Breaking up is hard to do

first_imgBreaking up is hard to doOn 1 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Is there any such thing as a simple termination any more? Even the moststraightforward resignation or dismissal can be fraught with implications.David Morgan and Stephen Brown work through some typical situationsScenario 1Ian is a star fund manager for a financial services institution. The companyhas had Ian sign a tightly drafted service agreement containing restrictivecovenants prohibiting him from soliciting clients post-termination and noticeprovisions of three months either way. The company also has the right to placeIan on “garden leave” at any time after notice has been served. Ianis headhunted by a competitor and hands in his notice. The financial pressspeculates he will poach a major client which he developed. DM comments Restrictive covenants are notoriously difficult to enforce in court. Theyshould be drafted in such a way as to protect only the legitimate businessinterests of the employer. There is a risk, when pursuing an employee ininterdict or injunction proceedings that the court will hold the covenants tobe unenforceable, thereby giving the employee free rein. The first step is always to remind the departing employee in writing of hiscontractual obligations and to seek an undertaking that he will abide by therestrictions without need for litigation. Inevitably, this is not alwaysforthcoming. In the above scenario, the company has no non-competition clauseto rely upon. The innovation would be to rely upon the garden leave clause toprotect its client base and to ensure Ian is unable to damage its interests byjoining the competitor early. Having accepted his resignation, the companyshould send him home for the remainder of his contractual notice. If Ian attempted to leave earlier than the expiry of his notice period, hewould be in breach of contract and it would be open to the company to seek aninterdict or injunction immediately from the courts to hold him to his noticeperiod. For this remedy to be successful, however, there should be an expressprovision in the contract enabling the company to place the employee on gardenleave. While garden leave provisions are a useful alternative to restrictivecovenants, a number of points should be borne in mind in light of the recentdecision of Symbian v Christensen, High Court, 8 May 2000]. Worryingly, thatcase held that putting an employee on garden leave in accordance with anexpress contractual provision irretrievably undermined the employmentrelationship and meant the employer could not thereafter rely upon the impliedduty of trust and confidence, good faith and fidelity. The court held that allthat would remain would be the bare bones of a contract of employment and theemployer could not effectively prohibit an employee from working for a competitoror poaching clients during the “garden leave” period since theimplied duty of trust and confidence had disappeared. While this decision is questionable, employers seeking to rely on gardenleave clauses should nonetheless be sure to include an express contractualprovision that employees do not work for others throughout the duration of thecontract of employment. Also the constituent parts of the implied duty of trustand confidence should be expressly referred to in the contract or staff handbook.Scenario 2John works as a production supervisor in an automotive plant. Sue is aclerical assistant in the company’s print room. John has taken an interest inSue although the feelings are not mutual. Both employees have a company mobilephone which is primarily for business use, though a reasonable amount ofpersonal use is permitted. John begins to send Sue text messages both duringand after working hours asking for a date. When Sue tries to let John downgently his text messages become derogatory, threatening and obscene. Sue raisesa grievance with the HR department and produces her company mobile telephonewhich has stored on it the offending messages. The company considers dismissingJohn. DM comments The serious nature of the allegations involving offensive comments of asexual nature will merit disciplinary action being taken against John,including dismissal. Would it be reasonable to base the decision to dismiss John on the groundsof private communications? In a recent Scottish case, MacLeod v Boyce, 31 October 2000, a court foundan individual guilty of contravening section 43 of the Telecommunications Act1984 which makes it a criminal offence to send grossly offensive, indecent orobscene messages by way of a public telecommunications system. The individualhad sent a number of obscene text messages on a mobile phone. In another recentcase a court found an accused in criminal proceedings guilty of the publicdisorder offence of breach of the peace, where harassing text messages had beensent over a mobile phone. The company could, then, be dealing with a potentialcriminal offence committed within the workplace by John. This in itself shouldjustify summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. While the Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates into UK law the right torespect for private life and correspondence, John would not have a direct rightof action in terms of the Act as the company is not a public authority. Anemployment tribunal is, however, a public authority and, when assessing the reasonablenessof John’s dismissal in an unfair dismissal case, human rights principles maycome in. The tribunal would have to carry out a balancing exercise, with John’srights on the one hand and the company’s business needs on the other. To ensure compliance with human rights and data protection principles, thecompany should have a clearly defined policy on the acceptable use of companyproperty, including mobile telephones. Abuse of the equipment should also bereferred to as an instance of gross misconduct in disciplinary procedures.Employees should be required to consent