Letters

first_img Comments are closed. LettersOn 20 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article This week’s lettersFamily-friendlyis a company issue Ifeel that a voluntary code will be effective in promoting family-friendlyworking, but only where those companies already embrace the work-life balanceconcept (News, 27 February) Thereare many companies,  both large andsmall, which ignore current legislation anyway or find ways around the system.Unless the company has a strong HR presence and/or a seat on the board – whichin these particular cases would be rare – HR professionals do not have theempowerment to change that particular work culture. Ofcourse we can lobby and recommend but if the culture is one of “take it orleave it”, unless the employee has the courage to take this further through thecourts, this culture will not change.Incircumstances such as these whether you legislate or not will make nodifference. Iam fortunate that my company has always looked to help the individual and hashad paid paternity leave for some years. Admittedly, this is not for the fulltwo weeks which is being proposed but at least the company proactivelyrecognises the needs surrounding a new birth from the father’s perspective.JanetTeecePersonnel manager, Amadeus (UK)Staffleft to carry burden for othersOnthe subject of family-friendly policies, people have a contract to work. Makingstatutory legislation harms relationships where people “demand their rights”. Allthese extra benefits are becoming discriminatory – what about those withoutchildren, they are left to do the work while the others are at home. It isreally causing industrial relations issues within the workplace. Thatis fact not rhetoric – where is the Government’s proof that family-friendlypolicies work?  DeniseReece People Strategies and Solutions, St Klare Reece AssociatesHumouressential in public sectorIwas amused and amazed that consultant Simon Derry (Letters, 27 February) tookseriously my earlier suggestion (News, 23 January) that the principles of“horse whispering” might be the next big idea in HR management. Theboardrooms of the major companies that Mr Derry advises may be dull places, buthere in the beleaguered public sector the ability to laugh at the ironic andthe absurd is an essential survival tool. DareI ask whether Mr Derry, before proffering advice to his clients, reads theirdocuments and accounts with as much care and thought as he devoted to myletter?RobertClarkeDirector of human resources, Keighley CollegeEmpathyis key to people and horseIwould like to respond to Simon Derry’s e-mail concerning “horse whispering” andits credibility (Letters, 27 February). Obviouslyhe has no first-hand knowledge or understanding of “horse whispering”. It is anunderstanding and empathy of horses, their language and how to achieve bestresults by humane methods.Thisnegates the need for bullying into submission. Much of this is achieved by bodylanguage and reading and responding appropriately to the signals which thehorse conveys.Themethods have been proven and are demonstrated throughout the UK by thosetrained in the methods. Monty Roberts, the American founder, spent many yearsstudying horses in their natural environment in order to understand theirlanguage and responses. He has also successfully transferred the methods to themany disaffected teenagers he has fostered.Ihave witnessed the process and have applied the methods to my own horse,children and work colleagues. I would argue that “horse whispering” has manytransferable benefits.LynHeath Personnel officer and horse owner, WeymouthBestpractice is not strategic HRBestpractice and strategic HR are too often mistaken as the same approach so it isgood to see RyanAir making the distinction clearer (News, 6 February).Strategic HR is about integration, making clear tradeoffs and tailoringactivities to the needs of the organisations. Tothis extent RyanAir has taken a strategic approach to motivation and decidedbest practice is not for them.However,this is not to say that, for instance, corporate intranets will not work inother organisations. Itis time HR professionals started to reconsider best practice and to think aboutthe real needs of the organisation. Bestpractice can only ensure short-term operational effectiveness, if we want tostart making a long-term impact to the bottom line then I suggest, as HRprofessionals, we take a strategic perspective and start to integrate notimitate RikTaylor Via e-mailWeneed to build a better industry Iwas a little surprised to read the negative response to my letter from MikeMurray, lecturer in construction management from Glasgow, re constructionstereotypes (Letters, 27 February).Howcan somebody miss the point so completely? Yes, Mr Murray I do get upset atconstant attacks on the construction industry, even more so when it is frompeople making a comfortable living out of it.Ofcourse there are people within the industry who are sexist and racist –construction, like other industries, reflects the prejudices that face societyin general. My point is that the original article was full of generalisationsand hyperbole.Iwas hoping the article and my response might stimulate debate on how bothmanagement practices and site culture need to evolve, while highlighting themyriad of initiatives aimed at promoting construction to attract a morecross-representative sample from society.I’mcertain that a similar article describing lecturers as pipe-smoking, boorishliberals with elbow patches and halitosis would, quite rightly, receive aclamour of criticism. IfMr Murray would like to witness first hand an initiative aimed solely atraising the profile of construction, he might like to attend the GreaterMerseyside Construction Event, at Aintree Racecourse on 3 July. Onlyby working together can we attract the under represented groups necessary toachieve the sociological diversity we so desperately need.SteveRotheramChairman Greater Merseyside Construction Event 2001Workexperience  no barrier for job–I sympathise with the plight of David Bryden and all other well-qualifiedprofessionals looking for their first-level HR job (Letters, 27 January). Wehave advertised for a compensation and benefits specialist. After discussingthe issue with my European recruiting colleagues, we will seriously considerCIPD-qualified graduates without work experience.RosemaryGreenHR service leader (UK and Ireland), Dow Chemical Company –I note with interest the letter from David Bryden regarding first level HRposts. Havingrecently helped my son on a graduate hunt for a job I was surprised to see howmany companies were advertising for HR graduates with Lloyds, Abbey National,Guinness and Matalan to name a few. Thesewere all job opportunities courtesy of the careers service at his universityand advertised on its website, and included jobs for new graduates and thosewho had already graduated.  