Review aims to help Ford staff enjoy home life

first_imgFord is reviewing its work-life balance policies to try and ensure that allits staff, including workers on night shifts, can make the most of their homelives. At an IIR conference on flexible working last week, the company’s diversitymanager, Kamaljeet Jandu, said that Ford needs to challenge its traditional andconservative working practices. Jandu said, “In terms of organisational change, it is an enormous task.We want to become a leader in best practice. We are some way off at the moment,but that is our aim.” Ford currently offers part-time working, job sharing, career breaks andextended leave. The company is to hold a work-life and diversity fortnight inSeptember where employees and managers will be encouraged to promote work-lifebalance. Ford wants to offer the 18,000 staff in its vehicle plants and 7,000salaried office workers greater flexibility. Jandu said that while flexible working policies had to fit in with thecompany’s 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week shift patterns, he wanted productionline workers on all shifts to be able to make the most of their home lives. Ford is considering introducing on-site child care facilities. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Review aims to help Ford staff enjoy home lifeOn 17 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Barclays starts to account for staff learning

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Barclays starts to account for staff learningOn 2 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Barclays has opened its first regional learning centre at its centralBirmingham office. Similar learning centres, which are part of Barclays University (bu), willbe launched around the country over the next 18 months, offering staff a rangeof training opportunities. John Stewart, deputy chief executive of Barclays who opened the first centresaid, “Making this commitment to the ongoing learning and development ofour people brings us closer to achieving our aim of being the employer ofchoice in financial services.” Andrew McClellan, programme manager for bu, said, “We’re trying tochange the old world way of thinking where people are sent off for training bytheir boss. We want a change of culture.” The bu concept includes a whole raft of training initiatives includingresidential classroom learning, e-training and workplace training. read more

Asda’s management evolution

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Asda’s management evolutionOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Food and clothing giant Asda is to embark on the biggest managementdevelopment exercise of its recent history as it begins a ‘cultural evolution’.In an initiative run by people development manager Paul McKinlay and hisdeputy Bruce Boughton, 336 managers will each attend a five-day workshop,called the Walton Institute, after a concept created by US parent companyWal-Mart founders Sam and Helen Walton. The programme will be put into an Asdaand UK context and will take four-months to complete. The impetus for the programme comes from Asda’s revamped corporate missionand values which were introduced in February. “We are making our culture even better than before,” saidMcKinlay. The company now wants to be known as “Britain’s best value retailer,exceeding customer needs always”, whereas its previous wish was to be”the best clothing and food superstore”. Three new Asda values have been introduced, centring on respect for theindividual, enhanced customer service and striving for excellence. “The challenge now is to change how everyone in the organisationbehaves,” added Broughton. Part of this evolution is that “managers should treat people how theywant to be treated instead of the previous edict that they should treat them asthey would want to be treated themselves”. The success of the evolution depends on Asda managers making the transitionto becoming leaders and as a result some content of the programme is based onthe Kouzes and Posner book The Leadership Challenge, said Boughton. He is looking at how managers can develop and communicate their vision toshare it and to inspire people. Diversity is another key element. Boughton said: “We’ve had equalopportunities in place for a long time, but we want people to understand thatdiversity is broader than ethnicity alone. For this reason each group on theprogramme will be made up of store managers from across the UK and there willbe three places on each course for our international colleagues.” As the cultural evolution is dependent on changed behaviours, all delegateswill undertake a 360 degree feedback exercise with their staff beforehand andwill receive the feedback information at the start of the course. By Stephanie Sparrow Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Bitter resignation

