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News in Brief: The Week in HR – Fair reward pays


Catch up on the week in HR with our latest news round-up including why fair reward pays, more on the accountant that got burnt during a motivational firewalking stunt, pension rules could threaten one in five companies and revelations that half of employees would ‘bed’ their boss.

W/C 6/2/06
Be fair, or lose out, says employee study
Companies must aim to reward their employees’ achievements fairly or risk an unmotivated workforce, says the CIPD.

According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), staff are more enthusiastic and engaged if they feel their skills and efforts are justly recognised by their employer. Despite this, only 41% of organisations questioned treat fairness as an objective of their reward strategy.

The CIPD argues that salary and reward policies are crucial to achieving business objectives, warning that if staff believe these to be unfair, the relationship with employees can be damaged.

The people management body advises companies to monitor the reward system regularly, maintain objectivity in determining reward procedures, and communicate well with staff about benefit strategies.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Accountant feels the heat after firewalking stunt
A woman working for business advisory group Deloitte burnt the soles of her feet in what was supposed to be the highlight of a motivational firewalking exercise designed to boost confidence.

The course conducted by Si Group, a corporate development firm was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £4,655 in costs after admitting that it had failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, reports the Times.

It is thought that some of the chemicals used in a pedicure, a few days previously had made the accountant’s feet more sensitive to the heat.

Deloitte who continue to use Si Group for motivational courses has banned its accountants and other employees from firewalking.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Skillset launches new TV Channel promoting industry skills
Skillset is collaborating with a new television channel to promote some of the industry’s crucial messages about skills, careers and training standards.

The Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries will show original television programmes and films from UK universities, colleges and training academies, including the national Skillset Screen Academies.

The company aims to draw interest from mainstream broadcasting groups that are searching for new production and acting talent.

The channel features a series considering diversity issues in the media, looking at how women, minority ethnic groups and the disabled are represented in the sector. Premieres produced by the Screen Academy and master classes from industry experts will also be shown.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Pension rules could threaten one in five companies says CBI
The CBI has repeated its warning that the Pensions Regulator’s approach to new pension funding rules could cause a cashflow crisis for one in five UK companies, forcing them to close.

The Regulator published a consultation document in October, setting out how it would regulate the funding of pension schemes under new rules designed to eliminate pension deficits among UK companies. The Regulator said it will focus its attention on schemes which don’t propose to pay off their deficit within 10 years, or which have a funding target outside a certain range. These will be the ‘trigger points’ which may see the Regulator stepping in to insist that companies take action to cut their deficit.

While welcoming many of the Regulator’s proposals, the CBI remains concerned that the approach to funding may have a serious impact on company cashflow. Deputy Director-General John Cridland said this week: “If the Regulator gets this wrong, it could throttle private sector investment, thereby damaging the UK economy.”

The CBI wants more flexibility around the funding target “trigger”, and wants the recovery period trigger to be set over 10-15 years, rather than 10 years.

For more on this story see: AccountingWEB

Absence soars
Almost three million full or part-time employees have taken a month off work due to illness over the past three years.

This equates to around 11% of the workforce. The research by Benenden Healthcare, a mutual not-for-profit Friendly Society reveals that employees that are married are less likely to take more than a month off than those that are single.

While 13% of singles have taken a month off in the past year just eight per cent of married people have done the same.

And it is workers in the Midlands and Wales and the West who have the worst records for lengthy periods of absence. Around 15% of full and part-time workers in the Midlands and 17% of those in Wales and the West have had to take more than a month off compared with the national average of 11%.

Jakki Stubbington of Benenden Healthcare said: “People should not go into work if they are ill and should not rush back to work before they have fully recovered. However it is tough on their colleagues and employers, particularly small businesses or organisations that do not have the resources to employ extra staff to cover for staff absences.”

According to Benenden, the research shows the major causes of long-term absence are operations, followed by accidents and serious medical conditions such as cancer or heart disease. However stress and back injuries also play their part.

Half of employees would ‘bed’ boss
Fifty-one per cent of employees quizzed would sleep with their boss if it meant securing a promotion.