May Isuggest this route as a possible start in HR and wish him luck.JoVauxPersonnel officer, Via e-mailAquandary over managers’ roleIwould like to comment on remarks made in your 27 February issue, “The principalreason why people leave a company is because of their immediate manager,” –Head of HR, Merrill Lynch. And: “Employee turnover cannot be reduced… throughbetter management,” – Head of HR marketing and research, Deutsche Bank (News).Iwould ask my (much respected) manager to clarify this conundrum but she leftsome time ago.ChrisSquireHR adviser, CardiffExpectcasualties from the minimum wage increaseWhileI applaud the recent introduction of the National Minimum wage, I am concernedabout where it is all going to end. Thenews that the minimum wage will rise to £4.10, a 50 pence rise from when it wasfirst introduced is frankly worrying for small businesses like ours. Ido agree that there should be a minimum wage to stop the exploitation oflabour, however does it really have to rise so steeply and so frequently? Doesthe Government realise it is jeopardising the future of small business who donot have the profit margins to sustain such increases? Whilean organisation based, say, in London, would not necessarily feel the effectsof £4.10 per hour, an organisation in the rural areas of Lincolnshire, forexample, would have to seriously rethink its business strategy to remain withinthe law. Idon’t have the answer – I wish I did. However, there must be a way to protectthe UK’s many small businesses that will no doubt become casualties to theminimum wage if they are given the chance.- after all large oaks from littleacorns grow.SharenPhillips HR director, ESC(UK) Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Hospitals could soon show red card to violent patients

first_imgHospitals could soon show red card to violent patientsOn 26 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Patients who are persistently violent to health service staff will literallybe shown the red card under proposals announced by the Health Secretary. Alan Milburn told a conference of NHS staff in Birmingham that hospitalswould be able to ban violent patients for a year. Offenders will be issued with a yellow card for their first offence as awarning, followed by the red card and a 12-month ban if they repeat thebehaviour. Keith Johnston, HR director for North Bristol NHS Trust, welcomed theinitiative. He said, “It may seem like a gimmick but it is based on workat Bart’s in London where it was successful. “We need a range of tools we can use to address these issues ofviolence in our hospitals. We have to be careful how we implement it, as itwill not be appropriate in all circumstances.” Gary Theobald, HR director of the Basildon and Thurrock General HospitalsNHS Trust, also thought the scheme would protect health service staff, butstressed that it would only be used as a last resort. “I hope staff themselves will be reassured and feel a bit moreconfident now they know there is a sanction can use,” he said. Milburn, announcing the initiative, said, “I will stand four-squarebehind trusts that take tough action to protect staff.” Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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HRM work leads to higher profits

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article A two-year research project by King’s College, London, has found thatbusinesses which show a high commitment to human resources management (HRM)benefit from increased productivity and profitability. The project also discovered that effective HRM brings high staffsatisfaction levels and well-being. More than 600 senior HR managers and 460CEOs were interviewed from a range of companies with more than 50 employees forthe Future of Work Pro- gramme, which was sponsored by the Economic and SocialResearch Council and the CIPD. David Guest, professor of organisational psychology and human resourcesmanagement at Kings College, claims the findings show that the number of HRMpractices adopted by companies in 1999 is linked to their financial performancein the same year. Prof Guest said, “Most UK employers are still not doing HRM properly.The best way to improve productivity is to encourage more companies to do moreHRM. “HR departments are seen by CEOs to be doing traditional things.” HRM work leads to higher profitsOn 26 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Sex bias stops women climbing career ladder

first_imgSex bias stops women climbing career ladderOn 12 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Sexual harassment and discrimination remain barriers to the career progressof women below management level, according to a report. The study by Opportunity Now finds a third of the 1,000 women surveyedbelieve they have been directly discriminated against and one in 10 haveexperienced harassment and bullying. Women from ethnic minorities are more than twice as likely to report bullyingand harassment and more likely to report discrimination at the point ofpromotion than their white colleagues. The research finds older women and women under 30 find it particularly hardto gain promotion. Almost half of women aged over 50 have never been promoted and neither have52 per cent of women aged between 18 and 30. Clara Freeman, chairman of Opportunity Now, called for better training forwomen in non-managerial roles, which the report also highlighted as inadequate.”Over half of our respondents believe their potential is not beingfulfilled and almost two-thirds aspire to higher grades,” she said. “If employers fail to exploit this opportunity by opening up equalityprogrammes, training and development and flexible work options to women innon-managerial positions then they risk losing a wealth of hidden talent.”The study shows nine out of 10 women think balancing work and family is thebiggest problem they must overcome to advance in their careers. More than half of respondents think they have to put their careers ahead offamily commitments if they want to progress. By Ross Wigham Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Lack of top execs forces firms to search overseas

