E-mail angst

first_img Comments are closed. E-mail angstOn 1 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. The ultimate office communication aid, e-mail has undoubtedlytransformed  work culture, but a lack ofcontrol over the inbox has led to it becoming more of a hindrance than a help.We look at how training can help reduce the stress associated with e-mailuse.  By Miranda James After only a few years, it seems impossible to imagine life without it. Howdid we cope before e-mail? Letters were written, faxes sent, memos circulated.People had to go to the lengths of telephoning each other or schedulingmeetings, often trying to synchronise multiple diaries, to agree actions andget things done. E-mail has become such an integral part of organisational culture, it isalmost invisible. Documents that need to be sent out often go, at least in thefirst instance, as e-mail attachments. Answering a pile of e-mails becomes the first task in the morning. We findourselves developing relationships with colleagues we know only through e-mail.Its speed and ease are revolutionary. Looking at the anachronistic processesthat preceded it, it is logical to assume that e-mail must be saving theworkforce a massive amount of time. There must be productivity gains that areoff the scale. The irony is that in many cases, the opposite is true. What is beingincreasingly recognised in many organisations, is that e-mail is no panacea andcan give rise to its own set of unique problems. In some cases, simply dealingwith the e-mail tide is a significant workplace stress in its own right. The strain of keeping up Taking the Strain, the Institute of Management’s report, published inFebruary 2000, shows “keeping up with e-mails” as the tenth moststress-inducing activity in a survey of over 800 UK managers. Its position inthe rankings nudges e-mails into the “high pressure” zone, abovefactors such as “relationship with boss”. But in theelectronically-dependent workplace, bad e-mail practice is also more thanlikely to contribute to the three most stressful factors in the study –”constant interruptions”, “time pressures and deadlines”and “poor internal communications”. As the report points out, the perennial obstacle to tackling stress in theworkplace, particularly among managers, is the “macho” culture of notadmitting weakness or to a sense of being unable to cope. On top of that,separating out e-mail from a raft of other general stressors, and dealing withit as a phen- omenon in its own right, is less likely when stress is comingfrom several directions at once. Bad e-mail practice may be identified duringan internal communications audit (one of the recommended remedies in Taking theStrain), but because it is a technology-related problem, there is often aperception that the problem belongs to IT, not to human resources. Research published this year by San Francisco-based consultancy FerrisResearch, shows that using e-mail typically saved workers in the US 381 hours ayear. But conversely e-mail also lost the average user 115 hours a year – forexample, through wasted time dealing with e-mailed irrelevancies. The studycame out with an overall net benefit – 266 hours – but the “two stepsforward, one step back” route to that result is disturbing. Ferrisconcludes that companies need to develop and communicate clear policies one-mail distribution lists, indiscriminate copying and personal e-mails. Learn the rules The realisation being made by HR departments which do invest in specialisedtraining, is that ignorance of simple communication rules can tip the balance,taking the e-mail load from manageable to unbearable. “There is definitely an increased awareness about the effect e-mail ishaving on our working lives,” says Granada Media training officer JaneFoston. In April the company commissioned a course in e-mail practice fromLondon-based Team IT Training. For Granada it wasn’t evidence of stress that prompted the course, but anawareness of the exponential growth of e-mail that was circulating. Overload –”simple volume issues” – was the most prevalent problem, Foston says.”There was also a tendency to keep checking e-mails all the time, whichcan be disruptive when trying to get work done.” The training highlighted a lack of awareness about how e-mail was receivedand the flow-on effect once the “send” button had been hit.Gratuitous use of “cc”ing (copying multiple people into e-mails) wasa key problem. Often staff were not using the subject field properly to conveythe message content, and simple rules like writing in capitals (shouting in ane-mail) were identified. “The training really challenged people to think about whether e-mailwas the best way to communicate rather than picking up the phone or going tosee them. Are we just clogging up the system by sending e-mailsautomatically?” Following the training, says Foston, there was a sense that gaining greaterknowledge of the medium saved people stress, giving them a new power over theirinbox. “It can be relentless,” says Hammersmith and Fulham Council directservices personnel manager Lorna Garrett. “People report leaving theoffice, then finding a massive number of e-mails waiting for them when theycome back in.” The council ran training sessions for 55 direct services managers, mainly toaddress potential legal issues with e-mails passing frequently to externalcontractors. In the process it found that managers needed to implement basiccommunication rules to keep their e-mail load under control. Over-copying, using subject fields appropriately, using acronyms to denotethe level of urgency and the tone of the e-mails themselves were addressed. “There was a lot that needed to be done in the way that e-mails cameacross. It is an informal, casual medium and there are issues ofprofessionalism. We had to smarten up our act,” Garrett says. According to Marc Powell, director of Team IT Training, the lack of acommunication “code of practice” is a major factor in e-mail stress.There are formulae and protocols for using the telephone and letter writing,but when it comes to e-mail, such codes don’t exist. This, plus the rapidgrowth of the medium – with thousands of inexperienced e-mail users are comingon stream all the time – compounds the problem. Good and bad practice Bad e-mail practice, particularly among management, can be not only irritatingbut destructive, he says. In one organisation Team IT worked with, a