in writing to the monitoring from timeto time of their mobile text messages to ensure that there are no breaches ofthe acceptable use policy. Scenario 3Jill has worked for a bank for a few years. Recently, she has been absent onaverage one day a month. This is beginning to annoy her manager as it putsadditional strain on the rest of the team. The manager suspects Jill is takingunauthorised holiday because she gives inconsistent reasons for her absence –sometimes illness and sometimes childcare responsibilities. The manager wishesto dismiss Jill because of her attendance record. SB commentsBefore dismissing the bank should make reasonable efforts to establish thereason for Jill’s absences. It must warn her that continued absence will resultin dismissal and give her an opportunity to improve attendance. Some short-term childcare-related absences are permitted under the ParentalLeave Regulations. All employees are allowed unpaid time off to look afterdependants when they fall ill or to deal with an unexpected incident involvinga child during school hours. The amount of time off allowed is limited to whatis reasonable in the circumstances. The right only applies if the employeetells the employer of the reason for the absence as soon as possible. However,the employee does not need to provide any proof of why she needed to take timeoff. Therefore, as long as the time taken off for childcare is reasonable, todismiss Jill could be automatically unfair. The first step is to interview Jill and ask her permission to see hermedical records or undergo an examination by the company doctor. If she refusesthe company can make a decision based on the evidence before it. If thereappears to be no sound or major medical reason for these frequent absences,then Jill can be warned the absences are causing a strain on the rest of theworkforce and if they continue she will be dismissed. It must give her a reviewperiod to see if her attendance improves. If, however, there is a more important medical reason for the absences, theemployer must establish whether it falls within the Disability DiscriminationAct. If the illness has a substantial and long-term adverse effect (thereforeis likely to last for 12 months or more) on Jill’s day-to-day activities, theillness might well be classed as a disability. In that case, the bank must not dismiss unless for a sound and justifiablereason and it must also consider whether by making reasonable adjustments toJill’s working practices her job might be made easier. This might includeshorter hours or time off for treatment. David Morgan and Stephen Brown are partners at McGrigor Donald Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

On the eighth day man was made to fret

first_imgOn the eighth day man was made to fretOn 6 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Staff areworking the equivalent of an eight-day week by worrying about work while athome, according to a survey by recruitment company Office Angels.More thantwo thirds of the 1,500 employees questioned claimed that they spent an extra20 hours a week, the equivalent of three days, thinking or talking about work.The surveyshows that more than a third felt more stressed and tired through thinkingabout work, and a fifth said it felt like they had never left the office.Only 12per cent of the 1,500 office employees and employers questioned in the surveyWorking to Live or Living to Work claimed they are able to switch off afterwork compared with 62 per cent who said that work often dominates conversationswith friends and partners.Sundaynight syndrome – when employees feel depressed about returning to work – wascited by a third of the people questioned. A quarter admitted they consistentlydream about work.PaulJacobs, a director of Office Angels, said, “Unfortunately physically leavingthe office does not necessarily mean that you can switch off.”But notevery employee felt that talking about work was negative, with 44 per centclaiming that they found it cathartic to discuss their working day.Fifty-fourper cent of those questioned by recruitment company Office Angels admitted thatthey think of better ideas outside work hours. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Survival tactics

first_imgDespitecriticism, Investors in People is now 10 years old and is launching a freshbatch of standards.  Lucie CarringtonreportsFreshfrom celebrating its first decade of delivering the national training standardto employers, Investors in People UK (IIP) is busy planning the next 10 years.Partly it will be more of the same – persuading large employers to becomeInvestors in People, but IIP will also target smaller firms (SMEs) and it willcontinue forging international links.Inaddition it is embarking on what could turn out to be a massive flankingoperation, producing a range of additional products that will function alongsidethe core investors’ standard. A recruitment standard, or model as IIP prefersto call it, was launched last year and this year the organisation will beginwork on a leadership model and a work/life balance model.IIPUK currently boasts 25,000 accredited companies with one in four workersemployed by organisations with Investors In People status. But what’s amazingto training experts and policy watchers is that IIP as a scheme and anorganisation has survived so long, when other training policies have come andgone. It has even survived the current government’s massive overhaul oftraining policy: the scrapping of training and enterprise councils,rationalisation of national training organisations and the restructuring ofwhat remained of the old employment department. Itssurvival is largely due to the fact that it commands cross-party andindustry-wide support. Launched by the Conservative government in 1991 withsupport from the CBI and the TUC – backing both organisations reaffirmed atIIP’s birthday bash last year – it was no surprise, therefore, that Labour hungon to it. ‘We’vehad five secretaries of state