Firms would be the losers in £5 minimum wage hike

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. A rise in the minimum wage to £5 an hour would hit businesses hard, according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).In a survey of 500 ACCA members, representing 10,000 firms, almost 80 per cent of respondents think an increase of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to £5 ñ as proposed by the TUC ñ will have a serious effect on the economy and employment.Furthermore, 38 per cent of respondents claim the existing minimum wage has already made a big impact on employment practices. Employers are more likely to abolish paid breaks, cut working hours and increase workloads to recoup costs, according to the report. David Harvey, ACCA’s head of small business, said, “This survey shows that there is a ceiling at which the NMW will become counter-productive. It also reveals that a number of companies have already been adversely affected, even at the lower rate and that proportion is increasing year-on-year.“While most of us in the business community support it, we are now beginning to see negative impacts on profitability and administrative burdens which will need to be monitored.“A higher minimum wage is not a one-way bet for lower paid workers, particularly in regions where the minimum wage is high in relation to costs and prices in the local economy. At £5 an hour the National Minimum Wage would close businesses.”But Paul Sellers, National Minimum Wage officer for the TUC, accused ACCA of scaremongering. He said, “Employers are now aware that the National Minimum Wage is under consideration for a new rate. “The same surveys were carried out before the National Minimum Wage was first introduced. At that time employers were saying they would have to shed jobs if the minimum wage was more than £3.”By Ben Willmott Firms would be the losers in £5 minimum wage hikeOn 16 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Heart to heart

first_imgHeart to heartOn 10 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The concept of emotionalintelligence and its impact on a firm’s efficiency has fast gained recognition.Caroline Horn offers a guide to converting emotion into action Personal qualities andpeople skills such as empathy and self-knowledge – otherwise known as emotionalintelligence – are increasingly being seen as good for business. Colin Selby,director of business psychology consultancy Selby MillSmith, des-cribesemotional intelligence as “the capacity for self-awareness and thecapability to sympathise, which is linked to how a person manages theirbehaviour and skills they use at work.” Since US psychologist DanielGoleman applied the term to the workplace in 1996 (Emotional Intelligence – whyit can matter more than IQ), interest in the concept has grown with a number ofstudies into its positive effect on areas such as leadership skills, managingchange and staff retention.Tim Sparrow, coursedirector at the Centre for Applied Emotional Intelligence, says, “Therehas been a distinct change in the approach to emotional intelligence over thepast 18 months. To begin with, after people found it was measurable, they wereinterested in simply developing it and it was seen as the answer to everyone’sprayers. Now, people are more interested in what you can do, how you can useemotional intelligence and how you can intervene to do something about it. Atsenior levels, it is correlated with effective performance and, because it isrecognised it is can be developed, that you can get a long-term effect.”He adds, “Peopleare also now more aware that emotional intelligence is not one thing – it ismade up of lots of related things. Early tests tended to give you a figure ofyour “EQ” which was unhelpful have different strengths in differentareas and what is important is that shape, rather than “you are good atthis or that.’” Goleman believes thatemotional intelligence covers a number of aspects of personality, includingself-awareness, emotional management, self-motivation, empathy, relationshipmanagement, communication skills and personal style.A number of studiesare also under way to show how such skills can affect an organisation’s growthand how companies can develop their own “emotional capital”. DrMalcolm Higgs of Henley Management College is examining the extent to whichcreating the right environment can effect the development of emotionalintelligence in an organisation. His research, still at an early stage,involves looking at the measure to which a particular culture can support orinhibit emotional intelligence.He has studied 180people across 11 organisations. “We found that the more a culture isassociated with emotional intelligence, the more it attracts and retainspeople,” says Dr Higgs. “This links in with other studies showing alink between emotional intelligence in an organisation – its emotional capital– and an individual’s morale and levels of stress. The higher the emotionalintelligence, the lower the levels of stress.”There are a number ofdifferent ways to look at emotional intelligence, says James Park, managingdirector of consultancy Antidote. “What we try to do is enable anorganisation to look at the interaction between the individuals andorganisational structure and culture in an ongoing way. We describe this as emotionalliteracy – how individuals’ skills and abilities manifest themselves comes downto the way in which they respond to an organisation.”There are a range ofissues involved in building