Friday is ‘no e-mail’ day in bid to boost staff creativity

first_imgFriday is ‘no e-mail’ day in bid to boost staff creativityOn 13 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Adebate over whether e-mails help or hinder employee creativity will be sparkedby research to be published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.OpenUniversity professor Dr Adam Joinson’s paper Cyber Psychology argues thate-mail communication can aid the creative process because it helps people putforward ideas without fear of being judged.Butfood giant Nestlé Rowntree and National Lottery organiser Camelot have bannedemployees from using e-mails on Fridays because of a belief that they caninhibit creativity.DrJoinson said his studies show that people are more likely to discloseinformation about themselves when communicating over the Internet than doing soface to face.Hesaid, “In an exercise such as brainstorming people tend to come up withmore ideas that when sitting face-to-face. They are not so self-conscious andnot so concerned about being judged. There is less social pressure toconform.”PaulKirkwood, a spokesman for Nestlé Rowntree, said the firm’s marketing directorAndrew Harrison introduced the e-mail ban on Fridays in a bid to generate moreideas and improve communication. Theban is compulsory for the marketing department, but only voluntary foremployees in the food division.Kirkwoodsaid, “He [Harrison] thought there would be a benefit to creativity byencouraging people to talk to each other rather than simply dashing somethingoff on e-mail.”Itis obviously better to talk to someone face-to-face sometimes rather than bye-mail where the nuances of what someone is saying can be lost.”Ithink there is a danger of travelling too far down the e-mail road. You get tothe stage where people e-mail each other when they are only two desksapart.”ByBen Willmott Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Family-friendly proposals burden

first_imgFamily-friendly proposals burdenOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today The Government’s recent family-friendly proposals could spell problems foremployers. In its response to the green paper on work and parents, the CBI saysit would be impractical to give new parents the statutory right to workpart-time as most firms wouldn’t be able to guarantee reduced hours. And itsays the proviso of a “harm test”, allowing companies to refuserequests to work part-time could lead to “uncertainty and more employmenttribunals”. Comments John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI,”Ministers should help parents balance family and work responsibilities.But they need to do it by encouraging flexible employment practices, ratherthan by introducing unnecessary regulations such as the right to part-timework.” And employers are also concerned that the recent budget has increased theamount of red tape involved in employing people. According to a straw poll fromthe Institute of Directors, the main problems are associated with the newmaternity and paternity entitlements and the difficulties of covering forabsent staff during statutory leave periods. George Cox, director general ofthe IoD, said, “Insufficient has been done to lessen the burden of stateinterference and regulation in the business environment.” The Government has extended maternity leave from 18 weeks to 26, raisingstatutory maternity pay to £75 per week next year and then to £100 by 2003,when men will be entitled to two weeks paternity pay, set at the same level. Employers will not be expected to swallow all of the increased costs aschanges to the national insurance system means that 60 per cent of businessescan claim back the full cost of paying SMP. However, there are concerns amongemployers that the real cost will be in providing cover. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Hard reality is that ‘soft’ issues matter

Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article For more than 80 years, The Industrial Society campaigned to improve thequality of working life, emphasising the high performance potential of anyorganisation that had the capacity to enthuse its workforce by respecting itshumanity. The Industrial Society’s renewal as The Work Foundation takes that visionand places it at the heart of the productivity debate. How to increase the productivity levels of our workforce has become theGovernment’s core economic problem. The apparent health of the UK economy – lowunemployment and commendable job creation – masks a dangerous and growingproductivity deficit compared to the US and our principal European tradingpartners. The UK has more work, but the majority of our workplaces are not especiallyproductive. Nor are they especially happy. Yesterday, The Work Foundationreleased research showing that the level of worker satisfaction with theirprospects, pay levels, hours worked, and workload have all roughly halved –some from a very low base. The largest fall has been in satisfaction withworking hours. The next largest has been in satisfaction with workload. Thereis not a single item defining the core of their economic and psychologicalcontract on which satisfaction levels have not deteriorated. The accepted solution to the productivity challenge has been to focus on theinput base and supply side of the economy – investments in new technology andpeople, and the growth of knowledge work, for example. That these have notgenerated the step changes that we have been led to expect indicates that onlyhalf the story is being told. The Work Foundation’s contention is that poor productivity and workplaceorganisation leading to disaffected workforces are different sides of the samecoin. What is needed is a workplace that binds employees, shareholders and otherstakeholders to a common vision, with the resulting commitment to theorganisation’s performance becoming the fulcrum of the business rather thanimmediate high returns to shareholders. Unfortunately, in too manyorganisations, the toolbox of social capabilities to help to produce such anoutcome – time and place sovereignty for workers, recognising and rewardingtheir creative potential, service-centred leadership, a coaching culture andsocial responsibilities – are dismissed as ‘soft’ against the ‘hard’proposition of maximising the bottom line. The paradox is that companies that are built to last and generate sustainedprofits all instinctively find ways to boost employee commitment by taking such‘soft’ propositions seriously. By Will Hutton, Chief executive, The Work Foundation Hard reality is that ‘soft’ issues matterOn 9 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today read more