first_imgBitter resignationOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today How does HR react when confronted by a case such as that thrown up by the mysterious ‘resignation’ of Department of Transport media adviser Martin Sixsmith? Philip Boucher finds there are no easy answers.Genuine resignation or constructive dismissalDid he jump or was he pushed? A question that often surrounds a fall from grace. But in the case of the Martin Sixsmith/Stephen Byers affair, it is now more relevant to question whether he ‘fell’ at all. Thanks to a notice by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) on 8 May, it has become clear that Sixsmith, who supposedly resigned as director of communications at the Department of Transport over the Jo Moore e-mail affair, actually did no such thing.This runs contrary to a statement made by Stephen Byers to the House of Commons in February, entitled Resignation of Martin Sixsmith, where Byers repeatedly claimed Sixsmith agreed to leave his job.Regardless of the political consequences, this is a clear case of bad employment practice. Sixsmith, who had almost two years left on a £100,000 a year contract, has been awarded a £180,000 settlement by the Government. He is thought to have threatened to reveal details of the affair at an employment tribunal and the sum appears to represent double the amount he had hoped for.Naturally, this would have put the Government in a sticky situation. Not least because Sixsmith may have had grounds for constructive dismissal. He could also have argued that his case came under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, designed to protect whistleblowers.Confirming a resignationWhat is clear, is that in HR terms, the DTLR failed to follow best practice. To begin with, it didn’t get Sixsmith to state his intentions in a letter to the department. Legally, he would have had to make an unequivocal, clear and certain statement that he was no longer willing to work with his employer. As he had been at home on full pay since 15 February, this was not the case.The date of the apparent resignation was also never clarified. Indeed, a recent statement by the DTLR read: “The department accepts that Martin Sixsmith has remained in its employment since his contract began on 19 November 2001. He did not resign on 15 February 2002. The department regrets that, while acting in good faith, it announced he had resigned on what turned out to be an incorrect understanding of earlier discussions that day.”Such a climbdown is far from exceptional in political circles, but in employee relations terms it represents a major breakdown in communications. Sarah Linton, counsel and head of UK employment practice at law firm Bryan Cave, explains: “To be legally binding, a resignation has to state the exact date that it takes effect. You are also supposed to give notice – this is likely to be at least the statutory minimum notice of one week. You have to make your intention to leave employment absolutely clear.”Heat of the moment constructive dismissalsThe difficulty is that situations like the Sixsmith affair are unavoidably acrimonious and often hurl HR into a crossfire of warring factions, regardless of how many egg shells it tries to walk on. In 99 per cent of resignation cases this scenario will not arise, but when it does HR has to be extremely careful to say the right thing at all times. “You need to act very carefully,” says Linton. “If an employer in any way leans on an employee to resign, the company is open to a claim of constructive or unfairdismissal.”It is a trap Stephen Byers may well have fallen into, exacerbating an already complex situation. Case law shows many instances where employees have resigned under dubious circumstances and frequently it is in response to a line manager’s outburst. While there is little that can be done to control a manager’s tongue in the heat-of-the-moment, HR is usually left to try and repair the damage.In the case of Futty v D&D Brekkes Ltd, 1974 IRLR 130, a resignation took place as a result of an off-the-cuff remark by a foreman who told a man that if he didn’t like his job he could leave. The employee took this as an invitation to put in his resignation and promptly did so.The management at D&D Brekkes was left in an indefensible position because of the actions of a line manager and subsequently had to try and repair the damage. Inevitably, this job fell in the lap of HR.Palmanor Ltd v Cedron, EAT 1978 IRLR 303, provides another example. Mr Cedron was employed as a barman at a night-club. During the course of his duties he had a row with his employers and a manager swore at him. Mr Cedron pulled the manager up over his language and was told that if he did not like the words being used he could go. Mr Cedron took this as an invitation to leave.An industrial tribunal took the view that Mr Cedron was entitled to treat himself as constructively dismissed, within the meaning of paragraph 5 (2) of Schedule 1 to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974, and that the dismissal was unfair. Senior solicitor at Manches, Jane Brown, says: “Employers have got to be aware that often a line manager will say something in the heat of the moment that an employee can construe as dismissal.”Exit interviewsFor HR, the difficulty lies in finding a way out of such messes. There are a number of measures that can be taken to limit the effects. “The first step is to identify what you have on your hands and the best way to clarify that is simply to get in touch with the employee to discuss what happened,” says Sarah Lamont, partner at Bevan Ashford.