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Workplace bullying – not only at Number 10

Recent headlines have hit the Labour party with a book claiming Gordon Brown is a bully – an allegation seemingly backed up by a national hotline claiming they have received calls from ’several’ members of Number 10 staff.


However, this has now been hit with a backlash of its own as this has been percieved as a breach of confidentiality, which is discrediting the charity – so much so that engagement expert, Professor Cary Cooper has disengaged himself as their patron. Associated Press reported he resigned because he believed confidentiality had been breached despite the CEO, Christine Pratt, not ‘outing’ any employee by name. He was quoted as saying: “I am resigning now on the grounds that I think she breached confidentiality.”

He continued: “One of the things that is really important for any helpline or any counselling service is to retain confidentiality of the people calling up.”

He added: “Even though the names may not be revealed, particularly with something like bullying … an employer could maybe find out who they were.”

His resignation has been followed by TV presenter Sarah Cawood and Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, both of whom were patrons and have now resigned.

CEO Christine Pratt and her husband also run a consultancy, HR and Diversity Management Limited (HR&DM). This collaboration promotes the National Bullying Helpline as well as their business. Another charity, Bullying UK, have called on her to ‘consider her position’ after being ‘horrified’ by the story – especially after they were contacted by members of the public who believed it was their charity in the public eye over this incident.

The story has brought the continual problem of bullying at work once again firmly into the public eye. It’s not something which only happens at school. HR management and directors need to work together to prevent a culture developing where bullying is permissable.

The Association for Coaching UK (AC UK) says allegations about bullying in Downing Street should serve as a reminder about how common this issue is in the workplace and highlight the lack of awareness of the problem.

Gladeana McMahon, Chair of the AC UK said: “Nearly a third of all employees have witnessed or experienced workplace bullying.  The public sector is not exempt from this, in fact evidence suggests that bullying is particularly prevalent within public services, in spite of widespread anti-bullying policies and the desire for inclusive practice.”

Reports and speculation about Gordon Brown’s temper has appeared in the mainstream press frequently. As has been pointed out, many brilliant leaders have traits which are less than desirable, but this is no excuse to enable and tolerate bullying. Unfortunately today it is more common than ever – and this is partly put down to the effect of the recession.

The AC UK expalined some may be able to cope with bullying behaviour and accept it as a strong leadership style, but many others will find it intimidating. People being bullied can often feel undermined; humiliated; overloaded with excessive amounts of work; vulnerable; anxious, or even physically unwell.  

It is quite usual for people displaying bullying behaviour not to recognise it as such, according to the AC UK. Fortunately, it is possible to help people overcome this type of leadership style, provided they recognise negative behaviours and want to change.

City law firm Speechly Bircham and King’s College London HRM Learning Board conducted their annual survey of senior HR professionals late last year. Almost a third of respondents, 29%, identified that grievances lodged had gone up in 2009, and 23% anticipate future increases in grievances (owing to a rise in stress and employment-related problems) in the coming year. The biggest causes of grievances have been bullying and harassment, and relations with senior or line managers. Grievances around pay and conditions, workload, career development, and stress are anticipated to become more important in 2010. A third of those surveyed also predicted an increase in staff turnover.

Reports of workplace bullying have doubled over the past ten years and more than one in three employees have fallen victim to intimidation in the workplace in the past six months, according to figures from public sector union Unison.

Take action
If there are issues with bullying in an organisation, there are thing every employee can do. “In the current financial climate there is extra pressure on managers and workers to get results, which has led to more aggressive targets, increased pressure, more criticism of co-workers and a very real concern for job security”, says Dr Daniel Scott, author of ‘Verbal Self Defence in The Workplace’.

Source : HR Zone

Resignations Rise

The number of resignations among UK workers has increased in the past year, according to data from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and employment law service XpertHR.

The data collected from 43,312 individuals in 197 organisations reveals resignations levels stand at 4.7%, compared with 4.5% last year. ‘Internal transfers’ appear to be failing as an alternative option to leaving for workers, dropping to 3.6% from 5.8% last year.

More than half (53.8%) of employers said restructuring and job insecurity caused many of their staff to ‘jump ship’, while 38.5% disclosed that their failure to offer career opportunities and training contributed to employees leaving and 61.5% also admitted that their employees’ heads had been turned by headhunters and recruiters.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the CMI, says: “A year ago employers were looking at job transfers as a way of halting growth of the dole queue.  However, with the latest figures showing that staff are prepared to run the risk of unemployment by jumping ship, questions must be asked about employee engagement levels in organisations up and down the country.”

