HR learns to talk the talk

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. If HR professionals want totake their place alongside colleagues on the board, they must learn to speakthe same business language. But what is the language of business? Is it a formof  clever shorthand for technical termsor simply intellectual snobbery disguising insincerity? Jane Lewis investigatesThere are two purposesto language – the first and most obvious is as a means of communication. But wealso use language as an important differentiator of who we are – it helps reinforcea sense of group identity and cement a set of common goals. “He speaks my language”is a common enough expression, and is almost invariably used in the context ofpraise. The clear subtext is that if you can talk the lingo, you’re allowedinto the club. If you can’t, expect to be left out in the cold.This might explain why so manyassorted luminaries – from Tony Blair to CIPD director-general Geoff Armstrong– have lately been urging the necessity of talking “the language ofbusiness”. The importance of this from thepoint of view of the HR professional in particular becomes evident when youstudy the findings of a recent research project Tomorrow’s Organisation: NewMindsets, New Skills, published by London Human Resource Group. As the report’sauthor Amin Rajan concludes, “The picture that emerges is distinctlyuncomfortable. All the more so since HR professionals and line managersparticipating in our research presented a similar assessment.”The report shows that although HRmanagers usually share a set of common goals with their peers in linemanagement, the language both groups use to communicate these aims isremarkably different. The consequence is that mutual misunderstanding hasbecome almost inevitable. “It’s like a dialogue between two deafpeople,” says Rajan. “HR people talk about processes, line managerstalk about outcomes. HR wants to know how much something will cost, linemanagers ask where the added value is. HR thinks about budgets, line managementwants to know how to maximise profits.” And so on.You don’t need to be a languageexpert to understand the serious ramifications that such a state of mutualbafflement can have on the health and vitality of a company. Indeed, Rajanmaintains that the failure to find a common language is the main reason why somany change programmes fail. “People involved in changeprogrammes don’t have a common picture of what they want to achieve, and theydon’t have a language to express it. You need a common metaphor, and you need acommon language. If these groups are going to communicate on the samewavelength, HR needs to use business language.”This is hardly revelatory news tomost in the profession – indeed, senior HR managers have been banging on aboutthe importance of scrapping a process-based approach in favour of following a”business agenda” for some time. “The board is not interestedin elegant processes, it is interested in outcomes,” says Stephanie Monk,group HR director at Granada, speaking at the HR Forum nearly two years ago. And even then it was a case ofpreaching to the converted. “This is not a gathering of HR people, it is agathering of business people discussing business issues,” asserts CapGemini HR director, Robert Ingram at the time. “It is not about followingan HR agenda, it is about following a business agenda, but with an HR solution.”So how then do we explain what isobviously a continuing gap between desire and reality? If HR people know theyshould be acting as mainstream business managers – in which case talking the”language of business” would surely follow fairly naturally – whyisn’t it happening?Turning nouns to verbsThe most likely explanation, atleast for the language part of the conundrum, is that the concept of businesslanguage has itself acquired a bad reputation over the years as an exclusiveform of jargon, more caught up in the snobbery of the unfamiliar than in anyserious attempt to convey real meaning. Business language takes nouns and turnsthem into verbs – employees are “incented”, opportunities”leveraged”. The widespread adoption ofacronyms, again frequently used as verbs, makes it even more difficult toextract proper meaning. Businesses can be MBO’d, TQM’d, CEO’d and IPO’d – andthat’s before you get down to the real nitty-gritty of shifting paradigms,benchmarking metrics, and maximising the return on investment from yourstrategic alliances.In many ways business dialect canbe seen as the new Esperanto – an international communication system that, tothe outsider at least, obscures more than it elucidates. But at least Esperanto could neverbe accused of corrupting a perfectly good existing language, which is thecharge that the growing number of opponents of “business-speak” nowlay at its door. Last year, even the BBC Radio 4programme Today weighed into the fray, attacking the meaningless babble that isseeping out of the boardroom into mainstream language.Perhaps some of this terminology –phrases like “ballpark”, “mission critical”,”state-of-the-art” and “disintermediation” – originallymeant something specific to their instigators. But that precision of meaning haslong since vanished: these expressions are now far more likely to be used topad out sentences in the hope of impressing the listener. As George Orwell, oneof the great analysts of 20th century language, noted, “The great enemy ofclear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real anddeclared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhaustedidioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink”.Surprisingly, this