Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Firms welcome temps proposalsOn 9 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article More than half of UK firms would use proposed regulations allowing them to opt out of paying fees to recruitment consultancies when temporary staff are recruited to permanent jobs.The DTI’s draft Employment Agencies Act, published this week, is likely to propose that firms no longer need pay fees provided there is a four-week quarantine period between quitting the agency and joining the employer.A MORI survey of 281 UK companies, commissioned by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, reveals that 54 per cent would use the proposed regulations to avoid paying fees.If the quarantine period were introduced, a temp wanted as a permanent employee by the firm where they had been working would quit, returning as a member of staff four weeks later. In this case no fee would go to the recruitment consultancy.Tim Nicholson, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which represents the UK’s private recruitment industry, will oppose plans to introduce a four-week quarantine period.He said, “Losing someone for four weeks is not a serious disincentive for a business if they want to employ them permanently.“We have made a lot of people aware that the four-week quarantine proposal is a direct threat to the legitimate commercial interests of a very important industry. One million people are employed as temporary workers and about 500,000 find a permanent job every year.”
Related posts:No related photos. Thedebate about whether age discrimination is best tackled through the voluntaryroute or legislation will drag on as the Government hammers out the details onhow to translate the European directiveoutlawing age discrimination into UK law. In reality, however, the debate isalready dead in the water.Legislationon workplace age discrimination is coming whether employers like it or not. Intwo separate forums last week, employers were given a clear message that if theywanted to avoid the big stick of employment tribunals their best course ofaction was to get their houses in order now. Equalopportunities minister Margaret Hodge urged employers at a CIPD meeting toembrace the law, while speakers at the Employers’ Convention in Brighton, runby law firm Eversheds, put the business case for anti-ageist policies to anaudience of HR professionals. Interestingly,Hodge admitted that previous discrimination legislation had been of limitedeffect because employers had failed to embrace it.Pastexperience shows that legislation takes a very long time to change attitudesand practices -if it ever does. There is no reason to believe that fears oflegal payouts and bad publicity will act as much of a spur to employers entrenchedin practices that discriminate on the basis on age. Unfortunatelyfor them, though, the impact of the law will be small fry compared to theimpact on competitiveness if companies fail to exploit older members of theworkforce. The real driver will be skills shortages and demographics. HRprofessionals are playing a major part in overhauling work practices in thoseorganisations which are ahead of the game. Others would do well to follow. Previous Article Next Article Skills shortages will cure age prejudicesOn 27 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
Take up of the voluntary code of practice on age diversity has been disappointingand legislation to tackle age discrimination is due. Yet, explains DeniseWalker, head of corporate personnel at Nationwide Building Society,establishing a non-discriminatory policy can only benefit the entireorganisationNationwide’s involvement with campaigning to promote age diversity hasraised its profile as a caring and progressive employer. The building societyrecently won the DfEE-sponsored Personnel Today Award for Promoting AgeDiversity in the Workplace and was regarded as having an “enlightenedattitude to age”, when we were rated 30th in The Sunday Times, Best Placesto Work For, survey earlier this year. Because Nationwide is committed to promoting the benefits of a diverseworkforce externally as well as internally, it is viewed as an age diversitychampion. It is a founder member of the Employers’ Forum on Age (EFA). As headof corporate personnel, I have an active role as chair of the EFA Member’sAdvisory Group and am a member of the Leadership Group, which provides strategicdirection to the forum. Our expertise and understanding of age diversity issues attracts manyinvitations to participate in government consultation and research reports.These include the Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment, the AgeShift consultation paper by the Department of Trade and Industry ForesightAgeing Population Panel, and more recently, the Select Committee Enquiry intoAge Discrimination. Nationwide is the largest building society in the UK, employing 14,307people, with almost 20 per cent based at our Swindon head office, 12 per centat our Northampton administration centre, 53 per cent at our 681-branchnetwork, and