Tips for the top

first_imgTips for the topOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Fed up with management not taking you seriously? We outline strategies forgaining their attention, including talking to them in language they understand,by Nic Paton You’re worried. You’ve identified a worsening health trend among the staffin your workplace – increasing sickness absence, for instance – and all yourexperience tells you firm action needs to be taken to tackle it. But can youget the human resources director, let alone the chief executive, to listen? Apparently, as the latest research conducted for Occupational Health showsthis month, too often the answer is “no”. The clearest complaint among occupational health professionals polled in thesurvey is that management do not take them or, more worryingly, their functionseriously, and that occupational health practitioners too often do not haveaccess to the board-level decision-makers they would need. Yet with health and safety, and public health, creeping ever higher up boththe corporate and the political agenda, it should be easier now than ever topress the case for occupational health. Find the bottom line However, the fastest way to attract a chief executive’s attention is, itseems, still the most tried and trusted one – through his or her bottom line. Talk in pound signs – what the problem is costing the company and,critically, what your solution will save it – and you’re almost certain to getpeople listening, says Anne Robinson, health care manager at British GasServices. Robinson joined British Gas Services in 1997 and set about formulating anoccupational health scheme that focused on the engineers who maintained andinstalled equipment. Her success in helping to reduce work-related sickness led her last year towin the Health at Work Award in the prestigious Personnel Today 2000 Awards. Days lost, turnover lost, numbers of staff lost and the overall cost to thebusiness – these are all arguments guaranteed to get managers listening, sheexplains. “You must be able to demonstrate that you can act to save money, or saythat you are losing money here, or there is a significant risk,” she says.Work out what it is costing the company In Robinson’s case, she secured funding by outlining what it was costing thecompany by simply waiting for work-related health problems to occur, and whatBritish Gas Services could save by providing a support network for its workers.But building up credibility is an on-going process, one that is earned fromday one, and can be lost just as quickly, she argues. Right from the start, at the job interview, be clear about what is expectedfrom you. There is no point sitting there thinking, “I can change thatlater” – it just doesn’t happen, she argues. Learn as much as you can about the business so you can start to see whymanagement are making the decisions they do. “Yes, you need to wear your professional badge, but you also have to bea team player, you have to contribute to the team and contribute to thebusiness,” she says. Also, you can’t go wrong with a management qualification, she argues, as itgives you the confidence to speak the language of commerce, and link yourobjectives to the business objectives. For managers to know your background – and they may even have been on thesame course as you – can be a real bonus in helping to build up credibility. Get support of a board member Getting the support of a key board member, preferably the chief executive ormanaging director, to champion your cause is also vital, if not alwayspossible. And if you simply want to get results, but perhaps not all the glory, youmay also need to be prepared to let them take your initiative to the board, sheargues. Tenacity, learning influencing skills and a knowledge of business can allhelp, she adds. “It’s about trying to be a joined -up professional,”she says. According to Paul Kearns, a consultant with Personnel Works, a humanresources management consultancy based in Bristol, building up credibility withmanagement – whether in the private or public sector – is the key to asuccessful relationship. “Anything that does not have pound signs in it tends not to win theargument, or does not get given the same priority,” he says. Think strategically For OH professionals, this often means thinking strategically – thinking howtheir managers think – as well as making sure they are excellent at theirday-to-day job, he argues. “Most managers underestimate the effect that lack of attention tothings like occupational health has on their workforce. “If a machine breaks down everyone runs around like headless chickensuntil it is up and running again properly, but they do not worry if someonecannot get the time to see the OH nurse about something. But it is amazing howdemotivating that can be.” While there are health and safety issues which it is imperative the OHpractitioner makes clear cannot be flouted, it is also important – and a keypart in building up credibility – to be prepared to be flexible, to thinkwhether a suitable compromise can be reached. Having a fair but firm reputation – and occasionally showing flexibilitywhere appropriate – makes it much easier to convince management when somethingis wrong and needs action, now, he argues. “A realistic, mature,intelligent, consistent approach to occupational health will win more friendsthan a judgemental approach,” he says. Small things, too, can help – a tidy office, always making sure files are tohand, responding quickly to requests or, if information is not available, beinghonest, saying so and then delivering it when you say you will. “If you do not have