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News in Brief: The things HR should know but don’t


Catch up on the week in HR including the latest news from the CIPD’s annual exhibition and conference and HR revelations: what professionals should know but don’t.

W/C 24/10/05
The things HR should know but don’t
Over a third of HR/payroll professionals do not know the number of sick days their staff take, how long they stay in their jobs, or even the cost of recruiting staff, according to new research ‘Eyes wide shut: HR’s blind ambition’ by HR and payroll software provider Snowdrop.

Worse yet, nearly three-quarters do not know how their HR data compares to industry peers, challenging the notion that HR can create a competitive advantage.

The main findings reveal:

They cannot see its current people issues:

  • Nearly half have no idea of the cost of recruiting staff

  • More than one in ten do not know how many employees work for their organisation

  • A mere third agreed inducting new staff should be part of the recruitment cost

  • Over a third do not have software to manage staff information

They cannot show how their people should be performing:

  • Over a third of HR professionals do not know how many sick days their employees take each year

  • More than two thirds do not know how their organisations’ absence rates compare with the industry average

  • More than a third do not know their previous year’s employee turnover and more than two-thirds do not know how they compare to the industry average

They cannot forecast for the future and identify recruitment and succession needs:

  • More than a third do not know their employees’ average length of service

  • Nearly one in four do not know how many employees will retire in the next three years

Michael Richards, chief executive, Snowdrop, comments on the research:

“HR aims to make a real business impact by contributing to strategy and business planning. But to do so, it has to first understand the HR basics. Without being able to accurately forecast future business needs, HR will only be able to ‘feel its way’ not fulfil its boardroom ambition. Without this knowledge, how can HR expect to really help drive performance?”

Around 466 payroll/HR professionals across a range of sectors took part in the survey.

Staff development key to company success
Talent development rather then recruitment should be the priority within organisations, keynote speaker Rosabeth Moss Kanter told delegates at the CIPD Conference.

Moss Kanter said that HR professionals should concentrate on providing the right environment for staff to flourish, rather than focussing on recruiting new talent.

The Harvard Business School professor, recently named as “one of the 50 most influential business thinkers in the world”, said that it is important for staff to feel successful.

“Sometimes we undervalue giving people the experience of success,” she said. “When people have a success experience they want to communicate more and share with the rest of the team. Winning produces more energy,” she said.

Drawing on research for her most recent book Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End, Moss Kanter said that professionalism was the key to successful organisations.

“(Success) is often not a policy or strategy. It’s about steady professionalism and getting the job done.”

Referring to winning sports teams, she said: “People just got up every day, practised really hard and won games. I see the same thing in great companies, they have a steady professionalism.”

Moss Kanter went on to speak about companies that had achieved significant turnarounds, from losing to winning.

She emphasised the importance of leaders setting a professional example, and the importance of allowing staff the opportunities to develop their skills and experience success.

Ageism rife in UK workplaces
Age discrimination is widespread in the UK and many workers hold unrealistic perceptions about their own career prospects, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

A survey of 2682 managers and personnel professionals found that 60% felt they have been personally disadvantaged at work because of their age and nearly a quarter of those surveyed admitted that age has an impact on their own recruitment decisions.

The research also revealed that almost half had suffered age discrimination through job applications while 39% believed their chances of promotion were hindered by age discrimination. This claim is backed up by individual perceptions of age where over half (63%) of respondents believed that workers between the ages of 30-39 years old had the best promotion prospects, with only 2% citing 50 year-olds or above.

A majority, (80%) reported that they are hanging on to the expectation that they will personally retire by the age of 65, despite believing that the age of retirement for the average person in 10 years’ time will be 66 or older.
For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

CIPD move annual conference
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has changed the dates for next year’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Harrogate. The conference and exhibition opening days are changing from the traditional Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The new dates will now be the 24-26 October 2006.

Responding to visitor, delegates and exhibitors needs, the CIPD say that the move will enable the CIPD to continue to develop the conference and exhibition, especially on the last day which has traditionally finished at 3pm also avoiding the traditional mass exodus on the Friday.

HR communication is key
Good communication and interaction between HR departments across the globe will enable multinational corporations to create a knowledge sharing culture and help them achieve best practice.

This will allow employers to monitor localisation and help them achieve global objectives in terms of learning and integration. This is according to a new report launched at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) annual conference.

Frances Wilson, CIPD International Manager, says, “Exchanging information, knowledge and skills between HR departments across the globe will enable employers to develop good policies and appropriate practice quickly. Attention must be given to the structural and relational dimensions of these networks if they are to be used successfully and effectively.”

International HR Networks in Multinational Companies, is authored by Olga Tregaskis, Linda Glover and Anthony Ferner.

Tesco chief honoured for leadership excellence
Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of supermarket giant, Tesco has been awarded the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) ‘Gold Medal’. The award recognises those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement through their vision and ability to deliver success for their organisation.

Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI said: “Sir Terry Leahy’s vision and determination to maintain high service levels for customers the world over is indicative of his energy for business and a real commitment to deliver effective results.”