first_imgLack of top execs forces firms to search overseasOn 2 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Employers in the UK are increasingly being forced to look outside theirorganisation and even outside their industry to find top executives of theright calibre, research claims. A study by TMP Worldwide reveals the number of senior executives beingrecruited from outside companies has more than doubled in the last two years.The report also shows an increase in executive reshuffles in the boardroom,with recruitment at this level up by nearly 40 per cent and the number ofexecutives quitting the boardroom up by 35 per cent. Andrew Simpson, European president of TMP Worldwide Executive Search, saidalthough 75 per cent of senior appointments are still made from within, thesharp rise in external recruitment highlights a shortage of capable seniormanagers. “One of the main problems is a shortage of top managers, highlightingtheir need for a resourcing policy which looks beyond their own companies andeven industry,” he said. “Companies need to combine this with keystaff retention, coaching, mentoring and development to keep valuable skills inhouse.” The financial services sector had the highest level of external recruitment,at 38 per cent, during 2001, and the consumer sector the lowest at 15 per cent.The report, The Flow of Senior Executives in Europe, was based on researchof 60 of Europe’s largest multinational companies and also reveals theincreasing proportion of senior managers with international experience. The UKand France top the league with about 30 per cent of board level executiveshaving worked abroad, ahead of Belgium with 20 per cent. The technology, media and telecommunications sectors are most likely toemploy senior executives who have international experience, with 36 per centhaving worked abroad. www.tmpsearch.com/executiveflowsBy Ben Willmott last_img read more

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the future

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. the futureOn 30 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A great deal has been made of the decline of final salary pension schemes. But while this has been galling to some, it at least makes economic sense from an employer’s perspective. The schemes typically account for around 15 per cent of a pensions payroll, hike up administration costs and have uncertain contribution rates. Alternatives like money purchase schemes cost employers half the money and create half the headaches. And final salary schemes reward long service with one employer – something of a rarity these days.The problem lies with the shift in emphasis that this signals. The TUC expressed concern that responsibility for pensions is being transferred from the State and employers to individual workers and far fewer people will set up adequate pensions as a result.A study by KPMG Pensions research backs this up. It found that the rejection of final salary schemes could cut pensions by up to a third and leave people financially short when they retire. Currently, they believe that 43 per cent of companies running defined contribution pension schemes are contributing 5 per cent or less. In a typical final salary scheme, companies average contributions of up to 10 per cent.Confusing alternatives also cloud the issue. At launch, stakeholder pensions were supposed to provide a retirement safety net for the low paid. However, it is the well-off who have rushed to take up a stakeholder policy because it enables them to safely invest a percentage of their money.A study by Marks & Spencer, which surveyed 1,598 adults aged 18 to 65, found that only half of the population know what a stakeholder pension is. And 41 per cent have not taken out a pension because they cannot afford to – exactly the situation that stakeholders pensions were introduced to avoid.The same principle can be applied to almost any aspect of pensions. Thousands of people with private pensions were recently urged to switch back to State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps) by Legal & General, Prudential, Standard Life and Equitable Life – the big insurers saying that private pensions will not provide comparable funds to the state scheme.Prior to this, the Government announced proposals to give fixed-term workers the same right to company pensions as permanent staff – something the CBI and the Employers Forum on Statute and Practice (EFSP) say is unworkable. The CBI estimates it will lead to £13m in unnecessary administration costs and £98m in extra pensions contributions when it is implemented in July.Increased regulations, bureaucracy and legal obligation (FRS17) and increased life expectancy have also combined to increase the cost of pensions.Firms like ICI, BT, Iceland and Ernst & Young have looked to the demographic costs of the future and realised that their final salary pensions schemes have to be closed to new, and in some cases, existing members.The result is a pensions situation that, while not necessarily in chaos, is certainly confusing and edging ever further from the stability of previous years.The UK pension system is in peril. For more than 20 years the State has been retreating from the provision of an adequate retirement income for all citizens. In the past, employers recognised they had a responsibility to help workers save for retirement, however, this social contract is now under threat with the State’s retreat from pension provision being matched by the employers’ headlong rush away from good, defined benefit pensions.The fundamental principal on which the TUC’s pension policy rests is that all workers must have a secure income in retirement that enables them to maintain a standard of living similar to that which they enjoyed