emotional capital, from assessing emotionalintelligence and defining which areas to develop, to deciding where a company’spriorities lie in terms of developing competencies. Dr Higgs comments, “Ihave been involved in projects where emotional intelligence is becoming asignificant part of coaching leaders. That is increasingly coming down tocoaching-based interventions.” There is, he adds, noquick fix. “You hear quite a lot of people talking about developingemotional intelligence but it is not something you can deliver through atwo-day course – there is no quick fix.”And emotional capitalis taking on increasingly global perspectives. Peter Melrose, partner of HayManagement Consultants, says, “In the past couple of years we have beenworking increasingly with the HR departments of large organisations to address theissue of emotional intelligence. Organisations are becoming very interested incomparing their levels of emotional intelligence against internationalbenchmarks.”There are a number ofareas a company needs to consider once it has decided to develop their “emotionalcapital”. A five-point plan towards developing emotional capital in yourorganisation follows. Assess and developemotional competenciesInitially, says DrHiggs, it is important that the organisation spends time explaining whatemotional intelligence is and exploring the issues. That will help”kick-start” it in the development process. “You have to findout which people are good at using assessment, preferably on a 360-degreebasis, then give careful feedback,” he says. “Coaching can be on alengthy one-to-one basis or part of a development programme.”Once the assessmentshave been completed and people understand where their strengths and weaknesseslie, it is important to find out what they are interested in changing. Dr Higgsadds, “It is very clear that, unless someone is motivated to change, theywon’t put in the effort to do it. If they don’t buy into the result, they won’tcommit to it”.This, says Dr Higgs,is where 360-degree feedback is important in self-assessment. “If yousimply sit people through tests and give them the results, people canrationalise it and you can get more denial. With 360-degree feedback, thedifference between how people see themselves and how others see them is veryclear. Individuals then need to consider the different areas and decide whatthey will work on.”You also need todecide what is the most appropriate way to develop those areas, says Sparrow.”There are some people you can test, explain the results, and they willpick it up and run with it. Others are not so good at doing that and they needsupport from a person outside the organisation. Different people need differentinterventions.”Enable teams to learnon the jobLearning on the job iswhere most learning takes place, but for it to be effective, a very specificagenda is required, says Dr Higgs. “Prioritise. Get members to work on onearea of emotional intelligence at a time, not all seven areas. Generally, youare looking at six-to-nine months to see a noticeable change in one area,although it speeds up after that.” Since a team willoften include counterbalancing strengths and techniques, individuals can learnto work with the skills of others, rather than competing against them. Dr Higgsadds, “Individuals need to recognise the strengths they have. If they arein a team and have to deal with a complex decision but don’t have all theinformation, and there is one member who is strong on intuition, then theylearn to listen to that person.” Teamwork is alsoimportant because members can give each other constant feedback – an importantpart of the learning process. Dr Higgs comments, “To some extent, itseffectiveness depends on the organisation’s culture and whether it is an openculture where people can give and receive feedback. If so, development will bemuch better.”Team work has alsobecome more sophisticated, adds Sparrow. “When emotional intelligencestarted hitting the headlines, a lot of HR professionals said they wanted towork with it, and asked for team tests. There weren’t any available specificallyfor teams, so companies applied individual tests to teams.”But that is missingthe point, he says. “We all behave differently in different teams orgroups. In some, you have to watch your backs while others are supportive. Theemotional intelligence of a team is not just a fraction of the individuals onthe team – some teams foster emotional intelligence behaviour, some do not. Soyou need to use a measure, like the one we have developed, that tests groupemotional intelligence.”And there are alwaysindividuals who will do all they can to avoid the challenges of team work,warns Selby. “While team work is very effective in enhancing awareness,people will change their work or team rather than their behaviour in order tointegrate effectively into a team.” He adds that other forms of”training” such as psychotherapy “can help an individual resolveconflicts that are causing them pain in their emotional behaviours”.Enhance individuals’and groups’ ability to self-developThere is growinginterest in self-directed learning, says Melrose. “The principle is thatan individual has to own their own learning process. Because of that, as muchof the learning needs as possible need to be in the workplace rather than atraining room.” The elements of emotional intelligence are best developedon a sustained basis, agrees Dr Higgs, but adds that while the elements providea useful framework for people developing themselves, that needs