view of businesslanguage as a parlance swamped with sly verbal innovation, has also beenespoused by some of the UK’s leading management experts. New phrase, old conceptSean Ricard, senior businesseconomist at Cranfield School of Management and a key lecturer on the school’sMBA course, is unequivocal on the subject. “Too often so-called businesspeople wrap themselves up in language that is opaque when it is clear that theessence of business is good communication,” he says. “I’m verycynical about it. Almost without exception it’s a case of coming out with a newphrase to describe an old concept. “Half the time this languageis invented to sell books. When there are problems to sort out in realcompanies, people sit down and talk about them in plain English.”Amin Rajan agrees. “I advisecompanies to use absolute simplicity in language – clear, short words that willtrigger actions and provoke the question, ‘What are we going to do?’ “It is intellectual snobberyto use long words, but underlying that is a more sinister purpose, which is,‘We’re not going to do anything’,” he says. To counter this, he suggests thatcompanies should talk about “aims” not “objectives” and”goals” rather than that ubiquitous catch-all, “vision”.But Ricard does concede that hispolicy of avoiding fancy business vernacular terms wherever possible can bedifficult to carry out to the letter when you are teaching something asbusiness-specific as an MBA course. “If you don’t talk about ‘core competencies’people may think you’re not up-to-date,” he says. And elsewhere he has remarked that,”at a senior level, HR directors should be able to talk knowledgeably totheir colleagues in accountancy or marketing, so that if someone comes into theroom talking about ‘stock asset variables’ you are not going to be phased byit”. Moreover it is clear that some examples of business parlance,while admittedly falling into the category of new phrases for old concepts, cannonetheless represent a convenient shorthand. “Outsourcing” is a goodexample of this. Yes, the idea of it is as old as business itself, but how elseare you going to describe the practice quite so neatly without resorting tocomplicated sentence structures? If we can incorporate”angst”, “pyjamas”, “cul-de-sac” and”beriberi” into mainstream English, then why not”downsize”, “multi-task”, “outsource” or even”mainstream” for that matter?”The point of jargon is thatit can help you make shortcuts to difficult concepts,” says ValerieGarrow, senior researcher at Roffey Park. Moreover, as she points out, everydifferent department in any organisation has its own vernacular – and HR itselfis no exception. The real question, therefore, for any HR professional bent ontalking the language of business, is how to decipher what should be embracedand what rejected. As Rajan sums up, “There is alot of hype out there and HR people have got to learn to sort the wheat fromthe chaff.”It has often been remarked that thenative language of business is still numbers – how could it be otherwise whensuccess is ultimately measured in terms of profit, cash flows and ratios?Consequently if HR people are to make a real impact in improving the business,they must be able to understand – and express – some of the basic tenets offinancial management. Given the, ahem, strategic importance of understandingcustomer markets and the pivotal role of IT in any modern business, it mightalso be a good idea to brush up on what these departments are saying too.No magic”There is nothing magic toit,” says consultant Paul Kearns at Personnel Works. “It is just aquestion of understanding what is actually meant by real business terminologythat says something specific – things like ‘profit and loss’ and ‘net presentvalue’.” This doesn’t mean swallowing anaccountancy rule book, so much as familiarising yourself with what is importantto how the business is actually run.Some companies have taken the onusoff the individual by running general business literacy courses acrossdepartments. At the US headquarters of the PR firm, Shandwick International,for example, the chief learning officer organised an in-house”university” in a bid to help staff from a range of different disciplines”to think more like MBAs”. He also made it mandatory for all staff totake a class in Business Literacy I – designed to acquaint them with how theagency actually runs its business.The staff’s reaction has beenoverwhelmingly positive. “I thought these classes would cover the basicsof accounting,” says one. “But they focus on how our company makesmoney – and can lose it – on a daily basis.” Learning what makes figures move inthe right direction for the business as a whole allowed staff to reassess theirown contribution to the process, and often resulted in them making changes tothe way they approached their jobs. But perhaps the best way to go about learning the language ofbusiness is to concentrate less on the language per se and more on the actual issuesthat it is trying to describe. Once you have actually understood the mainpreoccupations of the line businesses, the language will take care of itself. Thus the main guiding point must beyour own understanding. “Use language that means something. Don’t useanything if you are not confident about its meaning,” is Kearns’ cardinalrule. Geddit?Legitimate andillegitimate business languageLegitimate1 Thinking out of theboxCurrently voguish means ofexpressing creative or imaginative thinking: devising new ways to solve oldproblems. To some extent replaces phrases like “green-housing” and”blue-skying” – far too amorphous for most managers to get theirheads round. At least a box has structure – even if you’re trying to think outof it.2 Asset-based businessmodelsNew economy term for those”traditional” organisations majoring in the sale of”physical” goods, as opposed to those concentrating onknowledge-based services or digital products. See also “short-termassets” – aka physical stock. A company with no “short termassets” on its balance sheet normally specialises in brainpower,information aggregation and so on.3  Virtuous cycleA win-win scenario – one in whichall activity winds up being beneficial/profitable. A good, if somewhatsqueamish, example is maggot farming. Farmers are paid to take away the rawmaterials of their trade (chicken carcasses) and then profit again from the twoproducts of the process – the maggots themselves (sold to anglers), and the carcasses(transformed by maggot activity into fertiliser).4 Foot-printingThe process of tracking customeractivity across a website. Considered critical to the art of building upcustomer profiles, but of secondary importance to the feat of turning”clicks into hits” – that is, converting site visitors into payingcustomers.5 Object-orientedOriginally a technical term used todescribe the new generation of component software that can be assembledMeccano-style to form customised applications – and just as quickly dismantledif necessary. As with the best computing phrases (downtime, multi-tasking) theconcept of assembling defined “objects” for a particular purpose hasnow been taken up by mainstream business. Often used to describe the activity ofsetting up particular processes or teams to deal with specific projects/jointventures and so on.6 Spider-plantingA new phrase for spinning offcompanies: how you go about setting up healthy subsidiaries. Baby spider plantscontinue to get nourishment from the parent while establishing their own roots.Trendy because it taps into current bio/eco preoccupations, and also provides asimple, easily understood visual description of the activity.7 B2B and B2B2CB2B is shorthand for “businessto business” trading; B2B2C stands for “business to business tocustomer” and describes the “value chain” in which a basicproduct supplied by one company is enhanced by another partner organisationbefore delivery to the customer. Closely related to…8 Dynamic tradeThe delivery of highly customisedproducts and services. In theory, it’s the customers drive production, pricingpolicies and market conditions.9 Hot-deskingA useful little phrase to describethe process of abandoning fixed office formats in favour of more fluidarrangements conducive to flexi-working/creativity and so on. Unlikely to standthe course of time because it is unpopular with most employees: if you get inlate, you might not get a desk at all. 10 HeuristicImportant-sounding word with usefulsocial-science overtones. Defined as: allowing, or assisting to discover.”Heuristic” has replaced “holistic” as the preferred pseudyword in training circles and is becoming almost ubiquitous in any descriptionof a knowledge management programme. Use with caution: abuse of meaning andfinite time-span probable.Illegitimate1 RightsizeWhile “downsize” and”upsize” are admittedly clumsy Americanisms they have nonetheless wonthemselves a place in the UK business lexicon. Not so “rightsize” – afar-too-sinister euphemism for redundancy programmes which hints at Newspeak,the language devised by Big Brother in 1984 to eliminate subversive ideas.2 360-degree managementA self-important term for doingyour job properly by keeping your eyes peeled. Too much emphasis on 360-degreemanagement could lead to accusations of lack of focus.3 Added valueAlmost impossible to avoid, but thephrase has become so overused that it has lost most of its specific meaning andnow has unfortunate connotations of bargain basements. If you must talk aboutvalue, use it in the context of “value chains”, and “highvalue” integration. No one quite knows what they mean but they soundclassier.4 Paradigmatic shiftAnother expression borrowed fromthe philosophy books, meaning a fundamental change in approach or philosophy.Came to the fore at the start of the dotcom era to describe the shift from anindustrial to a knowledge-based economy. Now distinctly diluted in meaning andpasse. If you want to stress wide-sweeping change try the expression now hip inCalifornian circles, “a tectonic plate shift”.5 “Run it up andthe mast and see who salutes it”A clumsy example of US imagery(meaning to run an idea past someone) which never quite made it over here –except among flash ad-men. Treat those who use it with caution. Although someUS phrases – most notably “ballpark” and “pitch” (bothbaseball derivatives) – have now become parlance, use with care. An exceptiongaining popularity in UK circles is “elevator pitch” – a neatexpression for selling an idea quickly – as in the time it takes for anelevator to reach its destination.6 Disintermediation       The process of eliminatingthird-party sales organisations – in other words, selling direct. The businessequivalent of disestablishmentarianism: long words used for effect. Now widelydiscredited as wrong-headed as well as cumbersome.7 Benchmarking            Pseudo-scientific phrase usedinstead of the more simple “comparing”.8 Functionality andConnectivityKnown fondly among the cognoscentias the “F” and “C” words. Both sound important but meanvery little. Previous Article Next Article HR learns to talk the talkOn 6 Mar 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