in their final years of employment.The state pension is the foundation stone of the system and this needs to be built on by employers and individuals saving through decent occupational pensions schemes. Employers should be able to make membership of occupational pensions a condition of employment, and employers should also be compelled to contribute to an employee’s pension. The simplification of pension legislation should also go some way to improving the current complexity of pension provision.The challenge for the future is to ensure those workers without access to occupational pensions are, in the future, given access to a quality pension. Stakeholder pensions were intended to achieve this objective, but without significant employer contribution the full potential of stakeholder is unlikely to be fulfilled. The really big issue is not the nature of provision, but the amount of employer contribution. Low contributions to money purchase schemes are the major failing of those schemes at the moment.If this trend is not directly addressed before the balance between DB and DC shifts much further, we will condemn future generations of retired employees to a life on means-tested benefits rather than high-quality occupational pensions.It has been easy to feel rather smug about UK pensions. They have long looked in rude health compared to many of Europe’s state-sponsored, pay-as-you-go schemes. The linchpin of UK pensions has been the funded, defined benefit company pension scheme. But with timing that could not be more damaging, UK company pensions have been hit by a quadruple-whammy.Firstly, people are living longer, therefore drawing pensions for longer. Secondly, a low inflation, low interest rate economy is not conducive to enduring double-digit investment returns. Also, the global economic slowdown has forced many companies to focus on costs. Trimming, or at least holding down, the cost of employee benefits is tempting and relatively easy to do in a soft labour market.Lastly, we have a new accounting standard, FRS17, which highlights pension fund deficits in company accounts. Coming as it has, after the worst couple of investment years for a decade, many schemes are in deficit, leaving employers uncertain about carrying the financial risk of defined benefit pensions.The choice for employers of how to deal with pension provision is far from black and white. The idea of a wholesale switch to defined contribution pensions is oversold. We are likely to see more employers setting up schemes which share the risks and rewards more evenly between employer and employee, with average-earnings related pensions and other innovative pension plan designs.The Government has a role to play here. Employers are not required to set up pension schemes, but if they do, they face a quagmire of legislation, requiring them to provide benefits in specific forms and fund their schemes to a minimum level. The Government needs to listen to the recommendations which come out of the Pickering review. It also needs to allow greater flexibility for employers to provide the sort of pensions which best suit their business and their employees.What with the confusion over contracting-out, the demise of final salary schemes, and the miss-selling of Equitable, you could be forgiven for thinking the UK pension system is about to collapse. Of course, it is not that bad, but there are problems.The 1980s and 90s were great for pensions. Good demographics and high investment returns allowed a significant increase in provision. People are leaving the workforce at an earlier age, in spite of a significant increase in life expectancy.This is not sustainable in less benign times, and symptoms are emerging. There are many untidy patches to the state scheme. Lower real interest rates mean a higher cost to promise a given level of final salary pension, and companies are wary of the increased cost and risk.What needs to be done? Firstly, the Government needs to recognise the change and give clearer signals to help plan the future. It should simplify its own offering, looking to ensure the State provides for those who cannot, but making it clear the majority need to save more privately.The Pickering review, due in the summer, also provides an opportunity for the Government to start tidying up the confusion of initiatives, including simplifying state pensions. And there are signs of progress. Although stakeholder pensions are not reaching their original low-earner targets, they have created the ‘1 per cent world’ of ‘cheap and cheerful’ private pensions for the middle earner.The trend towards fewer final salary schemes is unstoppable – regulation (MFR, FRS17) may have been ham-fisted, but it has surfaced genuine underlying risks and cost increases which many companies find unacceptable.So be it – a decent money purchase scheme where the risks are clear may be better than final salary without adequate employer backing. And employees will be more interested – understanding of the importance of pensions is set to grow and grow.“It is a turbulent time for occupational pension schemes. Many companies are closing their final salary schemes and unions are partly blaming employers. It all seems a far cry from the election year of 1997, when many company schemes were comfortably in surplus and some were enjoying contribution holidays. But why are companies taking these decisions, and why now?Of course, the current economic environment is very different. Stock market growth has slowed, leading to valuations that reduce the predicted pension pot. And the population is ageing, which means pension schemes are funding ever-growing liabilities. Pensions are looking like a risky venture, and final salary pensions, where all risks are borne by employers, are looking like a cost that many businesses can ill-afford to bear.But what should we be doing? Few people would relish the idea of working into their 70s to secure a decent pension. The Government does not want to pick up the bill – it wants to expand the private sector pensions market from 40 per cent today to 60 per cent by 2050. But companies can’t go to the wall to fund their pension scheme. The Government should be encouraging the development of occupational pension schemes, but it is clear