managere-mailed staff at the start of the week about a team meeting on Friday in whichhe was to deliver “the good (or bad) news”. He was then on leave forthe rest of the week. What he thought was tongue-in-cheek humour in his e-mailwas taken as a negative portent by his staff, who were utterly demotivated andexpecting the worst. The urge to copy an e-mail to multiple people, either to win favour withmanagement or cover oneself, is one of the worst factors in overload, Mr Powellsays. “It can send all sorts of ambiguous messages. People think ‘Why do Ineed to know this?’ and assume some action is required of them. It causesconfusion and untold unwarranted stress.” Over-zealous copying is top of the list of e-mail “don’ts”. Othercommon bad habits include confusing or unclear subject lines; tagging e-mails”urgent” when they aren’t; forwarding e-mails with old messages stillto be sifted through; scolding or arguing via e-mail; replying to the wholegroup in receipt of an e-mail instead of just the sender, and sendingunnecessary attachments. But the critical issue in e-mail overload is simpleoveruse. In many instances, people send e-mails as a first action rather than phoningor physically meeting. “The language that many managers use about their e-mail speaksvolumes,” says Team IT director Bob Halliwell. “It is the language ofaddiction.” Common phrases are “I can’t do without it”, “I need my e-mailfix”, “I’m addicted”. Many of the senior employees they workwith, he says, check their e-mails compulsively and reply to all of them assoon as they come in. If the managers who are most susceptible to overload wantto reduce stress, the onus is on them to drive the change that will prevent itin the first place. E-mail etiquette: do’s and don’tsDo– Develop clear guidelines for the organisation– Set up central intranet folders for non-critical social/personal e-mails– Set up filters and folders to group e-mail by subject and priority– Use notes and acronyms to indicate how critical an e-mail is– Use a salutation and sign-off– Put a clear message in the subject field – even avoiding body text if possibleDon’t– Send an e-mail if you wouldn’t bother saying the same thing on the phone– Copy people into e-mails unnecessarily– Forward e-mails that still contain old, irrelevant messages– Forward attachments where an html link can be used instead– Reply to an entire group if you only intend it for one person– Use capital letters unless you’re intending to convey a “shout”– Allow your inbox to become more than one screen-full– Send an angry e-mail Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

More information is needed on data act

first_imgLeaving no room for uncertainty Employee monitoringThemonitoring of employees has proved the most contentious issue covered by thedraft code of practice.The codecalls on employers to establish a specific business purpose for the need tomonitor, and warns that monitoring should not intrude unnecessarily onemployees’ privacy or autonomy. Generally, employers feel the code is toorestrictive. Mike Duffay, joint managing director of Northampton-basedEmployment Law Advice Centre, said, “I don’t see why there should beprivacy for the employee at work. They are being paid to do their job, not makepersonal telephone calls and e-mails.”Ithink the employer has the right to monitor them to make sure they are notabusing the facilities.”Employersare angry at the code’s position on covert monitoring. It states that, “Itis difficult to see how covert monitoring of performance can ever bejustified.” It goes on to suggest that it should only be used if”specific criminal activity has been identified”.TheEmployers’ Forum on Statute and Practice (EFSP) believes this is”seriously restrictive” and doesn’t allow for a preventative approachby employers if they have reasonable suspicions about an employee.Security issueIt is alsoconcerned with the proposal that suggests employers should provide a means bywhich employees can get rid of e-mails they have sent or received. EFSPbelieves this would create a significant security issue with employees needingaccess to a company’s server. The forum concludes that the code “placesunreasonable obligations on the employer while offering excessive licence tothe employee”. The TUC’ssenior employment rights officer Sarah Veale said, “We think the code isvery clear in terms of definition. It introduces checks and balances on thesurveillance of e-mail and guarantees employees a right of privacy. Employershave also criticised the retention period for employee information as being tooshort.The codecalls on employers to implement a system whereby, “records are not keptbeyond the standard retention time unless there is a justified business reasonfor doing so”. It warns that “information should not be retainedsimply on the basis it might come in useful one day”.EFSPclaims it is necessary for employers to be able to hold on to information inthe longer term because it provides an accurate record in the event of a claimbeing instigated by an employee.The codealso instructs employers not to hold records about employee’s sickness or unionmembership without their permission. DianeSinclair, CIPD employee relations adviser, said, “These regulations are atodds with employment tribunal proceedings and leave employers uncertain abouttheir legal situation.”VanceKearney, vice-president of HR at Oracle, said, “How are we supposed torecord how much to pay people who are sick when we cannot keep a record of whenthey were off?”Many ofthe employers Personnel Today contacted feel that it is often difficult topredict the timing of cases for unfair dismissal so it is necessary to keeprecords of sickness absence for a reasonable period of time.ITN’s headof HR Martyn Hurd agreed, “If an employer cannot hold records about anemployee’s sickness without an employee’s permission, this means that employerswill be unable to identify patterns of absenteeism or sickness, which clasheswith health and safety legislation.”Mergers and acquisitionsThe codesates that, “If employers are transferred to a new employer but withcontinuity of employment their employment records can be transferred. Theyshould be advised that this is happening and be given an opportunity to checkthe accuracy of the key information that is passed on.”The EFSPis concerned that this will place an obligation on the employer to activelyoffer every employee being transferred the option of checking the informationheld on them before a transfer. If a largenumber of employees is to be transferred and each requires to see and commenton the information, it could render the process unmanageable within settimescales, the EFSP submission claims. It suggests it would be sufficient foremployees to be able to access the information within a reasonable time ofmaking a request as a general rule under the Data Protection Act. Previous Article Next Article Staffprivacy, or too much licence? Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Followingthe Data Protection Act 1998 the Data Protection Commissioner was given thepower to produce a code of practice to police areas where there was a need forguidance.IainBourne, strategic policy manager for the Data Protection Commissioner,explained, “We thought that the relationship between the employer andemployee was a fertile ground for uncertainty. The code is to make sure thatindividuals have some sort of rights and to make clear to employers what thestandards expected of them are.”Bournesaid the commissioner had taken on board criticisms that the code was too longand unwieldy and was planning to break it down into different sections thatwould be like user manuals, to make it more accessible and clearer.There arelikely to be separate guides, which advise on issues such as recruitment,record keeping, surveillance and drug testing.By RichardStaines The DataProtection Code is intended to offer guidance to employers on the use ofemployees’ personal data. Unfortunately, it has raised more questions than ithas answered.Employershave angrily lobbied the Data Protection Commissioner Elizabeth France inresponse to the Government’s proposals on the draft code of practice. About 100UK employers expressed their views on the draft version of the code during thethree-month consultation period, which ended at the beginning of January (News,16 January). Many HRprofessionals contacted by Personnel Today are unsure about both the detail andthe possible impact of the code once it is published in April. NicolaSmith, personnel officer for Vickers Defence System, said, “The amount ofwork needed to implement the requirements will provide an administrative burdenfor employers. “Thereis a lack of definition of key terms within the data protection code and thisneeds to be reviewed. I don’t think there has been enough consultation for thisdocument either.”Butemployers will not be able to avoid it, and breaches of the code could landthem in trouble. DavidBeswick, partner at law firm Eversheds, said tribunals and courts would takeinto account a company’s adherence to the code and would not look favourably onthose firms that had broken it.Beswicksaid, “This code will have the same status as codes under other acts, suchas the Disability Discrimination Act.”Theapplication of the code will also depend on the interpretation of the DataProtection Commissioner.EllenTemperton, partner at law firm Baker McKenzie, said, “It is unclear howElizabeth will use the code. At first she is likely to recommend remedialsolutions and then she is likely to escalate her actions if there is continuedinfringement of the code.”The codehighlights what is acceptable behaviour when handling data and what is a breachof the existing law.But italso provides instructions about what the data protection commissioner feels isgood practice when handling personal information. Lawyersare advising employers to read it carefully. The plain text in the code setsout what companies are legally obliged to do, whereas italicised text containsFrance’s advice on best practice.Beswickhopes that the final code will be published in two forms – a best practiceguide and a legal guide.RobbieGilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Statute and Practice,believes employers need more information on how the code will be enforced. Heis worried that the code threatens employers with legal action for breaches,but doesn’t clarify what form this action would take.Inaddition to the confusion over how the code will be applied, employers havealso raised serious doubts over its structure and content.The draftcode is too long, claim employers. The eight principles have been developedinto 207 standards and more than 70 pages of text. Diane Sinclair,CIPD employee relations adviser, is calling for a revised draft version to bedrawn up that highlights the key principles but avoids preaching to HRprofessionals on how to perform their work. Shesaid,”We feel that a simpler, shorter code would be far more effective –the code as it stands is far too prescriptive.”The CIPDis concerned that the code could lead employers to destroy information vital totribunals, as reported in Personnel Today last week.  France claims in the code that asking for employees’ consentbefore holding files on the number of sick days they have taken is bestpractice. But thiscould present serious problems for employers should they face tribunalproceedings following the sacking of an employee over prolonged absences. Anotherconcern is the treatment of employee monitoring. Temperton believes the codeundermines employers’ capability to police the workplace.Gilbertsays the code is too focused on employee rights. He says, “The codeseriously fails to appreciate the nature of e-mail and Internet communicationin a business context and that its approach places unreasonable obligations onthe employer while offering excessive licence to the employee.”The CBI’shead of employment relations Dominic Johnson has described the document as”unworkable”. It isclear that France has a lot of work to do if the code is to become a usefultool for handling employee data. More information is needed on data actOn 23 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today www.dataprotection.gov.uk New codeis too long and leaves many questions unanswered, say employers. last_img read more

Senior nurses to take on staff and budget control