to be supportedby coaching, mentoring and peer mentoring – which also helps draw emotionalintelligence further down the organisation. He points out that it is alsoimportant that individuals attend an initial workshop on the development offeedback skills – how to give feedback and how to listen to it.Selby also recommendsa series of training modules followed by coaching at the place of work sopeople can continuously learn what they have achieved, and where they need todo more work. But while self-learning is important, he comments, “Withoutcoaching, it’s a waste of time, and the coaching has to be continuous.”Organisations can usevarious appr-oaches to self-development, says Dr Higgs. “One organisationwe worked with looked into emotional intelligence and aspects concerning itssalespeople. Each of the sales team identified areas they needed to focus onand set up what were called ‘development clubs’ focusing on different areas.”They meet everycouple of months and work together as a group or pairs and act as coachestogether. The group is given a lot of autonomy so, if they identify a problem,they can bring someone in to work with them on that topic. That comes back tothe culture in the organisation – it is recognised that that development isimportant, and they are supported.”Develop a new breed ofleaders to transform a firms’ cultureSome people claimemotional intelligence is more important the higher you go in an organisation,says Dr Higgs. “We looked at people’s competencies in terms of change andtheir ability to lead change. The assessment was competency-based, using360-degree measures for leadership capability and then using a 360-degreemeasure of emotional intelligence. We found that six of the seven elements wehave identified for emotional intelligence were related to five areas ofleadership capabilities. I have since been using the two together in my‘developing leadership’ training programmes.”Any organisationlooking to introduce emotional intelligence alongside leadership training needsto clarify the purpose of its leadership training, says Selby. “You needto consider if your organisation is looking at succession planning or aperson’s competencies within a job context; 360-degree feedback is good for thelatter, while emotional intelligence measures will give you a good indicationof someone’s potential and how that person can be developed in terms of theirleadership capability.”He adds, “Thereare different types of leaders. Those who have displayed early promise ofleadership promise by taking on responsibilities will benefit from emotionalintelligence training because they have shown potential and motivation. Theywill be good at influencing people, so will take the workforce with them,whereas a crisis leader won’t take other people forward with them – they wouldexpect people simply to follow them.”And even leaders mightneed persuading that they need to change, says Sparrow. “You might have aleader who is a difficult person to work with in a team situation. Theimportant thing is to realise that you can’t make people change; you have topersuade them that it is worth changing. That is, help them to realise that theway they are is getting in the way of what they need to get done, and this canbe quite a challenge for people.Build new skills forHR professionalsDr Higgs argues thatHR people should themselves have high levels of emotional intelligence. Hesays, “The techniques of HR tend to be quite fixed, for example in termsof reward, and HR people really need to understand how this plays into theculture of the organisation. They might find there are other things they needto develop – they might need to address management leadership issues, forexample – so they can create the climate in an organisation where emotionalintelligence will flourish.”Sparrow’s organisationruns a nine-month action learning course for professionals, called theCertificate in Applied Emotional Intelligence. He says, “Peopleare beginning to realise that emotional intelligence is not something you canlearn about. It’s very difficult to help people develop emotional intelligenceunless you have emotional intelligence yourself.”Short of undertakingextensive courses, there is plenty of professional help available for diagnosisand a suggested course of action, although, as Higgs warns, in purely technicalterms HR departments need to be clear about the material they are using toimplement emotional intelligence. “The challenge is to get good quality –what is clearly and soundly proven or demonstrated. A lot of people are re-badgingstuff as emotional intelligence. You need a deep understanding of the subjectto know what is useful and what is not.”Above all, says Selby,”HR professionals need to move away from the ethic which produces safedecisions towards focusing on profitable decisions – guiding and influencing –that will help to drive a company forward.” Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Socpo and AHHRM get closer on public sector

