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Verity Gough

Sift Media

Deputy Editor

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Updated… A week in HR: Do employers need ‘thicker skins’?

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News round-upThis week, Verity Gough reports on the ‘Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies’ list, as well as news that employers need “thicker skins” when it comes to browsing employees’ social networking profiles.


This week saw the publishing of the illustrious Sunday Times Best 100 SMEs to work for list which was interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, despite only a mere 565 companies participating this year, the figure was up by 52 on last year, suggesting that firms are perhaps making more of an effort to engage and motivate employees.

But perhaps most fascinating was the fact that one in 10 companies on the list is a recruitment firm. Cobalt Recruitment, who scooped second place, swears by motivational tricks to keep staff pepped up. Speaking to the Recruiter, co-founder, Tim Rowe says that flexible working, having a company holiday and even having a Nintendo Wii on hand, has helped keep staff motivated.

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Talking of motivation, last week saw 16-year-old Kimberly Swann sacked after posting a comment on her Facebook page stating that her job was “boring”.

The decision has been criticised by unions, and the TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has said that employers needed “thicker skins” in relation to social networking websites. Interestingly, the TUC itself used Facebook to organise its annual congress in Brighton last year.

However, it has to be said that Facebook and social media sites can also help HR. According to a post on Siron Consulting’s blog, Facebook has been used to recruit a world bobsledding champion.

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Meanwhile, the banking sector is still suffering from a bad case of ‘over-paid bosses’ syndrome. News that ex-chief of RBS Sir Fred Goodwin stands to receive an extortionate pension worth somewhere in the region of £16m, has certainly got under the skin of the nation and has even got the HR bloggers in a tizz.

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In other news, employment misery continues, and it’s not just the UK. A report on the BBC website has revealed that unemployment across the Euro Zone has risen again to its highest level in more than two years, following yet more redundancies. The rate totalled 8.2% in January, according to the latest official European Union data, a figure up on the 8.1% reported in December and above the 7.3% figure in January 2008. This does beg the question, how can anyone recession proof their job? HRGuy suggests that such thinking is an exercise in futility.

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Youmanage has launched an online HR toolkit allowing franchisors to “reflect the individual branding, policies, procedures and documentation of each franchisor… [underpinning] the franchisor’s own brand values,” according to Youmanage’s Phil Brown.

The new toolkit allows franchisors to apply a standard of management practices across a franchise network, including the correct procedures for handling staff disciplinaries and legislation, and also features a system that alerts franchise managers to deadlines and dates.

Explaining the HR toolkit’s virtues, Brown added: “People running franchises will benefit from the easy-to-access HR support, which frees them up to spend more time on other key aspects of their businesses.”

For more information head to the YouManage website.

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And finally, like rival software houses, IRIS and Sage, Pegasus Software has launched an online depository of reference materials, handbooks, and advice. The solution, PegasusHR, is free to access for all customers with a valid Annual Maintenance Contract. HRZone.co.uk’s sister site AccountingWEB.co.uk, spoke with Pegasus’s commercial director about the new product and the company’s hybrid strategy towards HR solutions.

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Verity Gough

Deputy Editor

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