Call to rethink more work-life balance plans

first_imgCall to rethink more work-life balance plansOn 10 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The Institute of Directors hascalled on the Government to rethink any future commitments to work-life balancepractices, warning that a further increase in family-friendly measures wouldundermine the competitiveness of UK businesses.Its new report,Keeping Britain Competitive: Manifesto for Business, suggests that the UK’sfall down the World Economic Forum league tables is due to increasing labour marketregulation. In 1998, the UK was ranked fourth, but it fell to ninth in 2000.The release of thereport is timed to challenge the Government’s awaited response to the GreenPaper on Work and Parents, which is due out any day.The IoD’s head ofpolicy Ruth Lea said, “The UK has a global economy and must retain itscompetitiveness so that business can thrive and deliver jobs and prosperity forall. Short of closing our borders to trade with the rest of the world, we mustcompete to stay in the race.”In the manifesto, theIoD calls for “sunset clauses” that allow legislation to expireunless there is a “conscious attempt to renew them”.It also urges theGovernment to implement a five-year review of regulations that affectindividual sectors and suggests that the auditing body charged with reviewingthe regulations must be independent of government departments.Lea said, “It isnot just the employment regulations that are onerous for business, the taxsystem is long overdue for simplification and all regulations should havesunset clauses and be regularly and rigorously audited.”www.iod.org.uk Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Continue reading

Spreading the knowledge

first_imgEmerging markets have provided an abundant labour supply forthe dot-coms of the West, but some are now starting to develop their ownhigh-tech hubs. Professor Lisbeth Claus reports Not surprisingly, these emerging market new economy hubs arefound in areas with an abundant supply of high-quality local knowledge workers.What these areas lack compared to Silicon Valley – a national contextsupporting entrepreneurship, work flexibility, management savvy, venturecapital investors and tax incentives – they make up for with the quantity,quality and cost of their labour force. However, there needs to be a certain infrastructure forInternet start-ups to develop into high-tech hubs. First and foremost, theemerging market must have the necessary brainpower for technologicaldevelopment. For example, India provides an abundance of programmers who supplySilicon Valley and other Western hubs with an outsourced labour supply. One of the biggest challenges facing high-tech industries indeveloping markets is the risk of failure. As we know from cultural expertssuch as Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars, risk taking, uncertainty avoidanceand innovation are very culturally laden terms. In Israel, young people exposed to a military environmenthave built strong friendship networks in the army. Israel’s need forself-reliance in developing its own military technology has also created atechnological research environment. Immigration, especially from Russianscientists and engineers, has provided Israel with an abundant supply ofbrainpower. In addition, the pioneering attitude of an immigrant nation and theclose association between the government and the military in buffering the riskto market provides ingredients vital to successful entrepreneurship. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article China is often cited as an example of a huge potentialmarket for the Internet, but the country still has a restrictive politicalclimate where government controls over Website content and licensing inhibitthe free development of ideas. Government controls can also take the form oftax systems that reduce the profit potential of start-ups. The recent exodus ofthe corporate headquarters of Israeli high-tech firms to the US is a primeexample of the restrictive role government can play in preventing firms fromprospering in their home country. Singapore, with its stable political climateand tax incentives, has also attracted a number of new dot-coms. Dot-coms, whether they survive or not, have created a neweconomy culture that will have a lasting impact on a new generation ofknowledge workers. Some dot-com employees are now moving to more traditionalwork environments and will be taking with them a very different set of work stylesand risk expectations. Although less than 3.5% of the world’s population iscurrently connected to the Internet, its time and space reach is producing aworldwide subculture of knowledge workers connected through technology acrossborders and cultures. The dot-com work culture is so pervasive it will inevitablyinfiltrate the different national and work cultures of companies operating inboth developed and emerging markets. While emerging markets may have a comparative labouradvantage due to their brainpower and competitive costs, a number of factorsput them at a disadvantage compared to their Western counterparts. Dot-comsmust have access to capital from venture capitalists. For emerging markets thisoften means considerable foreign direct investment. There is also a need forexperienced management talent to bring the product to market and manage thestart-up’s business development. Emerging markets often lack senior managerswho are readily available and willing to take the employment risks associatedwith start-ups. Finally, Internet start-ups need a communicationinfrastructure, a potential market for customers, a stable political climateand limited government controls. Market failure for a dot-com start-up is not recognised andviewed in the same way in different cultures and subcultures around the world.A cultural trait of Silicon Valley is that (start-up) failure in itself isoften viewed as an opportunity – as if it were a badge of honour. The Latin andAsian cultures, on the other hand, put a huge emphasis on loss of face. Othercultures, especially Western European, are more security-driven and often lacksuch an incubator culture and entrepreneurial risk-taking ability. Spreading the knowledgeOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Another advantage of emerging markets is the relatively lowwage structure. In Latin America, for example, telephone customer servicerepresentatives are available with minimal training and minimal waiting timefor on-line customers. In India, a pool of programmers is readily available atlocal market labour rates. Silicon Valley, the birthplace of the dot-com phenomenon, isno longer the exclusive domain of the new economy. High-tech firms are to befound not only in concentrated hubs in the US and Europe, but also in selectedemerging markets, the most flourishing of which are Israel, India, Singaporeand China. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Continue reading