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Socpo and AHHRM get closer on public sectorOn 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Local government HR body Socpo and NHS HR group the AHHRM are forming closerties to better promote public-sector HR issues. Both HR representative groups feel the CIPD does not sufficiently support HRprofessionals in the public sector. Francesca Okosi, vice-president of Socpo, believes that the CIPD does notfulfil its role of helping public-sector members perform their jobs better. She said, “The CIPD is not aimed at the needs of public sector. We aregoing through modernisation yet this is not re- presented in the CIPD’swork.” The AHHRM and Socpo want CIPD events to have more public-sector speakers andbe cheaper to attend so HR professionals from the sector can afford to go. The two groups will work together on professional development, benchmarking,staff secondments and research. Socpo representatives will also speak at the AHHRM’s September conferenceand they are also considering a joint conference and action plan next year. TerryGorman, assistant chief executive of personnel and corporate services atNottinghamshire County Council, urged the CIPD to re-evaluate its support forpublic-sector professionals. He said, “It is more difficult to work in the public sector than theprivate. The private sector has much simpler objectives while we have much morecontrols, a wider range of services, more legislation to work under, scrutinyand press interest.” In response, Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, claimedthe institute is working with public-sector organisations such as the NHSExecutive and the Local Government Employers’ Organisation to ensure researchand projects take their needs into account. last_img read more

Phones, moans and monitors

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Nearly 2 per cent of the UK workforce is employed in call centres accordingto Diane Beard, occupational health adviser with Medical Industrial Serviceswho works with Thomas Cook. Her presentation at the symposium highlighted good and poor practice in callcentres. She also covered the use of head sets, DSE assessments and thereporting and management of work-related upper limb disorders. Shift work andhealth assessments for night workers were also examined. Other topics includedthe importance of communication and the problem of stress. Comments are closed. Phones, moans and monitorsOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

Getting to grips with online HR developments

first_img Comments are closed. This week’s Softworld Human Resources & Payroll Exhibition will unveilmore clever technology for online HRMore than 40 HR products will be introduced at this week’s Softworld HumanResources and Payroll Exhibition. Like last year, the e-recruit zone willprovide a home to some innovative technologies. Among the exhibitors arePeoplesoft, RebusHR, OneClick HR and Computers In Personnel which willdemonstrate its new range of Ciphr HR solutions. Product highlights Core Computer Consultants will unveil Core Business Intelligence –intended to improve decision-making by giving HR professionals the ability to createad-hoc, management and forecast reports based on department data. Cara Information Technology will introduce: Cara-Online Payslip,which enables employees to access, view and print payslips via theintranet/Internet. Intellect will showcase its entire HR portfolio, but will focus onstrategic data management and its RDBMS system. Total Managed Delivery will demonstrate its TMD/Service Request,which can raise, track and solve incidents within the workplace – from logginga PC fault to ordering stationary items. FSI UK’s latest HR Oasis Workflow programme contains 15 workflowprocesses ranging from self-certification, time and attendance, salary reviewmanagement, employee self-service to holiday requests. I-Grasp will reveal Global Successor – for complete end-to-endrecruitment. McGuffie Brunton will display the latest version of its Equator HRmanagement system which includes payroll, time and attendance, shopfloor datacapture and access control modules. Softworks Computing will introduce TouchWise, a touch screen time andattendance system, which allows employees to deal with their time andattendance levels. Selven’s Team Spirit Web-enabled browser provides access to payroll,personnel or time and attendance, while Team Spirit E-learning offers aflexible approach to online learning. Grampian Software will demonstrate its Absence Module, RecruitmentModule and Training module as well as integrated time and attendance and P11Dsystems. will launch its redesigned site. Day one/6 FebruaryBreakfast Briefings – BB109-09.45amSelecting the right HR and payroll system for your organisation– Determining your requirements– Common mistakes – how to avoid them!– A look at the latest market trends– How to ensure you select the right system for maximum ROISteve Foster, director, KPMG consultingMasterclass – MC1a10-11.00amNegotiating a software package with your suppliers – strategies for success– The key questions you should be asking– Maintenance – what to expect and what must be included– Ensuring a proper support service is provided– Negotiating a reasonable price – cost versus long-termbenefitsMark Grice, management consultant PricewaterhouseCoopersMasterclass – MC2a11.30-12.30pmCase Study: e-Recruitment – streamlining the recruitment process– Why e-recruitment?