first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This month’s newsHuman rights Dr Gulleford also gave a paper on the Human Rights Act. This legislation iscreating a great deal of media and public interest but in terms of substantivelaw it creates little that is new, he said. Its main function is to repatriate theEuropean Convention on Human Rights into English law. Bringing the conventionhome as it was put in the government White Paper on the subject. The reasonthat many are predicting an explosion in litigation as a result of the aboverepatriation is that a major procedural bar has been removed in that applicantscan seek redress in the domestic courts. Mobile concerns Exposure to radio waves from mobile phones and base stations was the topicchosen by Dr Simon Mann of the National Radiological Protection Board. His talkset out NRPB’s scientific position over the twin issues of exposure to theradio waves when using mobile phone handsets and when living or working nearthe antennas of mobile phone base stations. Risky business Dr Robin Foster, Risk Assessment Policy Unit, HSE, gave a presentation ondevelopments and influences in risk assessment. His presentation ranged widelyover a variety of topical risk issues and illustrated the procedures the HSEadopts to bring these factors together in ensuring that risks from workactivities are properly controlled. NewsOn 1 Jan 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Research has found that many staff are struggling to takethe first step on to the housing ladder. Employers are warned if they do notact now, the economy will suffer. By Karen HigginbottomSpiralling house prices are causing severe skills shortages in the SouthEast. A report by think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research shows thatemployees on salaries of up to £25,000 per year are struggling to buy homes(News, 31 July). They are not eligible to apply for social housing and arefaced with either renting accommodation or moving away from the area – and manyare leaving. The IPPR report, Squeezed Out, warns that if employers continue to ignorethe problem then skills shortages will intensify and economic growth willsuffer. It is calling for employers to help their staff with the additional propertycosts through wage additions, imaginative work-based saving schemes andinterest-free loans for a home deposit. But some public and private-sector employers are already starting to tacklethe problem. One of the few private-sector employers that already runs an initiative tohelp its employees make their first step on the housing ladder is IT firmLogica. It contributes to a staff saving scheme to help employees build up adeposit to buy a house, or provide a six-year mortgage subsidy. Logica matchesstaff contributions over a two-year period. Glenn Connell, director of compensation and benefits at Logica, explainsthat 15 per cent of the firm’s 5,000 full-time staff have opted to participatein the scheme, which is offered as an alternative to the company pension. “We believe we are benefiting as it helps us attract and retain thebest people,” he said. “The scheme is mainly aimed at our younger members of staff to givethem more choice in terms of their lifestyle. It will help them get on theproperty ladder. I haven’t come across anything like our schemeelsewhere.” Public-sector employers are suffering the most severe skills shortages,however. The Government has recognised the problem and is launching a £250mscheme in September to boost public sector recruitment. It hopes to help 10,000 nurses, teachers and police to buy their own homes.Staff in areas experiencing the worst recruitment problems will be able toapply for subsidies of up to £25,000 to get on to the property ladder. The scheme will include grants that can be used as deposits, interest-freeloans and shared ownership deals, under which an employee might own half theproperty and pay rent to a local authority or housing association. It is not just a London problem, either. Skills shortages due to increasinghouse prices are hitting many towns in the South East. Another report, Counting the Cost of Housing, shows that house prices were30 per cent higher in the South East than the UK average last year. Author AlanHolmans, who was commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Housing and theNational Housing Federation, claims that earnings have only increased by 4 percent above the UK average. Surrey Police Force has already introduced a housing assistance scheme forits 2,000 police officers and 1,000 civilian staff. Initiated last year, the scheme lets staff participate in shared propertyownership, explained Martin West, head of training and development at SurreyPolice. West said, “The shared ownership scheme means that staff can identify ahouse on the open market and enter into the scheme with a housing association.They can get a larger mortgage from the mortgage provider which we haveidentified to assist us.” He admits that the force is limited in the amount of financial assistance itcan offer. “We are hidebound by statutory police regulations such asnational pay scales, which means that we can’t offer staff additionalwages.” He believes spiralling house prices affect retention rather thanrecruitment. “So far, we have not had huge difficulties in recruits comingforward,” said West. “The bigger problem is with staff joining us after two years’ probationwho want to start a family and get on to the property ladder. We then find theywant to transfer to other forces in the UK where property prices arelower.” Escalating property prices in the Thames Valley has prompted MPs to lobbythe Government over introducing a wage supplement similar to London weightingfor public-sector workers. Martin Salter, MP for Reading West, said, “It’s ridiculous thatpublic-sector workers can get London weighting in Walthamstow, but you can’tget wage supplements in Reading, which is just as expensive. “You get a qualified teacher on £22,000 a year who can’t afford to buya £70,000 property. These kind of workers need the ability to bridge the gapand access the housing market.” Salter suggests that employers should offer interest-free loans to employeesas a possible solution. He has been meeting with local private-sector employersto encourage them to act. “I advised them to buy up existing housing stocknow so that they can house key workers,” he said. The health sector is