since this initiative was launched, not tomention departmental reorganisations, but the ministerial support for IIP hasbeen fantastic,” says CEO Ruth Spellman.IIPhas also succeeded because it has managed to adapt while insisting that itsbasic principles remain the same. Early on it became bogged down in thebureaucracy and paperwork that have come close to crippling so many nationaltraining initiatives, such as the national vocational qualifications. But IIPUK realised that it could not be too prescriptive about the way employersadhered to its principles, and the result is a fairly simple system involvingits four principles [see box], a dozen indicators and about 25 types ofevidence for an assessor to look at, which emphasise what firms do rather thanthe processes they use.AsJane Pike, HR director at tea room and coffee specialist  group Bettys and Taylors points out:”Over the years, IIP has come to accept that businesses do thingsdifferently.” And it has been essential to its survival. ‘When we embarkedon achieving Investors in People status we believed we were doing some goodthings. We didn’t want to change just for the sake of getting an award. If thescheme had continued to become more bureaucratic, then we would have moved awayfrom it,’ Pike says.Spellmanmust take some of the credit for IIP’s survival. Formerly a managementconsultant, she is an articulate and insatiable publicist for the scheme, andis wholly focused on the message. She never lets an opportunity slip by to tellbusiness, government, the media and whoever will listen that investing inpeople improves business productivity and impact on profits. She is backed upby chairman Tim Melville-Ross. As a former head of the Nationwide BuildingSociety and the Institute of Directors, Melville-Ross adds a bit of gravitas tothe consultancy glitz. However,the problem for Spellman and Melville-Ross is that it is virtually impossibleto prove how much value the scheme really adds to an organisation. There is agrowing body of research that makes a link between training and productivity,including IIP’s own research last year, which found that four out of fiveemployers felt that having the right skills and a good training programme wereessential to business productivity. Likemotherhood, apple pie and so many personnel policies, it’s hard to disagreewith this sort of common sense. But it does not prove a link between trainingand productivity nor does it prove that the scheme itself delivers productivityimprovements.TheInstitute of Directors (IoD), which represents owners and managers in many ofthe small firms that IIP wants to target, does not think that the case for thescheme as a business improvement tool is proven. It also carried out someresearch last year and found that while nine out of 10 of its members said IIPhad improved employee’s ability to do their jobs, only one in four said it hadimproved productivity and less than one in seven said it had affectedprofitability.”It’sa good initiative, but IIP shouldn’t exaggerate its potential,” saysbusiness policy executive at the IoD Richard Wilson. Nor does he think that IIPis right to target small firms. It is, he says, an unrealistic goal for manysmall firms. “Given that a lot of small businesses don’t survive for morethan three years, the scheme is not necessarily the best way forward forthem,” he says.Nonetheless,the scheme has plenty of supporters. Jane Pike of Betty’s and Taylors, forexample, is convinced that it has had a good impact on customer satisfactionscores, while Peter Holmes, group director of marketing with car maintenancefirm Kwik Fit, says it has improved staff turnover by up to 35 per cent in someareas.KwikFit is an established Investor in People having first achieved the standard in1993. “The key to our success as a business is down to our skills and ourservice to the customer,” Holmes says. “The scheme has provided uswith a logical framework for ensuring that we have the processes in place fortraining and measuring the effectiveness of our training.’Witha customer retention rate of 93 per cent, the scheme is clearly popular amongexisting accredited organisations. Listen to supporters like Holmes, Pike, theCBI, and even the IoD, and it is clear that the real value to employers whobelieve in developing their workforces, is that the scheme provides them with astructure to ensure that training and development is linked to business needs.It enables senior managers to monitor training teams and check they are notjust doing a good job, but doing the right one.Thisis what Tim Melville-Ross himself found when the IoD was working towardsaccreditation. “It made me look in detail at our training plan. There wereall sorts of computer courses on offer to IoD staff that were of no use to thebusiness,” he says. They didn’t last.Thescheme has also proved a fabulous way of keeping personnel and training issueson the business agenda, as to gain Investors in People Status an organisationmust have senior management commitment. This means, as Pick points out,”that the scheme comes up at every board meeting because in some way orother one of the four principles will be up for discussion”.Likeany government-sponsored body, IIP is only as good as its funding and Spellmanand Melville-Ross have seen enough non-departmental public bodies come and goto understand the precarious nature of being part of the government trainingnetwork. However, while the standard does seem to have put down some roots,it’s not clear whether it requires a separate organisation to deliver it. Whynot hand it over the Learning Skills Councils (LSC)?