– Review of the recruitment process before implementation andafter– Supplier selection– Testing & piloting– The implementation process– Lessons learntJackie Weston, resourcing manager, KPMGMasterclass – MC3a1-2pmReview of recent and upcoming payroll legislative changes– Changes in the taxing of company cars– Statutory mileage rates for 2002– Proposed changes in maternity and parental leave rights,including changes in payment of statutory maternity pay– Changes in tax credits– Internet filing of payroll year-end returnsAdrian Hobbs, payroll author, Gee PublishingMasterclass – MC4a2.30-3.30pmOutsourcing and integrating HR and payroll– Integrating systems for consistent information– Combining your HR and payroll needs– ASPs – maintaining control, removing responsibility– Increasing the value of the HR and payroll contribution toyour organisationGraham Russell, principle consultant, KPMG consultingDay two/7 FebruaryBreakfast briefings – BB209-09.45amSelecting the right software system for your HR and payroll functions– Defining your organisation’s needs– Researching the various packages on offer– Making the most of your time at Softworld– The key questions to askDeirdre Hardy, HR consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopersMasterclass – MC1b10-11amEmployee self-service – redressing the balance between employee and employer– How much information should be provided online?– Saving time and money – taking HR into a strategic role– Changing perceptions; incentivising your staff– Integrating ESS and HR systemsMary Sue Rogers, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopersMasterclass – MC2b11.30-12.30pmCase Study – The experience and the lessons of the PwC globalimplementation of HRMS across 14 countries and 100,000 employees– Project overview– Implementation changes– Impact of the HRMS system on the business– Future technology opportunitiesRon Collard, partner, HR consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopersMasterclass – MC3b1-2pmCase Study: Implementing a web-enabled HR and payroll function across theorganisation– Automating and integrating business functions– Increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness– How these issues were planned, managed and put into effect toensure the project was a successSarah O’Brien, project manager, Pret A MangerMasterclass – MC4b2.30-3.30pmUsing technology to develop and manage pay and benefits packages– Benchmarking salaries against industry averages– Gaining fast access to up-to-date pay data– Endorsing your reputation as a competitive employer– Taking advantage of the latest on-line technology– Making a real impact on the bottom lineRichard Crofts, principle consultant, Cubiks, a PA Group Company Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Getting to grips with online HR developmentsOn 5 Feb 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Police upbeat over reform

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Police upbeat over reformOn 7 May 2002 in Police, Personnel Today Police officers could soon benefit from a cut in overtime and improvedwork-life balance after plans to radically reform police pay and conditionswere agreed last week. Under the package of measures, which the Police Federation is to recommendto its members, forces will aim to reduce overtime over the next three years by15 per cent, with forces that meet their targets rewarded with extra officers. Officers could also qualify for competency-based payments of up to £1,002 aswell as special priority bonuses, of between £500 and £5,000, for those in themost difficult jobs. Police would receive an additional £402 on their basicsalary, with the pay scale altered to allow faster progression to the toplevels. Mike Brown, head of employment at Kent constabulary and secretary of theCIPD police forum, welcomed the provisional agreement to cut overtime and helpofficers improve their work-life balance. “We have seen the benefits of a more flexible approach to policeconditions of service, rather than statutory regulations, and we will continueto contribute towards this process,” said Brown. “The reformproposals seek to provide greater flexibility and wide-ranging changes to theway police officers will be employed and rewarded. Working within the policeservice, we welcome this.” The agreement was finally reached following conciliation talks between theHome Office and the Police Federation, which had been deadlocked since thebeginning of the year over the Government’s plans to modernise the force. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Bayer’s business-driven roll-out

first_imgGlobal healthcare and chemicals company Bayer plc is installing acompany-wide e-learning system – provided by Global Knowledge – followingassessment by one of Global’s certified business partners, Trainers ITServices. Bayer was precise in the business objectives of the solution, which had tofulfil the following criteria: to identify a skills gap – monitor existingskills and build on them; offer sufficient flexibility to provide consistenttraining to office and field staff; to save time by tailoring contentspecifically to user requirements; maximise learning retention by providing apost-course support tool; and assist users with the cultural move to e-learningvia mentoring and support. “Besides meeting our training objectives, the services and productsproposed by Trainers IT Services ensured this solution could be used globallyby Bayer,” said Karen Murphy, business development consultant at Bayer’sinternal consulting group, BBS. “This is especially pertinent given thatwe wish to expand our e-learning programme to include our SAP, Siebel and Notesapplications.” A pilot project, introduced and managed by Trainers, looked at Bayer’sinfrastructure and cultural concerns and identified that a combination ofGlobal Knowledge’s web-based training product SPeLWEB and application supporttool OnDemand, plus Trainers’ own blended learning services, which includesmentoring, would meet the objectives. Previous Article Next Article Bayer’s business-driven roll-outOn 1 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Order books emptying at record rate as world waits