a particular area of concern. The Department of Healththis month set aside funds to set up three staff hotels in London, which willprovide cheap accommodation overnight or between shifts. The first one has beenestablished near Moorfields Eye Hospital. John Adsett, secretary of the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management,believes that this scheme needs to be extended. He said, “The only problemso far is that it has been concentrated in London. It needs to be cascaded outto the South East and other cities in the UK experiencing staffshortages.” The IPPR is calling for employers to embrace the problem. Back-officefunctions should be located away from high housing demand areas, andhot-desking outposts could be created nearer to employees’ existing homes toavoid long-distance travel. It believes only a broad approach such as this willeffectively combat rising skills shortages. www.ippr.org.uk Skilled staff squeezed out of the South East by house pricesOn 21 Aug 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Turbulent timesOn 5 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. The effects of 11 September hit the airline business harder than most, andwhile the shock waves reverberate around the industry, the challenge for HRprofessionals is to keep their feet firmly on the ground, says Jane LewisIt is just as well the travel industry regards itself as one of the mostresilient in the economy, because it has certainly taken more than its fairshare of knocks in the past year. Old hands insist the current crisis is theworst the industry has faced since it was almost wiped out by the Opec oilshortages in the 1970s. “We’ve had the early-80s recession, the 1987 stockmarket crash, the Gulf War and Black Wednesday,” says British Midlandveteran boss Sir Michael Bishop. “But in terms of seismic shock, this isthe worst”. Within days of the terrorist strikes in September, the travel sector was inturmoil as shock waves began to reverberate across the industry. With bookingsplummeting by as much as 40 per cent, some companies took immediate and drasticaction. It is estimated that 200,000 jobs were axed in the airline industryworldwide during the autumn months – including more than 7,000 at BritishAirways and 1,200 at Virgin Atlantic, both of whose key transatlantic routeswere among the worst hit. The knock-on effect on the aviation supply industrieslooked equally worrying. By November more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs hadbeen cut and Boeing was threatening to slash up to 31,000 from its workforce. The UK holiday industry – parts of which had already been hit by thelong-running foot-and-mouth saga – was equally badly bitten. “We had a blindingly good year until 11 September, way aboveprojection,” says Richard Good, personnel manager at long-haul specialistKuoni Travel. “But then we took a massive hit, and lost about 51 per centof our business almost overnight. We’ve been going 30 years in the UK and havenever had to make redundancies before.” The firm is seeking to cut 10 per cent of its workforce. If everything worksout this year, he says, Kuoni may be able to claw back to the level it was atin 1996. Despite a constant spate of setbacks (the anthrax and shoe-bomber scares;and now warnings from the Government that too much exotic travel is proving badfor the nation’s health), the industry has somehow staggered into the New Yearbolstered by the belief that the worst may be over. The Taliban are defeatedand public confidence is improving: More than a million Britons took to theskies over Christmas – “firm evidence” says airport operator BAA,that “things are picking up”. As everyone in the industry enjoysreminding each other, recovery after the Gulf War kicked in pretty quickly oncehostilities ceased, even though bookings dipped by 60 per cent at the height ofthe crisis. But there is a very real worry that recovery this time around may beconsiderably longer in coming and a good deal more difficult to achieve than itwas 10 years ago. This is mainly because so many of the economic factors now threateningthe travel industry were already in place well before 11 September. With the USteetering on full-blown recession and prospects looking none to happy inEurope, who can say how long consumers in Britain will continue to hold theirnerve. Many economists believe the credit-fuelled spending spree the countryembarked on over Christmas could well prove ‘the last hoorah’. According to one industry source, reservations at the four top touroperators, Thomson, Airtours, First Choice and JMC – though certainly betterthan they were two months ago – are still down by a quarter on what they werethis time last year. All four have responded by slashing capacity this summerby 15 per cent, but the situation for many has been compounded by the risingcosts they face in the wake of 11 September – the charter airlines that many ofthem own are becoming more expensive to run because of higher insurancepremiums and new security measures. So pronounced is this long-term economic trend, it has been argued the eventsof 11 September provided a useful pretext for job cuts that were on the cardsanyway. This may be particularly true of the European airline industry which isstill dominated by a host of loss-making, state-subsidised national carriersthat have been ripe for consolidation for some time. Certainly the upheavalfollowing the terrorist attacks proved the final nail in the coffin for atleast two state monoliths – Belgium’s Sabena and Swissair – and there aregrowing fears about the futures at Aer Lingus, Greece’s Olympic Airways andAlitalia. To some extent “the runes were already cast”, says EasyJet head ofpeople and organisational development Chris Goscomb. Indeed, the continuingsuccess of low-cost carriers like EasyJet and its rival Ryanair throughout theautumn months seems to indicate that if people were nervous about flying, theyhave been able to quickly brush aside those fears as long as the price wasright. As Go CEO Barbara Cassani points out: “People umming and aahingabout whether or not to fly to Italy this weekend see eye-poppingly low faresand say ‘let’s do it’.” Whatever the underlying reasons for the shake-up in the travel industry, onething is clear: The past few months have proved more than usually challengingfor HR – and may well come to be seen as a test-bed for how well new theoriesabout people management in times of economic crisis hold up in real life. Even those who got off lightest claim the process of stemming panic andrefocusing minds in the aftermath of the attacks has been a nerve-wrackingprocess. “From an operations perspective we’ve learned a lot about how wecommunicate with people,” says Goscomb. The company majored oninformation: giving staff constant updates of “what was going on” and”what we were doing”, he says. Above all, he adds, “we focusedon security and the long-term aims of the business. Sticking to the knittingwas the most important thing”. Ryanair, meanwhile, tackled the situation head-on, galvanising staff withthe same gutsy, go-getting attitude it featured in its customer advertising.