Voice your fears over new parents’ rights

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Voice your fears over new parents’ rightsOn 12 Dec 2000 in Personnel Today The GreenPaper on work and parents might have been well trailed in the media in recentmonths, but there are still some real shocks in the document published lastweek. Paidpaternity leave, extended maternity leave, increased maternity pay – none ofthese was a surprise. What may stun employers are the proposals on workingpart-time and the plan to allow mothers and fathers to share any increase inexisting unpaid maternity leave equally between them. Majoremployers have striven to be more family-friendly, especially in a tight labourmarket. Men have always been the poorer relation in parenthood, so paidpaternity leave is welcomed by many big employers.Even so,businesses and HR professionals might not have been expecting the Green Paperto go quite as far as it has. The Government has set out a populist,family-friendly agenda in the run-up to the election, so there will be squealsof panic from organisations representing employers like the CBI. The endresult will be a watered down version – if it makes it on to the statute booksafter the election – but don’t bank on it. The HR profession has until 7 Marchto get its responses in to the DTI. So click on the DTI web site for a copy ofthe Green Paper and fill in the response form (www.dti.gov.uk/er/review.htm). Whathappens when a new father wants to take some of his partner’s unused maternityleave? Point out to the DTI the complicated logistics of checking with thecompany of the employee’s partner to find out how much leave she has left – andthis before you start thinking about cover for the father’s absence.It is thesort of complicated case that might make the Government think twice beforetrying to enshrine this aspect of family-friendly working in legislation. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgThis week’s lettersShift of focus wins graduate talentI write in response to the insightful article by Simon Howard on thegraduate recruitment market (10 July). As the UK’s largest graduate recruiter, PricewaterhouseCoopers is at risk ofbeing included in Mr Howard’s observations and I wish to redress the balance onthe issue of responsiveness with some brief illustrations. PwC is a founding employer partner in the “Insight Plus”initiative, due to launch this Autumn. This addresses the need for students togain workplace experience through part-time work. Ethnic diversity projects run by groups of UK universities are alsosupported by PwC staff in the role of mentors. The point Mr Howard makes about consistency of relationship is central to PwC’sstrategy and universities are regularly consulted in respect of PwC’s graduaterecruitment activities. The firm’s autumn 2000 intake of over 1,000 graduates encompassed 91different UK higher education institutions and staff involved in the selectionprocess receive updates on higher education in the UK and the changes which inturn inform the firm’s approach to graduate recruitment. Jackie Alexander Recruitment partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Of the many relevant points made by Simon Howard in his article, the mostsignificant was that a lot of graduate recruiters still see their focus as”the top 10 per cent off the top 10 per cent”. This simplistic assessment of how to target graduates continues to underliethe failure of many recruitment systems. Those who have grasped that the “top” graduates are the”right” people for their needs are meeting with the most success. Structured analysis of what a business wants from its graduate recruits andgetting honest messages to them about what is on offer, characterises effectivegraduate recruiters. Tim Treadwell Course director, POC Training & Consulting Time to act over sloppy grammar I can’t agree more with Mary Brown’s thoughts on today’s grammar (Letters,31 July). I thought I was the only person to get depressed at the epidemic of wronguse of the apostrophe. Who on earth started the belief that plurals shouldcontain apostrophes? When is someone going to champion the teaching of correctgrammar again? Lyn Ferguson Personnel director, Schuh Stress: a very real workplace issue Although I respect the views of Nigel Bannister (Letters, 24 July), I feelit is fair to address the reality of stress in the workplace since I havefirst-hand experience of the damaging effects of what is a greatlymisunderstood issue. Employees often go to their GP suffering from long-endured backache, aninability to sleep or inexplicable worry. If the worker does not address theissue quickly, they are often diagnosed as suffering from depression – areaction to the stress that they didn’t realise they had. In my experience, staff do not take leave “at the first sign oftrouble” – enforced time off is normally the last resort. Mike Davey Performance Through People, Walsall Overseas posting support essential Your article “Who dares travel?”(Features, 26 June) rightlysuggests that employer support is critical to the success of an internationalposting. A long-term posting can be hard on employees and their families andemployers should not underestimate the difficulties. Providing support, while not a guarantee of success, greatly reduces therisk of failure. Communication before, during and after the posting isessential if companies are to retain the skills they have developed. Andrew Finney Managing director, HCR Relocation Specialist Euro entry quote out of context I refer to Mr Kichenside’s letter (30 May) concerning a quote from me whichappeared in an earlier news story. My comments in the article had been cut. I was commenting on an RCI survey,where the respondents feared entry to the euro would raise employment costs. There is no reason why UK entry to the euro should in itself increase thecost of employing people. It is more rational to identify sources of costpressures which might, for example, include higher social security charges andtaxation to improve public services and more extensive European legislation onwork practices. These pressures may produce increased employment costsirrespective of whether or not the UK adopts the euro. While there would be some costs to UK businesses when converting payrolls tothe euro, the on-going savings from not dealing in different currencies wouldneed to be added into any calculation. I can assure Mr Kichenside that neither I nor my colleagues inhabit an ivorytower. He is very welcome to visit me at Cranfield to confirm that this is thecase Shaun Tyson Cranfield University School of Management Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. LettersOn 21 Aug 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Have a voice in Europe over changes to working time law

