Dissatisfaction grows as mothers work longer

first_img Comments are closed. Mothers are working longer hours than a decade ago and are increasinglybecoming disaffected with the length of time they spend at work. Of 1,100 working mothers surveyed, under a third were satisfied with theirworking hours, compared to 51 per cent in 1992. Mothers with children between the ages of 12 and 15 now work five hours aweek more than a decade ago. On average mothers work two and half hours a week more than women who don’thave children. The Economic and Social Research Council-funded report shows that the needfor money is the main reason for the increase. Time worked is also dependent on access to IT, with IT-using women (whichrepresented 64 per cent) working 3.4 hours more per week than non-users. Michael White, co-director of the study said, “At present, we have atbest half of the ingredients for women with children to develop a satisfactoryworking life. “The other half must include shorter hours for male partners, so theycan do more to help in the home, and greater equality in pay so that women donot need to work as many hours to balance the household budget.” www.esrc.ac.uk Dissatisfaction grows as mothers work longerOn 25 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

NHS trust adds flexible policies to boost morale

first_img Previous Article Next Article Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is looking to introduce work-life balancepractices in a bid to provide a 24-hour service and improve retention andmorale among staff. The trust is investing just under £20,000, half supplied by the DTI’sPartnership Fund to improve the quality of the service for customers and theworking conditions for staff. Colin Moore, director of personnel, believes that introducing work-lifebalance improvements is one way to help achieve this. In January a working party of six headed by Moore will consider whatpolicies to introduce. It will report its findings next summer on which practices are most suitableand will aim to implement them in September 2002. “Especially in the winter we need to make sure we are running more thana Monday to Friday, nine to five service. Traditionally we tend to ask staff ifthey are prepared to work overtime. Work-life balance will help us to produce astandard seven-day service,” said Moore. He believes that the introduction of a work-life balance culture to thetrust will help improve employee motivation and morale because employees willbe able to balance their work and homes lives more effectively. The trust is also in the process of employing a recruitment and retentionofficer whose role will be to identify issues affecting staff morale beforethey become a problem. “If you retain staff then you have no need torecruit them,” said Moore. He is optimistic the appointment will build on efforts to reduce staffturnover which is down to single figures. NHS trust adds flexible policies to boost moraleOn 13 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Refugee measures clear the way for employment

first_img Previous Article Next Article The Government is poised to adopt the aims of PersonnelToday’s Refugees in Employment campaign later this month. Lord Rooker spokeexclusively to Ben WillmottThe Government is to announce a package of measures aimed at making iteasier for employers to recruit refugees and help them make the most of theirskills. Immigration and Citizenship Minister Lord Rooker, speaking exclusively toPersonnel Today, said that a White Paper on citizenship, asylum and immigrationto be published at the end of this month will highlight proposals for a skillsdatabase to ensure highly qualified refugees do not slip through the employmentnet. The White Paper will also outline plans to reduce bureaucracy and removeuncertainty over the recruitment of refugees. Personnel Today has been campaigning for the Government to create a skillsdatabase and reduce red tape to help employers recruit qualified refugees. Fast-track to jobs Rooker said the skills database will play a key role in identifying highlyqualified people seeking asylum in the UK so that, if they are granted refugeestatus, they can be fast-tracked to jobs where there are shortages of theirskills when they are eligible for work. He explained that details of asylum-seekers’ skills and qualifications willbe taken when they are processed through induction centres, which are to bedeveloped over the next year. The White Paper will also outline a pilot scheme to create fouraccommodation centres for asylum-seekers, as an alternative to the currentdispersal system. “At the moment, when someone applies for asylum we do not ask them whattheir occupation is or what qualifications they have, we only ask what isrelevant to their claim,” Rooker said. “Under a new proposal to be announced in the white paper, we willdevelop ideas for induction centres and accommodation centres. “Everybody will go through the induction centres for at least a dayand, because of extra resources, we will be in a position to introduce a moremanaged system of taking information, including qualifications and skills. “We would know what we have coming through the system, so we would notget brain surgeons driving buses,” Rooker added. He said the Government is also planning to give asylum-seekers who achieverefugee status help in having their qualifications and work experiencerecognised in this country. He explained, “Some refugees come armed to the gunnels with paperwork,but some come with nothing. It means there is a need to check and getaccreditation for their qualifications to ensure they can do what they say theycan do.” The minister added that the White Paper will include measures to cut redtape and remove the uncertainty employers face over recruiting refugees. Workable proposals Rooker would not confirm whether the White Paper will include a standardpermission to work document, but he said the Home Office, the DTI and expertsin small business had worked together to ensure the proposals would beworkable. “We want to remove the doubt. It is quite ridiculous that there arepeople who can work legally and yet there are still employers who do not knowwhether they can take someone on or not,” he said. Rooker emphasised that the Government intends to improve the provision ofEnglish language teaching for asylum-seekers to make them more employable. The minister said the document outlines a new approach based on managedmigration, which he hopes will reduce the number of illegal immigrants. He said, “The white paper will raise many issues in terms of improvingintegration and welcoming people, so there is no ‘Fortress Britain’, making iteasier to come to work here by applying overseas. We are trying to chop off theneed to come here illegally and claim asylum because all they want to do is towork here.” Permit scheme The White Paper will look at a range of issues including seasonal workers,working holiday makers, revamping the work permit scheme and low skilledworkers. Rooker said the Government’s Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, announcedlast month, which would enable overseas workers with valuable skills to applyto work in the UK, was one of the White Paper’s proposals. He added, “There will be lots of routes into the UK for work which aremuch more upfront and known about than they are at the present time – newgateways that will hopefully cut down the number of people who feel they haveto pay a facilitator to get in on the back of a lorry.” Related posts:No related photos. Refugee measures clear the way for employmentOn 8 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Pub board game encourages staff learning curve