‘Weare here to develop the standard and to preserve its quality and that willalways require a separate organisation,’ Melville Ross insists.Thereis also the question of driving it forward, not just in terms of the number ofemployers who can pin an Investors in People certificate on the wall, but alsoin driving up the quality of training and people development in the UK.Tothis end IIP is pushing ahead with plans that could secure its future. It hasits international programme, which now has seven licensed partners around theworld including Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and has another14international pilot schemes running. Moreimportantly it has embarked on a new range of products for existing investorsto use to demonstrate their commitment to the workforce. The recruitment model,which came out last year, was the first, and the leadership and work/lifebalance models are in development. IIP is also drawing on the expertise ofothers, such as the careers experts Penna, Sanders and Sydney, the Institute ofManagement and the CBI, to draw up these additional standards. Spellmaninsists IIP’s expansion plans are what client organisations want. “Theyhave come to us, we haven’t gone to them,” she says. “They respectthe standard and have asked us to design other management tools that tie in.’Theadditional standards will be voluntary but will only be open to firms that havealready achieved IIP status. ‘This is not a gold standard because we think IIPalready offers a gold standard. But we have to provide a new challenge fororganisations that have been accredited for several years,” Spellman says.Thenext few years could be something of a challenge to IIP and are likely to bethe real test of its endurance. However, Melville Ross is bullish about thefuture. “It would be idle to deny that we aren’t worried about a slowereconomy,” he says. “But IIP was introduced during the depths ofrecession and a large number of organisations used it to survive the 1990s. Soit could help firms through the current economic downturn.” Investorsin People: the four principles:–Commitment – an Investor in People is committed to developing its people toachieve its aims and objectives–Planning – an Investor in People is clear about its aims and its objectives andwhat its people need to do to achieve them–Action – an Investor in People develops its people effectively to improve itsperformance–Evaluation – an Investor in People understands the impact of its investment inpeople on its performanceCasestudyBetty’s and Taylor’sBetty’sand Taylor’s, the upmarket teashop chain and tea and coffee retailer, was oneof the first firms to achieve IIP status. “We received the award in 1991and have been reaccredited every three years since,” says HR director JanePike.Pikeis convinced of the business benefits of the scheme. ‘Over a period of time wehave seen a significant increase in sales and decrease in customercomplaints,” she says. ‘We have also seen a marginal, but significant,decrease in staff turnover in a difficult market – 65 per cent of our staffhave now been with us for more than two years.’Betty’sand Taylor’s isn’t just selling tea and cakes – a trip to Betty’s is anexperience. “What’s important to us is the quality of that experience andthat can only be achieved through our staff and teams,” Pike says.IIPaccreditation has enabled Pike and her colleagues to reinforce that across theorganisation. ‘What the scheme has enabled us to do is embed these processesformally in the organisational culture,” Pike says. “It’s easy to getcarried away with the rhetoric of HR and the latest fads, but at the end of theday the most important issues are those surrounding the Investors in Peopleprinciples.’Thisis not rocket science; the processes Pike is talking about are regular monthlybriefings, quarterly appraisals and regular brainstorming sessions involvingall staff.WhatIIP has done, therefore, is provide what Pike calls a “simplistic butflexible and robust framework” to enable Betty’s and Taylor’s to do thesethings in its own way.Thefirm has also introduced an internal IIP-style training award. “All thebranches in Bettys and Taylors are judged against certain criteria such astraining that’s been achieved and added value of that training,” Pikesays. “We measure it in terms of things like absence rates, turnover andcustomer satisfaction scores.’TheInvestors in People scheme has not brought about a revolution in the way thecatering firm manages its people, but Pike insists the formality it offers andthe involvement of all staff, from the chairman to the cleaner, is important.”In my experience, the more a commitment is made public the more likely itis that it is going to stick,” she says.Andit has become a working tool for all staff. “The scheme isn’t owned by HRor management but by every single employee. It demonstrates their achievementsand there is a considerable element of pride attached to it.” Survival tacticsOn 1 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Vital components

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Vital componentsOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Whatare the pivotal issues facing HR over the coming years? How can global HRprofessionals evolve in this changing climate? asks Lance Richards Last autumn, about 50 senior HR practitioners, consultants and academics, meetingat the SHRM Foundation’s Thought Leaders Conference in Washington DC, set outto determine the pivotal issues facing HR professionals in the coming years. Weagreed on five essentials: speed of change and entrepreneurial mindset, thechanging role of the HR professional, measuring human capital, the impact oftechnology and globalisation. I will gladly accept these factors as key to the profession over the nextdecade. But what do they mean for the global HR professional, the HR personwhose work already crosses time zones and borders, cultures and languages? Speed of change Global HR professionals live with business operating around the clock andaround the world. The velocity of change in our global enterprises demands it. Itis essential, though, we recognise that sometimes nimbleness is better thanspeed. In an HR arena, speed of change means HR is in the thick of change – andleading it. We must be constantly mindful of our company’s talent, and how thatasset is managed. The ability to retool a