first_imgHave a voice in Europe over changes to working time lawOn 26 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today HR professionals have a uniqueopportunity to influence the European Commission over the future of the UK’sWorking Time Directive opt-out by taking part in a ground-breaking survey inthis issue. Personnel Today has teamed up with the Employment LawyersAssociation, following a request from the European Commission, to conduct astudy in the UK to discover the implications of removing the opt-out provisionwhich allows staff to work longer than 48 hours per week.The results of the survey will be fed back to Brussels, givingUK employers an unprecedented opportunity to influence decision-making at theheart of Europe.The European Commission is about to start a review of thedirective and the commissioner responsible, Fernando Pereira, wants to find outwhether the removal of the opt-out, which applies to the UK only, will damagebusinesses or tackle the long-hours work culture. Employment relations minister Alan Johnson, speakingexclusively to Personnel Today, believes the UK must put up a fight to ensurethe retention of the opt-out clause in the Working Time Directive, secured in1993.”In the current climate the scrapping of the opt-out wouldbe very damaging for productivity – I am sure about that,” Johnson said.”We think the opt-out is good. We think it’s a goodbalance for individuals to have the right to work more than 48 hours, but notbe forced to do so.”Research published last week by the Economic and SocialResearch Council reveals that 40 per cent of large UK organisations currentlyask staff to sign the opt-out.Its removal would hit certain sectors more than others, withthe worst affected including construction, catering and the NHS.Elaine Way, president of the Association of Healthcare HumanResource Management, believes the removal of the opt-out would increasestaffing shortages for NHS employers. “Removal will undoubtedly presentsignificant practical difficulties for the NHS,” she said.But Alison Holt, chief personnel officer for Leeds CityCouncil, is confident local government employers would be able to cope.”It would cause some HR management problems,” she said,”however, I think we could work around them fairly easily.”By Ben Willmott / Paul NelsonKey facts on the directive– Working Time Regulations came into force in 1998 and are currently beingextended– 40 per cent of large organisations in the UK ask staff to sign the opt-out– The main sectors affected include construction, catering and the NHS– EC could scrap the opt out by the end of next yearCase study building servicesLosing opt-out would send costs spirallingBuilding services firm Lorne Stewart would suffer increasedskills shortages and higher labour costs if the European Commission removes theUK’s opt out from the Working Time Directive. Mike Taylor, group HR director at Lorne Stewart, said construction costs inthe UK – which are already among the highest in Europe – would also spiral andhave a knock-on affect on the UK’s economy. “Around 99.9 per cent of all our weekly paid people have signed theopt-out,” he said. “You could argue that we should not have anovertime culture and people in our industry should be able to have more leisuretime, but the skills shortages mean that is just not possible. “It would be an unmitigated disaster if the opt-out was removed in thenear future.” The firm employs 1,200 staff and Taylor is convinced that most of itstradesmen – who typically work between 52 and 55 hours a week – would also beunhappy to be forced to reduce their hours because their wages would suffer. “I think the European Commission should give employers the freedom tomake their own decisions and set targets to get to a 48-hour working week inthe UK over a lengthy period. I would say over a 10-year rather than afive-year period. “I am sure that in some industries the removal of the opt out will notbe so problematic, but in ours it would be a major issue.” Lorne Stewart provides plumbers, electricians and central heating engineersfor large construction projects. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