first_img Comments are closed. Staff working for Scottish and Newcastle Retail Pub Business have beentaking part in an innovative board game that helps them improve their customerservice skills. Charisma has been developed by the firm’s HR team to help employees developtheir skills and knowledge of their working environment. Launched in 2001 after five months development, the game has so far beenplayed by 4,500 staff in 800 pubs across the UK. Teams of four people take turns throwing a dice to move around a board.Depending on which square they land upon, they are challenged to answerquestions on food, bar, legal issues, business and customer service. Those fortunate enough to win move from in-house and area competitions toregional finals and ultimately a national championship. Karen Davies, personnel and training director at S&N Retail, said:”The competition has definitely instilled in staff a real desire to learnand has also helped in their retention of knowledge, which can only helpdevelop their careers. “Staff have even requested a second version of the game and anothernational competition. We are in the process of developing another version tofurther their customer service skills.” Pub board game encourages staff learning curveOn 12 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

The right moves

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. The TUPE regulations are causing confusion for many organisations. sara beanexamines how one company promotes best practice during transfersThe Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 isa notoriously complex piece of legislation, demonstrated by the reams of caselaw emanating from the higher courts, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and theEuropean Court of Justice. Designed to protect the rights of staff – when the business in which theyare employed is transferred to another employer, or when part of a business is‘contracted out’ to a service provider – the law has become so confusing thatit is often virtually impossible for a company to be sure if it applies in agiven situation. Change in this area is imminent, with the Government vowing tomake matters simpler for employers, but there is still doubt as to whether theamendments will really deliver the changes needed. One company routinely involved in managing outsourcing agreements, involvingthe transfer of hundreds of people within different sites, is logistics companyWincanton. It has devised a comprehensive strategy to help negotiate this verydifficult area of employment law and promote best practice. Wincanton employs about 16,000 people across 160 locations, with servicesthat include supply chain systems, warehousing and fleet management. Itsclients come from a range of market sectors, including general retail, groceryretail, food services, oil and petroleum and consumer goods. The nature of its business means Wincanton has been involved in TUPEtransfers for many years. However, it is during the past 10 years or so thatTUPE has really come to the fore says Peter Nicol, personnel director, ConsumerLogistics Business, Wincanton’s consumer division. “TUPE is driven so much by case law, it’s just not a black and whitesubject,” explains Nicol. “The problem is it’s so confusing and oftenseems to be based on the latest decision in the European courts.” Nicol says his initial strategy is to first concentrate on the terms andconditions that apply to the staff being transferred and then find ways toharmonise these with those of Wincanton. But to do so within the terms of TUPErequires extensive organisation. As a change development manager at Wincanton, Kirstie Seddon has beeninvolved in many of its recent transfers, including a number of the high streetgrocery retailers and food services providers. She says: “Usually the timescales with TUPE are very short, with asix-week period from the announcement to going live. “During that time, the organisation must undertake careful duediligence to identify all the transferring obligations and establish bestpractice by consulting and informing those involved in the transfer. We take astructured approach to the process – with HR ensuring that all personnel files,union agreements and any other relevant documentation is thoroughly read andunderstood.” The due diligence study is carried out using a very structured method, and amulti-skilled team of Wincanton managers, drawn not just from HR but from avariety of areas, including transport operations, fleet services management,warehouse operations, stock control and businesses development. Prior to its managers arriving, Wincanton ensures an announcement is madeabout the transfer to the staff concerned and that they are consulted about thechanges that are to take place. This not only helps to ‘lay the foundations for an open and trustingculture’, but also ensures the company adheres to one of the key aspects of TUPE– that staff are kept informed and consulted about the transfer. The ‘due diligence’ process includes double checking when and if TUPE isapplicable. At one site takeover, for example,Wincanton had to determinewhether private health insurance benefit formed part of the employee contracton transfer, despite the fact that eligibility was restricted solely to thoseemployees in the pension scheme (which did not transfer under TUPE). Wincantonalways keeps in close touch with its legal advisers to ensure any potentialissues like this are satisfactorily resolved prior to transfer. Making changes