‘Let’s Fight Back!’ ran the slogan, next to a picture of General Kitchener (aninteresting choice for an Irish company). But the campaign seemed to do thetrick. “Morale at Ryanair,” says one company source “has never beenbetter.” Elsewhere in the industry, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The UKtour operators, in particular, have been hit hard by a bruising period ofuncertainty and retrenchment. “It’s fair to say that morale has beendifficult,” says Peter Constanti, interim HR director at JMC, part ofThomas Cook. “We’ve had to take some tough decisions.” You can saythat again. Things got so bloody at Thomas Cook in recent months (2,000 of thegroup’s 13,000 workforce have already been chopped), that even the company’sSouth African CEO, Alan Stewart, has taken to calling himself the ‘AfricanAxeman’. But in recent weeks, says Constanti, “there’s been a realabout-turn”, sparked by the belief that the consolidation programme”is well on its way to achieving its objectives”, even though thesewon’t be fully realised till the back end of 2002 at the earliest. The group’sremaining workforce have also been asked to take a 3 to 10 per cent pay cut. At least Thomas Cook’s top executives followed suit by taking substantialsalary reductions themselves – more than can be said for board members at rivalAirtours (shortly to be renamed MyTravel), who awarded themselves bonusestotalling £2m last year – in the same period that 2,800 staff, roughly 10 percent of the workforce, lost their jobs. The situation for many employers has been made easier by the long-term trendfor more flexible working contracts in the travel industry, says Richard Cox ofManpower. And there is certainly encouraging evidence to suggest that HRdirectors are also taking a more imaginative, less earth-shattering, approachto the process of retrenchment this time around. For once, it seems, lessonshave been learned. With the memory of the recent skills shortage fresh in theminds of many, the emphasis in some of the more enlightened operations has beenupon measured cutting with an eye to the future. Good employers are looking for solutions like shorter hours and careerbreaks, At BA, staff options put into practice in recent months include part-timeworking, job sharing and unpaid leave. Anything, in fact, that may help reducecosts without undoing the investment already made in the company’s workforce. Indeed, some of the more innovative HR compromises that have been struck inrecent weeks have been hailed by at least one trade association as “theway forward for the whole of British industry”. Typical, perhaps, was thewillingness of pilots at First Choice’s Air 2000 charter airline to save morethan 50 jobs by taking a temporary deferment of pay – in some cases evenagreeing to demotions. A similarly ground-breaking deal at airline manufacturer Airbus helped savethe jobs of 1000 aerospace workers just before Christmas. By voting to cut theworking week, employees will save the company up to £17m in costs as well assafeguarding its skills-base. The agreement, says Sir Ken Jackson, generalsecretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, “put jobsecurity and protecting the skills base and capacity at the top of the agenda”and showed what could be achieved when unions and management worked inpartnership. Others paid tribute to Airbus for “not panicking in the waysome companies have”. It is clear those companies that do make it through the crisis intact willemerge stronger for it. “It looks bleak at the moment,” says BenHall, spokesman for Virgin Atlantic. “But we will come through and we willbe strong afterwards.” However, as Constanti points out, the real test forthe holiday industry lies ahead. “The critical time for the industry isgoing to be January, February and March,” he says. “If you’re not outof the woods by the end of March, you’ll know you’re not out of thewoods.” Despite warnings from the Association of British Travel Agents that theeffects of the economic downturn on the industry could still be felt in 2005,the long-term prospects for the industry are sanguine, says David Thomas, CEOof the Careers Research and Advice Centre, because it is recognised that”travel and leisure are key elements of the modern economy”. The chief problem for HR in the meantime will be handling uncertainty. Butthat task, argue the experts, will undoubtedly be made easier by the industry’sconsiderable past experience in handling peaks and troughs. The sector istraditionally quick to react to economic cycles: it is often the first tosuffer and the first to recover. As such, many other sectors on the brink ofdownturn, would do well to study its form. “Travel is a permanentlymoveable feast,” says Constanti. “In this industry people are prettyresilient. It’s a fun industry: there’s general feeling of ‘let’s get back tothe enjoyment’.” Telecoms technology cashes inIf one sector’s crisis is another’s opportunity, thebeleaguered high-tech industry has been having a ball at the travel industry’sexpense. The crisis in business confidence that has affected the airlines sobadly has proved a boon to the battered telecoms firms peddling alternativemeans of communication – most notably, broadband video and teleconferencing.According to one expert, it could well prove the catalyst that puts thesetechnologies firmly on the daily business schedule in many companies.More than 33 per cent of major UK corporations have cut down onexecutive travel since 11 September, according to one survey, and most havereported a significant increase in their use of technology. A quarter aremaking more use of telephones and mobiles, a fifth have increased the use ofe-mail and 26 per cent have made further forays into