaxo SmithKline in the US haveused Internet recruitment to slash costs and reduce the time taken to fillvacancies from weeks to days.AWeb-based recruitment conference in London was told that new search systems,which look at entire applications instead of key words and match vacanciesagainst the CVs of individuals inside and outside the organisation, hasrevolutionised the task.AdrianThomas, head of global manufacturing and supply recruitment at GlaxoSmithKline, claims the company’s UK arm has now set itself the target offilling each empty position within five days – a process which currently takesas much as eight weeks.Thecompany’s US operation took advantage of the country’s burgeoning Netrecruitment culture, which has allowed single job sites like monster.com accessto more than 4 million resumés, and achieved this goal 18 months ago.ButThomas urged delegates at the conference, organised by IQPC, to useconventional advertising to promote Internet initiatives.Hecited the case of an advert for monster.com, which was broadcast in a breakduring the 1999 Superbowl, causing 2.2 million searches over 24 hours.“Theresults from using the Net in tandem with conventional advertising can be quitestaggering,” Thomas said. “Eighty per cent of the people you are looking forwill probably already work for your organisation – advertising jobs usingcompany intranets is equally important.”DianeTomlinson, global resourcing manager at Cadbury Schweppes, said Net recruitmenthad shaved off $700,000 (£489,785) from its $1.2m (£839,655) recruitment spend.Tomlinsonsaid the company used the Internet to reinforce the company’s already positiveimage in the Asia-Pacific region and to raise the profile of its best-sellingsoft drink brand in America, Dr Pepper. ByRichard Staines Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Net system slashes time taken to fill empty postsOn 27 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Education by degrees

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Education by degreesOn 1 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Whatis the most appropriate qualification for an occupational  health nurse and does it match whatemployers, public or private, really want? By Nic Paton In recent years, the pressure on occupational health nurses to be qualifiedto degree level has intensified. But according to Dr Alan Feest, course director and senior lecturer inoccupational health nursing at the University of Bristol, there remains adiscrepancy between what the profession feels should be the yardstick forexcellence and what some employers actually want from their OH team. “I have heard employers say they do not interview people who havespecialist practitioner status because they are not prepared to pay specialistpractitioner wages to someone who they will then have to train,” he says. What do employers want? It is this sort of attitude that goes to the heart of the education debatein occupational health – what is the most appropriate qualification for OHnurses and does it match what employers – public or private – really want? May Ryan, lecturer in occupational health and leader of the pathway foroccupational health nursing at Brunel University, argues that, while the degreeor postgraduate-level specialist practitioner qualification remains theprofessional benchmark, the reality is that, for some people, a diploma orlesser qualification is adequate. “A number of people will want nursing specialist practitioner’squalifications but there will be others who will want to go for a course thatoffers a more discrete qualification,” she says. “Employers will make decisions in terms of who they are going to wantto take on. A specialist practitioner qualification is not a mandatoryrequirement.” Ryan, who is also a member of the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Educators,adds that a diploma-level qualification may, for instance, be favoured byemployers who already have a comprehensive health team in place. “They mayalso suit people who feel they do not want to sit at degree level,” shesays. Dorothy Ferguson, MSC coordinator at Glasgow Caledonian University, concurs.”If you want a professional qualification in occupational health nursing,then you have to look at the specialist practitioner qualification. And youhave to make sure the course you are doing is recognised by the UKCC,” shesays. Specialist practitioner courses A specialist practitioner course has to be 50 per cent theory and 50 percent practice, Ferguson adds. In Scotland students do not have the option of adiploma course because no-one offers occupational health at that level. Anincreasing number of students are graduates anyway. While, according to Bristol’s Feest, scepticism remains among employersabout the relevance of a professional qualification within the workplace, thisshould in no way put OH practitioners off striving to attain professionalstatus. “Everybody should try to go for the degree. We have had people who havebeen suppressed all their working lives. One of my best students came to us atthe age of 52 after spending 25 years working as an OH nurse,” he says. “When she came to us she was a nervous, shaking chain smoker. In thefirst week she was angry, in the second week she was quiet and by the thirdweek she was asking questions. She has now worked through a whole range ofsenior positions.” The university offers a BSc Honours degree in occupational health nursing,based in the engineering faculty because “it is run by people whounderstand the technology”, although the course is registered with themedical faculty. The two-year residential course is taught entirely by practisingpractitioners, and includes an assessment of the student’s workplace and has aNebosh component. Says Feest: “We have a facility here that allows us to give people apass degree or a diploma, but they enter into the degree course.” “Some people are not interested in getting specialist practitionerstatus. It is really only relevant to those in the NHS. The English NationalBoard [the statutory body in England that ensures programmes meet UKCC standards]is very hospital orientated, but most OH nurses do not work in the NHS,”he contends. “Most of the large institutions offer extensive and large nursingcourses and they have to fit OH nurses into that. We just do OH nursing. Itcovers the core syllabus but entirely from the OH point of view. “Occupational health has a special client base, problems ofconfidentiality and other things. It is really inappropriate to lob it in witha school of nurses,” says Feest. In the past, practitioners have often turned to the ENB for careers adviceor information on the best choice of course. Technically, according to TomLanglands, director of primary health care nursing education at the ENB, theboard has now passed its careers advisory role to the NHS Careers AdvisoryService in Bristol. But he adds, “Because of the network the board has, and its links withhigher education, very often we are able to respond to individualqueries.” Course information The ENB publishes a circular outlining where courses are located, includinga brief outline of what each individual programme is about. While it is mostlyaimed at university departments, it is available to the public. The board alsohas a publications department, where information