These are the findings of Peninsula, employment law service. While seven in ten admitted to a fling with a colleague.

In further findings which suggest the workplace continues to be a hotbed for romance, just under half (41%) said they had met their current partner at work or through work, while for 64% it hadn’t worked out.

Shy employees are also dabbling in flirtations with colleagues, with 57% saying they have sent an anonymous valentines card to a colleague in the past.

But it’s not all good news for employees with romance on the mind, 36% of bosses don’t approve of love at work.

Senior employment law specialist, Mike Huss warns that the effect of a workplace romance gone sour can cause problems:

“The potential tensions and divisions that can result from an acrimonious split can have damaging consequences to the environment and atmosphere of the workplace and in turn productivity as employees will tend to side with one party or another and this spreads the ill feelings and conflict. In theory, personal relations and problems outside of work should be kept outside, however, in reality this is not always the case and it is inevitable that it will infiltrate to the workplace.”

Women prepared to quit in work/life balance row
Eight out of ten women in the UK said that, if their boss made their life hell, they’d quit and find another job.

A majority (72%) of working women in the UK said that having a good relationship with their boss is more important than pay and benefits. And three quarters (76%) of women surveyed believe work-life balance is an essential part of a modern career.

The survey was carried out by Lloyds TSB and the work-life balance charity, Working Families, in their search for the UK’s Best Boss.

To find out more, go to:

CIPD Guardian recruitment marketing awards launched
The 2006 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Recruitment Marketing Awards in partnership with the Guardian have been launched.

The annual award recognises innovative recruitment marketing solutions.

New innovations in this year’s awards include:

* A new ‘Best Employer Brand Communications’ award, which seeks to encourage an emphasis on brand awareness.

Robert Peasnell, Chair of Judges commented: “Celebrating great communications is what this category is all about. The employer brand is a relatively new concept but already there’s some great work out there which gets across exactly what’s unique about the recruiting organisation. That’s what we’re looking to recognise with this award.”

* A continued and updated emphasis on diversity, with this category changing from ‘Diversity Excellence’ to the ‘Diversity Award’.

Dianah Worman, CIPD Diversity Adviser, explained:

“Diversity is a dynamic process – it’s not a question of reaching a goal and then relaxing. We’re looking for continual progress, not perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist.”

Applications for the awards close on 31 March 2006. For more details, visit for a complete list of categories and images of last year’s winners.

Innovate or demotivate, warns Training Director
Staff must be encouraged to push parameters a leading business director has said.

Alan Heap, director of training company Purple Monster, said that staff performance should be measured in terms of ability to innovate and challenge senior wisdom.

Heap has warned against encouraging staff to obediently follow instructions. By removing any need for them to think for themselves, individuals become unmotivated because they do not feel valued and trusted in the company.

“Ultimately, employees who are treated like children will start to behave like children. They will do what they have to do and no more.

“No one will challenge existing thinking and as a result the organisation will stagnate. And once that culture starts to spread, it’s very difficult to stop.”

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

Pitman scoops IT training awards
Pitman Training collected a series of prizes for Learning Centre of the Year at the IT Training Awards 2006.

The provider of office and training skills was awarded winner, runner up and nominee against 150 other companies.

The final shortlist featured six centres, in which Pitman twice collected first place and won runner up at the recent event.

The company’s London branch won first prize. Despite being in business for only 18 months, Pitman’s High Holborn centre took the runner up honour.

Pitman currently provides over 1.1 million hours of training through 60,000 IT, office and business skills courses each year.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

E-learning programme for pension scheme trustees
The Pensions Regulator will unveil a free e-learning course aimed at pension scheme trustees at an event on 15 February.

The programme is the first of its kind and is designed to help trustees with their learning, including studying the information requested by the Pensions Act 2004.

This legislation requires trustees to be aware of pensions and trust laws, funding occupational schemes, and the investment of scheme assets.

The software also lets trustees check their knowledge of current affairs, to improve general awareness of relevant issues.

The event will be held at Treadgold Room, One Great George Street, Westminster, London.

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