first_imgOrder books emptying at record rate as world waitsOn 6 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Manufacturing employers report that orders are falling at their fastest ratefor four years, research by the CBI reveals. Its Quarterly Industrial Trends survey, published last week, finds thelatest decline in orders has been driven by a sharp deterioration in domesticdemand. Thirty-seven per cent of firms reported a fall, against 16 per cent whichsaw a rise. The difference between the two gives a balance of minus 21 per cent,compared with minus 9 per cent in the January survey. Total orders are expectedto continue falling sharply over the coming months. This suggests the weakness in global trading conditions that caused themanufacturing recession is spreading to the home market, where orders are nowfalling at their fastest rate since April 1999. The survey also shows a decline in manufacturers’ confidence, which canprobably be attributed in part to the war in Iraq – but this is the thirdconsecutive survey to register a fall. CBI director-general Digby Jones called for a cut in interest rates tostimulate demand. “The end of the Iraq conflict will steady nerves,” he said,”but the world’s economic problems were there before the war and they arestill there now. Manufacturers hoped domestic demand would hold up until therewas a pick-up in global trade, but that does not seem to be happening. We arenot predicting a recession, however.” Comments are closed. last_img read more

Paperwork hinders Macedonian midwife

first_imgPaperwork hinders Macedonian midwifeOn 24 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Many qualified workers from Eastern Europe arefinding it difficult to complete the paperwork necessary to continue theircareers due to chaos and red tape in their home countries. Stanka Ignatova, 24,qualified as a midwife in her homeland of Macedoniain 1998. She married a UKcitizen last year, and now plans to make her life in the UK.She wants to return to midwifery, but has found the hurdles too great toovercome, and is currently working in a local factory for around £11,000 ayear. “I find it frustrating,” she told Personnel Today. “The formsthe NHS sent me require very detailed information on my education. I need toget those details from my colleges in Macedonia,but Macedoniais in such a mess that it is impossible to track down my details. “It is difficult to know which way to turn,” Ignatovaadded. “I should be able to take a practical test for my skills andattitudes to be assessed, but the NHS tells me they do not have such a systemin place.” Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 5 Oct 2004 in Personnel Today Thisweek’s lettersWorkplace bullying must be uncovered andstamped outItwas with huge relief I read your excellent 28 September issue and the resultsof your survey with the Andrea Adams Trust on workplace bullying. At last,someone is giving airtime to this problem and has realised that HRprofessionals also fall victim to it. Ileft a job just over two years ago after being bullied by a maverick boss, whowas obviously keen to prove himself as a “business partner”, andmore. He wanted to climb to the top of the tree, and he wasn’t letting anyoneget in the way of his ambitions to be a board director.Becausemy boss was so attuned to employment law, trendy business terms and the do’sand don’ts of dealing with staff, he turned his tactics into apolitically-correct version of bullying, which he referred to as”performance management”.Don’tget me wrong – I am all in favour of managing performance and pulling people upwhen they need it.  I know exactly whatthe term means – performance management is not the same thing as bullying. Still,my boss successfully muddied the waters in very subtle but devastating ways. Icomplained twice about being bullied, to people higher up the food chain. Theydidn’t believe me, and the bullying got worse – impossible targets, constantcriticism… Iwent to an employment lawyer who thought I would win my case, but I decided Icould not handle the stress of going through with it. I resigned, andconsequently suffered from depression. I totally lost confidence in myabilities, and it took me a year to feel able to look for another job. Inow work in a busy HR department dealing with just over 2,000 employees, and amgradually accepting more and more responsibility as my confidence is restored.Workplace bullying needs to be stamped out. For a while, it wrecked my life.Details supplied Employers need to pay for rep trainingYouasked your readers whether employers should pay for the training of union reps(News barometer, Personnel Today, 7 September).Employersneed to realise that their workforce is a useful tool in the workplace. Ifgiven encouragement and support in gaining qualifications and experience, theirfuture input into the company with ideas, support of company procedures andlegal requirements would be invaluable. Christine RhodesDetails suppliedWomen still on the rise at Brent CouncilThanks to PersonnelToday for the very welcome article about Brent Council’s flexible workingpolicies which have helped more women move into senior posts (Breaking theglass ceiling, 14 September). We were delighted with your coverage of our local authority, but wouldlike to clarify a couple of things.Thefirst is that Brent’s chief executive Gareth Daniel, does not – as claimed inthe piece – work a compressed week. Like most other chief executives, he worksfor as long as the job demands, which means he often works in the evening andat weekends. Secondly,the leader of Brent Council, Ann John, as an elected member of the council (andnot an officer) also works on behalf of the borough, for however many hours aredemanded by her role. This is also true of other council leaders, I’m sure.Thegood news, however, is that since you published this article, we have foundthat the proportion of women in senior management has increased yet again by 8per cent in the past year.  