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The 10 things managers must do to increase employee engagement

According to David Zinger, here are the 10 things managers must do if they want to increase employee engagement.

Achieve Results
Engagement is more than a feeling, survey number, or a YouTube happy dance. We engage in actions directed towards results. The first key to consider when acting to increase employee engagement is what results are you working to achieve and how can you involve all employees in formulating those results or achieving those results? Powerful results matter to managers, organizations, employees, and customers.

For more information go to David Zinger’s website.

Photo: Paul Downey

HR systems integration is a costly problem

According to Computer Weekly, enterprises are wasting millions trying to integrate human resources (HR) systems that are not designed to communicate with each other, according to HR managers.

Human resources managers at major organisations, including HSBC, Royal Dutch Philips and Siemens, told delegates at the HR Tech Europe conference in Amsterdam that suppliers’ failure to develop compatible systems was one of their biggest concerns.

For more information go to the Computer Weekly website.

Photo: Bruno Cordioli

Bosses step up search for top talent with mental toughness

According to HR Magazine, the ability of MDs, CEOs and managers to recruit top talent with the mental toughness, knowledge and skills to keep their organisations moving forward will take on an unprecedented importance in 2012.

With the business world demanding more for less, coupled with forecasts of even more challenges ahead and one out of every 160 companies currently going into liquidation, having on board individuals with resilience and broad shoulders to deflect the turbulence will differentiate the good from the great.

For more information go to the HR Magazine website.

Photo: Bpsusf

How data protection laws have impacted HR in 2011


Data protection can be an area of concern to many HR professionals due to the significant amount of personal data that they come into contact with on a day-to-day basis. It is, therefore, of vital importance to ensure that an adequate framework is in place that complies with the requirements of data protection legislation and ensures that high standards are followed by all relevant personnel.

It is essential to have an understanding of what types of personal data are covered by data protection legislation. Essentially, any information that directly or indirectly allows an individual to be identified, either as a computerised record or held in a manual filing system is considered to be data. Personal data that is considered to be sensitive data requires a higher level of care as it has the potential to be used in a discriminatory manner. This includes information such as an individual’s health, race, religion, sexuality or political views.

Personal and sensitive data
HR professionals have access to personal and sensitive personal data on a day-to-day basis and it is, therefore, important that there are appropriate policies and procedures in place that set out the way that such data should be handled. Data must be processed in a way that is both fair and lawful. There must be a valid and identified reason for processing data. Additionally, individuals need to be notified of what data is collected about them and how it will be used.

It is essential that thought is given to the standards that are put in place to govern the use of personal data. Any data processed must be relevant and must not be excessive. It has to be accurate information and should be updated. It should not be kept any longer than is necessary. Policies and procedures should, therefore, be drawn up, implemented and reviewed to ensure that proactive management of the personal data held meets with a set of pre-determined standards.

Right to request
HR professionals should remember that an individual has the right to request access to the personal information held about them. As well as computerised records and standard documentation, this can include hand written notes that are kept on file. It is, therefore, important that meeting notes and any comments written on documents are factual and could cause no embarrassment in the event that they require disclosure.

Due to the amount of personal and sensitive data that HR departments hold, it is essential that an appropriate level of security be in place to ensure that the data held is not compromised in any way, either deliberately or accidentally. Clear guidance should be drawn up about who is responsible for the security of data and how this will be managed. Robust policies should be implemented that set up a framework for the management of personal data and staff must have adequate training.

Data protection is an area of risk for HR professionals due to the nature of the personal information that they deal with daily. To mitigate this risk it is essential that an appropriate framework be in place that sets out the standards to be followed and responsibilities that others have to uphold, so that personal information is used in a fit and proper manner and not compromised in any way.

Photo: Svein M

How social media changed recruitment practices for ever

Social recruiting is something of a hot topic and has become one of the buzzwords of 2011. It can, however, be difficult to know where to start or how to make sure that you get the most benefit from using web and networking sites. There is no right or wrong way to use social recruiting, however. It is a concept rather than a prescriptive way of doing things and as such, employers in many different fields are able to draw on the aspects of social recruiting that work for them.

Social recruiting is essentially a means of identifying and communicating with potential employees and building relationships with them. It is an additional tool rather than a replacement to traditional recruitment methods. It encompasses the basic elements that are required for any recruitment process, using new media as a means of attracting and carrying out preliminary vetting of potential candidates.