"HR learns to talk the talk"

Women’s unit and DTI to share equal ops duties

first_img Comments are closed. The Government has finally decided to split the responsibility for equalopportunities between the Cabinet Office’s Women and Equality Unit and the DTI.The unit will deal with women’s employment and pay, and the DTI is settingup Equality Direct – an advisory service on equal opportunity issues. John Philpott, the CIPD’s chief economist, criticised the Government fordragging its heels. He said, “Equal opportunities should have beenoutlined at the same time that ministerial responsibilities were announced, notat Parliament last week.” Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for the Department of Work andPensions, attempted last week to clear up employers’ confusion over thestructure of his new department. Speaking a seminar held by think-tank IPPR, Darling said his departmentcombines the Employment Service with Social Services, signalling a new approachto welfare. He said, “Our main objective is to get people into work – thealternative is to damn another generation to being out of work. We need to getrid of the distinction between those signing on to work and those on benefits. Previous Article Next Article Women’s unit and DTI to share equal ops dutiesOn 10 Jul 2001 in Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

"Women’s unit and DTI to share equal ops duties"

E-learning for the Global 500

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article The top 500 companies in the world, referred to as the Global 500, will betargeted for e-learning as a result of a strategic relationship between leadingHR outsourcing company Exult and the world’s biggest e-learning company,SmartForce. The six-year deal is predicted to be worth between $17m and $28m. The agreement means that SmartForce’s e-learning solution will beincorporated into Exult’s e-HR service, which is designed to manage the entirehuman resource function. Exult struck a landmark outsourcing deal with BP in1999 worth £375m and its aim is to deliver outsourced e-HR to all the Global500. “The Exult model continues to gain attention in the marketplace andthis relationship marries the strengths of two market leaders while givingSmartForce a powerful new channel into a critical segment of the enterprisemarket,” says Paul Henry, senior VP of SmartForce. The SmartForce e-learning solution contains over 11,000 hours of training,broken down into 20,000 learning objects and permits its own and third-partyand proprietary content to be integrated into customisable instructional paths.It will enable Exult clients to organise e-learning content, implement trainingassessment and certification programs and build knowledge capital. Exult also intends to offer the SmartForce solution to improve productivityof its own employees and, in conjunction with the e-learning company, will bedeveloping unique training content on HR strategy and managing human capital. www.exult.netwww.smartforce.com Comments are closed. E-learning for the Global 500On 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

"E-learning for the Global 500"