“To claim constructive dismissal an employee has to resign in clear response to a breach. If it is not mentioned in the resignation letter or stated at the time of resignation, the EAT will ask why.”This is not to say you can stop unfair dismissal claims through a cunning manipulation of the law. But, it does provide a breathing space to tidy the situation up and maybe even ask the individual to return. Lead adviser on public policy at the CIPD, Diane Sinclair, says: “In circumstances where someone leaves suddenly, it would be wise for HR to conduct an exit interview if possible. If there is a dispute, HR has to work with both parties to resolve the issue.”An exit interview also allows HR to find out the facts as the employee sees them. This may prove invaluable if legal action follows. Sinclair says: “In circumstances where the situation had gone too far for HR to step in and bring about a quick and sensible solution, the HR department needs to start investigating the matter as soon as possible – if there is a claim of constructive dismissal, the organisation will have the information it needs to defend itself.”The key is to act quickly. However, if a resignation is formally accepted the situation becomes much more definite, and subsequently, any claims of constructive dismissal become more difficult to avert. While a “reasonable” period is permitted for a retraction, there is no set time. If it is not done promptly, there may be disruption to the employee’s continuity of employment.The role of HRAnother course of action is to pre-empt potential difficulties by training managers in the basic principles of employment law. Even though many of the issues surrounding employment law and integrity appeal to basic common sense, this can help managers to avoid comments that later create difficulty.From a grievance point of view, HR also has to understand the employee’s work situation as thoroughly as possible. Head of HR at Axa Sunlife Insurance Andrea Cartwright, says: “In situations like this, there is nearly always some kind of history or something else in the background.”Analysing this helps HR to arrive at a sensible conclusion about what has happened from a personal point of view. It may also take into account organisational issues that may have exacerbated the situation. As HR has to answer for the organisation as soon as a manager says something out of place, it needs to find out if the internal grievance structure is in any way to blame.Speaking of the Sixsmith case, Cartwright says: “The flaws in the system and the obvious lack of communication would have to be identified and made clear to others in the team and the organisation. In cases like this where the issue has to be dealt with in a very public manner, there is also a certain amount of external public relations to consider.”The important thing is that the lessons are transmitted to other managers around the company so the same mistakes aren’t made again. Situations like this can very quickly tumble into dispute. The exception is in cases where a senior employee is under-performing or has been negligent. Here, it is often the case that both sides choose resignation as a face-saving exercise where the normal rules are usually ignored in favour of preserving a reputation. And it is likely that Stephen Byers hoped Sixsmith would fall on his sword in this very manner.“In situations like this, a disciplinary process reflects badly on both parties,” says Caroline Knoblet, partner at Hammond Suddards Edge. “One way of dealing with it is reaching an agreement where the individual goes voluntarily, as resignation sounds far better than being sacked.”In return, the high-ranking employees receive a financial incentive coupled with a blot-free CV. This enables both sides to part company without tarnishing their business image and settles the whole affair without recourse to the courts. The alternative, as Mr Byers has suddenly realised, is a far more damaging route entirely.Working out a compromiseCompromise agreements where employee’s agree to refrain from going to tribunal in return for a tax-free payment, are becoming more commonplace. Unfair dismissal, discrimination and numerous other types of claim can be settled by way of a CA with the aim of achieving a clean break. Here are some of the issues that can arise.– How early before the effective termination date will the CA be agreed, bearing in mind the severance payment will not be paid until after that date? Inland Revenue rules allow a CA to be agreed in advance, but it cannot be conditional on future events. There should not be a long period between the two dates – firstly because the IR may take this to indicate that the agreed payment is to induce the employee to stay, therefore negating its tax effectiveness. Second, there are dangers in agreeing a payment when the employee is still working out notice, such as the risk of subsequent gross misconduct. (See Are payments made under a settlement agreement taxable?)– References can be problematic. It is often good practice to agree favourable wording, plus a clause that there will be no communication inconsistent with such wording. However, beware of being pushed into a favourable reference at odds with the manner of departure – it could put you at risk of a negligence claim if it is inaccurate and a new employer relies on it and suffers damages as a result. (See How to deal with reference requests.)– Most severance payments anticipate a future period of unemployment, so it is worth considering a clause whereby the employee undertakes he has no job offer or immediate expectation of one, including consultancy work. (See How to manage garden leave.)– Does the CA detail action to be taken against the employee if he breaches the agreement? If the employer fails to make payment the tribunal has jurisdiction to enforce this, but it is harder for the employer to show loss upon an employee’s breach, such as a leak to the press. Consider a confidentiality clause as well as getting the employee to agree to a specific cash penalty for any breach. (See How to use a settlement agreement to resolve an employment issue.) Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. center_img Related posts: Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…last_img read more