credibility it is bound to undermine your standingin the organisation,” says Kearns. When it comes to presenting a case, be clear in what’s wrong, why it’s wrong– but be constructive – and what can be done about it, he argues. However,”a little passion never goes amiss”, he adds. Be clear, concise and succinct Jargon, particularly complex medical or legal terms, or lists of European orUK regulations, will often leave busy managers glazed. “Do not use jargon – be clear, concise and succinct. For instance, donot put regulations at the front of the paper. Use anything that grabs theinterest, then keep the regulations half-way down page two. “If you are having to resort to a heavy-handed approach you haveprobably lost the argument already in some respects,” he adds. Colin Carmichael, a consultant at Organisational Consulting, a London-basedmanagement consultancy specialising in changing business attitudes, agrees. Before OH professionals can expect management to take them or their functionseriously, they must ensure they cannot be faulted on their day-to-day work, heargues. “People must make sure they have got the basics right first, so theirday-to-day delivery is spot on,” says Carmichael. After that it is a question of making sure, not only that you are thinkingas your managers think, but that they appreciate where you are coming from. Managers will be less likely to listen or understand if they believe the OHdepartment is introspective, or too focused on occupational health to thedetriment of the rest of the business or organisation. “You need to invest the time to get alongside senior management andunderstand what their agenda is. Be honest about those areas where you cannotdeliver something,” he says. Taking too long, being inflexible or making decisions that do not suit theneeds of the business can all damage the perception of occupational health inthe workplace. OH will never be top of the agenda And, at the end of the day, like it or not, OH professionals have to acceptthey are unlikely ever to be at the top of their management’s agenda, heargues. “Some in the OH professions are being over-ambitious in wanting to geton the board agenda. For managers, day-to-day revenue and product developmentwill always be more important,” he adds. But if OH practitioners can, for instance, show they have improved staffretention and sickness, this is a real, quantifiable benefit to the business. Even if OH is not top of the corporate tree, an argument like that issomething managers will clearly value, he adds. Practical, user-friendly guidance for OH practitioners on how to build uprelationships with managers is something that is sorely lacking, admits DrPeter Verow, consultant occupational physician at Sandwell NHS Trust. But, as a runner-up behind Anne Robinson in the Personnel Today awards lastyear, Dr Verow knows all about getting management behind him. The crux of his success in the awards was in extending his work in the Truston dealing with absence from work through sickness to local GP services andindependently with employers in the area. There is no doubt that explaining clearly what sickness absence was costing,and how much money could be saved, helped his arguments, but Sandwell’smanagement was already well behind his drive, he admits, securing him £200,000each year for the last three years for his innovative work. Ensure there is a suitable forum For OH professionals looking to get their message across, one way forward isto ensure there is an appropriate forum where your voice can be heard. This body, whether it is the safety committee, health at work committee orsome other forum, must have a high-level management representative on it,preferably the chief executive or human resources director, to give itcredibility. However, there is no point making a case if it is not what they want to hear– it may sound obvious, but if management are not listening, or do not appearto understand the occupational health function, ask them what they do want fromoccupational health, he argues. “Find out what their priorities are for the next two years,” hesays. Speaking in a language they understand, and explaining what effect eithertaking action or, critically, not taking action will cost the business, is thekey to success, Dr Verow explains. “You have got to target it with costs and a business plan. If you havenot written it up as a business proposal they are not going to listen toyou,” he says. Even if you do find a receptive ear, don’t necessarily expect resultsimmediately; effecting real change, especially in a big organisation, can oftentake years.` But if the real change is that management are finally listening and takingOH seriously, then success in the workplace is almost bound to follow. Organisational Consulting Group, 020 7623 5594 Personnel Works, 0117 914 6984 Positive Presence, 020 7586 7925 Lesley Everett, LE Consultants, 01344 427977 Ten Top Tips– Think how they think: if money is their bottom line, explain what nottaking action will cost them– Judge how far you can be flexible and be prepared to bend rules– Work on building up credibility, be professional at the nuts and bolts ofthe job– Work with people, not against them – Invest time in understanding the management’s agenda– Get a management qualification, learn management skills– Talk to management in their language, don’t work in isolation– Manage expectations – accept that some things take longer to achieve – Find a board-level champion– Identify a suitable forum from which to put your viewsHow to create a positive imageIf you feel uncomfortable, are worried about what you’re wearing or how youlook, it