While the terms and conditions of the incumbent employees are written, thecustoms and practices or ‘culture’ of the site in which they work are not, andit is here that changes may need to be made. Wincanton has handled a variety of transfers, ranging from about 130 peopleto more than 800, and sites that have been reasonably well maintained to thosewith a history of poor management. The challenge is to redress any residualproblems, while keeping disruption to a minimum, because the client who hasawarded the contract to Wincanton not only expects service to be maintainedbut, in many cases, is expecting improvements. After the official transfer has been completed, a team of managers fromWincanton with specific operational and functional responsibilities is secondedto support the existing management structure, to help drive through thecultural and organisational changes. These typically include: – An assistant general manager – Operations managers to cover the warehousing operation – A regional personnel manager to support the need for any potentialindustrial relations changes – An accountant to audit accounts and assist the management in strategicplanning – A communications officer to review site communications and keep staff andmanagement informed – A transport manager to work on best practice and assist in devising afuture transport strategy – A project co-ordination manager to assist the team in constructingindividual action plans and integrate them into the master action plan The existing site managers are introduced to the seconded team in smallgroups to discuss how the two teams will interact in a less formal manner, and hopefullyto help reassure managers who are worried about the takeover implications. “The quality of those who are seconded to the site is important,”explains Seddon. “People are put in there to support, guide and coach theexisting managers. We might ask the question: has there been a lack of trainingand direction before? And, will they be able to perform better once theseproblems have been addressed?” In order to ascertain the abilities of the incumbent management team, aseries of appraisals are arranged, which, says Seddon, “helps you get thefeel for the competencies of the team and what must be done for them. It alsohelps determine if the right guidance will lead to you having a very goodmanager. The key is to go in with an open mind.” However, in some cases, proactive steps such as improved training may be toolate. On one site with a history of weak management, a number of managers werealready absent on long-term sick leave due to stress, and no steps had beentaken to deal with the problem. Not only must the incoming team handle this situation appropriately, theymust also have people ready to mobilise within the company if there issubstantial fallout in staffing levels. This is particularly important in areas of high employment, where replacingstaff may be difficult. Seddon says: “In this situation you have to be aware of thesensitivities surrounding any possible recruitment needs and ensure that theunderlying principles of TUPE are not breached.” Communications Wincanton has learned from experience with TUPE that communication is avital component in the change management process. In a recent TUPE transfer, acommunications helpdesk was set up from the day the transfer was announced tothe day it went live. This allowed people to talk to a Wincanton representativeabout the implications of the transfer. Questions ranged from whether the site football team would continue to howpensions were affected by the change. “We posted up every answer on a board dedicated to the transfer, and foundit helped much of the workforce put their minds to rest. Communications isreally all about gaining trust,” says Seddon. Once a site has been taken over and changes are in place, the ultimate aimis to gradually withdraw the support team and allow the existing management totake control and continue to drive change and grow a culture of continuousimprovement. The time it takes to fully migrate a site varies, depending on thesize and scale of the cultural differences, but the usual aim is to have a sitefully migrated within a year. “No transfer is easy. Everyone goes through problems and there is anelement of thinking on your feet,” explains Seddon. “The key is to go in prepared, and give these sites some support, whichincludes being able to move more people in to help handle any problems. “We’ve learned through experience that we must also offer supportcentrally, from within Wincanton. It’s important we get it right – after all,there are not as many greenfield site opportunities left, so developingbrownfield sites is an important part of growing and developing ourbusiness,” she says. The change cycleWincanton’s change management teamadheres to the ‘seven stages of change’ theory:1. Shock: being made aware of the ofa mismatch between perceptions expectations and reality2. Denial: believing change is not necessary3. Awareness: understanding the changes that are necessary butstill not understanding how 4. Acceptance: accepting there is a need for change and roomfor improvement5. Experimentation: testing new approaches and behaviour6. Fuller understanding: understanding why some approaches andbehaviours work and others don’t, and realising the benefits of the change7. Integration: incorporating new skills and behaviour into thenatural way of working The right movesOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