The Gold Medal was introduced 25 years ago. Former winners include Sir John Bond and Sir John Browne. Sir Terry Leahy, also follows in the footsteps of Lord MacLaurin, former chairman of Tesco, who was presented with the Gold Medal award in 1997.

Women put up and shut up when it comes to pay
Women are less satisfied then men with their take home pay but are less likely to raise the issue with their boss.

These are the latest findings of a survey run by online salary checker, PayWizard, a project run by the Trades Union Congress and Incomes Data Services.

It found that over one in four female employees were unhappy with their pay (28%), compared to one in five male workers (20%).

Just under two-fifths (39%) of the female survey respondents, however, had discussed pay with their manager in the past year, compared to just under half the men questioned (44%).

In workplaces with no union presence, where there are no collective pay bargaining agreements in place, an even smaller number of employees actually felt brave enough to ask for a pay rise, say the report authors. Again the gender difference is clear with two-fifths of men raising the issue, and only just over a third of women feeling able to ask their boss for more pay.

Just under 4,000 employees were quizzed for the survey.

HR must put front-line managers in the spotlight
Speaking at the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) conference, John Purcell, Professor of Human Resource Management in the School of Management at the University of Bath talked of the crucial role played by front-line managers in determining the way people are managed and developed in organisations.

But warned that this role was in danger of being neglected in favour of HR policies determined at the centre but not communicated effectively down the line.

Professor Purcell said: “Front-line managers have a multitude of roles to fulfil. People management and development duties are crucial to maintaining motivation and securing the willing contribution of employees, but they are often just tacked on to other duties and responsibilities.

“If organisations wish to avoid role overload, HR professionals need to ensure front-line managers are managed and supported in their own right, and are recognised as key employees. A fixation with centrally developed policies, combined with a neglect of the ‘forgotten managers’ on the front line will not deliver effective people management and improved performance”.

Pay deals break free of the doldrums
According to number crunchers, IRS pay deals have finally risen to 3.1% breaking free of the 3% mark.

The range of pay settlements, however, remains unchanged. The upper quartile above which a quarter of pay deals lie is steady at 3.5%. The lower quartile the cut off point for the lowest 25% of pay deals is also level at 3.0%. Therefore, half of all pay deals continue to fall between 3.0% and 3.5%.

Public and private sector deals are neck and neck with both running at a median 3% in the 12 months to September 2005. While almost six in ten of pay awards are higher than a year ago.

IRS Pay and Benefits editor, Sheila Attwood said:

“Despite some wage pressure early in 2005, pay settlements have remained almost stable for two-and-a-half years. Pay settlements are currently running higher than headline inflation, but price increases are expected to slow over the next year, and will exert a downward pull on pay settlement levels during 2006.”

Business Link publishes free staff development guides
Business Link has released a series of staff development guides to help businesses get the most out of their employees.

Getting the best out of your people at work identifies the key business benefits of a strong workforce, what is legally required of employers together with the recommended steps that businesses of all sizes can take to improve people performance in the workplace.

Six key areas relating to people are explored within the publication:

* Creating a skilled workforce.
* Diversity and equality.
* Better performance through people.
* Inspirational leadership.
* Work-life balance & flexible working.
* Partnership working & involving employees.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

NHS training focus on violence against staff
The NHS has launched a new training syllabus aimed at tackling violence against frontline staff in mental health and learning disability services.

Promoting safer and therapeutic services was developed by an NHS Security Management Service to provide training in recognising, de-escalating and managing potentially violent incidents, and aims to improve staff and service-user safety.

From early next year, the NHS Security Management Service will begin training the new Local Security Management Specialists (LSMS) in mental health and learning disability services.

Latest figures show that there were 43,301 incidents of physical assault against NHS staff working in mental health and learning disability settings in 2004/05 across England.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Employers to pay more for college training
The costs of training at further education colleges is set to rise as the government focuses its resources on young people and basic skills.

Under a two-year strategy, which builds on the policy priorities in this year’s 14-19 and Skills White Papers, investment will be increased to enable more 14-19 year olds to stay in education or training and train more adults without basic skills and qualifications.

At the moment the government picks up nearly three quarters of the cost of adult learning courses. Under the new strategy, the level of contributions from employers and individuals who aren’t entitled to free tuition would rise to 37.5% in 2007/08.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Royal award for Training Foundation
The Training Foundation received its Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation this week, presented by HRH the Princess Royal.

The presentation, at the Foundation’s Coventry base, was in recognition of the creation and continuous development of its Certified Trainer Assessment Programme(TAP).

Nick Mitchell, founder and chief executive of The Training Foundation, said: “We are thrilled that Princess Anne has been willing to present our Award personally. It’s not often that training gets into the spotlight and this Award will help us focus attention on the fundamental requirement of any effective learning programme; the skills of the trainer.”

Leading figures from the training and education sector including the chief executives of UfI, the Adult Learning Inspectorate, the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and various Sector Skills Councils attended the presentation.

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