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. HR professionals have welcomed an NHS move giving senior nurses more controlover staffing levels and budgets worth up to £800,000 a year. Health Secretary Alan Milburn announced that he was giving more autonomy tosenior ward sisters who will now have a greater role in managing staff. They will be able to plan rosters and shift patterns and to assess the needfor agency nurses, as well as deciding on the mix of grades and skills neededon each ward. Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management president Tracy Myhillsaid staff involvement was an important part of driving the service forward,but warned that HR must ensure increased responsibility is backed up bytraining. “It’s good that staff are getting the chance to take responsibility asthey’re best placed to decide how to deliver service. We must strike a balanceand ensure that we don’t overburden them. “HR has to ensure that we are giving support and adequate training forthese new roles. “Staff involvement is becoming the big issue on the NHS agenda,”she said. Unison’s head of nursing Karen Jennings also broadly backed the move, butwarned that nurses should not find themselves torn between clinical andadministrative roles because of the increased workload. “This will give ward sisters extra resources at local level where theyare needed. “However, it is an additional responsibility and we are concerned thatmore and more will be expected from a smaller pool of nurses,” she said. Milburn also announced plans to develop more nurses as leaders after figuresshowed that only half of nursing directors were being interviewed for chiefexecutive posts. By Ross Wigham Senior nurses to take on staff and budget controlOn 27 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Revving up for success

first_img Comments are closed. Each year, hundreds of employees from Honda’s franchised dealer network areimbued with the corporate culture at the Honda (UK) Institute. Guy Sheppardtalks to its head, Pauline WisemanThe range of products is huge, starting with lawnmowers on one side andending with a solar-powered car on the other. In between are row upon row ofmotorbikes, all-terrain vehicles, marine engines, generators andconventionally-powered cars. This is the centrepiece of the Honda (UK)’s £3mtraining and development centre at Colnbrook, near Slough. If nothing else, itunderlines Honda’s claim to be the largest engine maker in the world. Called the Honda (UK) Institute, its role is to elevate people development amongthe almost 10,000 people employed by the company’s franchised dealer network.Its inspiration is Soichiro Honda, who founded the company before the SecondWorld War. He believed an organisation’s success depended on the skills,knowledge and enthusiasm of its employees. Although most of the people trainedat the institute are not Honda employees, they do represent the public face ofthe company. Before the institute was founded three years ago, training was handledseparately by each product division. By merging under one roof, the aim hasbeen to both expand and tailor it more to the needs of the company. PaulineWiseman, head of the institute, says the founder’s guiding principle ofcreating a company that both customers and society want is still retainedtoday. “The idea of the institute was born out of the desire to provide apositive experience for customers; ensuring no inconvenience for customers isextremely important for us.” Providing opportunity This could sound trite but Wiseman is persuasive as well as easy-going,talking with a recognisable Northern Irish lilt even though she has lived onthe UK mainland since going to university. She is clearly passionate about theinstitute’s role of providing opportunities for career development and personalgrowth as well as motivation about working for Honda. Every employee of its dealer network attends a one-day induction programmeso they can absorb the founder’s corporate values which originated in the 1940sand 50s. “It’s very important for them to soak up the whole of Honda andunderstand its history,” says Wiseman. “The institute is somewherepeople can learn about this.” She says it is just as important that theleast qualified people in the dealerships attend the induction programme as itis for technicians and managers. “A car cleaner probably gets the job ofdelivering cars to customers occasionally so they are in the front-line of thecompany. If that person is not enthusiastic and motivated in his or her job,the customer experience will not be as positive. It’s extremely important to usthat people go away with a positive feel about Honda and that this translatesinto their everyday working life.” New recruits are often addressed by senior management from Honda (UK), whoseheadquarters is at nearby Langley. This proximity underlines the importancethat training has within the company, which is responsible for sales anddistribution but not manufacturing. Wiseman reports directly to the managing directorand meets weekly with other departmental heads to shape corporate strategy. “I believe that this positioning sends a clear message to our dealersabout how important training is,” she says. “Last year, there was notan awful lot of investment in training in the motor industry but we opened thisplace, which cost about £3m. I’m told that spending here is on a much greaterscale than our competitors have spent.” All dealers are expected to have apersonal development plan for each of their employees. “We will work withthe dealers to bring these plans to life,” adds Wiseman. Although the institute is an on-going investment by Honda, the dealers haveto pay for all forms of training it provides, apart from new product trainingand induction. Courses are charged at a daily rate which is designed to coveroverheads. An exception is made for technician training because these skillshave to keep pace with technological change, so dealers pay a levy instead. Wiseman says dealers can go elsewhere for training if they want. “Wecharge what we believe is a competitive rate for training in the industry. Ibelieve that if training is to be of value to a business, it must be perceivedto be of value. If the training isn’t worth anything to the dealers because we’renot getting it right, they just won’t come.” In fact, 12,500 days worth oftraining is provided by the institute each year, giving it a utilisation rateof 85 per cent. Courses cover areas such as time management and computer and presentationskills as well as management and technical training. One of the main innovations over the past 18 months has been to create aqualification structure based on skills rather than job status. Every employeejoins the company as an associate and can progress upwards to become a member,senior member and then a fellow of the