the rest in technology and printing support functions. The personnel and development division’s aim is to provide, attract, retain,and develop sufficient, talented and motivated people, who can contribute tothe achievement of corporate objectives. A key objective is to employ aworkforce that reflects Nationwide’s customer base. To achieve this, theSociety is committed to promoting age diversity in the workplace. We have many drivers for promoting diversity, both internally and in theexternal market place. Our two key sites are based in Swindon and Northampton,which both have high employment rates. Swindon enjoys full employment, whichoften causes difficulty in recruiting for specific job roles. Promoting a diverse workforce allows us to recruit from the widest pool andensures that the best people for the job are recruited and retained to achievecompetitive advantage. The business benefits that age diversity brings can be separated into threedistinct areas. Employees – By valuing the contribution of all our employees, improved motivation,morale and productivity results in improved employee satisfaction. In theViewpoint employee opinion survey (2000), 82 per cent of respondents felt thatmanagement supported equality of opportunity for all employees, regardless ofage. – Employees see a more stable environment where the company is keen toretain their skills. For the period June 1999-May 2000, turnover for employeesaged 16 to 24 was only 4 per cent (compared with Nationwide’s turnover of 8.95per cent) and for employees aged over 55, it was 0.6 per cent. – Promoting the benefits of a diverse workforce is recognition of the factthat a broad range of employees with different insights and backgrounds canwiden the breadth of knowledge and experience within the organisation, whichleads to greater creativity. Members – Nationwide’s age diverse workforce reflects the diversity of its customerbase. This has enabled us to retain the loyalty of existing customers by havinga better understanding of their needs. We can also access new markets throughcustomers whose needs have been previously been largely ignored or excluded.This has resulted in increased sales and improved customer satisfaction. – We know that for every 3 per cent increase in employee satisfaction, thereis a corresponding 1 per cent increase in customer satisfaction. Organisational – Recruiting older workers gives Nationwide access to a wider recruitmentpool from which to select the best person for the job. – By developing a policy for the retention of employees beyond retirementage, the Society benefits from retaining corporate memory. – There are substantial cost savings as a result of reduced employeeturnover, recruitment and training costs. We estimate that it costs between£5,000 to £8,000 to recruit and train a new employee. Implementing age diversity In 1987, following Nationwide’s merger with the Anglia Building Society, thenew Nationwide Anglia lost much of its older workforce, leading to a loss ofexperience and corporate memory. The unprecedented growth of the newFlexaccount and the need to rapidly expand the workforce in Swindon led to therecruitment of a large number of recent school leavers. These two factors meant that the workforce composition was biased towardsyounger employees. A subsequent increase in turnover prompted Nationwide to takepositive action to bring back the stability brought about by mixed aged teams. Actions taken at this time included using targeted advertisements to attracta wide age range of applicants, removal of age bars from all advertisements andthe inclusion of age discrimination in the Equal Opportunities policy. Sincethen our commitment to age diversity has been a key strand of the buildingsociety’s equal opportunities and diversity strategy and Nationwide hasdeveloped an age strategy based on promoting the benefits of an age diverseworkforce. We take a holistic approach to diversity, and our policies and practicesfocus on valuing the contribution of every employee, by striving to meet theirindividual needs to enable them to give their best to the business. Corporatepersonnel has a co-ordinated approach to developing these policies andprocedures, and although the diversity team takes overall accountability forensuring age diversity, each team contributes its expertise to developing andimplementing positive and inclusive strategies for managing an age diverseworkforce. A good example of this is the recent flexible retirement project, whichinvolved joint working across the diversity, employee relations, rewards andpensions teams. Responding to demand from within the business, the projectaimed to create greater flexibility for older workers to continue working atNationwide beyond normal retirement age. To facilitate this, the Pension Fund Trust Deed and Rules has been improvedto enable employees to continue in the Fund until aged 70. Having alreadyundertaken this work, we welcome the Government’s recent plans to abolish thenational retirement age. As head of corporate personnel, I believe that thiscompany has