HR academy: Nottingham Trent University

first_imgHR academy: Nottingham Trent UniversityOn 18 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. HR specific/related courses: MSc Strategic Human Resource Management(part-time, block-release), plus three one-day research workshops, which runover 15 months; Certificate in Personnel Practice, which leads to affiliatemembership of the CIPD; Postgraduate Certificate in Management for Personneland Development (one-year, part-time), which gives Licentiate Membership of theCIPD; Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management (two years, part-time –although there is a one-year fast-track route), which gives Graduate membershipof the CIPD; Postgraduate Diploma in Training Management, (two years,part-time, although there is a one-year fast-track route), which gives Graduatemembership of the CIPD. Founded: Achieved university status in 1992, but its roots go back to1881 and along the way it’s been known as Nottingham and District TechnicalCollege, Nottingham Regional College of Technology and Trent Polytechnic. College CV: Nottingham Trent has two main sites – the central CityCampus and the Clifton Campus, which is four miles from the city centre.Nottingham Business School, home to the HRM courses, received an ‘excellent’quality assessment rating by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) andthe university has received four grade fives in the latest Research AssessmentExercise (RAE). It has one of the biggest HRM departments in the UK and is aCIPD Centre of Excellence. It has provided CIPD courses since the early 1970s,is actively involved in research projects and has consultancy links withoutside organisations. Nottingham Business School is also responsible forproviding one of the most comprehensive set of weblinks to the internationalworld of HRM via Ray Lye’s web page. Sadly, Ray is now deceased, but hisworld-renowned links live on, maintained by senior lecturer and employeerelations and law expert, David Bott. Entry requirements: For the MSc, membership of the CIPD or a PGDiploma in personnel management or HR or a’demonstrable’ equivalent level ofachievement. For the CIPD courses, see website. Star HR academics: Lynette Harris, whose research interests includethe impact of employment regulation on HR practices, performance management andchanging patterns of participation in the workplace. She has jointly edited thetextbook Strategic Human Resourcing: Principles, Perspectives and Practices inHRM, with fellow lecturers John Leopold (head of HRM at Nottingham) and TonyWatson. She also devised the Performance Management syllabus for the CIPD’sprofessional qualification scheme. Watson, professor of organisational andmanagerial behaviour, whose book, Sociology, Work and Industry (1980, 1987,1995) continues to be the main British textbook on industrial sociology and histwo most recent books, Organising and Managing Work and Human Resources inOrganisations, (the latter edited by John Leopold), look set to be asinfluential. Alumni: There is an active alumni network and a new alumniassociation website is currently being set-up. www.ntu.ac.uklast_img read more

… in brief

first_imgThis week’s news in briefRise in temp demand Employer demand for both permanent and temporary staff is increasing,according to research. An REC survey shows the number of permanent staffrecruited last month increased by the fastest growth rate since March 2001. Theuse of temporary staff increased for the sixth month running.  www.rec.co.ukCalls to halt LU strike London Underground has urged staff to call off the proposed strike action tolet 3 million daily tube users get to work. Safety director Mike Strzeleckiurged the RMT to reconsider, claiming the ballot turnout of just one-thirdshowed a reluctance to strike. A 24-hour walkout is planned for later thisweek.  www.thetube.comLegislation hindrance HR professionals believe complex employment legislation is hindering UKproductivity, according to CIPD research. Three-quarters of those surveyed feelemployment legislation is not clear enough, while almost half believe there isinsufficient guidance.  The poll of 800HR professionals shows that the Working Time Directive is the most difficultpiece of legislation to implement.  www.cipd.co.uk … in briefOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

White Paper outlines new audit rules

first_imgWhite Paper outlines new audit rulesOn 23 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Company directors and employees could face up to two years in jail andunlimited fines for giving misleading information to auditors, under agovernment review of company law. The proposal, part of a Government White Paper published last week bycompetition minister Melanie Johnson, would give auditors a statutory right torequest company information from employees and certain contractors and wouldforce directors to volunteer information to auditors. “The White Paper is a blueprint for a new era in British corporatehistory,” said Johnson. “These proposals will help make Britain thebest place in the world to start and grow a business and create an environmentthat promotes confidence, opportunity and prosperity for all.” The White Paper sets out to increase confidence in business, improvegovernance to encourage and support responsible business and to simplify thelaw and reduce burdens on small firms. It also includes plans to set out directors’ duties clearly in statute forthe first time, with clear guidance for all directors on their obligationsunder the law. www.dti.gov.uk Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Four in 10 fail to adhere to 48 hours a week limit