First-class delivery

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. First-class deliveryOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Face-to face training has to remain a vibrant and credible tool to be of anyreal use to the audience. But is it getting the attention to detail itdeserves? Asks Margaret KubicekLesley JacksonIT training manager, DLAThere are 150,000 professional trainers in the UK, but only one in 10 isbelieved to have received any further soft skills training or development afterinitial qualification, according to the latest figures from The TrainingFoundation, an organisation providing skills development for trainingprofessionals. For many organisations, it is still the norm to employ subject matterexperts to run courses. But training budgets are continuing to be squeezed, andorganisations are requiring evidence that their expenditure is paying dividendsin the workplace. We asked readers how organisations can assess and improve theperformance of their trainers. After a course has taken place we don’t do ‘happy sheets’. We send questionnairesout in the first week, do random phone calls to a number of people and floorwalk to visit participants at their desk. It is critical for assessments to bedone by people with knowledge of training and the importance of training withinthe company context and ethos, rather than simply relying on ‘happy sheets’. Until two years ago, when we were looking for new trainers, we would justlook at their technical skills. Now we have completely changed our approach:the technical skills come second. The way we’re training our trainers is quiteradical. What we’re finding, in fact, is that the technical knowledge can betaught more easily than the soft skills. Adrian SnookDirector of corporate development, The Training FoundationAs organisations come under more stress, it is tempting to say, ‘we can’tafford training, so we’ll get one of our experts to deliver it’. When you lookat what makes training effective, research in the US estimates that bodylanguage contributes 55 per cent of effectiveness, and 35 per cent is to dowith voice and manner. The residue is down to content knowledge, yet this isthe area that receives the most scrutiny. As an organisation, you need to decide what standard you are going to setyourself. In the IT training world, the Institute of IT Training runs an accreditationprogramme for internal training departments and external training providers.The IT industry had to grasp this nettle first because it grew very rapidly,but this is a trend that is rolling out into other sectors and rightly so. Karen VelascoTraining and development manager, Centrica ISWe have dedicated trainers with extremely good communication and trainingskills and we team them up with subject matter experts. They work together incompiling material and designing the courses. When it comes to delivery, thetrainer has overall responsibility, but the subject matter expert is there toback them up on the technical side and put across the business view. Gillian InceTraining manager, Claire’s AccessoriesI have attended courses that illustrate, from a business perspective, howdangerous it can be to use an external trainer who you haven’t had any trainerperformance feedback on from others, or without having previously viewed partof their delivery. One in particular was on Excel, led by a typical ‘techie’who knew his material. I was trying to learn the subject matter, but wasactually put off by his delivery. Building rapport is a key soft skill because people buy into people first,and the product second. So from the trainer’s perspective, if you don’t build abridge to them, you’ll never be able to bring them across. Georgina BorthwickTraining and development consultantInvolve your trainers as much as you can in decisions about how the coursesare going to run, and encourage debate between managers and trainers. Involvethem in developing the course and rolling it out so they are not just deliveryagents. Have regular brainstorms about training tactics – better ways ofpromoting yourself and raising your profile without raising the expectations ofthe delegates too much, for example. These kinds of activities will keeptrainers motivated and encourage them to broaden their skills. Alan MortiboysHead of education development, University of Central EnglandI believe the use of emotional intelligence by a trainer can transform asession. Unfortunately, it is still a neglected part of the trainer’srepertoire. The value of the trainer’s subject expertise and his skill in usinga range of methods can be lost if he doesn’t know how to create a positiveemotional climate and how to respond genuinely to a group. I’ve been aparticipant on courses which were a disaster despite the presenter’sunquestionable expertise, because they were not emotionally literate. I amconvinced that this use of emotional intelligence can be learned. FeedbackWhat do you think? If you have an opinion on face-to-face training, write tothe editor. Or if you have a topic you’d like to have discussed on our TalkingPoints page, let us know in no more than 50 words. Write to Stephanie Sparrow,Editor, Training Magazine, by e-mail: stephanie. [email protected] Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Dress-code rule provokes discrimination claim