on specialist practitioner standardscan be obtained. Whether students are in Scotland or the rest of the country, geography islikely to play an important part in helping to decide where to study, saysCaledonian’s Ferguson. Speaking to former students who have already done acourse should also be a crucial part of the decision-making process. “From the basic education point of view, the course you choose willprobably be dictated by where you live and what is available locally. For mostpeople, gaining access to a programme is a question of whether they canphysically get there,” she says. This is particularly relevant when it comes to day release courses, althoughit is less of an issue on residential courses. Yet, if the course is right,students will invariably find a way of getting there, adds Brunel’s Ryan. “People need to enquire of the colleges and to discuss the times andthe ways in which they can access the courses available. Distance learning The option of studying through distance learning has so far been limited – withonly Aberdeen University offering such a course. But this may be about tochange. Graham Johnson, occupational health nurse at Interact HealthManagement, formerly MTL Medical Services, is in the final stages of linking upwith a university in the north-west of England to offer a BA Honours distancelearning course in Occupational Health and Safety Management – which will leadto a specialist practitioner qualification in OH nursing including a Neboshdiploma. “We feel that that there is a market ready for tapping into. It isoften difficult for individuals to get the day release they need,” hesays. He hopes to have the course up and running from October. “Governmentstrategy appears to have put occupational health nursing on the map at last.Now our education needs to catch up. The more courses there are and the moremodes available the better,” he says. Financial benefits OH practitioners also need to think carefully what they may be giving up ifthey discount the option of a specialist practitioner qualification, Johnsonargues. Salary levels can differ markedly between pre- and post-specialistpractitioner qualified nurses, with the latter expecting to make about £30,000or more compared with about £10,000 less for the former. The cost of the course itself is unlikely to be an issue, as most employerscan be expected to foot the bill, recognising the benefit that will come theirway from having a professionally qualified occupational health nurse on board. Would-be students should turn to the ENB, speak to universities andcolleagues and read journals such as Occupational Health or Nursing Times,Johnson advises. And, according to Sue Lamb, recruitment and development manager at OH Recruitment,employers looking to recruit OH professionals do still generally want nurseswith a specialist practitioner qualification. Some are unsure of the layers of qualifications and all the differentdegrees, but in the end what the employer really wants is a course that hasbeen recognised by the UKCC and ENB, adds Lamb. A pure occupational health qualification is a luxury few organisations canafford these days, and OH nurses would be well advised to obtain a parallelhealth and safety qualification, asserts Lily Lim, project leader for the BScand MSc occupational health and safety degree course at Middlesex University. “If you are studying for a qualification in safety, then it seems verylogical that both health and safety and occupational health should be part ofit,” she says. Pure OH courses are able to provide greater clinical depth and knowledge,she concedes, but that can now often be provided through practice nurses in GPsurgeries and OH nurses with specialist clinical knowledge. The Association of Occupational Health Nurse Educators, of which Lim ischairwoman, has been collating a database of all the courses available. This isdue to be published on the internet but, until then, Lim has said he is happyto field individual queries by e-mail. The old-fashioned route of learning your OH skills on the job can stillapply, albeit now in a much more limited form, argues Ryan. “People often gain access to occupational health by simply going intodepartments, where they are usually given a lot of supervision and training, solearning on the job is still an option.” But, according to the ENB’s Langlands, where the specialist practitionerqualification comes into its own is that it gives nurses greater clinicalknowledge and the ability to attain a higher level of responsibility. “The specialist practitioner qualification is a leadership preparationfor the occupational health nurse,” he says. “It is not a requirementfor anyone to be a specialist practitioner. What you want depends on what youremployer wants you to do or what you are seeking from your career. Yourqualification is about what competencies you need for that role,” heconcludes. Bristol University OH course: http://vll.fen.bris.ac.ukEnglish National Board publications department: 020-7391 6314 Lily Lim: [email protected] study: Bristol UniversityCarol Standish, an occupationalhealth nursing officer at Akcros Chemicals in Manchester, is due to finish aBSC Honours degree at Bristol University in occupational health nursing underDr Alan Feest in a matter of weeks. But getting to this point was an uphillstruggle.Standish originally enrolled on a diploma course in communityhealth nursing at the University of Manchester – the nearest college to herhome – with the intention of then going on to a degree course and obtainingspecialist practitioner status.On the Manchester course, she found herself sitting in lecturesattended by 80 other students, mostly midwives, community psychiatric nursesand district nurses. “Particular parts of it I found relevant, but I foundit difficult to apply it to my work,” she says.Also, as the day release course was based on a modularstructure and not all her modules fell on the same day, she was forced to takemore time off from her employer than she had anticipated. Then, to cap it all,just before she completed the course, the ENB removed its trainingrecommendation.”I had signed up for four years and now my plans werescuppered. My options seemed to be Leeds, Sheffield or Wolverhampton,”says Standish.But she saw the residential course in Bristol advertised inOccupational Health. “It was much more relevant in terms of myorganisation than any of the others that I had seen,” she says.”If you go into an OH department, you have got to know thelaw and health and safety law in particular. It is not like nursing on a ward.Sometimes in occupational health you are on your own.”Case study: Caledonian UniversityProximity to home and work was thebiggest selling point for occupational health nurse Tracy McFall when it cameto choosing a course in 1998. But McFall, an OH nurse with IBM in Greenock,also chose Caledonian University’s occupational health nursing degree course”because I rather liked its approach to OH, which takes in quite a publichealth agenda”, she says.McFall found studying alongside community nurses, districtnurses and community psychiatric nurses a very positive experience, particularlyin helping her understand how the different health professionals meshed in thecommunity, and could be used in the workforce. It also helped in building upcontacts. “I am particularly interested in how public health canlink into occupational health strategy. What can OH nurses do to link in withGovernment strategy, for instance?”McFall, who has just had a baby, is now working on a PhDlooking at the role of occupational health nursing in the prevention anddetection of coronary heart disease in the workplace. She says, “I found the course really beneficial. I usedthe community psychiatric team in my workplace. If I had not studied with theteam I may not have known that resource was there. “I think the difficulty with occupational health is thatit sometimes operates in isolation. We are not very good at telling otherhealth professionals what we do, it is about working in collaboration.”last_img read more