teleconferencing to keepin touch with offices, customers, suppliers and prospects around the world.From the point of view of enlightened human resourcesmanagement, this would certainly be a welcome development if it succeeds inreducing the air-miles that some senior executives have been racking up inrecent years, says Cary Cooper, Bupa professor of organisational psychology atUMIST. Travelling time has seriously affected the work-life balance of manyinternational business travellers, he argues, leading to higher levels ofstress and problems with relationships both at home and at work. While no one is suggesting that business travel could ever beeliminated altogether – face-to-face contact will always play a pivotal rolewhen relationships are being established and deals hammered out – the uptake ofnew technologies offers the promise of change in existing businessrelationships. Eventually the idea of boarding a plane to settle a routinetransaction will seem as futile as it is wasteful. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Domesticand General is planning to increase the proportion of staff aged over 50 at itsNottingham communication centre after a drive to hire older workers helped cutrecruitment costs by half.HRmanager Ruth Ebbern Robinson said the firm has been so pleased with thecontribution of its older workers that it plans to increase the proportion ofits 570 call centre staff aged over 50 from 7 per cent to 20 per cent.Shetold Personnel Today an older workforce has many benefits, such as lower staffturnover, people wanting job stability and more conscientious workers.EbbernRobinson said D&G, which provides domestic appliance repair protectionplans, has found that older call centre staff are often better at dealing withpeople who have broken goods.”Matureworkers have an empathy and familiarity with our business area, since theythemselves have had experience of the kinds of problems our customersface,” Ebbern Robinson said.Shesaid hiring older workers has helped reduce the average cost of recruiting andtraining a new call centre worker.”Althoughthere is no specific figure on the cost saving in recruitment for olderworkers, since it is part of a number of initiatives, the retention focus ofD&G and the mature workers’ recruitment and retention initiative have bothreduced recruitment costs by 50 per cent, which directly helps the company’sbottom line,” she added.Thecompany, which has been named one of the champions of the Government’s AgePositive campaign, uses photos and case studies of older workers in itsadvertisements and runs open days so potential staff can see the call centre inaction.Prospectivestaff are initially interviewed over the telephone to reduce any chance of agediscrimination and to reveal how they come across.ByQuentin Reade Firm to increase number of over-50s in workforceOn 11 Jun 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


first_imgThe Government launched consultation documents on the EU Information andConsultation Directive and Employment Relations Act last week. The DTI’s review of the Employment Relations Act 1999 will examine statutoryunion recognition, family friendly policies in the workplace and fixed-termcontracts. The Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) is concerned the review is toobroad, and warns that it may generate additional regulations for business(News, 11 June). The EC Information and Consultation Directive is due to be adopted in the UKfrom March 2005 and will make employers inform and consult with staff ahead ofredundancies and business restructurings. The DTI has also launched a publication, Full and Fulfilling Employment,which outlines the Government’s vision for full employment and improvedproductivity. www.dti.gov.uk Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. DTI launches Employment Relations Act consultationOn 16 Jul 2002 in Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article The BBC is the world leader in TV and radio programming and its blueprintfor training and development intends to keep it in front. Training Magazinetakes a virtual tour through its learning portal to find out howWhen Training Magazine first met Nigel Paine earlier this year, he had justtaken up his post as head of training at the BBC, and director-general GregDyke had voiced his ambition to make the broadcasting company the most creativeorganisation in the world. Paine stated this would only be achieved throughstrong training and staff development. Our second visit witnessed Paine forging ahead with his plans to ensurelearning and training stay ahead of the knowledge needs of the corporation, andthat it is also able to deliver ‘just-in-time’ tailored training for theworkforce. The man who describes himself as a ‘learning technology specialist’ ratherthen a ‘generic training specialist’, knows that the key to making this allhappen is creating a technology infrastructure that can facilitate learning andtraining in all its guises – face-to-face, blended and online. But this will involve far more than providing a vehicle to deliver andaccess training. The vision in Paine’s mind is, in his own words, “to providea neural network” for BBC staff to plug into, as well as having a centralhub of learning material, breeding community areas that promote networked andcontinuous learning. “There is still a lot of joining up to be done,” he says, and oneof his missions involves forging a link between the corporation’s knowledgebase and its learning. And when you have been broadcasting to all corners ofthe globe since 1922, that is some knowledge base. To find out exactly how the BBC is achieving its aims, Training Magazine wastaken on a tour of its learn.gateway portal by Jane Saunders, team leader ofthe BBC’s training advisers. Learn.gateway is the user interface of thelearning infrastructure currently being put in place, and our tour began on theBBC’s corporate intranet, from which the portal is accessed. Anatomy of the portal Launched in its present form in July this year, learn.gateway can beaccessed by all BBC staff from their computer desktop via the intranet’s homepage. The majority visit learn.gateway once a month and more than a third do somore frequently. It has been designed with the same look and feel as the BBC’smain website, www.bbc.co.uk, with a prominent search engine and atraining-related news story which is regularly updated (when we visited, it wasabout