first_imgA male Jobcentre employee is claiming sex discrimination over theorganisation’s dress code. The Department for Work and Pensions introduced a rule last year thatrequires all male staff to wear a shirt and tie to work. They need permissionfrom management to remove the tie, even in hot weather, and face disciplinaryaction if they do not comply. Matthew Thompson, an administrative worker at the Stockport Jobcentre, saidthe code was discriminatory, as women were not required to wear specific itemsof clothing. They were allowed to wear T-shirts, he added. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Dress-code rule provokes discrimination claimOn 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

A leap of faith

first_imgA leap of faithOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Thereare many grey areas to be tested when the new forms of discrimination come intobeing later this year. Pauline Matthews envisages some of the scenarios thatmight cause problems and offers possible solutionsOrientation ExerciseMr Key recently went to work for Soap UK in PR. His female boss,Cynthia, made advances to him, but he politely told her he had a partner, Gary.Since then Cynthia has called him ‘poofter’ and ‘nancy’ to his colleagues. Pauline Matthews comments: Key may have a claim that he has beendiscriminated against on the grounds of his sexual orientation in that he hasbeen harassed by the use of the words poofter and nancy, which refer to hissexual orientation. In Smith v Gardner Merchant, CA 1998 IRLR 510, the Court of Appeal (CA)ruled that, although the Sex Discrimination Act does not prohibit lessfavourable treatment on grounds of sexual orientation, discrimination based onthe employee’s sexual orientation might be discrimination on the basis of sexwhere it can be shown that a comparator of the opposite sex would not have beentreated in the same way in like-for-like circumstances. But who is the correct comparator in this case? It has to be a woman, butshould it be a lesbian? The correct comparison in this instance, according theCA, is to compare how a homosexual man was treated to how a homosexual womanwas, or would have been, treated. If she would not have been treated in such aderogatory way, then the male must have been treated less favourably because ofhis sex. A similar case, Pearce v the Governors of Mayfield School, 2001 IRLR 669,has been appealed to the House of Lords, and it is possible that it may decidethat sexual orientation should be included in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. This claim concerns the harassment of a teacher by pupils at the school whocalled her derogatory lesbian names. When the case went to the CA, one of thejudges indicated that had the discrimination occurred after the Human RightsAct 1998 came into force (October 2000), she would have construed the SexDiscrimination Act to include sexual orientation discrimination. It is possiblethat the House of Lords may follow her opinion, in which case claims relatingto sexual orientation discrimination since October 2000 will be unlawful priorto the introduction of the new legislation in December of this year. This legislation, outlawing sexual orientation discrimination, has been laidbefore Parliament and will be effective from December. As currently drafted, the regulations suggest that if someone is upset bycomments which were said not with the intention of causing them distress andwhich would not cause offence to a reasonable person, then harassment will notbe established. Intentionally hurtful comments will be harassment. Cynthia’sintention is hostile and the terminology used is widely accepted to bederogatory. Therefore, it is likely that Key would be able to claim once thenew sexual orientation discrimination laws are brought in. The employer has two possible further defences. Soap UK could show there wasno detriment as Key ‘gave as good as he got’ or that he used such terminologyhimself (although this would not necessarily be conclusive as he could be upsetby a non-gay person using terminology that he feels is acceptable for gaypeople to use). Second, the firm could establish a ‘reasonable steps’ defence. To do this, the employer needs to show that he actively tried to prevent anydiscrimination occurring, but tribunals differ in what they find acceptable.However, the basic necessities would be an equal opportunities policy, aharassment and bullying policy, training of all members of staff in thepolicies, and regular reinforcement of the message. Employers with these inplace already for sex, race and disability need to update them to includesexual orientation and religion (see below). Note that sexual orientationdiscrimination includes heterosexuality and bisexuality so that, if the roleswere reversed, there would still be discrimination. Human rights and religionMr Sadiq, a possible new recruit, was the best person at interviewand has now telephoned you to say that although he would very much like thejob, he is a devout Muslim and therefore must have time off on Fridayafternoons. The job requires working a rota Friday afternoons. Can the employerrefuse him the job? PM comments: Sadiq cannot currently bring a claim of directdiscrimination as Muslims do not form a racial or ethnic group for the purposesof the Race Relations Act 1976. At present there is no protection for religiousdiscrimination, but this is being introduced in December. However, it ispossible to bring an indirect race discrimination claim in these circumstances.The definition of indirect race discrimination is going to change in July,to make it consistent with the SDA. The new definition says indirectdiscrimination occurs where ‘a provision, criterion or practice’ is appliedwhich puts persons not of the same race at a disadvantage and cannot be shownto be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (ie, cannot bejustified). In Walker v Hussain, EAT 1996 IRLR 11, Muslim staff wanted