War uncertainty reflected in recruitment downturn

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. War uncertainty reflected in recruitment downturnOn 22 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today The war in Iraq and its aftermath is having a damaging effect on the UKlabour market with firms being very cautious over staff recruitment, accordingto research. A monthly review of the labour market from the Recruitment and EmploymentConfederation and Deloitte and Touche shows the number of full-time jobs placedby recruitment consultancies in March fell for the first time in 13 months. Temporary staff placed also fell for the first time since December 2001,according to Report on Jobs. Senior staff recruitment decreased dramatically,with the service sector witnessing its biggest decline in recruitment throughconsultancies since July 1996. Recruitment advertising by private sector firms fell sharply but publicsector recruitment activity – unchanged since February 2003 – propped up themarket. The survey states that firms have adopted a ‘wait and see’ policy to staffrecruitment due to heightened economic uncertainty from the war. Businesses’ cautious approach to staff recruitment along with the sharplyrising availability of staff – for the 22nd consecutive month – means full-timeemployee salaries fell for the first time in six months. Brett Walsh, head of UK human capital at Deloitte and Touche, said:”Business uncertainty has heightened since the start of the Iraq war, andthis resulted in a generally subdued job market in March. “Demand was shown to have been particularly weak at the upper end ofthe labour market.” www.rec.uk.comlast_img read more

Catch-22 of tracking down new leaders

first_imgCatch-22 of tracking down new leadersOn 11 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Leadership,like football, is a funny old game. England boss Sven Goran Eriksson told apacked auditorium at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’sannual conference in Harrogate last month that his former right-hand man, SteveMcClaren, was “the best coach I have ever worked with”. YetMcClaren’s record in the hot seat at premier league Middlesbrough has been farfrom spectacular. His side finished last season in mid-table and has made apoor start to the current campaign, despite having a reasonable amount of cashto spend on players. Timewill tell if McClaren can put things right; although with football’s managerialmerry-go-round spinning ever faster, time might not be on his side.Whatthis example neatly illustrates, however, is the ability-performance paradoxthat exists in all organisations: highly talented individuals don’t alwaysdeliver as leaders. Some fail because their emotional intelligence doesn’tmatch their IQ. But the main reason is that talent alone cannot compensate fordeep-rooted organisational dysfunction. CIPDresearch shows that high-performing organisations are those that find asuitable blend of management systems, HR practices and human relationships.Successful leaders have the knack of identifying the blend and encouragingtheir people at all levels to pursue a strategic purpose or vision, sometimescalled an organisation’s ‘big idea’. Leaderswith the knack cannot be easily identified by their formal skills orperformance in specific jobs. Many top football managers – including Eriksson,Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson – were players of limited ability.Similarly, many people in other walks of life have excelled as leaders, despitetheir apparent prior limitations.Thiscreates an intriguing market dilemma as stiff competition for the limitedsupply of identifiable winners causes executive salaries to soar. It istherefore vital that organisations seek more effective ways of spottingleadership potential and, in particular, nurture potential from within.AsUS management guru Jim Collins told CIPD delegates in his keynote address –based on research published in the bestseller Good to Great – outstanding chiefexecutives are usually internal appointments. Recruiters should not be swayedby personal charisma but look instead for individuals who are quiet,self-effacing and ambitious for the organisation above purely personal advance.Somewill question Collins’ championing of the modest leader. The ejection fromoffice of the hapless former Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith is anobvious heresy against the Good to Great credo. Few would argue that ‘the quietman’ had what it takes to lead a major political party – great leaders usuallyhave a bit more personal ‘oomph’ than Collins suggests. But Collins is surelyright to challenge the widely-held view that charismatic or maverick leadersalways perform best.  ByJohn Philpott, Chief economist, CIPD Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Your favourite ice-breakers