that, since 1997, things have got worse rather than better.In 1997, the Government took £3bn per year out of pension funds by removing dividend tax relief – a measure that could cost employees even more than a rise in income tax.Now there is FRS17, which forces companies to account for pension schemes on a snapshot basis, even though pension funds deliver returns over the long-term – creating enormous volatility in company accounts. For some companies which were already considering whether they could continue to afford final salary pensions, this measure has pushed them over the precipice.So from a business perspective, what should the Government be doing to encourage pensions rather than discouraging them? Firstly, replacing the minimum funding requirement was welcome, but careful negotiation is needed in the EU if the gains made by its abolition are not to be reversed by the pensions directive; FRS17 should also be modified to allow smoothing of asset values. Most company pension schemes are heavily invested in volatile equities and a shortfall in one year could easily turn into a surplus the next.The Government also needs to throw its weight behind the pensions simplification review. It is time to think the unthinkable – regulators cannot protect all pension scheme members all the time from every conceivable eventuality. Finally, the Government should find ways to return the money taken from pension schemes by the removal of dividend tax relief.If the Government wishes to encourage the development of occupational pension provision, it must be less prescriptive in its attitude towards pension regulation.”UK company pension assets exceed 90 per cent of GDP, compared to just 5 per cent in France. At the same time, state pensions consume 3 per cent of UK GDP, compared to around 14 per cent in Italy. Judging by these figures, if there is a pensions crisis, it is not in the UK.Nevertheless, high-profile companies abandoning defined benefit (DB) pension schemes – where pension is defined in advance based on salary and service – in favour of defined contribution (DC) schemes – where contributions are defined but pension depends on investment returns and the cost of annuities – is creating an illusion that ‘DB is good, DC is bad’.Companies want to reduce the financial risk of DB and are tempted to use developments such as new accounting rules as a scapegoat for change. Experience shows that employer contributions to DC schemes will generally be lower than the amounts paid into DB, so not only is risk being transferred to employees, but companies are putting less money into their pension plans.The demographics also add to concerns, as people are living longer and retiring earlier. The fact most of us are so confused by tax incentives and pensions in general combines to leave few people saving enough for retirement.If HR professionals gave more attention to the proportion of employment earnings replaced by pension, a more balanced approach to risk and increased employee awareness of the importance of retirement, some savings might emerge. From government, one straightforward set of tax incentives to encourage retirement saving would also help, as would part DC funding of UK state pensions.Sadly, the Government is likely to put-off such radical action.Employees will probably be slow to recognise that their pension assets might be worth more than their home and continue to retire early. Companies look certain to continue to implement low contribution rate DC plans and may ultimately feel obliged to top-up company pensions with ex-gratia payments, or re-discover an element of DB.Every week the list of companies switching from final salary pension schemes to money purchase schemes grows longer. Many companies are blaming their sudden change of heart on the FRS17 accounting standard, but the truth is that fundamental problems for the future of funded pensions have been building-up over a period of years and will remain unless pension provision is completely overhauled.To put all of the blame on FRS17 is to shoot the messenger. It is not the accounting standard, which has created a deficit in company pension funds; primarily, it is the combination of increasing life expectancies and a fall in returns that have put such pressure on funds. FRS17 has highlighted these in a rather dramatic way, but has not created a problem that did not already exist. The important issue is not creating a scapegoat, but finding effective, long-term solutions to the pension crisis, which will ensure all future pensioners are provided for.The switch from DB to DC is made far more serious by the fact that many firms are using the opportunity to slash their overall contributions. Therefore, the first response to this would be to try to ensure companies put adequate sums into pension funds on behalf of their employees.The introduction of a compulsory minimum contribution for all employers would be one response to this problem. This could ensure that ‘good’ employers who contribute significantly into their employees’ pensions were not undercut by those who did not. This may also need to be complemented by allowing employers to require all employees to be members of the scheme as a condition of service.It is important to remember, however, that company provision is only part of the jigsaw. For many employees who do not have access to an occupational scheme, an employer contribution to a stakeholder pension could provide a kickstart to the Government’s goal of extending pension coverage among people on modest incomes. There is plenty of evidence the offer of an employer contribution can be a key determinant of whether employees take out a pension, and compulsory employer contributions could make a real difference to the take-up of stakeholder.A move from final salary to money purchase schemes is bad for some employees but good for others. But a reduction in overall rates of employer contributions is bad news for all employees. The Government must take an urgent look at strategies to increase employer contributions and look seriously at compulsion if a strategy of incentives fails to achieve that goal.At the moment, it seems everybody has a plan for pensions policy. We are hearing too many quick-fix ideas that could leave tomorrow’s