institute. There are currently about 35fellows who come from a variety of job backgrounds. Wiseman says the idea is toencourage personal motivation, quoting research showing that the two main reasonspeople stay in a job are opportunities for personal development and a feelingof being valued by the organisation that employs them. “It really is justabout prestige, although extra skills will enable you to do your job better andthe likelihood is that you will get more satisfaction out of the job and getmore pay.” She says an apprentice technician could become a fellow withinthree years. Although the institute’s core role is training, it has other functions aswell. There are one-off events, such as a talk given last month to around 300people by the leadership development guru Stephen Covey. In 1999, the institute launched a dedicated recruitment service, calledPeople First, to reduce staff turnover and thereby save on training costs. Themost spectacular results have been among car sales staff, where turnover usedto be almost 50 per cent a year, just below the industry average. “Sincewe started, we have recruited 290 people into the dealer network and staffturnover is now between 8 and 9 per cent,” she says. “By puttingadverts in, telephone screening the candidates and doing other basic HRprocedures, we took a lot of pain out of the recruitment process.” Shesays People First has resulted in a noticeable drop in staff turnover acrossother jobs as well. New products The institute employs a dozen managers and administrators as well as threespecialist trainers, who develop training for each new product during the earlystages of its development. External consultants are used for specific subjects.However, some training takes place away from the institute, with managementcourses held in hotels and new product training often provided in thedealerships themselves. Everyone in each dealership is briefed about thevirtues of a new model, and a competitor model is often brought in as well toillustrate this. The institute, originally based in Chiswick, is now in a 46,000 sq ftconverted industrial unit with seminar rooms, computer-equipped work stationsand workshop bays with specialist tools. The central display area is designedto instill a sense of pride in the company as well as provide opportunities forhands-on training with all the models. Over the last two years, the institute has piloted the development ofindividual skills training for Honda worldwide so that trainees can study attheir own pace and thereby reduce the amount of time spent away from theworkplace. “Traditionally, most training is done in the classroom, buthere the bulk of the training is done at the work station,” explainsWiseman. “Depending on their ability, they can proceed through each modulemuch quicker and get more personal feedback from the facilitator. It’s a veryspecific, practical method of training.” Because of its success, the concept may now be adopted throughout Europe.Wiseman says the UK operation acts as ‘the mothership of Europe’ which meanstraining is generally piloted ahead of the continent. Honda’s modern apprenticeships for technicians last three years and involve25 weeks at either the institute or the company’s regional training facility atDoncaster. More than 150 people are currently going through the scheme, whichis run by three dedicated trainers. Wiseman is “fairly happy” withthe requirements laid down by the Government for modern apprenticeships butsays the use of outside organisations to run it was abandoned last year, partlybecause Honda is dealing with so many different products. “Outsiders could not get their heads around what we were trying todo,” she says. Management training is generic to all types of dealer.”We don’t own these businesses but can support them with all sorts oftraining right up to leadership itself, helping them to plan for succession,develop their staff and recruit new staff,” she says. Ways of ensuring that qualifications are recognised throughout the motorindustry are currently being explored. Technical courses are already accreditedby the Institute of the Motor Industry and Wiseman is working to ensure salesand management qualifications are also included. As chairwoman of the education and development committee of the Society ofMotor Manufacturers and Traders, Wiseman is closely involved in an effort toestablish accreditation for management qualifications through the Retail Forum.”In this country, there is no set of management qualifications whichtranscend all franchises. It’s a major project.” Training evaluation Evaluation of training within the institute is run at four distinct levels,ranging from verbal feedback from trainees through to whether the organisationthey work for has moved forward as a result of the training. “We have aplanning manager and part of her job is evaluation of our trainingdelivery,” says Wiseman. Having run the institute since its launch, Wiseman could claim much of thecredit for its achievements but says the organisation stands or falls on itsmanagement and administration staff. “The experience of everyone who comesthrough the doors is down to them. My greatest pride is the positivity andenergy of those people and the pride they take in the institute. You can’tover-estimate the effect that has,” adds Wiseman. She says that one of the biggest challenges is a likely change in the lawwhich will mean franchised car dealers will no longer be tied to selling onetype of car. “It’s very difficult to say what exactly will happen but wecould end up having to spread the offer much more widely.” As with so much of the institute’s work, inspiration will probably come fromfounder Soichiro Honda, who died in 1991. One of his aphorisms, quoted in a brochure about the institute, seemsparticularly apt: “No matter how difficult the task, to the person with expertise, it isthe easiest work to do.” CVPauline Wiseman2001: took on additionalresponsibility for Honda (UK)’s parts division1998: head of Honda Institute1995: Honda (UK) head of finance 1993: Honda (UK) dealer development manager 1991: joined Honda (UK) to set up business developmentdepartment for car retail network1988: business manager with Peugeot-Talbot in Slough1986: accountant with John Martyn Group, an Edinburgh-based cardealership1985: worked for chartered accountants in Edinburgh aftergraduating from Dundee University with a degree in accountancy Revving up for successOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