The web as a marketing tool
One of the simplest ways to embrace social recruiting is to use the web effectively as a marketing tool. By advertising online on websites that are relevant to the industry or field that you work in, you are able to target a much wider pool of people than by only using traditional methods. Twitter and Facebook can be a great way to advertise jobs, particularly if you work in an industry that is IT or media savvy.
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People would pay a lot to get a better work-life balance

According to The Independant, most people would be willing to give up £20 of their weekly income for an hour off, according to a report to be published next week.

Despite rising living costs, wage freezes and fears over job security, the average person in the UK is still willing to make financial sacrifices to improve their work-life balance. Many households would opt for a small reduction in income to improve the collective well-being of society, a study by the Demos think tank and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found.

For more information go to The Independant website.

Photo: Images Money

What will you be wearing to work in 2012?

According to Dan Erwin, dress down days could look set to become a thing of the past as the majority of UK workers want to dress to impress in a bid to save their jobs and win new business because of the current economic climate, according to a survey of 13,000 employees.

Dressing to create the right impression with clients, prospects and colleagues is one area where individuals can influence the outcome of the economy, according to 94% of respondents UK work wear provider Alexandra.

For more information go to Dan Erwin’s website.

Photo: Nelson Pavlosky

CEOs unlikely to come from HR profession: could there be a gender issue here?

CEOs unlikely to come from HR profession: could there be a gender issue here? Interesting article in November’s HR Magazine about why it is still quite rare for CEOs to be drawn from the ranks of the HR profession.

One obvious correlation, it seems to me, is that most HR professionals are women and most CEOs are men. There must be a relationship here somewhere to that current high profile debate about why there are not more women on boards.

For more information go to the HR Magazine website.

Twenty HR gurus making an impact on Twitter

20 HR Gurus you must follow on TwitterHR is all about people – and so is Twitter – so a combination of the two seems obvious and perhaps explains why there are so many HR professionals on Twitter talking about their sector. Whether you want some quick tips, a chance to network or links to the best HR content, these are our 20 HR gurus you must follow on Twitter.

Tweeter: Jason Corsello
Tweets things like: “Really enjoyed #hrtecheurope and spending time with customers. Very unique views of HR & tech across Europe. Thx Amsterdam”

Tweeter: Jason Averbook
Tweets things like: “Most #HRMS systems today were implemented before the internet was around; how can we deploy today’s solutions in the same manner #crazy”

Tweeter: Bill Kutik
Tweets things like: “Group Statistics for HR Technology Conference”

Tweeter: Todd Raphael
Tweets things like: “A job description that’s about the candidate, not the employer.”

Tweeter: Laurie Ruettimann
Tweets things like: “Going through my google reader catching up on #HR blogs. I see saturation, maturity, complacency. Nothing that jumps out at me. Am I wrong?”

Tweeter: Jessica Lee
Tweets things like: “Cynical me wonders is it dropping or are ppl not filing? RT @CNNmoney: Unemployment claims drop to 7-month low”

Tweeter: Jason Seiden
Tweets things like: “Great suggestion from @badgergirl to hold #AjaxSocMed client conference in Banff next year. Networking 2 b done while heli-skiing.”

Tweeter: Naomi Bloom
Tweets things like: “While much younger than me, @Grady_Booch captures the history of computing that I have lived right here”

Tweeter: Sharlyn Lauby
Tweets things like: “It’s so important to network all the time just not when you need it. Have a great session!”

Tweeter: Ben Eubanks
Tweets things like: “@DaveTheHRCzar It most certainly was not. Agree-if U don’t like them in short interview there’s low chances of enjoying their employment!”

Tweeter: Mark Stelzner
Tweets things like: “I’m reading, “Anger Has No Place in Business”, a great @NYTimes interview of Robert L. Johnson”

Tweeter: Mary Wilson
Tweets things like: “Had a great time today doing LinkedIn makeovers with the delightful @phyllismufson. Finally met in person after 3 yrs of tweeting together.”

Tweeter: Shirley Ray
Tweets things like: “Job seekers, do you approach your profession tactically or strategically? Top tier employers want strategically tactical “A” players.”