Civilian beat officers to take to London’s streets

first_img Comments are closed. Civilian beat officers to take to London’s streetsOn 28 May 2002 in Personnel Today The Metropolitan police has started recruiting 300 community supportofficers to assist the police and provide a visible presence on London’sstreets. The Met’s HR director Martin Tiplady, told Personnel Today the newcivilian officers will be a major feature of London street policing by the endof the financial year. The recruits, who may have limited police powers, will initially guardvulnerable premises and carry out short patrols. But Tiplady is optimistic thatonce the proposed Police Reform Bill becomes law, CSOs will gain additionalpowers. These could eventually include the right to enter property, stop and searchsuspects and enforce police cordons. Tiplady said the CSOs represent a radical new part of the police family butadmitted there may be some initial resistance to their deployment. “It is a new, vibrant role so people at the more traditional end ofpolicing may have questions about it, but these new staff are notpolicemen,” he said. Tiplady said the Met had launched a media recruitment campaign and heanticipated the first 100 recruits to be patrolling Westminster as early asSeptember. In future, there will be three types of CSO: traffic, security andcommunity. The idea is to give a presence on the front line and free up policetime. “It is an exciting new role and we’re committed to it. They can befull-time or part-time and will have a flexible working pattern,” Tipladyadded. The CSOs will have their own uniform and will earn around £20,000 per year. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Cable & Wireless aims to serve the world

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Cable & Wireless aims to serve the worldOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today The first privatised firm in telecoms, BT’s main rival is setting its sightsfirmly on world domination in the provision of internet-based services byexpanding its already widespread global presence. By Nic PatonFrom its beginning in the 1860s, when it was at the forefront of developingtelegraph technology, Cable & Wireless has grown into one of the UK’sleading telecoms firms. The company started as a conglomerate of four telegraph companies, whichmerged to form the Eastern Telegraph Company, in turn becoming Imperial andInternational Communications and then, in 1934, Cable & Wireless. Nationalised after the Second World War, in 1981 it was the first telecomsfirm to be privatised, preceding BT by three years. It was also the companybehind the Mercury payphones that sprung up on Britain’s high-streets duringthat decade as the first serious rival to BT. The company now operates globally, divided into two divisions, Cable &Wireless Global and Cable & Wireless Regional. The Global operationencompasses Europe, the US and Japan, while the Regional arm takes in 33 othercountries, particularly the Caribbean and, most recently, Guernsey. Within Europe, it operates in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain,Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Russia. Overall, the group employs 26,000 staff, of which around 13,000 work forCable & Wireless Global. Last year it reported pre-tax profits of £61m onsales of £5.9bn. The company’s strategy for the moment is to focus on building C&W Globalinto “a world leader in internet services for business customers”. RecruitmentA total of 1,500 staff were recruited globally last year, of which 400 werebased in the UK. The tough market conditions, which have seen the cost basebeing reduced by 40 per cent, means recruitment is being radically cut thisyear. The UK target for the next 12 months is to recruit 100 staff. Cathy McNulty, senior vice-president HR, at Cable & Wireless Global,says the 50 new UK graduate recruits last year will be reduced to nine or 10,mostly in the financial areas. Graduates join a two-year job placement training scheme, moving jobs threetimes a year to gain as wide a range of experience as possible. Trainingmodules are focused on building up their skill levels through a combination ofonline training, assessment centres and telescreening. Graduates must apply online and the vast majority of CVs are now receivedvia e-mail, says McNulty. RetentionStaff turnover, at 12 per cent, is about level with the industry average.Compulsory redundancies this year mean that rate is likely to come down. The company offers a range of flexible working options, including a finalsalary pension scheme and, for new recruits, a ‘lifetime benefits’ plan. Thereare also various share save and purchase schemes in place. Staff are covered by life insurance, have private healthcare, dental careand subsidised childcare vouchers. Work sabbaticals, job sharing and reducedhours’ packages are also available. Women who have been with the company more than 12 months can take eightweeks’ maternity leave on full pay, after which it reverts to 10 weeks on thestatutory minimum. After 10 years service, workers are entitled to an extra day annual leave.Call centre staff have exactly the same terms and conditions as otheremployees, stresses McNulty. Discretionary benefits include long-term invalidity benefit, payment ofprofessional subscriptions, season tickets, cheap car leasing and discountedgym membership. Training and development Cable & Wireless has outsourced its training and development toAccenture, part of a five-year contract announced in December worth anestimated £80m. A core team of eight remain at Cable & Wireless to deal with strategictraining and development initiatives. A further eight people work on deliveringtechnical training needs. The majority of training and development is carried out online. On 1 April,Cable & Wireless rolled out a new performance management system accessiblefrom the desktop, including an e-HR system, again run by Accenture. This linksinto the formal review process, including the creation of personal developmentplans. Where appropriate, for instance for customer service or technical, operationand network training, training is carried out in a classroom or ‘shop floor’setting. Like many in the sector, Cable & Wireless has moved away from planning aset number of training days for staff or new recruits, expecting training to bean ongoing, constant process. Performance management Key performance indicators are a central part of the appraisal process atCable & Wireless. Indicators are drawn up designed to drive forwardobjectives, says McNulty. HR is closely linked to the