Source : Recruiter

Featured Occupation – Working in Payroll

Payroll clerks, supervisors and managers work as a team to administer their organisation’s payroll and ensure that every member of staff is paid the correct amount on the right date. A payroll clerk’s duties may involve checking time sheets and clock cards to see how many hours each employee has worked, calculating amounts of pay and making deductions to cover repayments such as salary advances or student loans. A payroll supervisor oversees the work of a payroll team and trains new staff, and a payroll managers responsibilities include managing the work of a number of payroll teams.

Payroll staff usually work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They may work overtime at busy times, such as the end of the financial year. They are usually office based and spend most of the day sitting at a desk using computers, calculators and the telephone. More senior staff spend some time attending meetings.

Salaries range from around £14,000 to £40,000 a year.

A payroll clerk, supervisor or manager should:

  • have good numeracy skills
  • have good computer skills
  • be discreet when handling confidential information
  • have leadership and management skills (managers and supervisors)
  • be able to understand and interpret complex information (managers and supervisors)
  • be interested in working with figures.

Opportunities exist throughout the UK. Large organisations, such as local authorities, retail chains, manufacturers, airlines, financial institutions and the NHS, often have their own payroll departments. There are also opportunities in payroll bureaux, which offer payroll services to other organisations.

Although there are no minimum qualifications for this kind of work, many employers prefer applicants with GCSEs (A*-C), including English and maths. The Diploma in business, administration and finance may be relevant for this area of work and apprenticeships may be available.

Entrants learn through a combination of on-the-job training and internal and external courses. Qualifications include NVQ Levels 2/3 in payroll administration, BTEC Advanced Certificate in payroll techniques, BTEC Advanced Award in payroll procedures and NVQ Levels 2 to 4 in financial services.

With experience and qualifications, payroll clerks may become supervisors and managers. More experience and responsibility may be gained by moving to a different organisation.

View Simply HR Jobs latest Payroll Jobs and Payroll Manager Jobs or all the other Jobs in HR

Memorable Firsts in Human Resources Management

Anyone who works in human resources management knows that the job comes with great joys and great sorrows. And all along the way, memorable first moments with people occur. Sometimes you feel prepared for the moments; some sneak up and surprise you. But whatever memorable human resources management moment you are experiencing for the first time, these resources will help you. Hire an employee, fire an employee, give an employee a pay raise, or perform performance improvement coaching. Your interactions with people will never be boring when you practice in any field of human resource management

1. How to Break Into a Career in Human Resources

No matter how you managed to do it, breaking into the field of Human Resource Management is definitely a memorable HR first. Whether you studied and prepared long term for your career in Human Resources Management or transferred from another line of work, you have the opportunity to transform workplaces in the Human Resources Management profession. Congratulations on achieving your first memorable Human Resources Management moment.

A memorable moment in human resources management is the first time you hire an employee – especially if the employee turns out to be a good employee. Want to recruit and hire a superior workforce? This checklist for hiring employees will help you systematize your process for hiring employees, whether it’s your first employee or one of many employees you are hiring. This hiring employees checklist helps you keep track of your recruiting efforts. This hiring employees checklist communicates both the recruiting and the hiring process and progress in recruiting to the hiring manager.
When you work in human resources management, you set an example and you have much influence over how people are treated and the company culture. You can tell your colleagues, coworkers and employees how much you value them and their contribution any day of the year. Trust me. No occasion is necessary. In fact, small surprises, verbal expressions, and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year help the people in your work life feel valued all year long. Human resources management can be fun, fulfilling and have an impact.
Human resources management focuses first on providing a motivational work environment in which employees choose success. In a motivational work environment, employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for people. Employee recognition is a communication tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes people create for your business. When you recognize people effectively, you reinforce, with your chosen means of recognition, the actions and behaviors you most want to see people repeat. An effective employee recognition system is simple, immediate, and powerfully reinforcing.
In human resource management, you and your managers need to lead in terms of organizing the workplace for best organization success. You want to have the necessary policies and procedures to ensure a safe, organized, convivial, empowering, nondiscriminatory workplace. Yet, you do not want to write a policy for every exception to accepted and expected behavior. Policy development is for the many employees not for the few exceptions. When you develop your policies, these are the human resources management considerations.
Do you have the responsibility for supervising the work of others? If so, you know that employees don’t always do what you want them to do. On the one hand, they act as if they are competent professionals. On the other, they procrastinate, miss deadlines, and wait for instructions. They blame others when their work is unsuccessful. And worst of all, employees become defensive when you try to coach them to perform excellent, goal-accomplishing work. So, what’s a supervisor to do?
Looking for a step-by-step coaching approach you can use to help an employee improve his work performance? This approach avoids the need for discipline and produces great results. Your human resources management skills will improve when you use these steps to coach employees.
Progressive discipline is a process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. The primary purpose for progressive discipline is to assist the employee to understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists. The process features increasingly formal efforts to provide feedback to the employee so he or she can correct the problem. The goal of progressive discipline is to improve employee performance.
Not a fun moment when you work in human resources management, but the day will come when you need to fire an employee. Never the first step in human resources management, firing an employee is potentially conflict ridden, uncomfortable, and sometimes results in lawsuits. But, assuming that you have taken steps to help an employee improve his work performance – and they are not working – it may be time to fire the employee. These are the legal, ethical steps in how to fire an employee. Ensure that the company’s actions, as you prepare, are above reproach. How you fire an employee sends a powerful message to your remaining staff – either positive or negative. Fire an employee as a last resort, but, do not jeopardize your company success.
Face it. Sooner or later, even the best employer has employees resign. They think they’ve found a better opportunity or their spouse has accepted a job out-of-state. The reasons are endless for an employee resignation. But, each employee resignation poses the employer with a series of questions. Find out how to handle an employee resignation. Find out how to handle an employee resignation when you’re happy to see the employee go – and, when the resignation makes you sad.
Source : – Susan Heathfield