High street bank looks to reward leadership stars

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. High street bank looks to reward leadership starsOn 21 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. LloydsTSB has carried out a leadership development audit, reviewing the waysthese programmes are delivered, and has developed a new scheme to help its top300 managers realise their full potential. The move is part of a drive to place renewed emphasis on performancemanagement and individual contributions. Norman Mitchinson, director of group HR for LloydsTSB, said the firm’s TopManagement Resource (TMR) initiative identifies its best managers and supportsthem through personal development plans, mentoring and work developmentopportunities. Based on the bank’s existing Group Executive Resource (GER) programme, theTMR scheme aims to develop the firm’s top 40 executives and other senior staffwho have been identified as having the potential to eventually replace them. The audit has also led to members of the GER scheme being profiled byexternal consultants and individual development plans have been drawn up. Thecompany is now considering extending profiling to the members of the TMRprogramme. LloydsTSB measures managers’ performance against a balanced scorecard whichincludes, profit and cost control, franchise growth, risk management, customerservice and leadership and people. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Blinkers must come off to benefits of CSR

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Blinkers must come off to benefits of CSROn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Business needs rather than altruism should be the driving force behindcorporate social responsibility (CSR) projects,delegates heard at a conferencelast week. Trade and Industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, told delegates that morecompanies would be likely to practice CSR and increase their communityinvolvement if they could see organisational benefits. “Imaginative and large CSR programmes must be a response to businessproblems. This will help show other businesses and the Government the wayforward,” she said. CSR can deliver a competitive edge in the war for talent, Hewitt added.”The war for talent is real and increasingly fierce. To succeed, firmsneed to become employers of choice and they need to attract, train and keepvery good people,” she said. “Employees with high levels of skills are acting like consumers andwant more than a good pay packet. CSR can make people feel proud of theorganisation they work for.” David Robinson, senior adviser of Community Links, told delegates at theBusiness in the Community Conference that while more firms are engaging incommunity projects, there needs to be greater leadership commitment. He said: “For most companies CSR is still an appendage to business andnot an expression of leadership.” Robinson said he was “weary and wary” of CSR as “a bolt oninitiative”, and challenged firms to spend 95 per cent of their marketingbudgets on a CSR project. It would bring both social change and businessbenefit, he said. HR has a critical role to play in developing CSR. Robinson cited the exampleof a successful 32-year-old investment banker who wanted to work one day a weekfor Community Links. Her employer wouldn’t allow her to, so she resigned. Anne Watts, workplace and diversity director of Business in the Community,said: “CSR has to be tied in with the HR strategy and then aligned withthe key values of a business.” By Mike Broad Case study: M&S launches social forumMarks and Spencer has set up a new committee to help thecompany embrace CSR by ensuring its staff are fully involved in the business.The retail giant’s executive chairman Luc Vandevelde will chairthe committee to ensure the initiative – which aims to improve communicationwith staff and engage them with the company’s aims – is driven from the topdown.Dame Stella Rimington, a non executive director at M&S,said the push to improve internal CSR would help the firm deliver its keystrategies and build better customer relationships.”CSR isn’t just about being seen to do the right thing itis something we must do to regain confidence with our customers. It is good forbusiness but has to come from the very top,” she told delegates at theBusiness in the Community Conference.The firm now surveys its staff quarterly to gauge opinion moreaccurately and has launched a three-month consultation period to speak tocurrent and retired employees.M&S has introduced a confidential helpline to improve allaspects of staff welfare as well as a range of softer measures, such as givingparents holiday for a child’s first day at school.Rimington explained she wants staff to go beyond just turningup for work and hoped a new way of thinking could be embedded into the culture.However, she said the relationship was two-way and in returnfor more freedom, the business expects respect and results in return.”Taking CSR seriously means we will sell more, promote ourbrand, secure more investment and motivate people to work for and stay withus,” she said. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

BAE invests in top-flight course for HR specialists

first_img Previous Article Next Article BAE has entered its top HR professionals on a strategic leadership programmeto create a high-level division of HR ‘business partners’. The aerospace and electronics giant outsourced its transactional HR functionin a £800m, 10-year deal with Xchanging in 2001, leaving 220 HR specialists todrive the company’s policies and strategy. BAE’s HR director for resourcing and development, John Whelan, said 70 ofthe company’s ‘top 100’ senior HR specialists are undergoing a University ofMichigan (UoM) programme to develop strategic skills and knowledge. BAE decided on the US offering because UK business schools could not providewhat it needed. US business schools are more “about delivering for yourbusiness”, Whelan said. Participants in the six-month programme – which include HR directors of thecompany’s business units – were assessed before being accepted for the£10,000-a-student course, which is run by UoM-based Global Consulting Alliance.Kevin Green, managing director of Qtab, which is working with BAE on theassessment process, said the programme would