global workforce on the fly,hot-swapping one set of knowledge workers in one country for another, mayquickly become the hallmark of good global HR. We must be careful with entrepreneurial behaviours which may not play wellin every culture. What may be considered a desirable work trait in one placecould be viewed as clear insubordination in another. Changing role of the HR professional If anyone knows about the changing role of HR professionals, it’s those ofus who practice HR in multiple countries. Gone are the days when administrationof local insurance schemes or expatriate allowances consumed the day. Now, it is a focus on merger integration teams, ‘green field’ start-ups, andsuddenly arranged alliances. The global HR professional must not just be readyto react, but must stand shoulder to shoulder with those who drive change tobenefit the enterprise. Measuring human capital We are all aware of the HR metrics being used today to calculate, hopefully,improvements in the services we provide or to validate that money spent on HRis, in fact, money well-spent. On a global scale, a key driver must be that HRrefuses to allow non-meaningful comparators to enter the equation. Implementedand managed carefully, a series of well-designed metrics will increase HR’sperceived value, focus the work of HR professionals, demonstrate that HRunderstands the business – and is aligned with its direction. There is no Holy Grail for measuring the efficacy of an HR function. At theend of the day, many HR components simply defy clean valuation. The point hereis that the areas which can be measured, should be measured. Impact of technology Those of us who have briefcases packed with a dozen currencies, electricaladaptors and telephone cords don’t need to be told about the impact oftechnology. The case could be made that technology has enabled global HRmanagement to be where it is today. The advent of e-mail less than 15 years agodramatically changed how an HR professional dealt with the far corners of theworld. Still, we lack reliable connectivity outside major world centres;non-irritating videoconferencing is hard to find, and we still have to carrythree or four different cellphones on a business trip of any reasonable length.The technology impact has also allowed us to draw more data, more input intothe work we do. This, in no small part, has enabled companies to craft global policies whichencourage local practices to be not only globally compliant with theenterprises’ vision, but locally relevant as well. Globalisation I personally was delighted that globalisation fell into the top five list –coming from a largely American group of senior HR leaders. For professionalsalready practising in the global arena, it is good to know that we are alreadyin motion, where many of our domestic-focused colleagues are now pointing. In this respect, it is our responsibility to be evangelists to ourcolleagues whose focus is single-country. It is essential that, as ourorganisations expand and grow internationally, we lead the globalisation turnwithin our own HR departments – and our organisations as a whole. What are wedoing to globalise our employee population, to educate them about the placeswhere our enterprises do business? How are we encouraging and motivating ourbest and brightest to take assignments outside their home country? The message here? HR professionals are expected to develop and deliver highvalue solutions that are executable at the speed of global commerce. The onesthat do will be leaders in their organisations. LanceRichards is managing director of Suddenly Global, a global HR consultancy. Heis on the board of SHRM Global Forum, and writes a scheduled editorial columnon global HR issues for globalhr’s sister publication, Personnel Today. He canbe reached at [email protected]last_img read more

Assessing true potential

first_img Comments are closed. Assessment and development is moving away from being a pure HR function to abroader business tool, enabling organisations to realise the true potential oftheir workforce, while making development more focused and results based.Caroline Horn examines how different companies are using these useful programmesA tough trading climate has a significant impact on a company’s trainingbudget. Like marketing programmes, assessment and development plans aregenerally among the first casualties of a downturn. But a number ofleading-edge companies have learned the lessons of the last recession andrealise that a clear strategy and sound management development during thedifficult years will put them at the forefront of any upturn. Nicola Mindell, commercial director for Interactive Skills, says:”Research following the recession in the early 1990s showed that companieswhich maintained marketing and training budgets were much better placed to takeadvantage of the upturn.” The company has recently started a programme with the UK arm of a majorinternational consulting firm to help assess individual learning needs at asenior level. Mindell says: “It is a significant investment for thisorganisation at a time when they have cut back on people, but they say – ‘thisis the company’s future, and these are the people we will need in the next fewyears’.” Few companies will take a five or 10-year view on corporate and managementdevelopment. But as a senior manager at Sun Microsystems – one of the handfuldoing so – says: “If a company is paying its senior management between$250,000 and $500,000, then its seems silly to not spend a few thousand dollarsmore on management development costs.” DDI, a consultancy specialising in selection and leadership, has seen asignificant increase in demand for assessment, and building exceptional skills andexecutive bench strengths. “Companies realise they have to get the topstrata right,” says Lucy McGee, marketing director for DDI. There is alsoan increasing trend towards senior level HR appointments, such as talentmanagement directors. “People need to understand