recognised the business benefits of an age diverse workforce for along time, and I am pleased that the new legislation will encourage otherorganisations to recruit and retain older workers. Recruiting and retaining older staff Another initiative that has been vital in achieving age diversity istelephone interviewing. In 1997, Nationwide worked with Gallup to develop atelephone interviewing process to recruit customer advisers in the retailbranch network. The preliminary assessments of candidates were based onobjective skills criteria already demonstrated by the existing best salespeople. Basic details and equal opportunities information were recorded and”knockout questions” were included which covered general areas suchas security and availability. Arrangements were then made to contact the candidate at a convenient timeand date by an interviewer who was trained in selection procedures thatincluded how to avoid prejudices and stereotypes. One of the key benefits ofthis approach is its objectivity and the reduced risk of assumptions being madebased on appearance and qualifications. The telephone interviewing process has been developed over the years and hasbeen instrumental in achieving an age diverse workforce. It is now applied to awide range of appointments at all levels, including senior customer advisors,financial consultants (branch and mobile), senior branch managers and retailmanagement trainees. Recognising loyalty is the key to retaining experienced employees, soNationwide’s Recognising Loyalty Scheme gives awards for 10, 20, 30 and 40years’ service. Spreading the word In addition to specific projects and initiatives, we’ve achieved an agediverse workforce by selling its benefits to the board, senior managers acrossthe business and other personnel managers. Responsibility for promoting agediversity is spread across the business. The Diversity Agenda is overseen by the Promoting Equality of OpportunityGroup, which is chaired by the personnel and development divisional director,with membership comprising of heads of business areas. This high-level groupcontributes ideas on our diversity strategy, regularly reviews workforcecomposition, and monitors external benchmarking data. Age diversity is one ofthe Personnel & Development Division’s Key Performance Indicators. Targetsare set annually and progress reviewed on a quarterly basis by the”Promoting Equality of Opportunity Group”. Internal communication is also critical and articles are included in theemployees’ news magazine Nationwide Live, the monthly audionews programme andthe Intranet. This has led to changing attitudes and practices to ensure thatage discrimination does not feature in recruitment, selection, training anddevelopment, promotion, retirement and redundancy. The outcome of Nationwide’s commitment to promoting age diversity in theworkplace is that both the corporate objectives and those of the personnel anddevelopment division are met. From recruitment through to retirement, we feelthat Nationwide has demonstrated that real business benefits can be achieved byembedding age diversity into all employment practices. Avoid age discrimination in the workplace– Explain the business benefits of an age diverse workforce and why actionneeds to be taken.– Ensure a link is made to the corporate business objectives.– Obtain top-level commitment to age diversity issues.– Communicate the benefits of age diversity to employees and moreimportantly, to line managers. – Integrate age diversity into all personnel policies, so that employees atboth ends of the age spectrum are not seen to be treated favourably.– Ensure diversity awareness training for the people who are involved inrecruitment, selection, training, conducting performance appraisals, and thosewho have line management responsibilities.– Identify ways that performance can be measured and regularly report onprogress to senior management. This keeps age diversity on the agenda. – Listen to the views on age diversity from employees as this can lead toimprovements in policies and procedures.– Promote age diversity internally through the use of employee case studies.– When developing procedures, take into account the views of managers,employees and operational personnel teams, so that they have ownership and”buy in” to the final product.Age diversity achievements– Nationwide won the Personnel Today Award for Promoting Age Diversity inthe Workplace (November 2000).– Nationwide was featured as a case study in the Government’s Code ofPractice for Age Diversity in Employment.– Age is included in the annual employee satisfaction survey and in 2000, 82per cent of respondents agreed that management supported equality ofopportunity regardless of age.– Age is included in the Managing Diversity Key Performance Indicator andthe target was exceeded in the financial year 2000-2001. – The benefits of age diversity are regularly communicated to businessthrough articles on the Intranet and employees’ news magazine and audiocassette.Nationwide’s workforce profile– Twenty two per cent of employees were aged under 25 and almost 10 per centof employees were aged 50 and over in February 2001 (compared with only 0.3 percent in the late 1980s.)