Engineers take leading role in tackling stress

first_img Previous Article Next Article Engineers take leading role in tackling stressOn 14 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Cummins Engineering has introduced a range of policies to tackle stress inthe workplace following an increase in the number of workers taking time offbecause of it. The Darlington-based company, which employs 4,500 staff, has used employee surveys,on-site anti-harassment advisers and an employee assistance programme toidentify and address stress. The firm also has a specific policy on how people should treat each other atwork. It places great importance on team-based working and getting the physicalenvironment correct to prevent stress occurring in the first place. Alastair O’Riordan, manager of employee relations at the firm, emphasisedthat it did not introduce the stress management policies to comply with the newHSE standards, but to create a more efficient workplace. “I think this is part of running an efficient business. It is not beingdone for the feel good factor – there is a business case for addressing theseissues.” “We were aware that stress standards were being introduced, butcompliance was not our intention. We wanted to improve tackling stress in theworkplace,” he said. last_img read more

Skills shortfall hinders competitive progress

first_imgSkills shortfall hinders competitive progressOn 22 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Business leaders are concerned that their workforces lack critical skills,which compromise their companies’ ability to compete effectively. Only one in four of the 200 responding employers from the US, UK, France,Germany, Spain and Australia, believe that most of their employees have thenecessary skills to execute their jobs at industry-leading levels. The survey, by Accenture, also reveals that although three-quarters ofrespondents report their companies have increased or maintained their HR andtraining and development budgets (73 per cent and 78 per cent respectively),only 17 per cent are ‘very satisfied’ with the progress they have made. One of the factors suppressing satisfaction was companies’ lack ofmeasurement. More than one-third (40 per cent) of those taking part in thestudy report their companies do not regularly measure the business impact oftraining and HR against factors such as retention, employee satisfaction,innovation, productivity and quality. More than half (52 per cent) of respondents say the HR function is ‘verycritical’ to executing corporate strategy. Kathy Battistoni, partner in Accenture’s human performance line, said shewas surprised such a high proportion of employers were so unhappy with theskills of their workforces. “It is alarming to find that only 25 per cent of executives surveyedbelieve their workforce has the skills to make their organisation successfuland viable,” she said. Battustoni added that the high proportion of employers maintaining orincreasing their HR and training budgets in the face of increasing economicpressures shows that organisations are now putting more value on workforceissues. Battistoni said it was important that employers put more emphasis onmeasuring the impact of these people management policies to drive upcompetitiveness. By Ben Willmott Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Mediocre managers in urgent need of HR help

first_imgMediocre managers in urgent need of HR helpOn 13 May 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Everyone has, at some stage, reported to a line manager who is not up to thejob. It seems there are still a lot of them about – Ricky Gervais’s creationDavid Brent in the BBC’s The Office, may have been a wonderful parody, but healso revealed painful truths about the antics of UK managers. Our exclusive research (see right) goes some way towards defining the scaleof the problem, using the views of HR managers in some of the UK’s biggestemployers. If you needed a wake up call to spur you into action, this is it. The most troubling finding is HR’s concern that line managers lack the coreskills to take the business forward in the next three to five years – theirweakest areas being absence management, performance management, leadership,coping with change and people management. Failure to make line managers accountable for managing people continues tobe widespread. HR is bogged down in correcting managers’ mistakes, firefightingon their behalf, averting costly legal cases and handling admin they know willbe ignored if left to the line. All the time HR spends doing this, leaves lesscapacity to concentrate on a strategic role and little chance of progressive HRpolicies ever making a real operational impact. Equally disturbing is the fact that less than a quarter of our survey’srespondents rated their line managers as good or excellent at coaching andmentoring. Yet there is widespread acceptance that coaching is a key tool inestablishing culture change and is an effective way of getting people to learnnew skills. Something has to change and quickly. Line managers are the vital linkbetween HR and the rest of the business delivering improved performance. HRcannot allow the status quo to continue. HR needs to combine operationalexcellence with a strategic approach that meets business goals. Line managersare your number one tool for delivering employee engagement and that has to bethe key goal for most organisations. And finally, if anyone knows why the UK has more managers than any otherEuropean country, then please let us know. Is it to do with our businessculture? Or is it borne out of hierarchies of inadequacy among people in powerall trying to cover their own backs? Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