pensioners out of pocket.I believe the structure of pensions now in place after our reforms, which will be completed with the introduction of Pension Credit, is fundamentally sound.For various good reasons, layers of regulations had been loaded onto the pension regime resulting in too much red tape. That is why we started a radical review of regulation with the aim of simplifying the system. Alistair Darling will receive the report in June and set out proposals on which the Government will consult.Employers are key to these plans and we hope they will join us to cut back on regulation that holds them back, which is expensive in time, money and resources. If employers show the commitment to their workforce by contributing in their future, there is a high probability that this commitment will be reciprocated. The results will be seen through improved morale and help with recruitment and retention.We must preserve the powerful partnership between the Government and individuals in which the state pension provides the main building blocks of income in retirement, and that individuals boost that income by contributing to private schemes or the State Second Pension.Our commitment to the basic state pension was underlined this month when it rose by another £3 a week for a single pensioner and £4.80 for a couple. It is in order to strengthen this partnership that we have introduced the stakeholder pension to encourage those on moderate and higher earnings to put more towards their retirement.The new Pension Credit will ensure people see a reward for their thrift by receiving a top-up to their pension. When it is introduced from October 2003 there will be a simple assessment of income in order to calculate individuals’ eligibility.I began by warning that so-called easy solutions often prove very costly, but it has been true for a long time now that most people probably ought to be saving a lot more than they actually do, especially now we are living longer.That’s one of the reasons why we are introducing pension forecasts, so that within five years most people will receive an annual statement that will tell them how much – or in too many cases – how little they will get in retirement.last_img read more

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Am I likely to get HR

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. My partner is currently working in Shanghai, China and I am almost certainto join him out there next year. I have a business degree and am currentlystudying for a MA CIPD course, due to be completed in January and I have workedin HR for three years. Can you give me any ideas as to where I would startlooking for preferably a HR role, or an administrator role in China. Icurrently do not have any knowledge of Mandarin. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy Your partner should start making contacts with local organisations to findout about vacancies and their views on employing UK nationals with no knowledgeof Mandarin. Another avenue to explore is multi-nationals which have a businesspresence in Shanghai. These would be able to give you constructive advice on your options or youcould talk to the CIPD International department. If you want to think more laterally, you could work from a home base inShanghai providing services to businesses in the UK with the use of technology.John Baker, head of practice, Macmillan Davies Hodes I assume that you have checked on the relevant employment law for China andhave confirmed you will be allowed to work. China is a fast-growing economy andis viewed as critical for many western corporations in their development of theAsian market so there are many western companies setting up and expandingoperations in China. Directly approaching these companies will give you a clearer idea of thequalifications and language skills being sought for roles in China. This shouldhelp you ascertain how critical Mandarin is when pursuing opport-unities. Iwould stress though that learning the local language will make your time inChina far easier both professionally and socially. Quite often success is based not just on professional ability but on yourability to observe the cultural formalities expected in a business and socialenvironment. Susan Field, senior consultant, Chiumento Many western enterprises are now establishing joint ventures in China and thereis a demand for expatriates in certain key skill shortage areas. Unfortunately,your HR experience and qualification has little value given the very differentworking culture in China. Coupled with your inability to speak Mandarin, thismeans your employability in an HR role, or even an admin position, is limited. You need to consider improving your employability through some developmentactivity – learning Mandarin would be a top priority. It is also a good idea toapproach your partner’s employer to ask if they are likely to have any suitableroles or can assist with your search through network contacts. Once you arrivein Shanghai, actively network with the expatriate community to identify anypotential opportunities. Previous Article Next Article Am I likely to get HROn 21 May 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Civil service pushes for emotional intelligence

first_imgManagers who are extroverts are likely to be rated as more emotionallyintelligent than their introverted peers, according to research from the Centrefor Management and Policy Studies. Roy Howells, a training consultant at CMPS, who carried out the research,has collected data from 180 middle to senior civil service managers whoattended emotional intelligence (EQ) training at the Civil Service College. Each manager had their EQ assessed by their bosses and colleagues. They alsocompleted a self-assessment exercise on their management style. When Howells put the two together, he found that managers who scoredthemselves as extrovert and flexible, and who said they based decisions more onvalues than analysis, were rated as the most emotionally intelligent. “Just because you are introverted doesn’t mean you don’t have the sameemotional awareness and empathy as your colleagues, but you have to express itif you want them to recognise your EQ,” Howells told Training Magazine. He is now using the research findings in the EQ training that CMPS offers atthe Civil Service College to help participants develop and hone their EQ.”These results suggest that what people appreciate from their managers isdialogue,” Howells said. “Introverted managers need to speak up a bit more. And if you tend tobe more analytical, you need to work on understanding your own and otherpeople’s values. We are not talking about changing someone’s personality butabout being more flexible. Introverts are often very good listeners. We don’twant them to lose this skill, instead we want extroverts to learn fromthem.” By Lucie Carrington Civil service pushes for emotional intelligenceOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Contents