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Four in 10 employers report that some of their workers have agreed to workbeyond the 48-hour weekly limit set by the Working Time Directive. The research, carried out by IRS Employment Review, also shows employers arekeen to keep the UK ‘opt out’ from the directive, which is currently beingreviewed by the European Commission. The findings of the research – conducted in May and June 2002 – emerge froma survey of HR managers covering 389 staff groups in 162 public and privatesector organisations. IRS Employment Review managing editor, Mark Crail said: “Britain isrenowned for its long working hours, but the picture – as our research shows –is more complex. Employers want flexibility to meet changing market conditionsand are keen to keep the UK opt out. But there is also talk among manufacturingunions of resurrecting the campaign for a shorter working week – spurred on bythe introduction of a 35-hour maximum in France. “Our research shows that such a campaign has some way to go. Workers inthis country put in long hours through a combination of choice andnecessity.” The survey also reveals that the typical basic working week for manual staffis 38 hours, compared with 37 hours for non-manual groups. Many organisations are using flexible working practices to meet customerand/or staff needs. The most common arrangement is flexi-time, which is used by37 per cent of employers, followed by variable hours. Just under half of all respondents have at least some staff whose basicweekly hours include work carried out during evenings, nights, early mornings,weekends and/or bank holidays. Nearly two-thirds of public sector organisations require staff to work atnon-standard times, reflecting the need for 24-hour cover in public servicessuch as the police and health services. www.irsemploymentreview.comBy Ben Willmott Four in 10 fail to adhere to 48 hours a week limitOn 23 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

How Loop will lap up learning

first_imgNicola Wilson, age 34 and head of HR at Loop Customer Management, whichhandles client interaction for organisations such as Yorkshire Water andB&Q, shares her aspirationsHow long have you been in this job? Just over two years. How long have you been with your organisation? Two years, ever since Loop was formed by parent company Kelda plc. What does your role involve? Supporting managers to bring out the potential in their people, byrecruiting employees who initially have potential, through ongoing personaldevelopment and skills training, and having people policies and processes thatenable this to happen. I have a very capable team which keeps things running. What are the best and worst things about this job? Seeing people develop and try new things is the best, the worst is nothaving enough hours in the day. What is your current major project or strategic push? To truly make this company a great place to work. We know that we arealready good, but we have two specific initiatives in place to make us evenbetter. We are building development programmes around empowerment which featurefeedback – I believe that empowerment only works when feedback is given. Theother initiative, in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute, is atwo-year programme for 60 managers. We want our managers to know that managingpeople is the most important thing they do. What was the best career decision you ever made? To continually push the boundaries of my comfort zone and try new things, whethera new role or a new organisation. And what was the worst? Not pursuing a secondment to Australia in my early twenties. Sydney seemedso far away, a risk I wasn’t ready to take at the time. Having been since, Iwish I’d been braver then and had a go. Which of your qualifications do you most value and why? In this type of role, building relationships with others and the ability tomake things happen have been more effective than my qualifications alone. How and why did you become a trainer? It seemed a natural step as part of broadening my HR experiences, and Ibelieve effective training is key to a successful HR team. When I was offered atraining role, not having a go was never a consideration. Do you think that evaluation is the ‘Holy Grail’ or an impossible dream? A combination of both, in reality. Effective evaluation is so important andas most trainers will appreciate, it can be the hardest thing to get right. How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time? The differences will involve attitudes to working in general and deliveringa continued excellent service to customers who want more every day, and rightlyso. What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future? The ability to think about the future differently and engage more withpeople on an individual and emotional level. What advice would you give to someone starting out in training anddevelopment? Try as many different things as possible and have the confidence to takerisks. Even if you fail, you will learn from those experiences, which is farmore valuable than not having tried at all. Which buzzwords do you most loathe? Those that people use just because they’re the flavour of the month. Beliefand passion are more important than the latest hype. What self-development have you undertaken in the past 12 months? I have started to look at situations from different perspectives andrecognise that on the whole, most people here come to work wanting to do areally good job, and my role is to help them be their best. I upgraded my CIPDmembership this year and found it was a very effective way of reflecting uponwhat I have actually achieved. Up close and personalHow do you network?By keeping in touch with people either through network meetingsor phone and e-mail. I also enjoy meeting contacts for a drink or for lunch.If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?Easy – the job I have now. If it wasn’t available, I’d love tobe a judge on Pop Idol – there is so much energy and belief within thecontestants and their enthusiasm is amazing.Describe your management style in three wordsStretching, focused and rewarding.Do you take work home with you?Only in my mind, as I mull things over. I would much ratherstay late at work than turn my home into a second office.What is your motto?Live life to the full.How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?As someone who made a positive difference to their workinglives and the success of Loop. Which is the best management book you have read?Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (published by PanBooks). It’s not really a management book, it’s a short story about howvaluable faith and personal belief are. If we truly believe in ourselves andhave ambition and goals, we can achieve things as wonderful as the character inthe book when he learned to fly. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. How Loop will lap up learningOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