IT salaries are still on the rise

first_imgIT salaries are still on the riseOn 8 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Salaries for IT professionals in the financial services sector have risen byas much as 15 per cent in the past six months. According to the latest quarterly IT skills survey from research firm SSL,carried out for Personnel Today’s sister magazine Computer Weekly, the numberof jobs advertised for IT professionals in the finance sector has jumped by 32per cent in the past two quarters. The dramatic rise is due to several investment banks recruiting heavily inLondon and paying more than the market rate for people with strong business andIT skills, industry watchers said. “Over the past six months, permanent recruitment has gone up tidily,and contract even more so,” said Anne Swain, chief executive of theAssociation of Technology Staffing Companies. “Some of the financialinstitutions are paying above the market rate because they are desperate.”Sean Zimdahl, managing director of Aston Carter, which specialises insupplying IT staff to banks, said: “We have seen a dramatic ramp up overthe past two quarters. Counter-offers from firms that want to keep their staffare also increasing.” Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Position Descriptions of Christmas Past

first_img Comments are closed. Are the multi-skilled, or the specialists among us, more future-proof & better equipped for organisational evolution?I believe there are two trains of thought on this. These days with organisations advocating agile or iterative processes, we have witnessed a shift in not just how we meet deadlines and time restraints but in our professional mentalities. Everything is quicker, processes more streamlined and we are always looking for ways to create new efficiencies as we all deal with ever changing goalposts on a day to day basis. With this we of course become more than just what our defined position descriptions would have meant 5 to 10 years ago and instead we must be broader skilled, dynamic, out-of-the-box problem solvers who have to turn our hands daily to tasks which historically wouldn’t have been ours.On the other hand, we have a growing trend of positions being broken up into several roles where in the past they may all have been taken care of by one position. An example of this could be the role of an internal recruiter. In years gone by, a recruiter would be responsible for the end to end process of finding candidates for any given role – engaging them, appropriately screening them, interviewing them, coordinating interviews with relevant hiring managers – and thereafter would also be responsible for “closing” or hiring. However these days, a large number of recruitment roles are broken up more distinctly into sourcing, recruiting and account managing.There is merit in both methods but I will be interested to see moving forward whether it is the specialist or the broader-skilled that demonstrates more staying power. Position Descriptions of Christmas PastShared from missc on 19 Dec 2014 in Personnel Today Read full article center_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Building Trust

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Read full article Internal recruiters – A short but hopefully sweet note on how to build trust with your internal customers and the hiring managers within your organisation.Learning the recruitment craft from agency ensures that your recruitment and talent acquisition expertise has a pretty healthy dose of salesmanship to it. It can then become an issue learning when to cut the sales patter and quite simply deliver. Internal customers do not want to be sold to. They want to know that you are on the same team, looking to achieve the same goal and that you want to work together to get there.So in simple terms, how do you build that trust?   CUT. THE. SALESY. BULLSHIT.Not saying don’t sell as you will always have to sell e.g. why you believe someone is the right fit for the position, or why they should choose another angles in a particular talent acquisition campaign etc. – All I’m suggesting is to just cut the fake door-to-door salesman act and back the quality of what you do and how you do it.As recruiters, our edge will come from being able to use whatever means necessary to fill open positions with the best candidates that no one else can find, or building such a level of trust with the best candidates that everyone can find, that when you approach them with an opportunity, they are always prepared to listen. Be the person who knows your market. Build the levels of respect and trust within your sector or industry that if you decide to approach someone, they know they are not simply one of 100 people that you have flicked an automated note to, and that instead they should take the time to listen.Make this your brand in the market and the rest becomes a walk in the park! Build the trust and respect via letting your actions speak for themselves and don’t let the fluff get in the way. Deliver on your word and choose your word carefully. Comments are closed.center_img Building TrustShared from missc on 11 Dec 2015 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more