Question time

first_imgCharlesNewman recently led a seminar for HR professionals on the new Employment Act.Here, focusing on the new dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures, heanswers the main practical questions and concerns that came out of thosediscussionsWhen will the new procedures be in force? The Government has indicated the new legislation is not likely to be inforce before the second half of 2003, following consultation this winter. What should HR managers be doing to prepare? – Carry out an audit of current practice among HR managers and line managersregarding procedures on dismissal. Unless a picture of best practice emerges, Irecommend training HR and line managers well ahead of the new legislation toreduce the risk of the employer facing the extra cost of dismissals withoutbasic procedures. – Inform line managers they will need to re-think some of the basicsregarding termination of employment. For example, many currently work on thebasis that employees in their probationary period and employees of less thanone year’s service can be dismissed without any procedure, whereas once the lawchanges, in most cases following the basic procedure will be warranted. – Train HR managers and line managers on the increased importance of gettingthe paperwork of the employment relationship in place. At the moment manymanagers know there are no teeth to the legislation that requires a basicsection 1 written statement/written contract of employment. They need to beaware that once the new legislation is in place, financial penalties could flowfrom not providing an employee with a written statement of terms andconditions. What is the bottom line for unfair dismissal compensation without anyproper procedures? Assuming the employee has one year’s service, if the new basic procedures arenot followed the employment tribunal can award an adjustment to unfairdismissal compensation of up to 50 per cent (it will normally be between 10 and50 per cent). In money terms, this means that if an employer is held liable to pay themaximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal which currently stands at£52,600, this maximum award could be increased by 50 per cent, giving in effecta maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal of £78,900. Added to this, if the employer fails to provide a written statement of termsand conditions, it could also be hit with a further four weeks’ pay on top. On a dismissal, do I only have to worry about the new procedures after thefirst year of employment? The new procedures will apply from day one of employment. There is noseparate legal claim for failure to follow the new procedures, rather the newlaw will come into play on the back of the existing Employment tribunal claims.In other words, the potential 50 per cent uplift in an unfair dismissal award willonly come into play if an unfair dismissal claim has been brought successfully,so the risk of an increase in unfair dismissal compensation will still onlyapply (in most cases) where the employee has been dismissed after more than oneyear’s service. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the potential 50 per cent upliftin awards applies not only to unfair dismissal claims, but to all other commontribunal claims, including sex, race and disability discrimination and breachof contract. In unlawful discrimination cases the stakes will be raised by the new rules.Discrimination awards are uncapped – they can already be very high in somecases – so a 50 per cent uplift on a large award could be extremelysignificant. The point to note with breach of contract claims is that any dismissal, evenwhere the employee has less than one year’s service and therefore does not haveunfair dismissal rights, could still lead to a 50 per cent uplift incompensation for breach of contract (usually the payment in lieu of notice).This is because the new procedures are to be incorporated into every employmentcontract, and therefore failure to follow them will be a breach of contract. In practice, the financial risk in breach of contract claims will not besignificantly increased for employees on very short notice periods, butemployers could be faced with significantly increased payouts to higher paidstaff on longer notice periods. For example, an employee earning £80,000 on athree-month notice period would currently be entitled to £20,000 in lieu ofnotice, but under the new rules this could rise to £30,000. It is unclear justhow the jurisdiction limit of £25,000 on breach of contract claims in tribunalwill operate in such circumstances. Will the new procedures apply even during the probationary period? Yes, the new procedures will apply from the first day of employment,regardless of whether the employee is subject to an initial probationaryperiod. This does not mean that probationary periods will not still serve a usefulpurpose. Many employers provide that a shorter notice period applies during theprobationary period, and for the reasons set out above regarding breach ofcontract claims, it would be sensible for employers who do not currently dothis to consider it. If we follow the new procedures does that mean any dismissal isautomatically fair? It seems this will not be the case. Although it is not entirely clear fromthe new Act or the Government’s commentary on it, the general view is that inunfair dismissal cases there will be a two-tier assessment of the fairness.First, tribunals will need to consider the basic procedures under the new Actto determine whether the dismissal is automatically unfair. If the employer overcomes that hurdle, the tribunal will go on to considerwhether the dismissal was fair or not in all circumstances, taking into accountcurrent principles of reasonableness. If, as expected, it will be possible for an employer to comply with the newcontractual disciplinary procedures, but still end up losing an unfairdismissal case, this could lead to confusion among employers. How do these new procedures fit in with the Acas code? There is no reference in the new Act to how the new procedures will operatealongside the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures,which has become the benchmark for tribunals considering the fairness of anemployer’s procedures. It has been generally assumed the new Act will establishminimum procedures, and that best practice, as set out in the Acas code, willcontinue to require procedures that are significantly more extensive. However, the DTI has recently suggested Acas will be invited to revise itsCode. We will have to wait and see what is decided on this after consultationand discussions between Acas and the DTI. Why are there two different levels of basic procedure? It is not entirely clear why the Government has chosen to introduce‘ordinary’ disciplinary and grievance procedures, and ‘modified’ disciplinaryand grievance procedures. It appears to have taken the view that if an employeecommits an act of gross misconduct then dismissal can take place immediatelywith only the ‘modified’ procedure applying thereafter. However, this seems to confuse ‘summary’ dismissal with ‘instant’ dismissal;it has long been a well-established principle of reasonableness in unfairdismissal cases that simply because an employee is accused of gross misconduct,it does not mean that they should be instantly dismissed without further investigationand a hearing. The proposal seems to overlook the possibility of the employer suspending anemployee pending an investigation. The modified grievance procedure seems to have been put in place to enableemployees to resign and claim constructive dismissal immediately without havingto set out the reasons why they feel they have been constructively dismissed ina written grievance first. The employee will still have to state the grievancein writing after termination, however, otherwise they could be barred fromclaiming. Do the new procedures apply only to dismissals for disciplinary issues? No, the new procedures will apply on any dismissal. This means dismissalsfor redundancy and ill health, for example, will need to be conducted inaccordance with basic procedures. This could lead to employees in redundancysituations being able to appeal against the decision to select them forredundancy, a step not always provided for by employers at the moment. What about the right to be accompanied – how does that fit in? The right to be accompanied does not form part of the new minimumprocedures. However, this right already exists for all employees, regardless oflength of service, for disciplinary and grievance procedures, so it is onlydismissals that do not fall into the disciplinary bracket where the right to beaccompanied will not apply. It will be interesting to see whether in practice employees will be offeredthe right to be accompanied in all dismissal situations where the employer hasdecided to comply with the minimum procedures. Allowing an employee to beaccompanied at all dismissal meetings is likely to become best practice. Charles Newman is a partner in the London employment department ofBeachcroft Wansbroughs Late changes to the Employment Bill Prior to receiving Royal Assent the following late changes were added:Written terms and conditionsThe penalty for not providing a written statement of terms andconditions of employment will be two or four weeks pay at the tribunal’sdiscretion. The original idea of an increase in any award by up to 25 per centhas been dropped. However, it remains the case that there will be nofree-standing right to bring a claim to be awarded this penalty, rather it willonly be applicable if the employee has brought another claim in the tribunal,for example an unfair dismissal claim.Tribunal costs – preparation timeOne of the most radical changes in the new legislation will bethe right of a party in a tribunal claim to recover costs in respect ofpreparation time if the other party’s conduct has been vexatious, abusive,disruptive or otherwise unreasonable. Up until the final draft of theEmployment Bill it looked as though this right would be introduced alongside theright to be awarded legal costs in those circumstances as well, but at the lastminute a change was introduced so that a party will have to choose whether toclaim for recovery of preparation time costs or recovery of legal costs. Comments are closed. Question timeOn 1 Sep 2002 in Vexatious claims, Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