Support is key to tackling drink and drug problems

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Employers are being urged to tackle drink and drugs problems at work afterresearch revealed that UK industry loses about £2bn a year through relatedillnesses. The report from the London Chamber of Commerce found 43 per cent of firmshave no workplace alcohol and drugs policy. The business body is calling on employers to conduct random tests on staffto combat substance problems in the workplace. Sally Storey, HR director for Bournewood Community & Mental Health NHSTrust, said it was important to support staff who have substance abuseproblems. “I’m not surprised by the fact that 43 per cent of firms have noworkplace policy in place. My experience is that the public sector is wellahead of these issues.” “But you also need a support mechanism for staff with drug and alcoholproblems. In our trust, we have a confidential counselling service to helpstaff with problems.” Other findings from the report reveal that workplace problems may resultfrom staff getting drunk or taking drugs outside office hours as well as duringthem. The research found that workers are more likely to admit to a drinkproblem if they feel it will be dealt with as a health problem and not resultin immediate disciplinary measures. Piers Merchant, director of campaigns at the London Chamber, said,”Companies need to treat such problems very sensitively and offer as muchsupport as possible. They should devise properly thought-out policies on how totackle the problem and how to deal with employees found to be under theinfluence of alcohol and drugs.” He added, “As part of their overall approach, some companies mightconsider measures such as a complete ban on drinking during working hours orrandom alcohol or drugs tests.” By Karen Higginbottom Related posts:No related photos. Support is key to tackling drink and drug problemsOn 26 Jun 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Continue reading

E-hr trends

first_img Comments are closed. E-hr trendsOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Morethan 76 per cent of international organisations have redesigned or introducednew HR systems over the past 12 months, according to an e-HR survey carried outby research consultancy Business Intelligence. The report, which carried outinterviews at more than 91 international companies, also revealed that 90 percent of those that had not already done so, are planning to launch new systemsover the next year.Thethree main drivers for introducing better systems, include:–Engaging in more strategic services Hopefully,this will replace 60 per cent or so of transactional HR work with electronicmeans to enable more business-oriented, consultancy-type support–Improved HR productivity and performance Systemsimprovements were cited by 35 per cent of respondents as the main reason in theshift to better technologies–More effective HR service delivery Twentyper cent cited HR process enhancements for improved HR deliverySource:www.business-intelligence.co.uklast_img read more

Continue reading

feelgood index

first_imgfeelgood indexOn 19 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Stafffelt more secure in their jobs in May this year than in February. They alsobelieve they are financially better off, according to the latest Fell GoodIndex from Taylor Nelson Sofres.  Staff feltmore secure in their jobs in May this year than in February. They also believethey are financially better off, according to the latest Feel Good Index fromTaylor Nelson Sofres. www.tnsofres.comview graphic  requires flash enabledbrowser Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Continue reading