business strategy, which is currently focused onreducing costs, increasing organisational efficiency, improving performance andenabling business managers to manage more effectively. The company’s values – team work, integrity, innovation and customer action– are linked to the performance management system (see above) through theoffice intranet. Succession planning meetings are held at group level three times a year, asimilar number of times at global level and cascade on down the business. HR priorities for the year Perhaps inevitably given the tough state of the sector, focused on managingcosts and supporting the business to reach its financial objectives. HR factfileCathy McNulty Senior vice-president HR, at Cable & Wireless GlobalMcNulty joined Cable & Wirelessin 1997, having started her career with BT before moving into investmentbanking. Starting in head office, she rose to become HR director of theRegional business before transferring to the Global side last year. She became senior vice-president HR, at Cable & WirelessGlobal on 1 April, succeeding Avery Duff.The best part of the job, she says, is that it is such afast-moving environment. “You really feel you are making a difference,adding something to the bottom line. You feel you can have a direct impact onthe business.” The downside, in such a global business, is the amount oftravelling involved and the hours involved. “Often I will be at my desk at7am for a conference call with Tokyo, but then I’ll need to do one for the USat 4.30pm. You need a lot of energy,” she says.McNulty is not on the Cable & Wireless board and her salarywas not disclosed.Size of HR team120 people globally, of which 65 are based in the UK.HR department structureThe Global HR team is aligned to the businesses, therefore,McNulty has staff in the UK, US and Japan and spread across Europe. The teamdivides into HR business partners, specialists, the outsourced function andservice management.Ratio of HR to employeesAbout 1:80/100 within the UKAmong business partners – the operational side of the HRfunction – it is closer to 1 to 175/200.Key HR initiativesThe HR team has been closely involved in looking at the designof the global sales force, in particular whether it should be structuredgeographically or on a sector basis.How she spends her time– change management, key appointmentsand organisational design issues– is spent on retention and compensation issues– on succession planning, talent and reward structures anddriving performance– on enabling the business to be managed more effectively Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Providers raise their game

first_imgSophistication and innovation are the new watchwords indevelopment exercises. Lucie Carrington analyses the latest trends inteam-buildingTeam-building is the black polo neck of the training world – it’s perenniallyfashionable and can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. But while polonecks haven’t changed much since the Beatles, team development that firmsinvest in today has little in common with what satisfied them even 10 yearsago, when it was all about being cold, wet and adventurous. “It used to be that firms simply wanted a group of people to be moreeffective. That’s not what’s going on now,” says John Atkinson, chiefexecutive at Yorkshire-based Fusions Training. “It’s much more likely tobe about some sort of cultural change, with organisations looking for people tobehave differently.” The nature of what makes up a team has shifted too. Teams are much morefluid now than they used to be, Atkinson says. “We still have long-termteams but we also have project teams and short-term teams, such as a cabin crewthat changes from flight to flight. Then again, we have teams that are simplynetworks of people within an organisation.” Endless raft building has also left a sense of activity fatigue, accordingto some experts. Julia Middleton, who heads up the leadership organisationCommon Purpose, has specialised in creating senior cross-sectoral teams.”Among the senior people who participate in our programmes, there isalways a whole group who have done team-building, and as soon as they see theBig T exercise coming up, know how to behave and so switch off learning modeand move into performance mode,” she says. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they know how to behave when they get backto the office. Middleton’s view is that if team development activities are towork, they have to have some other objective as well. In addition, the market has also become intensely competitive. This hasenabled employers to demand more for their money and forced suppliers to addmore value. The result is that team development has become much more focused onbusiness aims and outcomes. It has also become more measurable. Supermarket giant Tesco’s approach is a case in point. “We do quite alot of different team-type activities,” says Kim Birnie, group learningdirector. These range from what Birnie calls ‘me-and-my-team’ stuff, whichhelps managers deal with particular issues, to divisional programmes that cancascade down through thousands of staff, through to corporate leadershipdevelopment. “We use creative learning techniques so that people will enjoyit,” Birnie says, but it’s very much about business benefit andreinforcing Tesco’s corporate values. “We say that if you are trying tocreate a new team, then there’s a Tesco way of doing it.” As a result, most team-building is delivered in-house. For example, Tescohas developed its own team development tool, called High Performing Teams, thatmanagers can use. They don’t have to use it all but can pick and choose thebits they want – those which are appropriate for their team. Outcomes are also very important, Birnie says. “We are very good atholding people to account and follow up on what they said they would dodifferently.” Suppliers have understood that their clients want team-building that addsvalue to their business. Programmes and activities are now much more tailoredto the needs of individual teams, says Gary Platt, a senior consultant atWoodland Grange. As a result, there is now a massive emphasis on helping participantsunderstand more about where they fit into the team. With this comes an array ofpsychometric measures and team analysis tools that are used as the basis formany programmes. Some suppliers are more attached to these diagnostic tools than others.Woodland Grange uses a mixture of Myers Briggs personality types, Belbin teamroles and the Strength Deployment Inventory. But they are simply a means to anend, insists Platt. “Whether these models are true or not, I couldn’t care less. They arean important way of getting people to think about what they are doing, how theyare behaving and how that might be affecting the people they work with.”Along with other experts, he believes that’s a crucial step in the teamdevelopment process. Taking account of organisational culture is also important when developingand delivering team-building activities – especially when using outdoorchallenges. Platt talks about ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ organisations. Values and abelief in letting people get on with things drive hot organisations, Plattsays, and Virgin Atlantic is probably one. However, cold organisations, such asthe Civil Service, are driven