first_imgImmigration minister: Get your sponsor licence applications in nowThe minister for future borders and immigration has advised employers wishing to continue to recruit skilled workers from abroad next… Over 1,000 UK redundancies expected at G4S Cash SolutionsSecurity company G4S is planning to cut more than a quarter of jobs in its cash handling business amid the… Previous Article Next Article 4 nEWSNew Bill is set to increase penalties for health and safety violationsand make it easier to imprison directors; UK employers face £50,000 fines overstakeholder pensions 6 barometer: blacklistingDo we need legislation to outlaw the blacklistingof union activists? 8 CASE ROUND UP The pitfalls of PHI policies highlighted once more; areminder of the protection for pregnant women under European law; when ismisconduct gross misconduct? 11 20 steps to Flexible working Our guide to getting a flexible workingpolicy up and running in your organisation 12 cover story: stress inspectionsStress is about to be put on the samefooting asother workplace hazards. But will it create more problems than itsolves? 14 policy clinic: older workersEmployment rights for retirement-age staff,anti-ageism legislation and changes to pensions are all set to impact on HRpolicies. We look at the practicalities 16 CASE STUDIES: BonusesHow to avoid the pitfalls of discretionary bonusschemes, following a recent case that is said to have cost an investment bankmore than £5m 18 analysis: hurt feelingsThe Court of Appeal has standardised the penaltiesemployers face for treating their employees badly 20 from the reference manualXpertHR’s essential guide to risk assessments Related posts: ContentsOn 2 Apr 2003 in Blacklisting, Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Fast track back to work

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Musculoskeletal disorders cost sufferers and employers a lot of time, moneyand distress, but research suggests that the sooner treatment is offered, thebetter, by Janice Kaye Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is one of the greatest challenges foroccupational health. Although the risks in the working environment from MSD can be managed andcontrolled, away from work, the causes of injury can be found in every cornerof life, far beyond the influence of good working practices. The size of theproblem is not in question: – An annual loss of almost 13 million working days due to back pain – Musculoskeletal disorder affecting 1.1 million people a year – A cost to society of £10bn a year, requiring up to 12 million GPconsultations1 – Accounting for 60 per cent of all absenteeism, the cost of MSD has beenrising steadily at £500m a year2 Tackling the issue Attempts to tackle the issue have focused mainly on work practices. In 1992,the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established the Manual HandlingOperations Regulations, a framework within which employers might reduce manualhandling injury. The following year, it launched Getting to Grips with HandlingProblems, and later, HSE Manual Handling – Solutions you can Handle. Back inWork started in 1999 with funded back pain projects in the workplace, with aview to developing good practice models. The messages promoted by these initiatives are now widely accepted. Properassessments of the task at hand, the loads involved, the working environmentand the individuals’ capabilities are now all essential practices. Also key isthat there is no substitute for the provision of good manual handling trainingwhen the avoidance of manual handling operations is impossible. Risk factors for MSD are recognised in virtually every workplace. While theHSE’s key message is that things can be done to minimise incidents of MSD andthat measures are cost effective, it accepts that you cannot prevent them all,and that early reporting, proper treatment and suitable rehabilitation areessential. MSD is most visible in human and financial terms in the workplace, but itsorigins are as likely to be found at home or on the sports field, far beyondthe employers’ sphere of responsibility and liability. But when it affects anindividual’s ability to work, the employer is faced with the consequences,despite having had no control over its cause. Quick turnaround Resistance to the idea of funding occupational health and rehabilitationschemes for disorders that are often unrelated to work is understandable. Butif attention is shifted pragmatically on to the cost savings by getting employeesback to work quickly, occupational rehabilitation makes good business sense. Getting people back to work quickly is now also the medical view. In areview of current research, The Royal College of General Practitionersconcludes that bed rest for two to seven days is worse than a placebo orordinary activity, and that prolonged bed rest may lead to chronic disability.It recommends manipulative treatment for pain relief and for patients who failto return to normal activities; ‘in acute and sub-acute back pain, manipulationprovides better short term improvement in pain and activity levels and higherlevels of patient satisfaction than the treatments to which it has beencompared’. This assumes the availability of resources. The OH professional faces thechallenge of finding qualified osteopaths, physical therapists or chiropractorsat short notice, at any number of locations around the country. There is theadditional challenge of managing rehabilitation and absence from work, whilelearning as much as possible from each incident for ongoing risk assessment. Osteopaths