can have a major impact on how you are perceived by colleagues andmanagers, according to image consultants.Laurel Herman, managing director of Positive Presence, a “personalimage optimisation” consultancy firm based in London, says grooming,voice, body language and facial expression all have a beneficial role to playin improving your authority in the workplace.How you speak can also be as important as what you say, she argues, with alistener often influenced simply by your tone of voice, timbre and pace ofspeech as much as what they are saying.”The voice is very much part of the image identity kit, giving youauthority, approachability, sincerity and attractiveness. You can adjust thetone, pace, pitch and passion. Test your voice on a third party and get them togive you feedback on how they perceive you,” she says.When listening to someone, concentrate on them, don’t tap your fingers orfidget, listen to their answers, she suggests.Facial expression can also affect how you are perceived. If you look anxiousor frown a lot this can be taken as showing a lack of confidence, even if it’snot true. And if people think you are not confident, you are not going to inspireconfidence and trust. Work on appearing relaxed and on top of your job, sheargues.Dress, appearance, personal grooming and body language present the strongestmessages about us and the points we want to get across, adds image consultantLesley Everett of LE Consultants.”With a staggering 93 per cent of the overall impression we make basedon the way we ‘package’ ourselves – that is our appearance, voice and bodylanguage – and only the remaining 7 per cent based on the words we use, wecannot afford to become complacent with our image if we want to maximise ourprofessionalism and credibility and be taken seriously,” she says.Walking with an upright posture signals confidence and capability, as doesmaking eye contact, a firm handshake and smiling when you are talking topeople, she adds. “If you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate to shake hands, always optto do so. It will increase your professionalism and tactile behaviour like thisscores points,” she adds. But it is worth paying attention to clammyhands.View your clothing and grooming as a language. Your audience will decodethis language and subconsciously or consciously, gather information about you,she says. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img

Police force keeps watch on sector shake-up plans

first_imgDavid Blunkett’s plans to overhaul the police in a bid toimprove efficiency and crime fighting ability will provide the force’s HRdepartments with a major challenge over the next 12 months. By Ross WighamThe police force faces a period of huge culture change during 2002 followingthe Home Secretary’s radical proposals to revamp the force. David Blunkett’s 10-point plan for reform, which includes introducingperformance-related pay and tackling under-performing forces, is the subject ofdelicate negotiations between the Home Office and the Police Federation. The federation, which represents 125,000 rank and file officers, isconcerned the reforms could drive down standards and force officers to worklonger hours for less money. It is also unhappy about Blunkett’s plan to recruit thousands of civiliansas uniformed police officers, which is one of the key aspects of the reforms. HR will have to take a lead role in ensuring the reforms, which are underconsultation until mid-February, are introduced effectively. Ian Todd, chief superintendent for personnel at Northumbria Police – theonly force in the country to have seen nine years of crime reduction – broadlysupports the proposed reforms, but stressed their success will depend on howthey are implemented. “There are several big questions. We’ve got some general steers onwhat’s going to happen, but the devil will be in the detail,” he said. Todd is not opposed in principle to one of the major proposals – to employcommunity wardens with police powers – although he thinks there are questionsto be answered before they can be introduced. “This may be part of the police force’s evolution, but we need to knowwhat powers they [the community wardens] will have, because it raises all sortsof HR issues like health and safety and training,” he said. “I’m certainly not against the idea, but we need to know more. Who willtrain them and who will be responsible for them? “There are lots of personnel issues we have to deal with, like what therewards will be and where their powers stop. “Also, what if they’re injured on duty? There’s lots of work to be donebefore it can be fully implemented.” The Northumbria force has already trained 30 community wardens tocrime-prevention standard. They operate in Blyth Valley and Morpeth and theyare there to help reduce crime and have a visible presence. They have no police powers, but wear an identifiable red uniform and arepaid by the local council. Todd believes plans to overhaul traditional work practices are overdue. Heexplained, “Speaking as a personnel office in the police, our regulationsare outdated and restrictive and the time is now right to look at them andmodernise them. “At Northumbria, we’ve been embracing the strategic HR policies liketraining, job sharing and better hours. These changes will help bring togetherthe strategic strands of HR management in the force.” Northumbria has already transformed the way it manages sickness absence withdramatic results, and Todd has no doubt that all forces will benefit from theplanned occupational health strategy. “We’re second in the country for reducing sickness. We introducedrobust policies and we have