the new Minerva operating system). The main menu of features and facilities (described below) are accessed viatabs at the top of the page or from an expanded menu running down the righthand side. There are also click-through buttons to a range of other areas thatassist in training and development on the bottom half of the page. The portal provides access to details of every course available to BBC staffand also holds a growing bank of online courses, the majority of which areproduced in-house (exceptions being the management courses Harvard ManageMentor and the Institute of Management’s Checkpoint). Courses can be found using the search engine, and there are currently 146available, comprising 717 modules. More than half the BBC workforce hascompleted an online course from learn.gateway. Online courses range from the 10-hour production safety course, which mustbe completed by all production staff and can be bookmarked and taken inbite-sized chunks, to the five-minute course on using a microphone. The latteris very much in the spirit of building what Paine describes as “thefive-minute learning experience”. An online version of the BBC inductioncourse, called Upfront, can also be accessed from here, and is aimed at thosewho cannot make the mandatory residential version. Elsewhere on the homepage, learners can see at a glance what the mostpopular courses of the moment are (production safety, emotional intelligenceand mini-disc for radio were all in the top five on the day we visited), andview the most searched-for terms and most recently viewed items. Learn.gateway undergoes a relaunch next spring. A powerful new search enginewill be added, which will go some way to achieving Paine’s aim of “joiningthings up”. “We’ve refined it to deliver a better user experience and bring themcloser to all the information they need on a particular subject,” he says.If a BBC employee has to refurbish a studio, for example, the search engine canretrieve all the information and elements that will help them do so from awhole range of resources held digitally at the BBC. Features of the site – My Future: This offers employees tools to help them plan and mapout their career at the BBC and includes personal development plans, careeradvice and the ability to plan a ‘learning journey’. “This is a personal development area,” Saunders explains. “Wewant people to be proactive when it comes to their careers and training, andhere they can view entire learning journeys which detail all the courses thatthey need to take for a particular job or to reach a certain point in theircareer.” – My BBC: A personal online tour of the BBC as a whole and toparticular departments is typically accessed by newcomers to the corporation.New features that have been added recently include a BBC jargonbuster andessential employment information. You can also link into what the BBC refers toas its ‘village sites’. These are community areas set up by departments forexchanging ideas, which feature documents and discussions on various subjects. Training and development has its own ‘T&D Town’, explains Paine, and itproves a useful indicator of current hot topics for the department. “I think there are 44 issues listed on it at the moment and I know fromjust how many people contribute to each one what should be high on the agenda,”he says. – My Network: A community area where employees can share news,opinions, advice and talk to each other via the talk.gateway discussion forum. “These areas are really important because there is so much knowledgeand information at the BBC, but it is in danger of disappearing down aninformation black hole if there isn’t a vehicle to share. All our communityareas are there to do this,” says Paine. At the bottom of the homepage are ‘click-throughs’ to a number of otherareas, including the ‘Live and Learn’ section, designed to help employees learnfrom each other. “The Live and Learn team go in after someone’s completed a project andinterview those involved. They can then capture the information and publish iton the site,” explains Saunders. “It uses shared experience asanother form of learning material.” Paine currently describes it as ‘small’ but like the community areas, it isa growing and potentially ‘big and powerful’ section. There is also a ‘Stories’ section where people relay their experience firsthand, a monthly bulletin updating staff on any training news and regulationsthat are relevant to them, and an NVQ Assessment Centre where employees canfind out about professional qualifications relevant to their job. Blueprint for blended Few corporations are blessed with the kind of creative and productionfacilities the BBC has, so it is little wonder that its courses are producedin-house (with the exception of the management ones mentioned earlier) and thetraining and development team recently designed the BBC’s first truly blendedlearning course. As part of the process, they also created a prototype onlinereference tool that has the potential to transform skills training across theindustry. The training is designed to support the implementation of VCS dira!, a newdigital radio and music playout system, which demands a fundamental new way ofworking and affects hundreds of people within the corporation (it was listed asthe most viewed course on the day we visited). The training programme features face-to-face training with three onlinemodules held on learn.gateway. The technology represents such a radical shiftin working practices that the course joining instructions include links to twoonline modules that provide staff with a quick introduction to VCS dira! andthe concept of digital playout. “When people come to the face-to-face training, precious time doesn’tneed to be spent introducing the technology,” says Wendy Bithell, whoproduced the modules in collaboration with Radio 1 and 4’s external websites toensure the colour schemes and styles of learning modules were in keeping withthat of each station. “So when Radio 1 staff begin their courses they willhave an online support tool that looks and feels like Radio 1, making the wholetraining experience a personal one,” she explains. The face-to-face training that follows ranges from two-and-a-half to fivedays, and comprises a mixture of talks and hands-on experimentation with VCSdira!. An online training manual has been put together to offer further supportwhen employees are back at work. It features a sophisticated