– Five per cent of employees recruited over the past five years from (March1996 to March 2001) are now aged 50 and over.– In the retail network, the youngest branch manager is 21 and the oldest is60.– Financial consultants range in age from 21 to 61.– In the technology division, 22 per cent of employees are under 30, 41 percent are aged between 30 and 39, 25 percent are aged between 40 and 49 and 12 per cent are over 50 years old.– Turnover for employees aged 18 to 24 was 0.84 per cent (January to March2001), compared with the Society turnover of 9.79 per cent.– Turnover for employees aged 55 plus was 0.15 per cent (January to March2001), compared with the Society turnover of 9.79 per cent. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Age of reasonOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
TheGovernment needs to rethink the way it adopts European law to save HR fromgetting wrapped up in red tapeWhenthe Labour government first came to power in 1997 and established the BetterRegulation Taskforce, people management specialists must have felt someoptimism about the new approach to employment law. TheGovernment’s aim, to monitor regulation to ensure it was “necessary, fair,affordable, and simple to understand and administer”, would have giventhem cause to rejoice. However, HR could not have foreseen the impact Brusselswould have on those laudable sentiments. Thelevel of employment legislation coming out of Europe is creating an enormousheadache for employers and HR. While HR is not against new rights for employeesper se, there is growing concern about the way EU directives are implemented. TheUK has to give effect to directives that are often drafted with Europeanemployment practices and legislation in mind. For example, the EU directive onfixed-term work was primarily designed to prevent employers on the Continent –where temporary staff are much more prevalent – from using fixed-term contractsto avoid restrictive legislation concerning permanent workers. TheUK government has until 10 July to implement the directive in a way that makessense to the 5 per cent of UK workers on fixed-term contracts. Not an easytask, given the huge variation in contracts and the reasons behind them. Thisis a good example of Brussels-led regulation leading to a disproportionate responseto the problem experienced in the UK. Difficultiesalso arise as a result of the deadlines for implementation of directives. Thetimetable is driven by agreement at European level, leading to consultationexercises that are often too short for the wide range of views needed forconsideration in the UK, as the Government rushes to give effect to adirective. Furthermore,employers have only a limited amount of time to comply with the law. Forinstance, employers had just six weeks to implement the Parental LeaveDirective in the UK. Theneed to implement EU directives also encourages the Government to focus onreaching a compromise between the typically opposing positions of the TUC andCBI. This is a politically expedient way of dealing with the issues covered ina directive, but there is a need for a more open, pluralistic approach todevelop practical responses to European proposals.Inaddition, EU-driven law is typically introduced through regulations, so thedebates in Parliament accorded to statutes, which help to develop workablelegislation, are missed. In this way, Parliamentary time is saved, and pressattention on the added ‘burden’ of new legislation on business is minimised. Employersare left to pick up the pieces of regulations drafted without sufficientconsideration of how they will work in practice. Most organisations simply hopethat they are not involved in the first cases that supply the much-neededinterpretation by the courts. Theway European laws are being introduced means people management professionalsare being distracted from strategic thinking. The speed of change and thecomplexity of new legislation are making compliance a resource-intensiveexercise. Organisations are losing out as their HR departments spend more timetrying to understand the law than on how to improve the business.TheGovernment needs to think about how it can adopt the principles of Europeandirectives in a way that makes sense for employees and employers. Thereis little reason to believe the tide of new regulation from Brussels will ebb,so the UK must re-visit the process for implementing EU law. Otherwise, themain beneficiaries of the legislation will be the lawyers. ByDiane Sinclair, employee relations adviser at the CIPD Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Help relieve HR’s EU law headacheOn 19 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. GuruOn 19 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. This week’s guru Council sheds light on quick decision-making It is obviously important to providea good working environment for staff in order to maximise productivity butBurgess Hill Town Council appears to