by rules, codes and hierarchy. “There would be no point in using team-building activities that fosterideas about values, beliefs and empowerment for a cold organisation when itsimply doesn’t fit into the way they work,” Platt says. In fact, the use of team-building activities at all can be questioned.”You can resolve many team issues without picking up any activity, throughreviewing how people work and facilitating discussions and problem-solvingprocesses,” he says. This is the approach Jan Matthews takes in what she calls ‘team therapy’.This has come out of her work as a trained counsellor and therapist. “Teamtherapy is about helping people find ways of doing things differently,”Matthews says. “The work I do is very much about getting individualswithin the team to stop moaning about situations they aren’t happy with anddoing something about it.” Matthews has developed this approach working with Warwickshire CountyCouncil Social Services. She offers a minimum of three sessions with a team ofabout 10 spread over six months. Impact also offers this sort of team coaching as part of its work withsenior teams. “More and more, we are becoming coaches of teams and workingalong side them,” says senior account manager Ian Cook. The greater sophistication of team development hasn’t completely squeezedout the motivational approach to team-building, especially for more junior orfront-line teams. “It’s still useful if you’ve got a bunch of people whowork hard and need to work well together,” Cook says. “It’s about giving them a strong shared experience that they can referback to.” Which is pretty much where team-building started all thosedecades ago. Tips for top-notch activities– Plan ahead – do not contact your supplier at the last minute because youhave just found that you have some extra cash – you are not going to get goodvalue for that – Know what you want to achieve – is it genuine team-building or a problemmanager who needs help? – The clearer you are about your objectives, the more focused the suppliercan be – Whenever practicable, involve the team in defining objectives – Get the backing of team managers – Find a supplier who wants to get to know your business and invest in thatbackground research – Do not consider a firm that is not prepared to tailor its team-buildingactivities to suit your people – Ensure activities are clearly relevant to your workplace build in time andmoney to review the success of the programme – Measure your results – if the aim was to reduce the number of mistakes andincrease revenues – has it happened? The right motivationTeam-building and motivation wenthand-in-hand when Cereal Partners, manufacturers of breakfast cereal, called inFusions Training to run a series of workshops for the Welwyn Garden Cityfactory last autumn.”The workshops were targeted at getting the new bonusscheme to work,” says Daryl Richards, training and development manager.The scheme is based on reducing wastage and saving energy, and the activitiesFusions developed were designed to meet that objective. For example, a simpleexercise of getting water from ‘a’ to ‘b’ had obvious parallels with productwastage.”We opted for a motivational day with a bit of fun,”Richards says. “Staff weren’t keen at first and there were plenty ofpeople who insisted they weren’t running anywhere. But it worked brilliantly.””It was incredibly motivational but it was also a way ofgetting people to think twice about what they do and how they do it.”There has been some lasting impact too, Richards says.Relationships have improved, and so too has productivity. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Providers raise their gameOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Public sector staff most stressed

first_img Previous Article Next Article Public sector staff most stressedOn 11 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Public sector workers suffer more stress than their private sectorcounterparts, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel andDevelopment. Almost 40 per cent of NHS staff and 30 per cent of local government workersfind their work stressful. Yet, according to the poll of 1,000 public andprivate sector staff, only 25 per cent of all staff claim they are stressed. The report Pressure at Work and the Psychological Contract cites the longhours and heavy workloads in the public sector as the biggest reason forstress, followed by a decline in work satisfaction. The report claims the psychological contract – the mutual expectations ofemployers and staff – is under most pressure in the public sector. Only 7 per cent of central government employees believe strongly that theorganisation cares about their opinions, while only 20 per cent feel fairlytreated by their manager. Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, believes the publicsector must focus on HR if it is to reduce stress levels and improve staffsatisfaction and services. “The NHS has relatively few HR professionals, while national and localgovernment needs to pay more attention to the way people management policiesare implemented,” he said. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Case round up

first_img Comments are closed. Our resident experts at Pinsent Curtis Biddle bring you a comprehensiveupdate on all the latest decisions that could affect your organisation, andadvice on what to do about themBusch v Klinikum Neustadt, ECJ Reinforces protection for pregnant women under EU law, with implicationsfor new maternity and adoption leave rights * * * * Busch worked as a nurse at a German clinic. She started a three-yearperiod of parental leave in June 2000 when her first child was born, and becamepregnant again in October 2000. In January 2001 she asked to return to work,terminating her parental leave early. Her employer agreed a return from April2001. Busch told her employer she was seven months pregnant the day after herreturn. Restrictions on the work pregnant women could carry out under Germanlaw meant she could not carry out all her duties, and she was dismissed. Her employer alleged she had deliberately concealed her pregnancy andreturned to work solely to obtain a higher rate of maternity allowance. The ECJ emphatically rejected the employer’s claims of fraudulentmisrepresentation. A pregnant employee returning in these circumstances had noobligation to tell the employer that she was pregnant. The intention to obtainthe higher rate of allowance was irrelevant. The dismissal was an act of unlawful discrimination contravening thePregnant Workers Directive. The employer could not justify the dismissal byreference to the costs of having to employ someone who could not carry outtheir contractual duties. Financial considerations were of no relevance under the directive. The employer should have transferred Busch to lighter duties, or placed heron paid leave as a last resort. What you should do – Remember that from April 2003 the total period of ordinary and additionalmaternity leave is increased to 52 weeks and there is a new right to adoptionleave of equivalent length. Scenarios like the one in this case could arise – Employers with enhanced maternity and adoption leave schemes shouldconsider what happens under the contract if lengthy periods of leave are takenvery close together. As long as you comply with statutory