doctors, welfare officers and nurses on our staff.The force should look at a holistic approach to OH policy,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t know how some forces can do without these measures.After we implemented them, we reduced the average time off sick from 12 days toeight, at a saving of £2.8m.” The Association of Chief Police Officers also backs the reform plans,providing there are sufficient resources to ensure they are introduced effectively.Sir David Phillips, Acpo president and Chief Constable of Kent Constabulary,said, “The Government’s proposals contain much that we support. As leadersof the police service, we recognise the need to enhance the professionalism ofpolicing. We want to provide the public with a better-skilled, better-trainedservice, which is properly resourced. “The significant aspects of this programme are about the investment inpolicy development, training and skills, providing a workforce to match thecomplexity of the problems we face in tackling crime and disorder in such adiverse society. “It is unfortunate that the White Paper is rather weak on resources. Ifwe have to wait for the spending review of 2005-06 for investment in trainingand technology, we are planning for a slow start.” Acpo is firmly behind the plans to modernise work practices and the rewardsystem – including performance-related pay. Phillips said, “We also need to become more flexible in how we useresources. That is why it is important to overhaul our approach to regulationsand allowances so the right skills can be properly rewarded and we can use ourstaff to best advantage.” Fred Broughton, chairman of the Police Federation, is worried Blunkett’splans will hit officers in the pocket and damage morale. Although the federation is optimistic that a provisional agreement on payand conditions reached at a meeting of the Police Negotiating Board on 27December will prove acceptable to members. It includes an increase in pensionable pay, a competency based pensionableincrease at the top of the pay scale and special priority payments forfrontline officers. The Police Federation backs the use of neighbourhood wardens for patrollingcrime-ridden council estates, but believes there is a limit to the powers androle that non-police personnel should be given. Broughton said, “At the very time the Government is seeking to improvestandards, it will be diluting them if it invests powers in non-policepersonnel. “The ability to intervene in sensitive and sometimes potentiallyhostile situations should only be carried out by those holding the office ofconstable with all the responsibilities that carries.” The federation concedes sickness absence rates need to be improved, butwants assurances that officers will benefit from increased support. “Policing, by its very nature, is a difficult, dangerous and stressfuloccupation undertaken in all weather, during anti-social hours and involving agreater degree of risk than virtually any other profession,” Broughtonsaid. “While we acknowledge that improvements in sick rates are needed, it isimperative they are accompanied by access to effective occupational healthtreatment and speedy access to the NHS.” He does not believe that his members have anything to fear from plans forincreased scrutiny by the Standards Units. “Monitoring performance in the force is nothing new for the service.Results have been scrutinised vigorously through performance indicators foryears and all forces are subject to review. “Crime and clear-up rates for individual divisions are alreadypublished,” Broughton added. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Police force keeps watch on sector shake-up plansOn 8 Jan 2002 in Police, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Affordable homes key to trust’s hiring drive

first_img Comments are closed. HammersmithHospitals NHS Trust is considering investing in new flat pack housing toprovide its healthcare staff with affordable homes.TheLivein Quarters, which were featured at the recent Ideal Homes Exhibition, canbe swiftly erected and cost about £70 a week to rent and £65,000 to buy.IanYoung, director of HR at the trust, told Personnel Today that providingaffordable housing for employees is a key part of its recruitment policy.”Themain problem in recruiting here is that London is a very expensive place tolive and work, so as an employer we have to help staff with housing,” hesaid. “The Livein Quarters are something we are looking at as part of thesolution. Most importantly it gets staff onto the housing ladder, and that iskey in London.”Youngconfirmed the trust is currently searching for available land for the LiveinQuarters.Hesaid the trust is also in the process of building a range of modern,purpose-built housing as part of its drive to help staff. “We are buildingnew accommodation for staff and have just sold three tower blocks to a housingassociation which will deal with the rent for us. We also have some additionalon-site nursing accommodation,” he added.Providinghousing helps Hammersmith hospitals attract staff from abroad – a policy whichhas significantly reduced nursing shortages. The number of nursing vacancies atthe trust has been cut from 25 per cent two years ago to 10 per cent this yearand overseas recruitment has played a big part in this. Thetrust, which recruited 189 overseas nurses last year, gives foreign recruits aninformation pack on living in London, ranging from banking to details ofoverseas communities in the city, to help them feel at home. “Youhave to put in place a whole raft of measures for staff coming from a differentculture. We spend a lot of time as