search facilityand interactive on-screen demos, which allow staff to refresh their learningand practice some of the more complex digital procedures on screen beforetrying them out in the studio. “When you have to work with new technology for the first time, there isa real fear that you will make expensive mistakes,” says Simon Major, whois involved in radio training. “The online support takes this fear away byallowing staff to make their mistakes on screen, rather than on air.” There is further post-training support through the forum and discussiongroups created on talk.gateway. The online manual, which is created in Microsoft Word and can be CD-Rom orweb-based or exported to a PDA (or printed out, of course), has widerimplications for blended learning at the BBC, because it will be used as thetechnology backbone for support manuals for other skills courses. Paine is the first to admit that his blueprint for the perfect learninginfrastructure is still in development. He still needs to overcome the majorobstacle of courses remaining unavailable outside the BBC firewall, whichcurrently prevents employees from doing any e-learning courses at home. Thisalso knocks many freelancers out of the training equation, and it is asituation that must be rectified, he says. “We have around 10,000-14,000 freelance workers who are vital to thecorporation. It doesn’t endear them to a company if the training isn’t extendedto them.” But he is adamant that his holistic vision will and must be realised, andthat all potential resources will be ‘joined up’ and accessible to all. What wesee today is only a glimpse of an infrastructure that is already facilitating alevel of knowledge and experience-sharing that many large organisations couldbenefit from. This time next year, it may well be the neural network that all companieswill be striving towards. To be continued. Comments are closed. Through the square windowOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgAt a glance guide to flexible workingOn 1 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Heather Falconer outlines what you need to do to comply with the new legalduty to consider requests for flexible workingWhat are your duties on flexible working under the Employment Act 2002? From 6 April 2003, employees with children under the age of six or disabledchildren under 18, and at least six months’ service, will have the right torequest the hours, times and places they work to enable them to better fulfiltheir responsibilities towards their children. The law does not put the employer under an absolute duty to agree to therequest, but says they must consider the request seriously, hold a meeting withthe employee if you intend to refuse, and put the reasons for refusal inwriting. Even then, the employee can take the matter further – ultimately totribunal, if they so wish. The detailed steps the employer must follow are set out in the FlexibleWorking (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 (www.dti.gov.uk/er/flexdraftregs.pdf).On what grounds, and how, can we refuse if it doesn’t fit in with thebusiness? If you refuse the application, you must state which of the grounds forrefusal specified in section 80G (1) (b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996apply. Permitted grounds are currently: 1 The burden of additional costs 2 A detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand 3 An inability to reorganise work among existing staff 4 An inability to recruit additional staff 5 A detrimental impact on quality 6 A detrimental impact on performance 7 Insufficient work during the periods the employee proposes to work 8 Planned structural changes You are then required to give “sufficient explanation” of thegrounds for refusal in the particular case. The Government does not give muchguidance as to what sufficient means, though it suggests a “couple ofparagraphs” will usually be sufficient. But common sense dictates that the more thorough the explanation, the morechance the employee will not appeal against the decision or wish to take itfurther. Bear in mind that in the event of a appeal, the tribunal will be empoweredto make a judgement about the sufficiency of the explanation given. Is it possible to extend the time periods specified in the regulations? Only if the employee agrees to this. If they do, you must record thisagreement specifying which period is being extended and the date of the newtime limit. This should be dated and a copy sent to the employee. Might we have to justify our refusal of a flexible working request to atribunal? Under the new law, tribunals will not have the power to question the employer’sreasons for declining a request, as long as it has followed the correctprocedure and given sufficient explanation of the business reasons. However,there is a strong likelihood that staff wishing to challenge their employer’srefusal in court will bring not only a claim under the Employment Rights Act1996, but also a claim under the Sex Discrimination Act 1976. Women, who are more likely to take advantage of the new right than men, willbe tempted to bring a claim of indirect sex discrimination. In this case, theemployer would have to satisfy the tribunal that its refusal to allow therequest was justifiable, irrespective of the employee’s sex. This test is decided by objective standards and will allow the tribunal tochallenge not just the employer’s procedure, but also the reasons for refusal. Even more worryingly, the employer defence for indirect discrimination willchange in 2003. Employers will have to show not only that their refusal toallow flexible working was objectively justified, but also that it was aproportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This will leave much more scope for tribunals to question the reasonablenessor otherwise of the employer’s refusal. They will be able, for example, toconsider alternative ways in which the employer could fulfil its staffingneeds, rather than requiring a particular employee to work full-time from theoffice. So while following the procedures correctly will help the employer defendsex discrimination claims, it certainly will not be enough in all cases. Itwould be wise to make sure you have considered all the options and alternativesbefore turning down a request. Ask yourself if requiring the person to workfull-time in the office is reasonable in all the circumstances. Could men use the law