what skills level thecompany has, how to deploy it and how to leverage training investment – to getpeople where they need to be as quickly as possible,” she says. “What HR has to do, from the top down, is to show what the HR strategyis and to show that it links to business strategy – that it is not an isolatedactivity,” says Charles Woodruffe, managing director of Human Assets. BP, for example, is working to incorporate future skills need with itsbusiness strategy through a global leadership programme designed byoccupational psychologists Pearn Kandola. Dr Binna Kandola, partner, says:”They have taken a fundamental look at their global management and haveput in place a meticulously planned programme, examining people’s careers indetail and reviewing all the competencies they use.” Often the starting point for companies will be: ‘What do we want to deliverto shareholders, and what are the consequences of putting those strategic goalsin place – do we have the people who can deliver it?’, says Chris Watkin,practice leader executive, assessment and organisational talent review at HayGroup. “Talent reviews and executive development programmes can be anenergiser for change across an organisation,” he says. Sinclair Stevenson, a senior consultant at Penna Consulting, says theincreased demand for assessment centres is “partly because more peoplerealise the importance of linking assessment to goals, and partly because theyrealise they can’t afford to get it wrong.” When times are tough,companies realise how important it is to get the right person in. DDI conducted an assessment for global biopharma organisation QuestDiagnostics which included selecting two key roles following the acquisition ofSmithKline Beecham in 1999. McGee says: “Following the acquisition, thecompany wanted to know who to put into the top jobs – one an operational role,the other more entrepreneurial. The CEO initially wanted person A in role A,and person B in role B. But it was clear after the assessments that it shouldbe the other way around.” That decision has impacted on ROI – since then,the company has been one of the top performing stocks. Stevenson adds: “It is also interesting the extent to which assessmentis being done at board level – so few directors are evaluated because they tendto say: ‘I have proved myself through experience’, but who knows if theirexisting skills are compatible with what they are doing now? As the recessionbites, you can expect shareholders to become more vociferous and bring morepressure to bear on board members.” More positively, a talent review by Hay Group at BT Wireless – prior to itbecoming a stand-alone company (now mmO2) – showed the City that BT Wireless’leadership was capable of taking the organisation forward on its own at mmO2.Assessment, once used on a purely individual level, is increasingly used at agroup level and increasingly at a time of corporate change. Companies in IT, finance and automotive industries are having to undergodramatic changes in order to survive – and key changes in strategy areaffecting key personnel. It is becoming more frequent for assessment to be usedas a tool to find out who an organisation want to keep, and who it can affordto lose. Stevenson warns: “While assessment has been used as a tool todeselect people, you have to be incredibly careful how you use it. Companiesuse it as a selection tool – getting people to reapply for the available jobs.But as long as it’s used carefully and as part of all best practice, then it isa fairer way of deselecting people.” Prior to the Royal Bank of Scotland taking over National Westminster, HayGroup built a leadership competency model to enable RBS to measure the peoplequality it was acquiring and to assess executives for senior roles. Hay Groupalso transferred the assessment technology to the RBS HR personnel, to allow itto complete assessments for candidates further down in the organisation.Results of the assessment speak for themselves. Less than a year after thetakeover, it was reported that RBS, which had predicted annualised revenuegains of £120m in the first 10 months after the takeover, delivered £147m.Annual cost savings had also risen from £550m to £653m. Assessment can also be central to cultural changes within an organisation.The Royal London Group, for example, used assessment as one tool in helping itto develop a more entrepreneurial culture to ensure its future growth,following the acquisition of United Assurance Group and Scottish Life. RobertMcHenry, chairman of OPP, says: “The parent company did not want toreplicate its culture or take on the culture of its acquisitions – it needed a‘third way’ that was more entrepreneurial and which would ensure it reactedmore quickly to the market.” A strategic alignment was followed by assessment and development of allsenior managers, and OPP is about to start working with middle managers. Theprogramme, which included one-to-one coaching and team awareness workshops, iscurrently in its second year, and has helped establish a performance-drivenculture by focusing on the strategic aspects of leadership. More companies are trying to link assessment and development activities totheir bottom line, but McGee warns: “The results of better productivity,lower recruitment costs and better retention take a while to show. You candemonstrate ROI, but not in six months.” A development programme at luxury car manufacturer Lexus has focused at thefront end, on customer services. HR specialist CDA group created a developmentframework for Lexus, based on the broad objectives of Lexus’ dealer network tohelp drive forward new skills and behaviours, says CDA principle Caroline Dunk.When it evaluates the success of the programme, CDA will consider the overallcompetence of the workforce as well as customer satisfaction levels. This kind of programme will take longer to impact on Lexus’ bottom line butcompanies are increasingly keen to see a return on their developmentinvestment, says