have got a bit carried away.Concerns over how to stop sunlight falling on computer screensand bothering staff at its tourism office have already led to three meetings,six months’ discussion and a six-page report on the subject.The council’s property committee is to vote on five possiblesolutions.Remedies cost up to £7,000 and include fittingcomputer-controlled screens to the building and treating the glass with solarreflective film.But those clever council boffins are also considering movingthe affected desk into the shade – brilliant!Acas gets taste of own medicineGuru was glad he wasn’t in John Taylor’s brogues last week.Taylor is chief executive of conciliation service Acas, which hit the headlinesover a huge compensation pay out to staff (News 12 March). The organisation, which attempts to get equal pay and sexdiscrimination disputes settled – among others – before they get to tribunal,is to fork out £5.5m for paying its female staff less than men. Almost 900 staff will receive payments of £6,500 each. Nowonder all government departments will have to carry out equal pay audits by2003. Recent research shows that the UK’s 250,000 female civil servants areearning 28 per cent less than male colleagues. Some reputations could be in for a bruising – just imagine the potential scandal in theWomen’s Unit.Survival of fittest risksextinctionGuru was fascinated to read Nationwide’s claim in last week’sPersonnel Today to have taken the evolution of HR one step forward with thecreation of its Genome project, proving the link between people managementpolicies and sales.If Darwin’s theory applies to HR as well, other HR teams willhave to follow suit or risk being unable to compete in the battle to provetheir value to the business bottom line. These HR teams could face extinctionas back office HR functions are outsourced and line managers are given moreresponsibility through e-HR.But there is also a possibility that the Nationwide’s Genomecould be the HR equivalent of a dinosaur – hugely impressive at first butcold-blooded and slow to react to a fast-changing business environment.Lusty lovers can make it all go wongIn a bid to try to improve its workforce’s performance a Chinese firm isthreatening to sack any member of staff found to have a mistress. Pauline Ngan has ruled that adulterous male staff won’t even get theirmonth’s wages in lieu if they fall foul of the rules. Mrs Ngan, managing director of Hong Kong-listed Mainland Headwear Holdings,said she has taken the draconian step because mistress-keeping has grownrampant and is damaging to both the company and the welfare of her workers’wives. “As a boss I demand full commitment at work. A man who has a mistresswill certainly be distracted and underperform on his job.” Guru is confused – surely it will be the wives who will stray if the man isunderperforming on the job.
Last month’s Case Round Up featured a tribunal decision, in Towncircle Ltd(t/a Harvest), that the upper age limit on the right to claim unfair dismissaland statutory redundancy payments was void, being in breach of European equaltreatment laws. That decision is being appealed by the DTI. The EAT recentlyconsidered the same issue in another case (Gidella v Wandsworth BoroughCounciI), where the tribunal reached the opposite conclusion – that nodisparate impact had been established. The EAT sent the case back to thetribunal for further consideration of the statistics on men and womendisadvantaged by the upper age limit – in particular whether there was apattern of persistent and constant disparity. This is set to be anotherlong-running legal saga. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal gave an important ruling on liabilityfor personal injuries arising from occupational stress in four consolidatedappeals. One of those cases, Barber v Somerset Council, in which the Court ofAppeal overturned a damages award against the employer, is now being appealedto the House of Lords. The decision, expected next year, will be of hugesignificance in this difficult area. Watch this spaceOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
A parliamentary Bill to give healthcare and public sector workers greaterprotection from needle-stick injuries has been introduced by a Labour MP. Crawley MP Laura Moffatt, a former nurse, introduced the Needle-Stick InjuryBill back in February. The Bill calls for provision to be made for workers who come into contactwith hypodermic needles – particularly those working in healthcare where mostinjuries occur – to be protected from needle-stick injuries and the infectionsthat can result. It is estimated that 100,000 such injuries are reported eachyear. It also called for the better recording and publication of information aboutsuch injuries and infections, and the establishment of standards relating tothe supply and use of equipment that carries a “significant” risk ofcausing needle-stick injuries. “It is astonishing to learn that needle-stick injury is second only toviolence and aggression as a cause of occupational injury in the NHS,”Moffatt told the House of Commons. Opening needle-stick injuries to debateOn 1 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article