Beware the ‘blended’ stampede

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Beware the ‘blended’ stampedeOn 1 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Tim Drewitt warns that all too often disparate learning can masquerade asblended learning with desperate resultsCustomer feedback indicates that, in many cases, e-learning has failed toyield the promised results and hasn’t delivered the expected benefits. Now, organisations swept up by the idea that huge catalogues of unsupportede-learning courses at just a few pounds a head would enrich their trainingstrategy, are looking to ‘blended’ learning as the next panacea. But in the rush to create blended learning programmes, some firms have beenguilty of tacking existing classroom workshops or e-mail tutor support onto theback of pre-existing e-learning courses. This is not blended learning. At best,it is disparate learning – at worst, it is desperate learning. Combining appropriate learning resources – with which students can buildknowledge, develop their skills and then put their new skills into practice –makes perfect sense. But unless there is true integration and consistencybetween the content and approach of each element, a great opportunity todeliver a powerful learning experience that improves individual and businessperformance is being thrown away. To create true blended learning, step back and consider what you want toachieve, and then examine the range of training and delivery options that areavailable to you. For example, the best way to train a panel member for a disciplinaryinterview may be to stage a role-play session in a classroom, with trainersobserving and coaching. However, the best way to learn the theory of how to runa disciplinary interview may be through online learning. Try to break your training down into its core components –knowledge-building, skills-development, application – and then consider thebest way of approaching each separate element. This is where technology can really help. Following recent developments,trainers can now use technology to facilitate a learning partnership betweenthemselves and their students. In fact, they can tailor their training to focuson the needs and learning style preferences of each individual trainee, takingtheir prior learning into account. It may sound like science-fiction, but thistype of ‘integrated learning’ is available today. By blending the most appropriate approaches all the way through, trainerscan create a cocktail of consistent learning, which meets student needs,improves business performance and is fully integrated with the workplace. Thatshould be the driver behind a blended solution, not the need to compensate forthe failure of one delivery method. In many organisations, blended learningdoesn’t yet work like this. But it can, and it will. Tim Drewitt is a director of Balance Learning, a dedicated blendedlearning provider www.balancelearning.co.uklast_img read more

Continue reading

E-learing news in brief

first_img Previous Article Next Article E-learing news in briefOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. This month’s e-learning news in brief – Money-go-Round is a new CD-Rom developed for the Basic Skills Agency (BSA)by e-learning providers CNDL, which sets out to reduce the number of adults(about seven million) with numeracy problems. The BSA has commissioned a secondpackage called MoneyPower.  www.cndl.co.uk– A working knowledge of IT is a pre-requisite for the majority of jobs inthe UK today, according to Access Denied, a recent report from the e-learningFoundation into the current state of e-learning in UK schools. The Institutefor Employment Studies estimates there will be 27 million e-workers in Europeby 2010. www.elearningfoundation.co.uk– E-learning Manchester Exhibition and Conference will take place on 18-19March at the city’s G-Mex centre. The opening address will be given by JayCross, CEO of the e-Learning Forum in the US and author of Implementinge-learning. He will outline how Europe can learn from America’s e-learningmistakes and claims he will also “show how you can make more profits frome-learning than Manchester United makes from football.”  www.e-learningevent.com Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Continue reading

Hewitt defends flexible working law

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Hewitt defends flexible working lawOn 15 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt talks to Personnel Today aboutthe effect she hopes the Employment Act will have in encouraging employers toimprove the work-life balance of their staff. The Act, which came into force on6 April, gives the parents of children aged under six the right to requestflexible working arrangementsQ The legislation places a lot of responsibility on both employers andstaff to assess the potential for flexible working. Why is that? A What we are trying to do is use legislation in a new way. Whencreating new rights, the law can create an adversarial situation. We wanted toavoid this by getting the manager and the employee to sit down together andagree on something that will work for both of them. It’s a different use oflegislation and I believe it will work. Q Do you think many employers will comply with the legislation? A Getting a better work-life balance is becoming far more importantfor all employees – men as much as women. The best businesses are alreadyswitched on to this and are using flexible working policies to attract andretain the people they need. As I go around the country, I am struck by thenumber of employers that raise the issue with me, as they talk about the warfor talent. I think the majority of employers will offer family-friendlyworking. Q Won’t some organisations and line managers just go through the motionsthough? A There are still some employers who will say they’re not interested, youcan’t work here if you want to work hours like that. There might be others wholook at the form, tick the boxes and are perfunctory about the whole procedure.I think they will be in the minority and tribunals can look at that. Q How will you know if the legislation is a success or not? A What we are doing is running a benchmarking survey at the moment.That will tell us what employees feel now, if they have satisfactory hours andhow happy they are. We intend to monitor it over the next three years. We willmonitor calls coming into the helpline, tribunal cases, unions, employers andemployee organisations to give us a picture of whether the law will deliver forindividuals. Q Some say the legislation could create divisions within the workplace,with childless workers feeling that parents have access to better employmentrights. Do you think that will happen? A I think a lot of employers are actually saying that if we are doingthis for parents, we don’t want people who don’t have young children to feelleft out, so let’s make this work for everyone. Q Are you saying that the legislation could have a wider effect on theway companies operate, re-assessing the way all of their staff work? A I think we are moving into a completely different system oforganising work, instead of the old nine-to-five standard working hours,full-time life work for men. It will help people get thinking in much moreradical ways. Q Do you not think it would have been fairer to extend the legislation tocover all employees? A As far as the law is concerned, we were right to say it’s aboutparents with young children or children with disabilities, because it isimportant that children grow up well. If we had tried to legislate for everybody, it would probably never havehappened. www.dti.gov.uklast_img read more