part of the induction process trying to helpthem integrate,” said Young.Vacanciesare advertised on the trust’s website. It also uses overseas recruitmentagencies to find nursing talent from around the world. Young said agencies areused to targeting possible candidates, then the nurses are interviewed using avideo link or over the telephone.Thetrust, which has a turnover of £300m, has 180 vacancies among its 1,900 nursingstaff.”We’vehad recruitment problems similar to other hospitals around the country. We’restarting to fill most of the posts and the number of leavers is dropping,”said Young. “We rarely advertise individual nursing positions. We justadvertise the organisation and the hospitals to try to create a constantconveyor belt of candidates.”Althoughthe nursing crisis may be over, Young predicts there will be staff shortagesfor posts like radiographers, where there is a 35 per cent unfilled vacancyrate at Hammersmith.”Thesetypes of post are not rewarded enough. Candidates have good enoughqualifications to enter any medical field and shortages are already forcing usto look overseas,” he explained.Youngsaid the trust is also improving internal communication through the intranet.He introduced a chatroom on the intranet for staff to quiz the chief executiveand the initiative has proved so popular that he is set to take questionshimself.”Itis very difficult to manage communications in such a large organisation, butpeople were very receptive to this. It gives staff the chance to get animmediate response,” said Young.Thetrust is now planning more sessions and hopes to introduce a webcam to make theprocess more personal.ByRoss Wigham Affordable homes key to trust’s hiring driveOn 2 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Building labour shortages acute

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Labourshortages in the construction industry increased to record levels during thelast quarter of 2002, reveals research.Thesurvey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors saw the biggest rise inrecruitment difficulties for the sector between October and December last yearsince the annual poll started in 1996.Fifty-sixper cent of surveyors reported recruitment difficulties during the finalquarter of 2002 – up from 39 per cent in quarter three. Shortages ofbricklayers are most acute, followed by plumbers and plasterers.Totalconstruction contracts also grew in the final quarter of the year, with publichousing recording its largest-ever quarterly increase. Private housing levelsremained firm.RICSchief executive Louis Armstrong said the skills shortages meant it wasimportant to highlight opportunities on offer.”Inthe current climate a career in construction is looking more and moreattractive. RICS is working hard to ensure that opportunities and workingarrangements within the sector continue to improve,” he said.www.rics.org.uk Building labour shortages acuteOn 4 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Computer giant puts employees in the driving seat

first_img Comments are closed. IBM has put its drive for diversity in the hands of it workforce byempowering them to harness their creativity and make the company an employer ofchoice. The computer giant, which employs 22,000 staff in the UK, has set up morethan 150 diversity group networks, where staff with ‘common philosophies’ canmeet and share knowledge and experience that will make IBM more competitive. The voluntary groups, representing women, Asian staff and those withdisabilities, meet locally to discuss the sensitivities of workers, customersand competitors. They are organised by a core of 500 employees, but are open toall staff. The information and views collected are sent to HR, which can then‘champion the networks’. The company also hosts annual national forums, where respective local groupscan share concerns and ideas. This includes an IBM women’s conference, wheremore than 300 female staff discuss how they can be role models and play anactive part in the growth of the company. Dave Heath, HR director at IBM, said the networks were the company’s maindriver towards a diverse workforce and gave everyone in the business a voice. “The networks are more than just talking shops,” he said.”They focus the population of IBM on diversity and on how our competitorsoperate. This can only enhance business success.” Computer giant puts employees in the driving seatOn 14 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Letters

first_img Comments are closed. LettersOn 18 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today This week’s lettersCall it a day on ‘teddy bear HR’I see that Personnel Today recently launched a section called HR StrategyForum (see page 16 of this week’s edition). I hope it has been earmarked byyour readers because today, there is a strong message for HR in this country:it is time to evolve and move on. Don’t hang on to the old for old-time’s sake.The UK perception of HR has often been seen as a ‘safe’ job. Careerscounsellors see it as ‘sensible’, parents see it as ‘responsible’ and everyoneelse views it as potentially boring. HR was the epitome of the ‘fur-lined rut’job – a one-track safe, warm and comfortable job with no challenges beyond itsnarrow confines. Exposure to new ways of working by candidates from more inclusive andcommunity-focused countries means that sweet, ineffectual ‘teddy bear HR’ inthe UK may soon be over. Competition is entering the UK from countries where HR has regular andsustained interaction with external stakeholders. Dealing with customers,suppliers, investors and the community is considered part of the