"Question time"

A proactive stance will give HR impact in 2003

first_imgCan you make the next 12 months really count as an HR leader not a follower?New Year resolutions always get broken, but one pledge the profession shouldmake – and keep – is to hold back less and be more assertive in driving forwardchange. This year promises to be just as testing as 2002 with continuing uncertaintyover Iraq, turmoil in some markets and business generally having to do morewith less. In this climate, HR has a crucial role to play in improving peoplecapabilities, strengthening the predictability of the business and raisingstandards of operational effectiveness. The future is about creatingorganisations where the people strategies are progressive and unique, where theperformance of the workforce is the differentiator with competitors. If you’re going to make this happen, you can’t afford to sit on thesidelines. HR has to be seen as a utility player, able to lead and inspire allparts of business with flair and versatility. A bolder approach requires trust,understanding and broad business acumen that go beyond core HR skills. Immerse yourself in other parts of the organisation and learn to be moreproficient in all aspects from sales and finance to production and marketing.The board focus is important, but the big decisions are made long before theyreach the CEO and board of directors. Get to know the senior managementstakeholders within the different functions. Listen to their challenges, andrespond with practical, relevant initiatives. Be in the thick of the key debatesand use your expertise to be proactive. Take responsibility, intervene, guideand influence fellow directors. Geoff Armstrong, director general of the CIPD, writing on this page,believes the profession is ready and capable of making a deeper impact. Yethe’s understandably frustrated that so many organisations still fail to developprogressive people management and behave ‘like rabbits frozen in the headlightsof an oncoming car’. Going that extra mile, being more persuasive and refusing to be sidetrackedby doubters will not be easy. But it’s a strident, optimistic HR professionthat is embarking on 2003 and, together with the CIPD, we have every reason tobe positive. By Jane King Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article A proactive stance will give HR impact in 2003On 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