Mindell. “Before, companies just asked if people werehappy with the training; now they want to know what difference it has made tothem, to their team and to the business.” It is argued that management development programmes can increase individualperformance from 150 per cent to as much as 400 per cent. Standards such asInvestors in People can make a significant impact, says Peter Jones, directorof quality at IiP, who points to research showing that 70 per cent of companiessay the standard improves their competitive edge and productivity (BuildingCapability for the 21st century, CREATE 1999), while 74 per cent of firmsinvolved believe it does deliver bottom line results (UK Tracking Study –Employer Research, MarketShape, Feb 2002). Watkin agrees there is usually a business case for development. Oneprofessional services firm the Hay Group worked with found that the top end ofits ‘talent pool’ delivered about £160,000 of business, compared with theaverage of £116,000. Watkin says: “There’s usually a 40 per centdifferential between average and superior people. So it is worth trying to getmore people at the upper end of that scale.” When a multi-national client of Pearn Kandola evaluated the impact ofmanagement development centres (MDCs) attended by managers from its various subsidiariesover a four year period, it found a link with improved staff retention (some 30per cent lower among attendees than in the general management population), aswell as an indication the MDCs lead to better performance. This was done byanalysing sales per employee, both before and after the development centreprogramme started – it was estimated that by sending one participant ratherthan none, an average operating company would have increased sales by between 2and 3 per cent. It is easier to evaluate a programme that is directly related to a company’sfront-line performance. TMI, for instance, completed a programme with DIY storeWickes, which involved a rebranding exercise in 20 of its stores, combined witha customer services training initiative. “There is clear datademonstrating the links,” says Susanna Mitterer, director of sales andhead of consulting. “All the stores had the rebranding, but only six hadextensive training. The sales revenues of those stores went up by 17 per cent,while the others increased by about only 4 per cent.” But while some assessment and development costs are simple to quantify, thehidden costs of not getting it right can be much higher. For example, the costof assessment can be judged against the costs of a company’s key roles and howlong they were vacant for, the business costs to the company, and what wasspent on head hunters. What is harder to quantify, though, is the value thatthe former member of staff has added to competitive strength in a world that isbecoming increasingly dominated by just a handful of competing companies. Case study: Bayer DiagnosticsPharmaceutical and chemical giant finds ‘a third way’When chemical and pharmaceuticalgroup Bayer bought Chiron Diagnostics in 1998, the challenge was to merge thetwo cultures. Rather than adopting either existing culture, the Bayer teamdecided to define a new approach to meet the future needs of the business,Bayer Diagnostics.The new culture would be based on behaviours determined bycustomer expectations – and how employees met those expectations. Tim Bray,vice-president of global and executive development at Bayer HealthCare, parentcompany of Bayer Diagnostics, explains: “How do you get the businessleaders to stick to something? Find the questions that are indicative ofcustomer loyalty, challenge the leaders to meet the answers head on, and beprepared to be measured against them.”Bayer Diagnostics worked with Getfeedback to realise its newvision. Getfeedback founder Alison Gill says: “They wanted to create amore customer-focused business, that was more productive and which used alltheir new skills.”Once Bayer Diagnostics had determined customer demands throughcustomer satisfaction surveys, it put in place an employee attitude survey forabout 7,000 of its employees, with a core of ‘B12’ questions. These are the 12key measures of employee attitudes that, for Bayer, drive customer loyalty.They include whether employees felt inspired by the business, and if they felttheir job activity directly affected customers.Managers and supervisors took part in a separate 360¼ feedbackprogramme. Gill says: “Every year, anyone with management responsibilityis assessed using 360¼ feedback. It is not considered to be a measure, but atool to provide those people with the opportunity to improve theirskills.” The company says this has helped management to develop to meetthe needs of the business and created a common language of leadership acrossall the countries in which Bayer Diagnostics operates.All feedback processes are linked through the use of theBalanced Business Scorecard, measuring performance in four areas – financial,people, process and client. Ongoing surveys, conducted via the web or on paper,mean that Bayer can analyse trends and predict the changing behaviours of itsworkforce, allowing its leaders to make informed decisions about what actionsto take to ensure the business performs.The development programme has helped to create and establish anew culture at Bayer Diagnostics and has impacted directly on certain businessareas. New hires and promotions are now tested against the model to avoidfuture problems (staff turnover was already low).Bayer Diagnostics says it has also seen a steady improvement ona return on sales – although figures were not available – and there has been a9 per cent improvement in employee feedback surveys, showing a closer fitbetween customer expectations and employee behaviours. Related posts:No related photos. Assessing true potentialOn 12 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Tory victory could jeopardise Equality Bill