to take time offin the summer to celebrate Eid. However, there was a ban on taking holidaysover that period and several were disciplined for taking unapproved holiday. Tofind indirect discrimination in these circumstances, it must be shown that thepractice had a disparate impact on one racial or ethnic group, in this caseAsian, therefore there must be a congruence in the workplace between the Asianpopulation and the Muslim religion. In this case, even if discrimination is found, it can be objectivelyjustified. The employer would have to make out a good case why he needed thework doing on a Friday and show that he considered alternatives, but they werenot feasible. If the applicant could have made up the hours at some other timewithout affecting business operations too adversely, it is unlikely theemployer would be successful in objectively justifying the five-dayrequirement. Following the introduction of the religious discrimination regulations,Sadiq would be able to rely on a religious discrimination claim. Theregulations are not clear as to whether the ‘collateral’ effects of holding areligious belief (or manifestations as the Human Rights Convention refers toit) can constitute direct discrimination. For example, can the need to takeholiday or wear a certain dress which is required by your religion but whichleads to detrimental treatment, be direct discrimination or are thesemanifestations of a religious belief rather than the religious belief itselfand to be construed as indirect discrimination? Case law on the Human Rights Act 1998 offers some guidance, as itdifferentiates between discrimination on the grounds of actual religious beliefand discrimination on the grounds of the manifestations of that religiousbelief. In the latter case the discrimination can be justified on certaingrounds. It is more likely that such scenarios would be regarded as indirectdiscrimination under the new regulations. It will be easier for a worker toshow disadvantage in relation to their religious group than it is at presentunder the Race Relations Act in relation to ethnic group. Once the worker cando this, the employer must objectively justify any alleged discrimination. It is interesting to note that in a similar Human Rights Act case, where aworker requested time off for religious observance, the European Court of HumanRights decided that it was acceptable for the employer to insist on attendanceat certain times (Ahmad v UK (1982)). However, this is an old case and may notbe followed in the light of altered social circumstances. Religious freedomsGeorge comes to work on 1 January 2004 in a bright orange long skirtand kaftan, he has shaved his head and says he has adopted a new religion,Acornism. He is strictly vegan and wants to be called ‘Peace Forever’ from nowon. Another employee, John, is Rastafarian and has always worn dreadlocks whichthe employer says is acceptable because he does not work directly withcustomers. Both George and John have applied for promotion which will involveface-to-face contact with clients. The employer does not think eitherappearance would be good for business. Further, a gay man, Peter, is applyingfor the job – he is open about his sexuality but the HR manager who isinterviewing is a strict Christian and objects to homosexuality on religiousgrounds. What should the employer do? PM comments: Following the introduction of religious discriminationin December, discrimination on the grounds of religion or similar philosophicalbelief will be unlawful. The Government, however, has not defined religiousbelief and has indicated it will leave it to tribunals to draw up a definitionfrom developing case law. This creates problems for employers who have todecide for themselves what will and will not constitute a religion when seekingto accommodate workers and run their business. The Government has given someguidance on what would constitute a religion, such factors being collectiveworship, clear belief system, profound belief affecting the way of life or theview of the world. The notes accompanying the regulations state the definitiondoes not include philosophical or political belief unless it is similar to areligious belief. It is not clear in this case whether George’s Acornism would come within thedefinition of religion, or a similar philosophical belief. However, it ishighly likely that John’s Rastafarianism would be. Nevertheless, if the employer decides it cannot offer either of them thepost because of their appearance, their appearance being the result of theirreligious beliefs, this is arguably indirect discrimination and the employer mustobjectively justify why George and John are not going to be considered for therole. The employer would have to show a good business case for customers beingput off by their appearance and may have difficulty in doing so. In these daysof diversity and changes to what is socially acceptable dress (such as DavidBeckham wearing a sarong or hair braids), it is generally regarded as an assetto a business to have a diverse workforce. In relation to Peter, it is worth noting that the religious discriminationprovisions also include the possibility of discrimination by somebody becauseof their own religion rather than discrimination against the worker because ofthe worker’s religion. Therefore, Peter may possibly be able to claim sexualorientation and religious discrimination if the HR manager turns him down forthe job because he is gay. The HR manager will be discriminating against Peterbecause the HR manager is a Christian. Though the Government recently indicated it may allow religiousorganisations to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of theirsexuality where this clashed with their religious beliefs, the overall rule isthat religious beliefs will not be an excuse to discriminate on grounds ofsexual orientation. Pauline Matthews is an employment associate at DLA Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