obligations, you canlimit the number of payments within a certain period – Pregnant employees and job applicants have considerable protection throughsex discrimination laws and automatic unfair dismissal rules. Disruption to thebusiness because of pregnancy or maternity leave will never be an acceptablereason to dismiss an employee or refuse to employ one Bartholomew v LK Group Ltd, High Court Think carefully before labelling misconduct as gross misconduct * * * After a takeover of LK, Bartholomew was sacked as its managingdirector for gross misconduct. He was accused of unauthorised absences fromwork during normal working hours, and giving false accounts of his whereabouts.LK said Bartholomew’s accounts were at odds with its own surveillance reports.He claimed damages for wrongful dismissal, and the High Court upheld his claim.This case raises the important point that if employees reasonably believe theiractions are approved or condoned by the company, then it is not grossmisconduct. There were no grounds for summary dismissal. While Bartholomew keptirregular working hours and often carried out business from the library of hisLondon club (a novel form of flexible working), these idiosyncrasies werelongstanding and well known to fellow directors, who raised no objections. Bartholomew was entitled to believe they condoned his actions. Further, thecompany failed to show that he had deliberately given false information abouthis whereabouts. What you should do – Make clear the standards of behaviour expected, and enforce them properly – Do not ignore breaches of contractual terms if you want them to beenforceable – it risks a court finding the contract has been varied – Remember, in wrongful dismissal cases, the question is whether theemployee is guilty of conduct which amounts to gross misconduct. If thedismissal is for dishonesty or deceit, the employer must have evidence of this.In unfair dismissal claims, however, the question is different – does theemployer reasonably and honestly believe the employee has committed themisconduct after carrying out a reasonable investigation? Even under this test,there has to be material evidence on which to base that reasonable belief Stephenson v Delphi Diesel Systems Ltd A worker supplied by an employment agency could not be an employee ofthe client * * * * Stephenson signed on with employment agency Select in December 1999and was sent to work for Delphi as a machine operator. Delphi monitored hiswork and told him what to do on a day-to-day basis. He had to clock on and offshift and was given safety equipment by Delphi. However, his wages were paiddirectly by Select into his bank account. In August 2000, Stephenson obtained permanent employment with Delphi.Although Delphi now paid his wages, the work carried out was essentially thesame and he worked at the same workstation under the same supervisor. When he was dismissed in January 2001, Stephenson claimed unfair dismissal.He could only show sufficient continuity of service if he could claim employeestatus for the period he had been working as an agency worker. An employmenttribunal rejected his claim and the EAT upheld that ruling, for differentreasons. The EAT said there was plainly no contractual relationship betweenStephenson and Delphi until August 2000. Prior to that, his contract had beenwith the agency. In the absence of any contractual link between Delphi andStephenson, he simply could not be their employee. It would be unusual todescribe an individual as having a contract of employment with a party who hasno legal obligation to pay his wages and to whom he has no legal obligation togive work. The EAT also cast doubt on the one case in which the EAT has held that anagency worker was in fact an employee of the client – Motorola v Davidson. Inthat case, the lack of a contractual relationship between the worker and theclient was not raised on appeal. This suggests the Motorola case is not to berelied on – which is good news for employers who use agency staff. What you should do – Make sure the worker has a contract with the agency, not the client.Similar issues arise in relation to secondments – the two companies should havea contract with each other governing the secondment arrangements, but theseconded employee should only have a contract with the seconding employer – Be careful not to do anything that suggests an employment relationship. Ifthere are disciplinary issues, the client should raise these with the agencyand ask it to resolve them – Follow the progress of the Agency Workers Directive. New laws in this areawill come into force over the coming years, and the directive may be finalisedthis summer J Tomlinson Ltd v Beecroft & Others, EAT A TUPE case on the scope of a transferring entity * * * Integral had separate contracts with two councils for the service,maintenance and replacement of domestic gas appliances in the councils’residential properties. They employed six people on the two contracts. One ofthe contracts came up for renewal and a new contractor, Tomlinson, wasappointed. Two of Integral’s employees – the applicants in this case – spent 90 percent of their time working on this particular contract. The other four did somework on the transferred contract, but spent the majority of their time workingon the contract for the other council. Integral argued the two employees wereentitled to transfer under TUPE. Tomlinsons refused to employ them. Anemployment tribunal found TUPE applied. Tomlinsons’ principle argument was that there was no stable economic entitycapable of being transferred. It was argued that two employees out of sixworking on the contract in question could not be regarded as a discreteundertaking. The EAT rejected this argument. It agreed with the tribunal’s conclusionthat all six staff formed an economic entity – an organised grouping of peopleand/or assets which combined to perform a specific activity on a permanentbasis. The undertaking comprised the staff assigned to the two contracts.However, only the two applicants in this case could be regarded as assigned tothe part of the undertaking that transferred to Tomlinsons. The EAT also rejected the argument that because neither employee wasexclusively assigned to the individual contract in question (working on bothcontracts), there could be no economic entity. What you should do – It is common to find that an outgoing contractor’s workforce includesstaff who work on the transferring contract and other contracts as well. Thecomposition of the workforce should be investigated to establish whether thereis an undertaking capable of transferring and who is entitled to transfer – Remember, an employee is entitled to transfer under TUPE if they areassigned to the transferring undertaking. The amount of time spent working onthe contract in question is relevant to this issue but does not determine it.The test is an organisational one – Incumbent contractors should consider how the deployment of staff acrossdifferent contracts could affect their ability to transfer staff under TUPE ifa contract is lost Star ratings * Our rating system is designed to help busy HR professionals prioritise theirreading. Does this ruling have immediate implications for your practices andpolicies? Is it a one-off decision based on unusual facts? Or is it one to keepan eye