City HR base salaries set to rise

Base salaries are expected to increase at more than half of City HR departments, according to new research from HR recruiter Digby Morgan.

Its survey of compensation & benefits professionals also shows that early indicators point to base salary rising predominantly within the larger investment banks rather than more widely across the broader based banks and the wider financial services sector and professional services firms.

For other firms, pay rises have been aimed at HR staff below a certain level of compensation, while others will not receive pay increase and a large proportion of their bonus will be deferred.

The research shows that the anticipated bonus pool for HR professionals for 2010 was expected to be the same (22%) or less (51%) by 73% of City firms that responded, despite a marked upturn in business for many City clients following stock market growth during 2009.

Firms also revealed that exceptions have continued to be made for critical hires. In the second half of last year, HR hires included either ‘sign on’ bonuses and/or guarantees from just over 18% of companies that engaged HR professionals during this period.

Source : The Recruiter

National Apprenticeship Week: Apprentices are more productive than new staff, say employers

Employers in the hospitality and travel and tourism sectors rate apprentices above new staff when it comes to performance and productivity, an industry survey from People 1st has revealed.

The sector skills council for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, found employers viewed apprentices as a catalyst for encouraging fellow workers to raise their game and step up performance.
Four in 10 employers surveyed (41%) claimed that apprentices were far more productive than new hires, while 49% said they made their businesses more competitive. When asked what value apprentices added to their business, employers were bowled over by their willingness to learn (90%) and enthusiasm (63%), as well as their flexibility and responsiveness to change (47%).

Considering the tangible benefits to sector businesses, the cost of hiring an apprentice seems to quickly pay for itself with a third (33%) of respondents recouping their costs within a year and a further 20% within 18 months.

This year, one in four of the sector’s employers took on an apprentice and 37% of those currently offering the scheme said they were considering increasing their intake in the next financial year. A staggering 60% of employers who had not previously offered apprenticeships confirmed they were seriously considering this option.

However, despite their interest, almost half (46%) do not understand the apprenticeship scheme process and how to go about taking on an apprentice.

The survey also revealed 53% of businesses have found that, on average, apprentices stay for up to two years within their organisation while 27% stay for up to three years.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said:  ”Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of the hospitality and travel and tourism sectors and give employers access to a rich and cost-effective source of raw and enthusiastic talent within a very short period of time that they can mould and shape into tomorrow’s future leaders.

“Without doubt, Apprenticeship programmes encourage more talented young people into the business, which ultimately should improve the quality of the travel and tourism workforce.”

Charles Prew, chief executive of Barcelo Hotels, added: “Apprenticeships are a solution to so many of our sector’s recruitment and retention problems.  At Barceló, we place huge importance on not just selecting the right people, but on looking after them and developing them as an integral part of our business. Apprenticeships are a key building block in creating a new generation of talent.

“Barceló UK has recently invested £500,000 in its Barceló Apprentice Chef Academy (BACA). We believe the BACA has enabled us to recruit young people with the most potential who are keen to pursue a career as chefs but until now have never had a chance.  Our chefs currently taking part in the scheme are proving to be a real success. They are all motivated and ambitious with a passion to succeed.  Following the training programme, we hope they will stay within Barceló UK and be our head chefs of tomorrow. We will shortly be offering our apprentices a UK Skills Passport that will assist in identifying gaps in the apprentices’ knowledge to ensure they keep moving up the career ladder.”

TUI UK and Ireland’s accredited programmes manager, Andy Smyth, confirmed that their own internal research chimed with People 1st’s findings. “TUI UK and Ireland continue to be committed to offering a range of apprenticeship programmes that have seen over 3,500 apprentices trained in the past five years.”

Source : HR Magazine