jobdescription. There is, for example, the more holistic, creative and external approach inSouth Africa and the Scandinavian block. In South Africa, it is not unusual for HR at management level to have activeinvolvement in the community in which employees reside. “Ten years ago in South Africa, my role as HR manager with De BeersIndustrial Diamonds, and Pilkington Glass, involved active participation inlocal community, welfare and education bodies. Additional work asvice-president of the local chamber of commerce, and then as industrial labourrepresentative for the South Africa Chamber of Commerce, helped me to providepositive impact on behalf of employees,” reads one CV. Here is a new breed of HR: the people services director/executive who addsto the long-term strategic direction of the organisation. Back in the UK, it is clear that being responsible for an organisation’s peoplealso means helping to shape the culture of your organisation. In turn, HR needsto be aware of the external influences shaping the organisation. Take note too that HR will move beyond the collation of personnel data,benefits, etc. To make a strategic difference, the HR manager needs to speakthe same language as the other members of the board – finance, IT andmarketing/communications – and to understand and be responsive to influencessuch as balanced scorecards and SWOT factors (strengths, weaknesses,opportunities and threats) to the business and industry. Those kind of skillswill dramatically enhance your career prospects. At a strategic level, HR needs to concentrate on the things that make up thecore competencies of an organisation – the people. If the process of achievingthis change entails outsourcing and/or sharing services, then so be it. Wayne Carstensen Managing director, Arinso UK Not necessarily right statement of the lawOn 7 October, you published an article by Stephanie Pattersonin the legal section on the right to sue for the loss of the chance to claimunfair dismissal.Patterson referred to the case of Virgin Net, where theEmployment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) gave a different decision to that given inRaspin. She says that employers can now feel safe in that they do not have toworry about the principle of an action being brought for the loss of the rightto claim unfair dismissal.However, both Raspin and Virgin Net were heard at the EAT andalthough Virgin Net is much newer, it is not necessarily the right statement ofthe law as both cases are on equal level.It will need a decision by the Court of Appeal to sort out thequestion of whether a case can be brought when an employer in breach ofcontract terminates an employee’s contract of employment, thereby deprivingthem of the right to bring a case of unfair dismissal because they have notachieved one year of service.Barry MordsleyHead of employment department, SalansE-mail ban may help us talkface-to-faceYou recently reported that John Caudwell, chief executive ofmobile phone retailer Phones 4U, had banned internal e-mail among his 2,500staff to improve productivity. I would argue that he might find there is awelcome spin-off in improved motivation among his workforce. In many companies, e-mail has replaced face-to-face meetings orphone calls between colleagues. A comment made in an e-mail can be taken out ofcontext, resulting in either a protracted ‘e-mail conversation’ or ill feelingamong employees. It is also difficult to create emotion in an e-mail,especially when passing a compliment, saying thank you or delivering bad news. I accept that there will be some people who would see aninternale-mail ban as an infringement of their liberties. Perhaps the way forwardis to begin with a series ofe-mail-free Fridays to get people used to talkingto each other again.Graham Povey Managing directorCapital Incentives & MotivationHR must respond to review strategicallyn The Accounting for People Taskforce’s review of human capitalmanagement (HCM) reporting (News, 4 November) has put the value of peoplefirmly on the business agenda.However, HR professionals must respond in a strategic ratherthan knee-jerk fashion to demands for better reporting. Developing measures andreporting mechanisms outside of a strategic HCM process is likely to lead tothe collection of interesting, but ultimately meaningless data – such asfocusing on cost rather than investment – and potentially a lot of wasted time.Boards and investors must understand the changing value ofhuman capital and the actions being taken to increase this as key leadindicators of business success. To provide this insight, measurements,benchmarking, evaluation and reporting all need to focus on the key strategicdifferentiators that drive the business forward. John InghamPrincipal consultant, Penna ConsultingWhat about the right to run abusiness?I was astounded to read such a short-sighted and self-righteousreview from Carol Davis on the subject of parental benefits (Letters, 4November).Clearly she is not in a position where she has to act asmediator between unreasonable parents demanding their ‘rights’ and managers whohave a business to run.I wonder if Davis would take the same view if she was actuallyrunning her own business?How would she feel if it were her business being directlycompromised by frequent absences for non-critical reasons or unreasonabledemands?People choose to have children; their employers do not forcethem to do so. Why then should employees be able to shift their parentalresponsibilities onto their employers? If parents want to see all their children’s ‘first timeoccasions’, perhaps they shouldn’t be working in the first place. Like a lot ofthings