on as it goes to appeal? Case round up will help you decide. Each caseis rated from one to five stars; the more essential it is that you know aboutit, the more stars it will have. Case of the month, by Christopher MordueJowitt v Pioneer Technology (UK) Ltd, Court of Appeal A reminder of the complications of paying contractual benefits throughPHI policies * * * * * Jowitt suffered an accident at work and was unable to do his job.Under his contract, after 26 weeks’ continuous absence he was entitled tolong-term sickness benefits for as long as he was certified ‘unable to work’ bya GP and the company’s own doctor. His employer was insured against payingthese benefits under a private health insurance (PHI) policy, but it providedthe insurer would only pay for employees ‘totally unable to follow anyoccupation’. The company’s doctor thought Jowitt was unable to work. The insurer’smedical adviser considered that Jowitt did not meet the policy definition ofdisability, as he could carry out some work, albeit not his actual job.Although the employer challenged the insurance company’s refusal to pay, itceased making disability payments to Jowitt, who brought a claim for unlawfuldeductions from wages. One complication in this case were the very different definitions ofdisability under the contract of employment and under the PHI policy. Thiscreated a risk that the employer would have to make the payments even if itcould not recover them from the insurance company. The critical question was whether Jowitt was really ‘unable to work’. Asthis was the wording in his contract, the terms of the insurance policy wereirrelevant. The EAT held that the employee had to be unable to carry out his actual job,and therefore upheld Jowitt’s complaint of unlawful deductions. The Court of Appeal overturned this decision. The term ‘unable to work’ wasnot limited to the employee’s actual job, nor did it mean the employee had tobe incapable of doing any purposeful activity. The issue was whether there wasany remunerative full-time work Jowitt could realistically be expected to do. The case was sent back to the tribunal to consider the conflicting medicalopinions. What you should do – Make sure the terms of the employment contract match those in the PHI orinsurance policy, so that you are only obliged to make contractual payments ifyou can recover the money from the insurance company – Make sure the contract is flexible so that it can be changed to reflectchanges in insurance cover – Make sure all notification requirements under the insurance policy are metin good time. Alerting insurers to potential claims allows issues such asdisputed medical opinions to be addressed early on. Employers are under a dutyto the employee to challenge an insurer’s refusal to pay – Remember employers cannot lawfully dismiss an employee who is in receiptof PHI benefits under their employment contract on account of sickness absence – PHI schemes are increasingly expensive and give rise to real legal andpractical problems, and some employers have withdrawn them altogether. Analternative is to fund the employee’s own insurance cover – this avoids thechain of contracts that can leave employers caught in the middle of disputes Case round upOn 1 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

EU reaches stalemate over Agency Workers Directive

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. The European Union has reached an impasse over the future of thecontroversial Agency Workers Directive, after a crucial meeting last weekfailed to reach an agreement. The various European nations are currently at loggerheads over thedirective, with Britain, Germany, Ireland and Denmark all looking forconcessions. The current draft of the directive would see employers forced to offertemporary workers the same employment conditions as permanent staff from dayone of employment. They would also be entitled to the same salary after asix-week qualification period. It is this qualification period that is causing the split. The Department ofTrade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for a return to the original position of aone-year qualification period, or anything above six weeks. Employers and the Government fear the directive would damage the UK labourmarket’s flexibility by making it less attractive to hire temps due to increasedred tape. The draft will probably now remain with the Council of Ministers, forfurther discussion, into the period when the Italian presidency of the EUstarts on 1 July. If a consensus still can’t be reached, it could become bogged down for aslong as a year before moving to the European Parliament for ratification,although this is thought unlikely. David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at the EngineeringEmployers Federation (EEF), said employers would be pleased with the UK Government’srobust line, despite intense pressure from Europe to get a resolution. “The fact they didn’t reach agreement shows there is a big gap betweenwhat the different countries want. In theory, it could be with the Council ofMinisters for as long as it takes,” he said. However, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber accused the Government ofscuppering decent pay and basic rights for agency workers. By Ross Wigham Previous Article Next Article EU reaches stalemate over Agency Workers DirectiveOn 10 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Letters

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 8 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today This week’s lettersDoes ‘sick pay’ encourage staff to take time off work?In our experience, paying sick paydoes not encourage sickness (News, 25 May). In recent years, we have surveyed 15,000 staff across manysectors, and asked: ‘Have you ever used sick leave to deal with an issueoutside of work?’ Approximately 87 per cent said ‘yes’. But then we asked whathelp could an employer provide to prevent this? The answer in 97 per cent ofcases was ‘more flexible working’. We asked: ‘Have you ever considered leavingyour employer?’, and 96 per cent said ‘yes’ – and that they would stay if theyhad more flexibility.Sick pay doesn’t increase sickness. It just allows it to happenin an environment where staff are not empowered or able to have the flexibilitythey require to do a good job and deal with life issues too. The root cause of the rise in sickness absence has more to dowith poor cultures and poor people management. One organisation we worked withintroduced three (paid) days a year for all employees to use for emergencies.After one year, sickness absence had reduced by 85 per cent, and attrition from18 per cent to just under 4 per cent. Three years on, it has introduced more emergency days andreduced absence even further. This is an organisation that knows people come towork to do a good job, and if the right environment is in place, people willnot take advantage of it.Not paying for sick leave is a short-term time bomb that willincrease attrition and stress, and reduce trust. What a backward step and ashort-term stupidity. When people are genuinely ill, they will come in to work,spread their germs and infect a wider workforce. If they are not ill but takingtime off for family or an emergency, then the organisation is merely adding tothe stress. Ninety-seven per cent of