Letters

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, personneltoday.com, 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