Tweeter: Susan Heathfield
Tweets things like: “Interesting concept: job sharing to keep more people employed. Less hours and less pay, but more people working…”

Tweeter: Lisa Rosendahl
Tweets things like: “Have your read @alevit new book, Blind Spots, filled with a ton of career advice? I did!”

Tweeter: Jason Alba
Tweets things like: “Flying to NJ/NYC to speak at Cornell on Saturday… excited!!”

Tweeter: Kevin W. Grossman
Tweets things like: “Here’s the money shot. Q6: How can #TChat be improved? What would you like us to do in year two? #tchat”

Tweeter: John Sumser
Tweets things like: “Looking for work? Here’s a job fair touting tech openings in India – Computerworld http://bit.ly/rq0URR <– How did I miss this?”

Tweeter: David Shepherd
Tweets things like: “Catching up with post and comments on workplace social media policies I’m in favour”

Tweeter: Cyndy Trivella
Tweets things like: “New blog on http://www.nastalenttalk! @mattkaisersd offers tips for the onsite #application process. #hr #recruitment”

HR practitioners’ guide to employment law

job interview bpsusThe area of employment law is vast and all good HR personnel should do their best to familiarise themselves with those aspects that directly apply to their work responsibilities. Listed here are the absolute basics that every HR worker needs to know, but further study should always be undertaken. Indeed, as we look towards seeing in another new year, it may be a better time than ever to keep up with changes in the law and to ensure a greater in depth knowledge of the issues.

Advertising for a position
The first potential problem comes with the advertisement for the job that the HR department needs to fill. Not only must there be no age or sex discrimination in the advert (unless a specific sex is required due to the nature of the job), but there are also considerations as to hourly wage and hours worked. The legal minimum wage must be met and the hours worked must comply with the Working Times Regulations. All workers also have the right to a minimum of 28 days of paid annual leave, pro rata for part time employees, although this can include bank and public holidays.

The interview stage
When interviewing for a position, further conditions must be met. Disability cannot be a reason to discriminate against an applicant and neither can sex, race, age, sexual orientation or religion. Candidates with equal qualifications and experience must be treated equally so as to avoid any hint of discrimination. Health checks should not be given to a disabled candidate without good reason unless all candidates are required to undergo the same checks. The need for such checks depends on the nature of the disability and the requirements of the job in question.

Job offers
If an unconditional offer of a job is made to a candidate, as soon as they have accepted that offer, a contract of employment exists between the company and the candidate. If the offer is subsequently withdrawn, the candidate may have cause to claim compensation. Conditional offers can be made whereby the candidate must meet certain conditions (such as satisfactory references or health checks), before an unconditional offer is made.

Payslips
Employed personnel are entitled to receive a pay slip, unless they are in one of a few professions, such as the police service. There are strict rules as to what the pay slip should show, such as the amount of wages (both net and gross), any fixed deductions (such as trade union subscriptions) and individual amount of other, variable deductions (such as tax).

Flexible working
Employees are also entitled to ask for flexible working if they have worked continuously for 26 weeks for the company and are the carer of a child or an adult who is a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative. Under the law, a request for flexible working must be given due consideration and should only be rejected if there are sound business reasons for doing so.

Rest breaks
Rest breaks are also part of an employee’s legal rights. The basic premise is that an adult worker who works for more than six hours at a stretch is entitled to a 20-minute rest break. This can be a lunch or a coffee break, but must be taken in the middle of the working day. Smoking breaks are not required by statute. Adult workers also have the right to a clear break of at least 11 hours between each working day period and an uninterrupted break from work of 24 hours per week, or 48 hours per fortnight. In the few instances where these rules do not apply, workers are still entitled to adequate rest of around 90 hours a week on average.

Working hours
Although in most circumstances there is a limit to the number of hours worked in a week (set at 48 hours), it is possible for a worker aged over 18 to voluntarily opt out of the limit. Opting out in this way must be voluntary and cannot be as part of an agreement with the whole workforce. Workers who refuse to sign an opt-out must not be treated unfairly and even those who do sign such an opt-out can cancel their agreement by giving at least 7 days’ notice.

An organisation’s HR management strategy should be aimed towards minimising financial risk and maximising the organisation’s return on investment. Put simply, this means getting the best out of the company’s human resources and ensuring that employment laws are adhered to, so as to minimise potential claims for compensation.

Photo: bpsusf