staff go to work to do a good job.They don’t wake up in the morning with the deliberate thought of screwingthings up for their employer. But do organisations manage for them, or theremaining percentage? Their performance management should be improved, ratherthan punishing the majority.You can probably tell that I am incensed by this action, but Isee the other side of the coin, and just how much you can increase productivityby letting people work to their full potential. I suggest that leaders aremeasured on sick days, and for every day lost, they should personally pay. Theyshould have targets to improve culture, thereby reducing absence. That would bemuch better than penalising the employees who have to work in their poorcultures.Lynne CoppManaging director, The Worklife CompanyBanning sick pay is not the only solution Plans to withhold sick pay for the first three days of absence (News, 25May) have been applauded by industry, yet received cautiously by experts. It’scertainly one way of stamping out unauthorised absence, but by no means theonly way. Take a closer look at unauthorised absence, and you will find that ittypically falls into two categories: planned, and unplanned. How many employeesare already arranging a sudden migraine attack to coincide with the England vSwitzerland match on 17 June, or a dodgy appendix for the post-match hangover? Employers in many sectors, particularly where staff work shifts, areadopting a more flexible approach to staff scheduling, whereby employees areable to plan their absence by stating a preference to not work on certain daysor shifts, or organise their absence as part of a flexitime system. A 21st century scheduling system can adequately cope with such flexibility.Employers are benefiting from a reduction in absence levels with feweremployees feeling the need to throw a ‘sickie’, and employees are enjoying theflexibility of a system that allows them to plan time off without eating intoannual leave entitlement. Keith Statham Managing director, Kronos Systems Real accountability is the way forward In my wanderings this week, I happened upon a copy of The Asian Wall StreetJournal and found an article that I believe may be the beginnings of a newtrend – ‘real’ accountability for HR people. A certain Frank Z Ashen, formerly HR director of the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE), was reported (26 May 2004) to have turned the US equivalent of ‘Queen’sEvidence’ in the case against the former chairman of the NYSE, Dick Grasso. Ashen acknowledged that he might have provided “inaccurate, incompleteand misleading” information about his boss’s pay to the exchangescompensation committee. He has also agreed to return £1.3m of his salary asrestitution. Wow. Now there’s accountability. Can we expect to see this develop fully throughout industry and commerce?Will we read of HR directors being sacked alongside the sales director becausethey failed to deliver the development of the sales team to reach the companytargets? Will we see the resignation of the personnel manager because thesenior recruitment exercise they oversaw recruited a crook for the financedirector position? Will we see restitution out of the HR director’s salary because the employeeattitude survey suggested the company wasn’t anywhere near the published visionin terms of the way they were being managed? I could go on and on (in fact, I might patent a board game or a reality TVshow). But perhaps this is what the function needs to give it an edge in itsefforts to gain that board seat. Les Simpson Operations director, JMPS PC lunatics infiltrate Hertfordshire police I always knew there was a risk of ‘PC’ lunatics taking over the asylum, butnever in my worst nightmares did I think they would target the police. Hertfordshire Police’s diversity training (Features, 1 June) epitomiseseverything that’s wrong with HR today. An ill-defined (possibly non-existent)problem, which is then misdiagnosed, with no business focus or observable lineof sight to any benefits, followed by a ridiculous attempt to change years ofin-built attitudes through a one-day programme. Surely diversity is only important to the police if a lack of it hasresulted in less effective policing? Will the good citizens of Hertfordshirewalk their streets more safely in the knowledge that someone in their localforce felt inclined to write poetry as a result of their diversity trainingday? This is not HR. Paul Kearns Director, PWL Unhealthy staff must be rewarded at work I believe that if people are fit and well, this is reward in itself, andthat it would be a retrograde step to put policies in place that may lead tofinancial hardship for some people, while forcing them to go to work when theyare unwell. I am a registered nurse, and I know that, regrettably, some people are moreprone to illness than others. They sometimes have to cope with some loss ofself-image and self-esteem caused by their illness, and they cope admirably.Perhaps when they manage to organise their lives around their illness and stillmanage to go to work for most of the time, they should be rewarded. Going towork is no problem when your health is good. However, if a change in policy is intended to deal with those that may betaking time off for spurious reasons, it seems an awful shame to treat thegenuinely ill in the same way. Questions should be asked as to why people don’twant to be at work. I believe that if the culture of the organisation fits with the values ofthe individual, and if an appropriate and fair attendance management policy isin place, then only those who are genuinely ill will feel the need to take timeoff work. I get paid when I am off sick, and I often come to work when I don’t feeltoo good because I feel ‘guilty’. I know that there must be lots of others who feelas I do. Is there a danger that if people don’t get paid for the first three days ofabsence that there may be a rebound and more people may take time off? Theissue raises a lot of questions, not least that of trust, and I prefer tobelieve that the vast majority of people can be trusted to use their judgementas to whether or not they are fit for work. For those who genuinely don’t want to be at work, little difference can bemade either way. I actually enjoy coming to work, and that’s because as employees, we arewell cared for and feel valued by our employer. Kate Haynes Total quality and consumer relations manager, Beiersdorf UK NHS director proves theory of ‘affiliation’ With reference to the letter about promotions through affiliation being rifein HR (Letters, 25 May), it does seem that the higher a position you have in HRthe less need there is for you to have an HR qualification. By coincidence, you featured the HR director for the NHS in your ‘Ear to theground’ section in Guru in the same edition. The NHS is the largest employer in the UK, and its HR director doesn’tappear to hold a CIPD or HR qualification – or any operational HR experience,for that matter. So how important is it to be professionally qualified? I believe it is essential, and I value my chartered membership (byqualification) of the CIPD. But clearly not every organisation holds that view,and that can be frustrating for mid-career professionals, and demoralising forHR practitioners early in their careers. Details supplied last_img read more