to push us into offering them flexible working? Certainly, it would be impossible for a man to claim indirect discriminationas this would depend on arguing that men as a group lose out by having to workfull-time standard patterns – given current social and economic trends, such anargument would not get very far. However, there have been cases where men have succeeded in claiming directdiscrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act. This involves demonstratingthat they have been treated less favourably than a comparable female workerwould have been in the circumstances. Action points…Ensure your business is equipped to deal consistently andfairly with requests for flexible workingDevelop a response to the new law as part of a wider policy onflexible working and ensure it is communicated effectively to staff, and thatmanagers are comprehensively trained Review your practices, policies and procedures for anythingthat might be deemed to be indirectly discriminatory under the new, widerdefinitionConsider whether these practices are a proportionate way ofachieving a legitimate aimThe complete guide to flexible workingThis article is adapted from the new one stop guide to flexible working,published by Personnel Today Management ResourcesThe guide is designed to– Save you hours of research time by pulling together all you need to knowin one place– Offer a step-by-step guide to developing employee-centred flexible workingarrangements that benefit employer and employee alikeOrder your copy on 01371 810433 and turn to px for more informationPrice at only £95 & p+p available nowlast_img read more


first_imgThreeoccupational health professionals, working in vastly different settings,discuss the pros and cons of working within a multidisciplinary team, by JaneDowneyThepast 10 years have proved to be a very exciting, if not challenging, time foroccupational health professionals.Notonly have we played a major role in the implementation of radical legislation,such as the ‘six pack’ Health and Safety Regulations and DisabilityDiscrimination Act, we have also witnessed the election of a Government thathas pledged its commitment, at least on paper, to improving workplace healthand have put in place strategy statements to help achieve this.Thesetting up of primary care trusts has provided an excellent opportunity for OHpractitioners to influence policy and ensure the prevention and management ofwork-related ill health does not remain the domain of a few enlightenedemployers. OH has, at long last, been given the prominence it deserves.However,all this change has not only impacted on what we do, but how we do it. The oldtraditional reactive service, which was mostly based purely on the medicalmodel, is now often insufficient to deal with the many demands and needs placedon us by 21st century organisations.Tobe truly proactive, we now need to engage with a whole host of people from awide range of disciplines. I asked occupational health nurses (OHNs) working inthree different settings what it meant for them to work within amultidisciplinary team, how it had redefined their practice and the challengesit presented.Thecompany directorIn1995, Alison Persson decided to take the plunge and set up as an independent OHand safety consultant. This was after gaining 15 years of knowledge andexperience working as an OHN based mainly at British Gas.In2001, she became the director of her own OH and safety company, Catalyst. Shenow manages a team of nine practitioners – three safety practitioners, fourOHNs, one OH physician and a change coach.Herinvolvement with the multidisciplinary element definitely increased when shebecame an independent practitioner. “With some contracts, I found I did nothave enough knowledge, so I found other practitioners who had the knowledge,and then I really started to appreciate the benefits of working in amultidisciplinary team,” she says.Thisexperience has changed her involvement with, and perception of, team working.“Ten years ago, my view of the multidisciplinary team was very different towhat it is now. The team was then the OH physician and OH nurse practitioner.Now I feel it should comprise safety practitioners, ergonomists, counsellors,and change management specialists. However, this is not an exhaustive list.”Althoughthe practitioners have many core skills in common, their different backgroundsoften result in them approaching a problem from a different angle. Perssonbelieves this can be beneficial if you are working as a team, but can causeproblems if you are working on the same problem independently.“Ifyou are working separately, you are not doing the best for the workforce as youmay be overlapping,” she says.“Managersget confused as to whom to listen to. They hear the same problem but from adifferent slant.“Whileworking as a team, you are looking at who is best to take on a particular role.You do this with the practitioner, bearing in mind their qualifications andexperience, and then you decide who is right for the role.”Perssonis a firm believer that “joint thinking unleashes creativity and leads to moreeffective solutions”, and judging by her company’s ever-increasing workload, itwould appear the clients agree.Thesenior managerAftergaining her stripes working as an OH nurse and manager in a number of settings,including the Civil Service, the NHS and the Metropolitan Police, Judy Cook,head of occupational health services (OHS) at British Airways, now manages alarge team of nurses.Teammembers are based at either BA’s Waterside HQ or at Gatwick airport, providingOHS to all UK-based BA employees.OHSis part of the larger organisation, British Airways Health Services (BAHS),headed by the director Dr Sandra Mooney. Other sections are occupational andaviation medicine, BA travel clinics, business support, dental, food safety andenvironmental health and passenger medical clearance unit.Thedirector has influenced and supported the many changes in core OH provisionthat have taken place since Cook took the helm four years ago.Withinher team, Cook has both OHAs and OH practice nurses. The latter are mostlybased at health centres at Waterside or Gatwick, performing screening forfitness for role, providing health advice and immunisation for overseas travel,advising and supporting first aiders and generally promoting health.Alarge component of the OHA’s role is providing specialist advice to managers intheir allocated business areas to help them manage attendance, advising onfitness for role, providing health and safety advice and again, generallypromoting health in the workplace.AlthoughCorporate Safety Services lead on developing safety policies and procedures,Cook has encouraged collaborative working and states “we are always looking foropportunities to work more closely together”. She fosters and also enjoys agood working relationship with colleagues in other BAHS groups.Infact, at every level of the business, she takes the utmost care to work withthe person rather than against and expects her team to do the same.However,she admits that sometimes, even with the best intentions, things can occasionallygo awry.