How can I change career direction?

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Many readers have written in asking for advice on career changes. HereProfessor Bennison provides general tips on moving discipline. Many of your questions concern issues to be considered when changing career.I have made some major changes in the direction of my career over the past 40years, and have learnt a few important points which you may find helpful. You need to demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge and experienceneeded to fully perform the tasks inherent in a new job. A switch from HR tofinance, for example, demands a basic qualification in a financial disciplinebefore you will be considered for a post. Such a change commits you to a periodof study for perhaps three years. This length of study is normally required when switching jobs betweenprofessions that control entry by their own qualifications. If your new careerdoesn’t require professional qualifications, you will still have to demonstrateyou have the skills, knowledge and experience to be fully effective. Askyourself ‘How can I acquire these skills?’ You’ll probably have to look for anorganisation which provides on-the-job training. You might, however, want to become a consultant within your existing area ofexpertise. In joining an existing consultancy, there are two issues to be faced. Manyconsultancies prefer to recruit highly-qualified graduates and train them. Someyears ago I applied to join such an organisation and although I was recognisedas a leading figure in HR planning, and had built up and managed a team ofsuccessful consultants, I wasn’t considered for a position because the firm’spolicy was to employ only newly-qualified graduates. If you graduated in thelast two years with a first or upper second in your degree or have an MBA, takea chance and apply. Consultancies that recruit people with experience in the areas the companyoffers will demand high levels of skill, knowledge and experience and a proventrack record in implementation. They will also be judging if you have thenecessary managerial process skills – organising, influencing, communicating –to deal with their clients. If your current company operates a management development policy and youhave been in your job for some years, you may have received training in theseskills. If not, there are many short courses offered by a wide range oforganisations. They are good for acquiring an appreciation of what is involvedin a particular managerial process, although longer programmes, that teach skillsusing work-based assignments, not only develop these skills more effectivelybut also provide the evidence you can use to convince an interview panel thatyou have the consultancy skills required. How can I change career direction?On 17 Jun 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