Financial planning programme launched for staff at PrudentialOn 24 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Prudential UK is to provide all its staff with up to one day off each yearto attend personal financial planning sessions. Russell Martin, HR director of Prudential UK, said the firm had decided totake this step in response to growing concerns from employees about theirfinancial futures. “There is a general belief that the whole issue is a complex anddifficult one to deal with,” he said. “Making time to get to gripswith some of these issues is quite tricky, so we wanted to help individualstake a step back and consider what they need to put in place to safeguard theirfuture.” Martin said the ‘Pru Planning Day’, which is equivalent to an investment of50,000 hours a year by the company, will allow workers to meet financialadvisers, tackle tax self-assessment forms, arrange a mortgage or even make awill. “They can attend financial education seminars or use our specially devisedfinancial planning intranet site, which is totally dedicated to them,”Martin added. The company is calling on medium and large-sized employers to follow itslead by doing more to help their staff with their financial planning – forexample, through facilitating greater access to professional advice andeducation at work. “As a leading financial services company, we want to play a key role inpersuading others to be more proactive in helping their people with theirfinancial planning,” said Martin. Research carried out by Prudential shows that eight in 10 people believetheir employers have a responsibility to help them with retirement planning. The survey of more than 500 people aged 45 and above also reveals that only10 per cent of respondents had been given time off to plan for retirementbefore they stopped working. By Ben Willmott Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.
Previous Article Next Article Less than 10 per cent of management time is spent on HR issues during mergerand acquisition (M&A) due diligence, a new survey reveals. The European Mergers & Acquisitions Survey of European multinationalsfrom global HR consultancy Hewitt Associates found 40 per cent of respondentsdo not have a defined HR due diligence process, and 77 per cent do not trainthose who participate in due diligence activity. Despite this, respondents identified core HR issues, including cultural fit,as the most critical and difficult areas to resolve during integration. The survey found the key HR integration challenges centre on cultural fit,decision-making, alignment of compensation and benefits, and organisationalstructure. Asked to look ahead to their priorities for the next M&A, two-thirds ofrespondents said that cultural fit merits more attention in due diligence andintegration efforts. Philip van Elsdingen, a corporate restructuring and change consultant withHewitt Associates, said: “The survey demonstrates the critical role HR canplay in a merger or acquisition. “HR can ensure that a company pays the right price for the target byidentifying HR liabilities and quantifying long-term integration risks andrelated costs.” Jean-Luc Santerre, senior vice-president of corporate social development atSchneider Electric and one of the survey participants, said: “It iscrucial that companies address the issues of cultural fit, organisation designand change management early on in the merger and acquisition cycle – ideally atdue diligence – so that we can help make, not break, the deal.” www.hewitt.com HR issues are bottom of M&A checklistsOn 6 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Jim Carroll has been appointed head of organisational development atNorthamptonshire County Council. He was previously head of learning anddevelopment at Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust. The Workers’ Education Association has appointed David Webber (pictured) ashead of HR. The association is the UK’s largest voluntary provider of adultlearning. Webber was previously supporting the interim HR director in runningthe department and producing a new policy framework. He will lead a teamresponsible for all aspects of the HR function. Ian Brinkley is the TUC’s new chief economist and head of the economic andsocial affairs department. Brinkley has been responsible for developing theTUC’s eco-nomic policy and labour market analysis, including preparing theTUC’s annual Budget submission to the Chancellor, and the publication andpresentation of a wide range of TUC reports. Ed Lester has been appointed chief executive for the new Special HealthAuthority being set up for NHS Direct. From 1 April, the new authority willtake over legal responsibility for delivering all NHS Direct services and theemployment of its 3,000 staff currently employed by host trusts across thecountry. Prior to this, Lester worked for Motability Finance, the car schemefor people with disabilities. On the moveOn 9 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.