Continue reading

HR welcomes unions that argue their case

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Personnel Today’s columnist Stephen Overell was right about one thing whenhe forecast the demise of partnership between employers and unions in hisrecent article – every newly-elected union leader has run on a ticket ofslagging off partnership. It forms part of the campaign to appeal to theactivist rump that decides the election of general secretaries. Of course, the RMT and Unison are not sold on the idea of partnershipco-operation, and there have always been mixed feelings on the issue within theT&G. However, I see no evidence to support Overell’s assertion in his piece‘End of marriage made in hell?’ (Off Message, 24 June) that HR managers havealways been sceptical about partnership. I have always found that personnel professionals welcome unions that arguetheir case strongly and focus on big issues such as restructuring, skilllevels, redundancy management or the impact of new products and services. As we look ahead to implementation of the Information and ConsultationDirective – which will become law for larger companies in 2005 – I wouldchallenge any of the critics of partnership to show how it differs from theEuropean model of social dialogue. Two models of the workplace exist that are vying for supremacy. The first isthe North American model of limited intervention, maximum flexibility, anddevil take the hindmost. At the moment, it is this model which is in theascendancy. The other is the European model based on social cohesion, protection for thevulnerable and taking the ‘high road’ of skill and development as a route toprosperity. This particular model is under a great deal of pressure and we have perhaps10 years to redress the balance. Vital to this project is the need to provesocial dialogue and union engagement delivers success for the economy and thepeople working in it. The union movement needs leaders who have the foresight to see where thereal battle lies. They need to have the courage to tell those members who arespoiling for a scrap that disengagement is not an option. As yet, there is no sign that any of this is understood. A vocabulary ofsecondary picketing, co-ordinated action, single channel and freeloaders soundssuitably macho, but offers little to those grappling with the restructuring ofthe global economy, job transfers to China or India, or pension meltdown. A retrenchment to the mantras of class struggle will send a frisson ofexcitement through some commentators. It will also serve to marginalise unionsat a time when they need greater engagement, not less. By William Coupar, Director, IPA Previous Article Next Article HR welcomes unions that argue their caseOn 22 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Continue reading

…in brief

first_img…in briefOn 21 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today This week’s news in briefStress awareness dayEmployers are being urged to offer staff advice on stress onWednesday 5 November – National Stress Awareness Day.  Organised for the sixth year running by theInternational Stress Management Association, the theme this year is ‘We can alldo something about stress’. www.isma.org.uk/aware.htmDownsizing plansMore than two-thirds of workers under the age of 35 areconsidering downsizing their job to achieve better work-life balance. A studyby Prudential also found that nearly 1 million people aged between 35 and 54are making ‘serious plans’ to downsize their work.  www.prudential.co.ukCommendation for PTPersonnelToday.com was singled out for special commendation atlast week’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) awards. The site wasshortlisted in the integration of media category, with a special mention by thejudges. This is the second honour for the site in 2003. Earlier this year, itwas highly commended at the Periodical Publishers Association awards. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Continue reading