in life ‘you make your bed and then you lie in it’. The sooner parentsrealise that they cannot ‘have it all’, the better.Thankfully, not all parents are so unreasonable and do theirbest to honour their work commitments as well as their families. They achievethis through compromise, not by making unreasonable or unrealistic demands.This is just as well, because if all parents jumped on thisbandwagon as Davis suggests, the wheels of UK industry would surely grind to ahalt and these parents might find themselves out of a job altogether. Then theyreally would have something to whinge about.Details suppliedGPs attitudes at root of sicknoteproblemHaving read Dr GC Moncrieff’s letter (Letters, 4 November), Iwould like to congratulate Personnel Today for its coverage of the sick/stressissues.As an HR manager, I have strong views on this matter. I mustsay that sicknotes are only pointless because of the attitude of GPs towardsthem.It strikes me that if GPs had been on top of the whole thing tostart with, and refused to sign a sicknote if they genuinely believed theindividual wasn’t really sick, then they wouldn’t be inundated with patientswho know the doctor is a soft touch.Let’s be honest: if a patient was ‘trying it on’ but refused asicknote, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to return. And if a patient isgenuinely sick, then I would expect the GP to be qualified enough to make adiagnosis and sign them off appropriately.Also, if an employer is having to pay someone forbeing off sick and/or provide additional cover for that time, they should beentitled to know the exact nature of the illness without it being a breach ofconfidence.Countless companies in the UK are bearing the financial bruntof the sicknote and compensation culture, and many other organisations areunwittingly fuelling the flames.K HuntHR manager, IMGOH buy-ins are not practical forrural UKI refer to recent articles in Personnel Today regarding doctorsissuing sick-notes. I wish to express my concerns about the proposedalternative of buying specialist occupational health (OH) services, based on myown personal experience.I service a number of small businesses in Derbyshire, and Iworry about the cost, availability and effectiveness of the proposed solution.Apart from the major centres of Derby and Chesterfield, mostemployers in this area are based in small towns and villages. It is alreadydifficult for them to find doctors who are willing to do pre-employmentmedicals, and there are no obvious local sources providing cost-effectiveprivate medical or OH services. So where are the potential service providers?For any OH service to work, it is going to need a sufficientgroup of regular clients to be viable and this will not exist in most parts ofDerbyshire, so the service will probably only be available in Derby itself orin Chesterfield. Requiring sick staff to travel miles to be examined seemsunfair if they are so unwell that they cannot attend work.The proposed solution may well fit large companies and citieswhere the service will be readily available and at a per-head cost that isacceptable. In rural areas, the service is unlikely to be available except at aconsiderable distance and with only a small number of staff being referred, ata high premium. And, who would pay the transport costs?This proposal looks good on paper, but will be unworkableoutside the big cities.MJ BlakePersonnel consultant, Belper, Derbyshire Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Offering career breaks could land you in court

first_imgEmployersoffering career breaks could end up in court if company policies for gap yearsare not water tight, a legal expert has warned.Organisationsare increasingly offering employees career breaks, believing they are coveredby European legislation. But they are not, and organisations need to ensurethat they have clear-cut policies in place.Speakingto Personnel Today’s sister publication Employers’ Law, Patricia Leighton, theJean Monnet professor ofEuropean law at the University of Glamorgansaid: “There is no European legislation on career breaks and what it comesdown to is basic contract law,” she said.”Itmight be dressed up as flexible working, work-life balance and family-friendlypolicies and all the rest of it, but, at the end of the day, we are dealingwith basic employment contract law.”However,she warned that harmonisation, or developing standard procedures for careerbreak policies, may be a long way off -just as it took considerable time todevelop standards for maternity leave.”Nobodywas very clear about the legal status of that, and that’s taken 20 years tohammer down,” Leighton said – noting that it was the European Courts ofJustice had been instrumental in making the position of women on maternityleave “pretty water tight”.SimonJeffreys, a partner whospecialises in employment law at CMS Cameron McKenna, said employers must talkthrough the implications of the career breaks carefully with the individual sothe employee knows what to expect if and when they come return. Hesaid that if an employer did not do this, they ran the risk of having legalproblems later on.Increasingly,organisations are allowing staffbreaks of anything up to five years. The Metropolitan Police, for instance, currently has 226 officers on sabbatical leave. Companieslike Asda, meanwhile,continue to blaze a trail when it comes to innovative work-life balance policies,offering ‘Benidorm Leave’for the over 50s (up to three months, unpaid).Questions HR must ask –Does the break count as continuous service?–What is the effect on benefits?–What happens to that individual when they come back? ByDeeDee Doke Offering career breaks could land you in courtOn 5 Oct 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