include capability planning andculture management. It will also teach participants consulting skills and business strategy todrive the company’s HR leaders toward playing “very different roles in thefuture”, said Green. Whelan ultimately sees little crossover ahead between the transactional andbusiness partner branches of HR serving the company. “We sort of debate that. There may not be comparable skills. I don’tsee a great link-up,” he added. By DeeDee Doke Comments are closed. BAE invests in top-flight course for HR specialistsOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgNewsOn 1 Aug 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Thismonth’s news in briefMancunianstake the most sick leaveMancunianstake the most days off sick, with an average of 11 days a year, according tolaw firm Peninsula. In its survey of 4,300 workers, Edinburgh and Dublin camesecond and third, with Londoners, on seven days, taking the least number ofdays off. Food poisoning, back problems, colds and flu were the most commonreasons given for absence.Recurringback painLowerback pain is a persistent, recurrent problem among nurses, a study in thejournal Occupational and Environmental Medicine has concluded. The Swiss studyof 269 nurses over eight years found the annual prevalence of lower back painwas between 73 to 76 per cent. Thirty-eight per cent reported the sameintensity of pain throughout the year.  (Ref:OEM 2003;60:497-503)HSEwebsite for mumsAwebsite to help protect new and expectant mothers’ health and safety at workhas been launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A variety ofguidance, including A guide for new and expectant mothers who work, isavailable on the website.   www.hse.gov.uk/mothersHandwashing pilotAintreeHospitals NHS Trust in Liverpool has been chosen as one of six pilot sites fora new hand cleaning campaign by the National Patient Safety Agency. The trustwill test a new toolkit designed to encourage more hand washing by staff,patients and visitors on two wards.Fallfactors published Researchon the underlying factors for falls from height in the workplace has beenpublished by the Health and Safety Executive. Falls from height – preventionand risk control effectiveness gives employers a baseline for measuringimprovements, a model of influences and a toolkit for taking action. Prisonstaff stressed Chronicovercrowding in UK prisons has led to a huge rise in stress and sicknessabsence among prison officers. Figures from the Liberal Democrats show therising prison population has led to a 34 per cent increase in warders’ sicknessabsence, with 115,000 days a year being lost to ill health On-sitedeaths rise Therewere 26 deaths in the construction industry between 1 April and 30 June, whenthe death toll prompted Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to call a ‘safetysummit’, according to construction workers’ union UCATT. Twelve fatalities werefalls from height, four people were struck by moving vehicles, four were killedby collapsing or overturning objects, and six died from other causes. Possiblelink to cancer Thepossibility that shift work can increase the potential for women to contractbreast cancer needs further study, according to a report by the Health andSafety Executive. A study by Professor Anthony Swerd-low, of the Institute ofCancer Research, found evidence for an association was “appreciable, butnot definitive”. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Ten ways to destress

first_imgTen ways to destressOn 21 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Ways to de-stress 1. Take a lunch breakResearch by business information supplier Datamonitor showsthat the average lunch break taken by office workers in the UK is now only 33minutes, while the latest report by food and service management company Eurestshows that 42 per cent of workers in London regularly skip lunch and many ofthose won’t have had an adequate breakfast either. This can lead to low bloodsugar and subsequently tiredness and lethargy.2. Learn to say noAnyone that lacks assertiveness finds it difficult to say noand can end up overloaded with work. Training in assertiveness can teach peoplehow to state their needs more clearly, enabling them to manage colleagues moreeffectively, enjoy a balanced lifestyle, be more effective and productive andless stressed. 3. Go for a walkIt’s cheap, it’s quick, it’s aerobic and it burns calories.Furthermore, it can be done anywhere and doesn’t need specialist equipment.Walking also improves muscle tone, conditions the heart and is great for alleviatingstress. 4. Join a gymDe-stress and tone-up at lunchtime. Many companies organise adiscounted membership of local clubs for their employees.  5. Start yogaGood for suppleness, strength and great for de-stressing.Classes cost from around £5 per hour.Yoga is non-competitive, and is for all ages and any fitnesslevels, just make sure you have a qualified instructor. 6. ReflexologyThe gentle application of a specific pressure massage techniqueon precise reflex points on the feet or hands, based on the premise that reflexpoints on these areas correspond to all body parts. Reflexology helps activatethe body’s healing and cleansing mechanisms, bringing about a state of healthand peace of mind. Sessions last from 30-60 minutes and cost from £30. Contactthe Association of Reflexologists on 0870 567 3320.7. Float away thetensionFlotation tanks offer a relaxing and gentle way of de-stressing.Tanks vary, but most are individual ‘pods’ filled with saline water kept atbody temperature. You lie in the water and close the top of the pod, turn offthe lights and listen to relaxing music as the salt water suspends the body. 8. Head and shouldermassagePromotes relaxation, healing and well-being. Costs about £30 asession. Contact the British Massage Therapy Council on 01865 774123 for alocal practitioner.9. AomatherapyEssential oils are massaged into the body, giving a positivepsychological and physiological effect. The blend of oils can either stimulateor relax and is mixed by the therapist to suit each individual. Find atherapist who is a member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists.Prices start from around £25 per treatment.10. Let off steamAdvice given to firefighters at the Hampshire Fire & RescueServices by its occupational health, safety & welfare department is thatit’s good to vent your feelings, acknowledge them to yourself and share themwith others. Unburdening your thoughts to a friend, writing your feelings downor joining a support group can be beneficial to work-related stress. So go on,have a good cry, swear or shout. last_img read more