"A proactive stance will give HR impact in 2003"

HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. HR: Does business hours mean all hours?Shared from missc on 9 Dec 2014 in Personnel Today Has “normal business hours” become a thing of the past? These days, I rarely meet anyone who almost immediately following waking up in the morning, wont grab their phone from the bedside to check their email, or who considers their nights to be personal or family time, which not so long ago seemed the norm. What is it about modern day issues and work problems that are more important than those that we were facing years ago that can’t wait until the next day? Or is it a simple case that our ability to prioritize is being depleted due to such ease of systems access which allows many organisations’ staff to turn any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device into a make-shift work station?I’m as guilty as the next person of the late night emails and struggling to switch off but I’m one of the lucky ones who enjoys what I do enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore. What about those who aren’t as lucky and feel like they don’t have the pressure release of being able to go home and un-wind?Human nature dictates that if we get too used to something, it becomes habitual and we begin to expect it. This being the case, if this isn’t carefully managed, how long will it be before being “switched on” at all times is an expected part of a job as opposed to it being a sign of an engaged and happy employee who will strive to go above and beyond any contractual obligations? Don’t get me wrong, the huge emphasis which these days is placed on interoperability and mobility of internal systems of course is a great thing and phenomenal feat in technology advancement but with it comes the potential for more risk, more pressure and more un-happy staff if it is not managed well.center_img Previous Article Next Article Read full article last_img read more

"HR: Does business hours mean all hours?"

Women work for free almost two hours a day, finds XpertHR/CMI data

first_img Women work for free for one hour and forty minutes a day, according to new gender pay gap data from the Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR.The annual salary survey found that women working in full-time roles earn 22% less than men, meaning they work 100 minutes per day, or the equivalent of 57 working days every year, for free.Gender pay gap resourcesEqual pay: mandatory gender pay gap reporting a step closerConsultation on compulsory gender pay gap reporting for large employersHow to carry out an equal pay auditAcross all professional roles, the gender pay gap stands at £8,524 – men earn, on average, £39,136 per year, while women earn £30,612. This is slightly smaller than in 2014, when the gender pay gap was 23%, or just over £9,000.At director level, the pay gap rises, however. Male directors earn an average of £138,699 compared with the female average of £123,756.Male managers also receive almost double the bonus of female managers, at an average of £4,898 compared to £2,531.The CMI/Xpert survey also reveals that the pay gap widens as women get older. Women aged 26 to 35 were paid 6% less than their male colleagues, but this rose to 20% for those aged 36 to 45, and 35% for women aged 46 to 60.This is reflected in the lack of older women in senior positions. Women comprise 67% of the workforce in entry-level roles, but female representation drops to 43% at senior management level.Mark Crail, XpertHR’s content director, said: “An entire generation has now worked its way through from school leaver to retirement since the first equal pay legislation came into effect in 1970.“But the gender pay gap persists, and many employers still prefer not to know just how bad it is in their organisation rather than getting to grips with the data and doing something about it.”Crail added that HR and reward specialists have a “special responsibility” to address the pay gap and move it up the management agenda.Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said that the Government’s proposed legislation to make gender pay gap reporting compulsory for large companies was “good news for business”.She added: “Transparency is a powerful driver for closing the gender pay gap. Clearer employee data, improved recruitment and a reinvigorated focus on business culture will help unblock the talent pipeline and support more women to become senior managers and leaders.”The CMI’s recommendations to help employers close the gender pay gap are:Check your data processes – can you report on and analyse gender pay data?Segment your workforce – are there gaps at different levels of seniority?Align pay and pipeline data – assess whether there are barriers to women reaching senior roles.Track changes – use data from multiple years, rather than a one-year snapshot.Set targets – and use them to monitor progress and drive change.Review starting salaries – do your recruitment processes create a gender pay problem from the outset?Start reporting – publishing gender pay data shows a commitment to fairness to all employees.Change outdated cultures – flexible working and mentoring are among the ways of retaining and developing employees of both sexes. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Women work for free almost two hours a day, finds XpertHR/CMI dataBy Jo Faragher on 25 Aug 2015 in Gender pay gap, Gender, Personnel Today, Equal paylast_img read more