This means,that since 2001, the number of women in top jobs at Brent has increased from 30per cent to 48 per cent.Sothanks again for your coverage, and watch this space!Tracy WaltersHead of diversity, corporate diversity team Blanket approach to diversity won’t workAsa diversity gatekeeper, I wish to comment on your 21 September edition, whichcontained some stark contrasts. Thefront page talked about HR putting its own house in order regarding equal pay.I agree wholeheartedly. Then, on page 31, an article with the headline‘Recruitment revolution’ quotes an HR adviser for Woolworths as saying: “It’s good to know thatevery candidate has been screened and dealt with in exactly the same way.”Thissupports the myth that the road to equal and fair treatment is to treateveryone in the same way. In reality, this approach serves to discriminate,albeit inadvertently, and is cited as a factor in the McPherson report’sdescription of ‘institutional racism’. And one of the Disability DiscriminationAct’s requirements is to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to practices andprocedures to overcome discrimination. Themove to a ‘one size fits all’ approach may be good for an organisation’sfinances, but it serves to increase disadvantage unless significant efforts aremade to create alternative options. I’llkeep reading Personnel Today with interest!Jane GoodwinEquality and diversity adviser, HampshireCounty Council Quick fixes will not plug gender pay gapIread Michael Millar’s article in Personnel Today about gender pay gaps in theHR profession with some interest (News, 21 September). As an HR manager inmanufacturing, I am fully aware of the historic preference towards men insenior positions. This has obviously been reflected in HR. I am, however,concerned at the inference that HR professionals are in some way creating this situationthrough discrimination. Ithink it would be more appropriate to study the ratio of women against men inHR manager positions (which has clearly grown in the past 10 years in women’sfavour), and to compare starting salaries at management level for each gender.My guess is that such a study’s results would show that the inflated salariesfor men are historic (those in a job for five years or more), that the majorityof new recruits enjoy salary equity, but that many more women are recruited tothe HR profession. Thenature of employment nowadays is that people move on quicker, and althoughthere is a clear argument that you should be paid for the job you do,regardless of time served, there has always been an element of incremental paythat many of the long-term HR managers (mostly male) from years gone by willhave benefited from.Theover-reaction in your report from some very senior people within the HR worldwill inflame the issue among the profession, and is likely to lead to anover-inflation of salaries all-round. Let’stake a sensible approach to gender and salary and recognise the good work beingdone within the profession to removehistoric inequality – and the education of long-term traditionalist directorsand managers – rather than seeking irrational quick fixes.Pete SmithFrustrated HR managerDismissal rules have not caused difficultyWeoverworked and underpaid personnel practitioners have enough real problems toworry about, without Personnel Today tryingto frighten us with fictitious bogeymen! Irefer to the article on your website by Daniel Thomas on the subject of the newdispute and disciplinary rules, headlined Newdismissal rules make it harder to sack employees (News,, 20 September). Thenew statutory procedure has three stages, not 13, and I believe the vastmajority of responsible employers will have to make little effort to complywith them, apart from introducing the step of putting invitations todisciplinary meetings in writing. Thomas’assertion that the new rules will make it harder to sack employees is onlypartly true. They will make it very difficult to sack an employee unfairly, andthat is surely no bad thing, since it should never be a simple matter todeprive someone of their livelihood in any case.Ihave revised my organisation’s procedure to accommodate the new rules, and didnot find it difficult to do. Like most personnel managers, over the past fewmonths I have been on the receiving end of a lot of unsolicited literature fromthe legal profession, attempting to drum up business on the basis thatArmageddon is coming, and only the employment lawyers can save us. Alistair McIntoshGroup personnel manager, Balmoral GroupEditor’s reply: The 13-step guide is aDTI measure, and the assertion that the rules will make it harder to sackemployees came from legal experts. ‘Scaremongering’is not our intention, but business groups such as the Federation of SmallBusinesses and law firms have warned that companies that are not aware of thelegislation may be caught out financially. Hence we reported this.last_img read more