Counting the cost of the non-EU immigration cap

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images The NHS recently called into question the cap on non-EU migrants coming into the UK, claiming it was blocking access to the medical skills it needs. Immigration law expert Jonathan Beech discusses the pitfalls and disadvantages of this ‘one size fits all’ limit.Non-EU workersSalary threshold for tier 2 migrant workers increases How to retain a sponsor licenceThe NHS is putting pressure on the Home Office to ease UK visa rules for non-EU medical recruits and to exempt skilled employees from tier 2 visa requirements as immigration quotas restrict its ability to hire medical staff.And it’s not alone. Other employers are also showing their support to relax the visa process as sectors such as pharma, biotech and engineering (to name a few), are too suffering from a severe shortage of talent.With overall net migration estimated to have fallen to 244,000 from its peak of 336,000 in June 2016, a depleting number of EU job applicants has forced industries to recruit outside Europe.A shortage in EU talent plus a problem with immigration quotas to secure non-EU workers is bad news for employers.Why is it unhelpful?For UK plc, the tier 2 visa is designed to attract the “brightest and the best” non-EU migrants, which the Government says it still wants to come to the UK.But a visa cap based on a points scoring system is stifling talented workers coming here, with the NHS as a prime example. The cap has been breached three months in a row – December through to February – meaning employers may have turned away much needed skills in the process.Each year, the Home Office releases 20,700 tier 2 (general) visas for skilled migrants outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and each month the maximum number of visas available differs, with visas granted according to points awarded in order of importance.From the top down, roles gain points based on: shortage occupation, whether they’re a PhD-level vacancy and roles where a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) has been carried out.A large amount of points are also given for guaranteed earnings. With a limited number of visas available under the quota since December, candidates now need a much higher number of points than ever before to be successful with a request.Missing out on talentHaving a one size fits all, points-based approach that rates applicants mainly according to their expected salary, means sectors like the NHS are missing out on valuable skills and young talent.According to Home Office reports, the lowest eligible salary in January and February 2017 was £50,000 – much more than the potential UK earnings of many newly qualified immigrant doctors.Furthermore, there are only a limited number of disciplines considered as a ‘shortage occupation’ within the NHS and, as such, many doctors have had to rely on gaining points through the RLMT and earnings.The way the quota is structured, plus the demand the UK has for skilled non-EEA workers means the problems employers currently face over visa allocation will remain a regular occurrence.Those rejected are expected to reapply, driving up competition in March and pushing any surplus into the new financial year in April.Possible alternativesExempting medical staff from the quota is, in effect, adding all medical staff to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which is only updated once a year on average making it difficult to account for fluctuating skill shortages.The shortage occupational skills could be reviewed frequently but this risks some occupations only being listed for a short period time, also affecting skills planning.There are a number of other options that could be considered including changing the quota system so it’s not loaded at the beginning of the financial year.Rather than reviewing skill requirements every year, consider them per quarter and rotated by sector to make it a fairer system for all.Alternatively, increase the quota so it accounts for the likely rise in EU applicants once we exit the EU, or offer more avenues to score points such as age, qualifications and experience.The latter would be similar to the UK’s old Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) but a more formulated version, measured by codes of practice to ensure skilled workers took skilled positions and visas were awarded to NVQ level 6 jobs and above to attract young, fresh talent as well as experienced personnel.Managing visa applicationsFor now, HR has to work within the current points-based system. So, HR should keep a close eye on the changing number of certificates available each month and understand what the minimum level of earnings will be to qualify for a visa.When reapplying for visas under the next monthly quota, ensure that the RLMT is still live at the time the General Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is issued – in case it is required. The test should also be less than six months old from the date the first vacancy was correctly advertised, otherwise you’re at risk of having your sponsor licence revoked.Guide and reassure employees through the process. Check they know exactly what documentation they need as this varies depending on factors such as the job to the country of origin.If a visa is declined, an employer must go through the whole certificate application process again, which could be affected by a further change in the monthly quota.Until the visa is granted, don’t make any promises about the job, advise the applicant not to make any life-changing decisions, and make it totally clear that any offer of employment is subject to a visa application and their ability to enter and work in the UK.Planning ahead is the key to success – with visas in such short supply, employers can’t afford for applications to go wrong. No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Counting the cost of the non-EU immigration capBy Jonathan Beech on 28 Feb 2018 in NHS, Latest News, Global HR, Labour market, Skills shortages, Personnel Today, Migrant Workers Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more