What has IT done for HR

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. What has IT done for HROn 25 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Technology is becoming increasingly important to HR. Keith Rodgers looks at the areas it hasbenefitedCentral HR management The emergence of employee and manager self-service comes as a welcome relieffrom HR administrative functions that have wasted time rekeying data orproviding employees with basic information. Opening access to central systems allows employees and managers both to viewdata (such as benefit entitlement or compensation history) and amend it. MostHR processes – including recruitment, payroll and training – can now benefitfrom some element of self-service. But while self-service grabs the headlines, it’s important not to forget thecore HR management (HRM) system that drives HR transactions. In many cases,these application suites contain components that users haven’t implemented,particularly modules designed to support basic HR disciplines such ascompetency management and succession planning. Although it will cost money to implementthem, the license fee will usually have been included in the original price –so if you’ve paid for it, why not use it? Strong reporting functionality is also essential here, as the central HRdatabase contains key data to establish HR metrics. Many vendors supplementtheir core reporting tools with separate analytical applications, designed bothto measure HR efficiency and provide broader business metrics, such as rates ofattrition. One alternative to managing these administrative processes in-house is tohand them over to a business process outsourcer. It may not be noticeablycheaper, particularly in the short-term, but outsourcers do bring with thembest practices for HR processes. Payroll Self-service has also crept into the payroll domain – many organisationsallow employees to view their pay history securely online and some distributepayslips electronically. Not only does this cut the cost of printing, it alsousually means that pay advice arrives earlier – an important benefit for employeeswhen a mistake needs correcting. Outsourcing payroll remains a popular option for many HR functions, althoughsome fear for the security of their data and remain concerned that the functionwill lose control over a highly-sensitive process. But unless the payrollfunction is providing unique services to the business, it’s usually worth atleast considering a third-party service provider, whether simply to manage theIT application or to take on the entire payroll function. While vendors often claim to support payroll across a range of countries,it’s worth checking the small print to understand their ability to meet tax andregulatory requirements and the degree to which different country payrollapplications are integrated. Recruitment Face-to-face interviewing is so critical in recruitment that manyorganisations don’t even consider internet-based recruitment or processautomation. But while it will never fully replace traditional techniques,internet-based recruitment extends the reach of organisations way beyondtraditional print advertising, and at a lower cost. Allowing candidates to apply for jobs online – either directly or throughthird-party sites – is merely the starting point. Companies can ‘sell’themselves online through techniques such as ‘virtual tours’, and sendpersonalised information about future vacancies when candidates register ageneral interest. Recruitment process automation is another cost saver, particularly whereorganisations can manage CVs electronically and automate scheduling. Training and learning Most HRM systems contain some kind of training management capability, andthere are often gains to be made in centralising training administration andsign-up procedures. Organisations are also increasingly focusing on trainingmetrics, from basic data such as the level of course completion to moresophisticated analysis that attempts to determine the business impact oftraining. E-learning has yet to live up to the hype, but it demonstrates the hugepotential for providing and managing training information. Ultimately, anysystems should accommodate the learner’s needs – from a two-day residentialcourse to a 10-minute burst of sales information distributed to a shopflooremployee. Skills planning It is still hard to believe how many companies go through an exhaustivefinancial budgeting process, yet fail to apply the same principles to peopleplanning. Many companies have only a tenuous grasp of their people capability,so some kind of competence measuring system is essential. It should includedata on part-time workers and contractors, who often comprise a sizeableelement of the workforce. Workforce planning is no different from financial planning – it’s aboutassessing the potential of the existing workforce, and establishing where newskills need to be developed or acquired. The latest software applications caterfor ‘what if?’ modelling – allowing organisations to test scenarios – and alsolink into budgeting applications so the financial costs of different scenarioscan be assessed. Performance management At an individual employee level, automating the appraisal process may not betop of your HR IT agenda, but it has its benefits. Like recruitment automation,the aim is not to replace the face-to-face experience, but to ensure that theconclusions of the appraisal are acted upon. Rather than filling out a form,filing it in a cabinet and pulling it out one year later, appraisal actionpoints can trigger requests for training and be used to update competencymanagement applications. Performance management, however, goes way beyond the individual. Ultimately,it’s about measuring performance in the context of corporate goals. A range ofapplications exists to help organisations set metrics and measure theircorporate performance – including balanced scorecard applications – as well asdistributing them to employees. That’s where the concept of an employee portal– effectively, an in-house home page for employees – really comes into its own.Incentive and reward It’s impossible to separate performance from incentive and reward. Incentivemanagement, often viewed from the perspective of sales but actually applicableto other roles, is an emerging area. The idea is that organisations should beable to consolidate the different systems used by sales managers and finance,manage them centrally, and model different incentive packages. Compensationshould then be linked to successful performance, which requires some level ofintegration between the relevant applications. last_img read more