first_img Previous Article Next Article Your favourite ice-breakersOn 1 May 2004 in Personnel Today We asked readers to nominate the best ways to kickstart a course or meetingand were inundated with replies. Here is just a selection of our favouritesMemory game In my favourite icebreaker, each person is asked to stand in a circle. Aball is thrown to each participant in turn and as they catch the ball they areasked to say their name and their favourite thing. Once everyone in the circle has had a turn the ball is then thrown back tothe organiser. Then the ball must be thrown to someone and the thrower needs tosay the name and favourite things of the person he or she is throwing the ballto. This again continues until everyone has thrown the ball and recited thename and favourite thing of each participant. Why use it? This is a great memory game and ‘getting-to-know-you’exercise for all participants. Jackie Marsh, training officer, Robert Bosch Pass the postcards At the start of a workshop, even before introductions, split people intopairs or threes or more (with a minimum of four groupings and a maximum ofsix). Give out postcards. Ask delegates to write three questions they would want to ask of the tutorduring the course on three separate postcards. They then fold the postcards andplay ‘Pass’. When the tutor shouts ‘pass’, postcards are passed clockwise tothe next group which has to scan them in half a minute (you can vary thetiming) and delegates grade each question on a scale of one to five. They thenpass again and, if you wish, you give them a shorter time for evaluating thenext set of questions. Keep playing until the postcards get back to theirowners who total their score. At the end, the best questions are used as the focus for discussions. Why use it? The exercise is quick, it gets people talking freely toeach other, it makes them think about the course and they enjoy the pace andcompetitive element in this opener. Anne Hollier, management tutor Leading questions I use the following questionnaire during the first day of our induction programme. However, I cannot claim credit for its authorship as I saw it used on alittle- known TV programme called Inside the Actor’s Studio. The questions include: – What is your favourite word? – What is your least favourite? – What turns you on and off in life? – Which sounds do you love or hate? – If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive atthe pearly gates? Why use it? The questions encourage delegates to let down barriersgradually and by the conclusion of the exercise every delegate has had theopportunity to share their sense of humour with others. Darren Harris, learning and development executive, Arval PHH Favourite hat-tricks I put old copper coins into a hat and then ask each person to pick one out.They then have to tell the group what they were doing the year the coin wasmade. Why use it? I find that although these games are cheap and cheerful,they always work! Karen Stern, training adviser, Claire’s Accessories Sell! sell! sell!I have always believed that before you can enable people tolearn something, you need to engage them, and the best way to do that is byentertaining them.   If you entertainyour audience, you’ll also find that people remember what they have learned.  My personal favourite is a session starter featuring theMuppets called Sell! Sell! Sell! because it reminds us in a very rousing waythat every business is based on one thing – selling. Martin Addison, director, Video Arts Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Recruitment: The Candidate Opt-out

first_imgRecruitment: The Candidate Opt-outShared from missc on 14 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Read full article Comments are closed.center_img Anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the HR/recruiting industry invariably will have been on the wrong end of candidate opting out of an application process. There are of course a multitude of reasons why this might happen, a lot of which are outside of our control, but sadly in a large amount of cases, accountability rests on the shoulders of the agent/HR pro and in a lot of cases this can have significant ramifications. For example, in agency-land the client can quickly lose faith in an agent’s ability to close the recruitment loop. In internal talent acquisition you will be held accountable for the cost associated with the time spent resulting in a no-hire etc. Not to mention the pounding your reputation could take from the candidate or client perspective if it a regular occurrence. Sadly in HR and recruitment the candidate opt-out is an evil that will always play a part in our role but if we ensure adequate focus on the quality of our communication and efficiency of our processes, the risk will be largely minimized. It’s not rocket science by any means, but it’s good to not lose sight of the basics as our experience grows.Clarity is King: Grey areas are the mortal enemy of any recruiter. When talking to a candidate, the more details that go undiscussed or the more inaccurate the information you give the applicant, the higher the no-hire’o’meter will rise. When talking to a candidate, if you get the impression that any details you’ve divulged about the remit, remuneration package, location or pertinent skills managed to raise the candidate’s eyebrows and perhaps caused un-easiness, DRILL DOWN!. Don’t be happy with getting a half-hearted approval to flick a CV to a client/hiring manager. Ultimately all you will be doing is facilitating the beginning of a fact finding mission for the candidate (which they will opt out of as soon as any facts they don’t like arise) as opposed to offering up all the facts and ascertaining that they are your/clients next superstar. Yes, your CV submittal rate will be higher but your conversion rate will stink.Recruit in a timely manner, without lacking substance. Anyone who has read my previous blog post (Why the long……process) will know my thoughts on drawn out, lengthy recruitment processes. IMO, if a recruiter or HR pro must ask a candidate to go through a 6 stage process in order for them to ascertain suitability, or if they lack the ability to consult properly with their clients/hiring managers around why this is not needed, then there is some serious training required. Personally, I’m a fan of a robust phone screening process followed by a panel interview or a well put together 2 stage interview process. Keeping in mind the candidate experience, neither option would be arduous but will give more than adequate time to ensure a full screening process.As I said, by no means rocket science but I’d suggest just keeping these two things in mind will largely contribute to overall recruitment success rate and conversion ratios. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