The EEF’s letter to the Prime Minister

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. The EEF’s letter to the Prime MinisterOn 21 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Iam writing on behalf of the many UK companies which stand to be placed at asevere competitive disadvantage if the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workersgoes through unamended.Weat the EEF have been working closely with the DTI, other trade bodies, and inparticular the companies that have put their names to this letter, to try toachieve an acceptable position. However, I believe we have reached a pointwhere your personal intervention is essential if we are to avoid a result whichwill severely damage labour market flexibility.Whilstwe are concerned about the impact on all agency workers, we are particularlyworried about the effect on higher skilled engineers and technicians. Typicallythese workers tend to be highly paid and choose to work on temporary contractsto suit their lifestyle. Their flexible pattern of working fits well with theneed in certain high technology companies to meet business fluctuations and yetretain a significant core of highly skilled employees. Removal of this flexibilitythrough the restrictive provisions currently proposed would have a devastatingimpact on many of the UK’s most technologically advanced engineering andmanufacturing companies. These businesses rely on the ability to manage highlyskilled resources in order to meet changes in demand and project timeframes. Webelieve that inevitably jobs would be lost abroad.Iknow you share our concerns with this Directive, and we have been workingconstructively with the DTI to engage MEPs, Commission officials and ourcounterparts in other EU Member States.Wenow need your help to bring our concerns to your fellow EU leaders. Inparticular, we urge you to use the opportunities of the forthcoming Council ofMinisters and Copenhagen Summit to press our case.Webelieve the following points must be addressed: –there should be an exemption period of at least 12 months – we believe thederogation of six weeks which was in the Commission’s original proposal istotally inadequate; –member States should have the option to exempt from the Directive’s provisions,higher skilled technical and professional agency workers; –the suggested comparator – between user company staff and agency worker – isflawed and opens up a whole host of issues over privacy and additional red tape.The comparator should be another agency worker from the same agency. At thevery least, the basis of comparison should be left to individual Member Statesto decide; –pay should not be included in the comparison, but if it is, it shouldspecifically exclude occupational pensions. Britishcompanies, particularly manufacturers and technology-based businesses, havedeep concerns about the impact this Directive will have if taken as currentlyproposed. On behalf of the companies listed below, and others across themembership of the EEF and other trade associations, I urge you to encourageyour colleagues in the Council of Ministers and counterparts across the EU torecognise the importance of this matter, and to take steps to limit thepotentially damaging impact of the Directive on European labour marketflexibility and competitiveness.MartinTemple Director General EEF Organisationssupporting this letter: Companies:CMG Logica GKN Plc IBM M.W. Kellogg Limited Perkins Engines Siemens Plc Smiths Group Plc TradeAssociations: Intellect SBAC Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Adopt the E-list for pre-work checks

first_imgPre-employment health assessments are an important function of theoccupational health practitioner. Yet, there is a very limited awareness of therelevant research findings throughout the profession, said Dr Stuart Whitaker,director of nursing at BMI Health Services. In his presentation, ‘Pre-employment Assessment – a Current Perspective’, hetook dele- gates through what is known as ‘Whitaker’s seven Es model ofoccupational health’. The model comprises: evidence-based practice – Whitakerargues: “The only thing that separates the professional from the charlatanis the use of objective evidence that practitioners research forthemselves”; effective – “so that what we do has an impact”;efficient – bearing in mind that pre-employment health checks are estimated totake up 40 per cent of an OHN’s time; ethical – as it is one of the areas wherepeople must disclose this kind of personal information; economic – OHNs operatein an environment where resources, costs and value for money are importantconsiderations; enjoyable – when a nurse brings confidence and pleasure in whatthey do into practice; and excitement – to give energy to the practice. Whitaker, who completed a PhD thesis, A critical evaluation ofpre-employment health assessment in the NHS in 1997, said perhaps it is timefor OHNs to question whether pre-employment assessments are really worthwhile. Adopt the E-list for pre-work checksOn 1 May 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more