“Asthe business climate changes and jobs become less secure, you can see manygroups competing for the same work, resulting in overlap rather than synergy,”she says.Currently,BAHS does not employ OH technicians, but Cook would not be opposed to such amove in the future – if she believed it was right for the organisation. Infact, it would be fair to say that she has a very open mind and weighs up thepros and cons of every argument.Shedoes not believe in “putting labels on groups”, but instead feels we should be“moving towards generic skills and knowledge”.Sheis even prepared to ask the question that many of her peers may findunpalatable: “Do you need to be a registered nurse to deliver good occupationalhealthcare?”Manyof us may vehemently believe that ‘yes’ is the only answer to that question.But whatever your stance, you cannot but admire Cook’s ability to ask thedifficult question, irrespective of whether it is popular or not, because it isnot based on the need for control but the vision to look pragmatically at whereOH is today and decide how it can move forward in the future. Thelone OH adviserMaryClarke is an occupational health adviser (OHA) for Avecia, and manages its OHneeds for the Grangemouth site in Scotland.Aveciais a global speciality chemicals company and Grangemouth is its largest UKsite, employing about 600 employees. It has a manufacturing range includingpharmaceutical products and biotechnology advanced medicines.Clarkehas been an OHN for 12 years; nine of which has been with Avecia. Prior tothis, she worked in the NHS, where she found the OH culture very different.“Withthe NHS, you get the back-up and automatically belong to a team,” she says.“Here, because you are isolated, you soon learn that if you want to beeffective, you have to make the effort to network with other disciplines aswell as other OHNs.”Clarkeworks closely with her HR colleagues on health policy development and also withthe company’s hygienist and safety manager, ensuring OH is regularly consultedon any issues that require its input. Clarke has a full-time OH technician andan OH physician, who visits one day a week. TheOH technician role was already in place when she started at Avecia. It was thisissue that caused such controversy when she gave a presentation on the role ofthe OH technician at the Scottish Occupational Health forum last April.Somedelegates felt it was totally “inappropriate” and accused her of “doing nursesout of a job”. However, she strongly denies this.“TheOH technician position was already in place when I started working at thecompany. He has received the necessary training, is on an ongoing trainingprogramme and is closely supervised with strict procedures and protocols withwhich he must comply.“Regardingscreening nurses, well, anyone out there who has tried to employ a screeningnurse will know how difficult it is – there are so few of them about. With theOH technician, I have someone who is keen and enjoys his job, and I get theopportunity to get out on site and be proactive,” she says.Duringher presentation at the conference, her last slide stated: “Health surveillanceby a non-OH professional is NO replacement for a qualified occupational healthadviser”.CarolBannister, the RCN OH adviser, explains why she takes a similar approach. “I donot have a problem with OH technicians as long as they are not doing thespecialist practitioner’s role, have attained the necessary levels of competencyand accountability and are adequately supervised.“Withthe present shortage of OH nurses, we need to delegate if we are going toprovide a modern OH service. Other healthcare practitioners are going down thisroute and there is no reason why we should not follow suit,” she says.Somaybe that is why each of these practitioners are so successful in theirparticular sphere of work. In the pursuit of best practice, they choosecollaboration over isolation; question the status quo and do not accept traditionpurely for tradition’s sake. This is what makes them not just leaders, butexcellent team players.JaneDowney RGN, RM, OHND, OND obtained her diploma in OH nursing in 1994, whileworking for GPT, part of the GEC telecommunications group, based in Nottingham.After spending four years there, she completed an 18-month stint in the NHS,gaining a NEBOSH certificate before moving down to London to work for BarbicanHealth, which then became Bupa Wellness. During her time at Bupa, she obtaineda diploma in counselling but left in 2000 after taking maternity leave. She nowworks from home as an independent OH practitioner Working together in close partnershipOn 1 Aug 2003 in Marriage and civil partnership discrimination, Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img 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 Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.center_img Read full article Comments are closed.last_img read more


first_img Comments are closed. “Looking for an appropriate image to convey the necessity of deep integration across core HR (whose system’s name is HRMS) and talent management (whose system’s name is usually abbreviated TM), I remembered this really terrific graphic from Josh Bersin.  Giving tremendous credit where it’s due, this graphic is from an equally terrific post by Josh entitled: “Workday 10: Talent Management And HRMS Converge and dated in March, 2010 (and doesn’t it seem almost quaint to be referencing Workday 10?).  I won’t speak for Josh, but I’ve been preaching the need for tight integration across H”Read full article Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Applications Integration — Core HR And Talent Management«In Full BloomShared from missc on 15 Apr 2015 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more