first_imgTory victory could jeopardise Equality BillBy Kat Baker on 12 Jun 2009 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. A Conservative victory in the next general election could mean the Equality Bill will never be properly implemented, the minister taking the Bill through Parliament has told Personnel Today. Solicitor general Vera Baird has voiced concern that although the Bill would be likely to gain Royal Assent in March 2010, the Tories could repeal it when they came to power. David Cameron’s party voted against the Bill at its second reading in May. Baird said: “We will get the Bill through parliament unless there is a general election before March, so it will become law. If we were to be not elected again, there is a very serious worry that the Equality Bill wouldn’t be implemented. [The Conservatives] could repeal the legislation.” Janice Shersby, director of policy at the Government Equalities Office, responsible for the Bill, admitted last week that although it would gain Royal Assent next March, some provisions would not be timetabled to come into force until autumn 2010, to give employers time to adjust to the new law. The Bill reached committee stage earlier this month, with amendments up for debate that include Liberal Democrat equality spokeswoman Lynne Featherstone’s proposal to ban names from CVs, and a clause to force employers to report their gender pay gap from 2013. Other provisions in the Bill include the ban on secrecy clauses that prevent staff from talking about pay, and using public procurement to promote equality. The Bill is tabled to be debated in committee stage until 18 June, when, if successful, it will enter report stage for possible further amendments.last_img read more

Comment on I am a bad, BAD listener. How about you? by Foluke

first_imgComment on I am a bad, BAD listener. How about you? by FolukeShared from missc on 31 Mar 2016 in Personnel Today Thanks for sharing. I stumbled across this page via Twitter. May I quote your comment about not “‘being right’, and far more about ‘being right about what the other person thinks and feels’.”, or is it a famous saying I was ignorant of?Read full article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Letter shows Zeckendorf eyeing takeover of HFZ’s High Line project

first_imgShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* The Bjarke Ingels-designed project is the largest for Ziel Feldman’s HFZ, which is struggling to maintain control of its portfolio as lenders move to foreclose on various properties. Its lender on the XI, the Children’s Investment Fund, this week filed a complaint alleging HFZ was behind on $160 million in payments. The hedge fund provided the developer with a $1.25 billion loan for the project — a 236-unit condo and 137-key hotel — in 2017.The stress has taken its toll on the firm. HFZ last year laid off about 30 employees and managing partner Nir Meir recently abruptly left the company.Feldman recently sold his Hamptons home for $50 million, and is looking to sell his Upper East Side penthouse.[Crain’s] — Rich BockmannContact Rich Bockmann William and Arthur Zeckendorf with the XI (Getty)The Zeckendorf brothers are mulling a takeover of HFZ Capital Group’s struggling $2 billion XI development in West Chelsea.HFZ said in a December letter to subcontractors that it was in the process of working with Zeckendorf Development and Suffolk Construction on a “a detailed analysis of what work is left to finish for this project,” Crain’s reported.“You are hereby directed by ownership to fully cooperate and provide any documentation and information to Zeckendorf Development and Suffolk Construction and any of their consultants to achieve this goal,” read the letter, “as well as make yourself available for any meetings as may be required.”ADVERTISEMENTA representative for HFZ, however, denied it was in talks with Zeckendorf.“There are no such ongoing conversations with HFZ,” Interim Chief Operating Officer William Henrich told Crain’s.Read moreHow HFZ became the face of Manhattan’s condo woesHFZ is behind on $160M in payments at the XI: lenderHFZ’s the XI has considered wholesale deals Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Full Name* TagsHFZ Capital GroupManhattan Condo Marketzeckendorf development Message*last_img read more

Multifamily honcho sells Fendi Château penthouse in Surfside at a loss

first_imgShare via Shortlink TagsFendi Chateau Residencessurfside Email Address* Message* Irving Langer and Fendi Château Residences (Getty, Google Maps)Multifamily real estate investor Irving Langer, founder and CEO of E&M Management, and his wife, sold their penthouse at Fendi Château Residences for $16.8 million, roughly $4 million less than their purchase price five years ago.Langer, and his wife, Miriam, sold PH 03 at Fendi Château Residences at 9365 Collins Avenue in Surfside to Daniel Rosenberg and Arielle Rosenberg, records show.Brooklyn-based E&M Management is one of the largest real estate investment and management companies in New York, focusing on multifamily buildings. Last year, Langer was trying to refinance a loan for a 42-property portfolio in New York.The Langers bought the Fendi Château unit from the condo developer for $21 million in 2016. The 12-story, 58-unit oceanfront condo tower was completed that year.According to property records, the penthouse spans 6,505 square feet and has four bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms.Fendi Château Residences was the first Fendi residential building in the world, developed by the Chateau Group. It spans 3 acres with 300 feet of oceanfront. The 12-story tower was designed by Arquitectonica, with amenities including pools, private cabanas, a restaurant and bar, a fitness center and spa and a private theatre.In December, Access Industries executive Alex Blavatnik bought a unit at Fendi Château Residences for $12.2 million.Nearby in Surfside, Alex Sapir sold the penthouse at Arte by Antonio Citterio for $33 million.Contact Jordan Pandy Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more