It’s Christmas every day at this New Jersey home

first_imgThe 5,400-square-foot McMansion in Colts Neck, New Jersey (Photos via Robert DeFalco Realty)Ho, ho, ho … ly crap, that’s a lot of Christmas decorations.A 5,400-square-foot McMansion that’s currently listed for $2.19 million in Colts Neck, New Jersey, is rather unremarkable from the outside. Venture indoors, though, and you’ll be confronted with more oversized nutcrackers, fake garlands and nativity scenes than you’d find at an actual Christmas Tree Shops.The sellers, brother and sister Chris and Janet Munger, built the home in the late 1990s, and have spent the past decade and change filling it with an extensive array of holiday decorations. A small sampling of the siblings’ collection, according to the Wall Street Journal: 71 wreaths, 38 Santas, 30 trees, 20 nutcrackers and 14 Nativity scenes. (And a partridge in a pear tree, probably.)“We always wanted to make it very special for everyone we knew,” Janet Munger told the publication.In addition to the Christmas decorations, the home has four bedrooms (two of which are huge master suites), four-and-a-half bathrooms, a finished basement with a spa and a backyard area with a 65-foot pool and several grills.And yes, the Mungers plan to take some of their collection with them when they vacate the home. “We already gave 70 huge boxes to the Purple Heart filled with different Christmas trees and stuff, but it hasn’t made a dent,” Chris Munger told the Journal.The house is listed with Janice Rizzo of Robert DeFalco Realty.[WSJ] — Amy Plitt Share via Shortlink TagsLuxury ListingsNew JerseyResidential Real Estatecenter_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Three Trump Org contracts de Blasio canceled were about to expire anyway

first_imgFull Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Mayor Bill de Blasio and the carousel at Central Park (Getty)Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement that the city was terminating contracts with the Trump Organization may need an asterisk.Three of the four contracts identified by de Blasio were already set to expire in April, Politico reported.De Blasio framed the Wednesday announcement as a moralistic response to Trump’s inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol last week.“In light of this criminal act, the city of New York has determined that it is within our power to terminate all contracts with the Trump Organization,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “So, goodbye to the Trump Organization. We are not doing any business with you.”Read moreReal estate industry denounces “insurrection” in DCThe Trump Reorganization: What’s next for the president’s firm?Cushman & Wakefield, NYC cut ties to Trump Organization Message* TagsBill de BlasioNYC politicstrump organizationcenter_img Email Address* Share via Shortlink The contracts relate to a golf course in the Bronx, the carousel at Central Park and two ice skating rinks, all of which are managed by the Trump Organization.Politico reports that the carousel contract was due to expire April 9 and the contract for the skating rinks was to expire April 30.The contract for the golf course, however, runs through April 30, 2032.“The city of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe the Trump Organization over $30 million,” Eric Trump told Politico in a statement.The city said it will deliver termination notices this week. Its lawyers had looked for a legal basis to exit Trump contracts years ago but decided against it.A slew of companies have cut ties with the family business since the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol.[Politico] — Sylvia Varnham O’ReganContact Sylvia Varnham O’Reganlast_img read more

Opportunity Zone investments got a boost in 2020

first_imgEmail Address* Message* TagsCommercial Real EstateInvestment Salestaxes Share via Shortlink Contact Akiko Matsudacenter_img Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Robert Morse, executive chairman of Bridge Investment Group, one of the major Opportunity Zone investors focusing on real estate. (Bridge, Stanford) It was a good year for Opportunity Zones.More than $12 billion was invested in Opportunity Funds by the end of August, Bloomberg News reported, citing the most recent data available from Novogradac.The tax deferral program, which was formalized in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, got off to a slow start partly because the regulations were unclear. Thanks to the rules finalized in December 2019, along with the strong rebound of the stock market last year, investors took advantage of the tax-deferral measure to reinvest their capital gains into Opportunity Zone projects.“We actually turned away capital,” said Robert Morse, executive chairman of Bridge Investment Group, one of the major Opportunity Zone investors focusing on real estate. The firm’s investment amounted to nearly $2 billion — twice as much as in 2019 — and he expects to pour about $1 billion more into Opportunity Zones this year.The tax deferral program aims to give developers incentive to invest into economically deprived neighborhoods. By investing their capital gains in Opportunity Zone projects, property owners and developers are allowed to delay paying capital gains taxes until 2026. If they keep the investments for more than a decade, the tax liability disappears.But critics have argued some of the designated zones didn’t need any incentives to attract investors or were not poor areas, while others said they enrich developers without any evidence or metrics to show their Opportunity Zone projects benefit the neighborhoods they are in.President-elect Joe Biden has suggested reforms to the program, including incentivizing developers to partner with community organizations, and a more robust system for reporting on the impacts of developers’ investments.[Bloomberg News] — Akiko Matsuda Read moreLIC Opportunity Zone dev site asks $60MReal estate deals dominate Opportunity Zones. Is that bad?At final presidential debate, talk of Opportunity Zones and “little tiny windows”last_img read more