"Women work for free almost two hours a day, finds XpertHR/CMI data"

Bimodal magmatism in northeast Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula: Geochemical evidence for a Jurassic ensialic back-arc basin

first_imgMajor- and trace-element (XRF and INAA) and Nd-isotope analyses are presented on a Jurassic bimodal association of basic greenstones and silicic metavolcanic rocks from the Black Coast, northeast Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula. The greenstones are divided into three sub-groups, indistinct in the field, but which have geochemical characteristics of island arc tholeiites (group I), E-type MORB (group II), and continental arc basalts (group III). The tholeiites of group I and II have a similar range of ϵNd values (+3.7 to −1.2) and were produced from a heterogeneous, large ion lithophile element (LILE)-enriched, mantle source. The rocks of group III show a much stronger enrichment in LILE than groups I and II, and were derived from a mantle source with slightly lower ϵNd values (−2.3 to −5.0). The silicic volcanic rocks have low ϵNd values (−7.1 to −8.7) indicating a dominant crustal source, although trace element concentrations show a within-plate affinity. The origin and tectonic setting of this bimodal suite is discussed in relation to Mesozoic subduction along the proto-Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula and southern South America and intra-continental extension associated with the break-up of Gondwana. It is concluded that the mafic greenstones and silicic metavolcanic rocks formed in an ensialic back-arc basin setting where, during a period of continental lithospheric attenuation, the rise of a mantle diapir may have caused widespread bimodal magmatism. The geographical extent of the Palmer Land basin is unknown at present, but it may be part of a much larger Weddell Sea or proto-Weddell Sea back-arc basin system.last_img read more

"Bimodal magmatism in northeast Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula: Geochemical evidence for a Jurassic ensialic back-arc basin"

Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions

first_imgClimate change poses challenges for decision makers across society, not just in preparing for the climate of the future but even when planning for the climate of the present day. When making climate sensitive decisions, policy makers and adaptation planners would benefit from information on local scales and for user-specific quantiles (e.g. the hottest/coldest 5% of days) and thresholds (e.g. days above 28 ° C), not just mean changes. Here, we translate observations of weather into observations of climate change, providing maps of the changing shape of climatic temperature distributions across Europe since 1950. The provision of such information from observations is valuable to support decisions designed to be robust in today’s climate, while also providing data against which climate forecasting methods can be judged and interpreted. The general statement that the hottest summer days are warming faster than the coolest is made decision relevant by exposing how the regions of greatest warming are quantile and threshold dependent. In a band from Northern France to Denmark, where the response is greatest, the hottest days in the temperature distribution have seen changes of at least 2 ° C, over four times the global mean change over the same period. In winter the coldest nights are warming fastest, particularly in Scandinavia.last_img read more

"Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions"

Recent oceanic changes in the Arctic in the context of long-term observations

first_imgThis synthesis study assesses recent changes of Arctic Ocean physical parameters using a unique collection of observations from the 2000s and places them in the context of long-term climate trends and variability. Our analysis demonstrates that the 2000s were an exceptional decade with extraordinary upper Arctic Ocean freshening and intermediate Atlantic Water warming. We note that the Arctic Ocean is characterized by large amplitude multi-decadal variability in addition to a long-term trend, making the link of observed changes to climate drivers problematic. However, the exceptional magnitude of recent high-latitude changes (not only oceanic, but also ice and atmospheric) strongly suggests that these recent changes signify a potentially irreversible shift of the Arctic Ocean to a new climate state. These changes have important implications for the Arctic Ocean’s marine ecosystem, especially those components that are dependent on sea ice or that have temperature-dependent sensitivities or thresholds. Addressing these and other questions requires a carefully orchestrated combination of sustained multidisciplinary observations and advanced modeling.last_img read more

"Recent oceanic changes in the Arctic in the context of long-term observations"