for Industry has been providing manual handling training to staffand in-house trainers for 16 years; the organisation is the sole trainingprovider for the 7,000 active personnel in the London Fire Brigade. Its workhas brought it close to the MSD issue, and it saw the need for nationwidefast-track treatment linked to the management of the absence and a reportingsystem that identified black spots. Four years ago, it created MMS National Ltd to provide absence managementand rehabilitation services for the OH profession. The company established anetwork of 3,000 chiropractors, osteopaths and physical therapists, and createda system of fast-track rehabilitation, absence management and standardised datagathering, which has been proven with clients such as Excel Treadteam, Greggsplc and British Polythene Industries. Clients retain control of the whole episode, from injury to return to work.It gives them the tool to monitor company-wide rates of injury, identify riskareas and develop preventative strategies. Any musculoskeletal condition is treated within 72 hours by a therapistbased close to the injured worker. The genuine musculoskeletal injury respondswell to early treatment and clients have seen the average absence period shrinkfrom 28 working days lost to four days; 75 per cent of MMS National referralsdo not take time off at all other than for treatment sessions, and the companyfrequently sees client MSD-related absenteeism halved. The service is established on a pay-as-you-go basis, and any size oforganisation can benefit; from those with a handful of workers to largecompanies with thousands of employees across the UK. It is the experience of many client companies that the service isself-financing. Absence rates are reduced for legitimate conditions, while theprospect of quick treatment and a proactive absence management structurecreates a powerful deterrent to malingerers. Providing a musculoskeletal injury referral service can be seen in manylights. It is part economic expedient and part OH necessity; part riskassessment tool, part perk, and part malingerers’ disincentive. Conclusion The Revitalising Health and Safety strategy set goals to reduce the incidenceof work-related illness caused by MSDs by 12 per cent, and the number ofworking days lost to MSDs by 15 per cent by 2004. Increased inspections and newmanual handling assessment tools are all part of the compliance element of thislong-term OH plan. Increased fines, sentences and other disincentives forbreaches of health and safety legislation, as well as streamlining the lawitself, are all documented Government and HSC objectives. Back pain, musculoskeletal injury and repetitive strain injury are a hugeburden and quite rightly a high-profile target for the HSE. Appropriateintervention, early access to treatment and feedback into risk management haveproven to work on many levels as the only real response to increasing financialand regulatory pressure on employers to address the problem. Janice Kaye, a trained osteopath, is managing director of MMS National Ltdand of Osteopaths for Industry Ltd, which provides preventative training, andmusculoskeletal injury and absence management services on a countrywide basisacross the UK and Ireland References 1. HSE (1998), Self-reporting work related illness in 1995; results from ahousehold survey 2. The Back Pain Revolution, by Gordon Waddell, Churchill & Livingston,first published 1998 www.hse.gov.ukBPI’s injury and absenteeism challengeBritish Polythene Industries (BPI) isan international company with 3,000 employees across 38 sites in the UK, and afurther 2,000 across 45 companies worldwide. In the late 1990s, before thecurrent focus on musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), the company was looking for ananswer to spiralling injury and absenteeism rates across its UK workforce.Andy Collinson, group health and safety manager for thecompany, was researching a solution that would work across many levels. Itneeded to rehabilitate those injured as effectively as possible and therebyreduce absenteeism. It had to be seen as good for the workforce and, therefore,receive union acceptance. It also had to make good business sense.He discovered that prevention and treatment were beingaddressed  together by Osteopaths forIndustry and MMS National. While the organisation provided preventativetraining, the key was a service that treats injuries within a few hours,oversees each absence and provides a company-wide view on MSD problem areas.In 1998, before it employed MMS National, each incident of MSDabsence at BPI resulted in an average of 26 working days lost. The followingyear – the first using the system – the number of lost days was down to fourfor each MSD absence.”Over the first year, we substantially reduced BPI’s lostdays from handling injuries. In financial terms, the benefits outweigh thecosts by 12:1. We were able to make a case for improvement, prioritise areasand demonstrate the impact we have had from hard measurable facts,” saysCollinson.In 2001, more than 400 members of staff were referred to MMSNational. Each had an average of four treatments, and more than 75 per centremained at work while undergoing therapy. It does not matter if the injuryoccurred at work or at home, because any type of back injury will demand earlyattention or risk lengthy rehabilitation; 74 per cent of BPI’s injuries werenon-work related.Only 19 per cent of the referrals had to take time off work. Afurther 17 per cent were temporarily put on restricted duties and 64 per centwere fit for work.Musculoskeletal injury responds well to early treatment, andthis contrasts with the traditional route of dealing with musculoskeletalinjury through GP prescriptions and sick notes, which often results in costlylong-term absence.  “This rehabilitation scheme created the solutions weneeded in terms of health and safety and occupational health. It was popularwith the workforce and their representatives, and it made excellent businesssense; for every pound we spent on the scheme, we made a saving of £12,”says Collinson. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Fast track back to workOn 1 May 2003 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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