One rule for the rest of the world and another for HR

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. One rule for the rest of the world and another for HROn 15 May 2007 in Personnel Today I agree with Rob Key’s response (Letters, Personnel Today, 17 April) to Jane Coope’s tirade (Letters, Personnel Today, 20 March) against the rant about HR being a closed shop (Rant, Personnel Today, 20 February).I am currently looking to change jobs to improve my career, experience new challenges and, of course, improve my financial health. Since January this year, I have made more than 200 applications for a variety of HR positions across numerous industries. To date, I have achieved a grand total of zero interviews, and the same number of job offers. This is highly indicative of HR managers being ‘selective’ in their recruitment process. I have been an HR manager for over six years, working in a highly demanding, fast-paced, customer-orientated industry. Prior to my HR career, I spent six years as a manager of various departments within the same industry, managing up to 200 people in one position. I am fully conversant with employment law and all other HR procedures.As HR managers, we spout on to our colleagues and interviewees that we readily look for ‘transferable skills’, and that we will invest in and develop our teams, offering them training and qualifications.This is apparently only applicable to non-HR staff members. Sarah Brooks, HR manager Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Hedge fund manager pleads guilty to fraud in Neiman Marcus bankruptcy

first_imgFull Name* “Kamensky predicted in his own words to a colleague: ‘Do you understand…I can go to jail?’… ‘this is going to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,’” Strauss continued. “His fraud has indeed come to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and now has been revealed in open court.”Neiman filed for bankruptcy in May, and announced in July that it would permanently shutter its flagship store in Hudson Yards.Kamensky’s tensions with the high-end department store date back to at least 2018, when he led a legal campaign against the chain’s private equity owners.But after Neiman filed for bankruptcy, Marble Ridge offered 20 cents on the dollar to buy shares of MyTheresa, the retailer’s ecommerce business, from creditors. When Kamensky learned that a Jefferies client was considering buying the shares at a higher price, he allegedly attempted to use his influence with the bank to kill the deal.Kamensky could face between 12 to 18 months in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 7.Contact Sasha Jones Marble Ridge Capital LP’s Dan Kamensky and Neiman Marcus at Hudson Yards in New York (Getty; Jewish National Fund)Dan Kamensky, the founder of hedge fund Marble Ridge Capital, has pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud related to Neiman Marcus, according to the Department of Justice.Kamensky was involved in a scheme to pressure a rival bidder to abandon its higher bid for assets included in Neiman’s bankruptcy proceedings so that Marble Ridge could obtain those assets for a lower price. He was arrested in September.“Daniel Kamensky abused his position as a committee member in the Neiman Marcus Bankruptcy to corrupt the process for distributing assets and take extra profits for himself and his hedge fund,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a DOJ statement.Read moreHedge fund manager arrested for fraud in Neiman Marcus bankruptcyNeiman Marcus files for bankruptcy, casting uncertainty over Hudson YardsNeiman Marcus committed to 50 years at Hudson Yards. It lasted 16 months. Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Tagsdepartment of justicehedge fundsHudson Yards Message* Email Address*last_img read more

Trump Plaza in Atlantic City is demolished

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* To many of the failed venue’s unpaid contractors and suppliers, and the Democratic mayor of Atlantic City, Marty Small, the demolition of Donald Trump’s former treasure was much welcomed.“His tenure here ended horribly,” Small said in an interview with the Times last month.The Trump Plaza opened in 1984 and brought with it promises of high rollers and marquee events. Trump’s casinos originally employed thousands of people and generated tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.However, a series of bankruptcy filings led Trump to cut ties with the casino in 2009. Trump Plaza closed for good in 2014 and the billionaire investor Carl Icahn acquired it out of bankruptcy in 2016.[NYT] — Sasha JonesContact Sasha Jones Share via Shortlink Message* Tags Email Address* Trump Plaza in Atlantic City (Getty)This is the way the casino ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.An auction to detonate the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City didn’t happen, but tickets to watch the spectacle were sold at $10 apiece, and the venue imploded at 9:08 a.m. Wednesday, according to the New York Times.About 16,000 viewers watched via the city’s webcam, and a witness posted the video on Twitter.Trump Plaza was the first of three casinos owned by the former president before his gambling businesses in Atlantic City went bankrupt.Read moreTrump Plaza’s condo board votes to remove ex-president’s name from West Palm towersCarl Icahn pulls plug on auction to demolish Trump casinoFifth Avenue will look different after Trump leaves office Donald TrumpHotelsNew Jerseylast_img read more