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Employers urged to sign health at work pledge

5621810815_185b86a50dDame Carol Black, national director for health and work, has urged more employers to sign up to the government’s Health at Work Pledge, according to People Management. The initiative has clocked up 172 signatories since its launch in March.

Employers that sign the pledge agree to publish their sickness absence rates, take proactive measures on diet and smoking, and offer flexible working to staff with chronic illnesses. Signatories also agree to only use occupational health services that meet the new OH standard by 2012/13.

For more information visit the People Management website.

Photo by Kathryn Decker-Krauth

UK talent acquisition costs rise to £5,311 per hire, compared to £2,226 in US

4872899100_8ac167f9abSpending by UK employers on talent acquisition rose 6% in 2011, primarily driven by expectations for business growth, according to HR Magazine. Bersin & Associates finds benchmarks and trends in spending, staffing, and key recruiting metrics. It contains responses from nearly 100 organisations and was conducted via qualitative interviews and online surveys of organisations from the Bersin & Associates database and the LinkedIn network.

For more information visit the HR Magazine website.

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Unemployment is world’s fastest-rising fear – survey

134974908_0bfc108593Unemployment is the world’s fastest-rising worry, a BBC World Service survey covering 11,000 people in 23 countries suggests. The annual poll, called The World Speaks, gave people a list of concerns and asked which they had discussed with friends or family in the past month.

For more information visit the BBC website.

Photo by Steve Cadman

Employee Benefits and getting the best out of your staff

5474761220_345e33882eIn this competitive job market, it is important that individual organisations take the time to make themselves appeal to candidates. Although the unemployment rate is high, the number of experienced and skilled workers out of work is not as high, as companies begin to understand the value of retaining their best and brightest. In an effort to retain the best staff and to recruit the most qualified candidates to any new roles, more and more companies in the UK are starting to offer some kind of employee benefit scheme to their staff.

If you were to poll potential employees about their priorities when choosing a new role you would find a variety of answers but always in the top five will be pay, conditions and holidays. These are the three things that it is vital to tackle in order to ensure a happy, productive workforce. Any benefits over and above these three key categories will not be helpful in the longer term if you don’t get these ones right in the first place.

Offering a competitive salary is an obvious tactic when it comes to recruiting the best staff but it is also important to remember that, depending on the sector, many companies also offer bonus schemes in addition to the basic wage. Everyone likes to know that the guaranteed sum they will walk out with every month is a decent one but people are competitive by nature and offering performance-related bonus schemes can help to bring out the best in your workers. Not only does it offer an incentive but bonuses are also a way for employees to ‘keep score’ and monitor how well they are doing in comparison with their colleagues.

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The Human Resources Revolution – Five areas to watch in 2012

iStock_000005858023XSmallThe year 2011 represented something of a seismic shift for HR, as the ramifications of the Equality Act, abolition of the default retirement age (DRA) and new legislation for Temporary Workers all brought their challenges. However, 2012 promises to be just as much – if not more – of a watershed. The combination of constant technological innovation, continued social change and even more workplace legislation will add further impetus to the HR Revolution.

So what can practitioners expect to be the key areas for HR in the New Year? We asked Steve McNally of the Work and Inclusion consultancy Equality Law, to give an overview of what to expect.

Employee engagement
Employee engagement will get even closer to centre stage. Given its comparative dominance in HR circles over the last few years, it could be argued that “employee engagement” is a wee bit ‘yesterday’. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Only now are organisations fully embracing the importance of engagement to employee performance and productivity. This means that companies’ boards and executives are only now looking beyond survey results to what they need to actually do to respond appropriately to survey findings and meet employee needs. So expect more innovations that help make engagement happen, such as rewards programmes that actually give employees the type of rewards they want, at no extra cost to the organisation but of greater value to the employee.

Isn’t this a rather perverse prediction, given the dark economic clouds that appear to be gathering for 2012? Not at all. A quite startling set of statistics has just been released by Mercer. In late 2011, its global research – which had more than 10,000 employees responding – found that 32% of employees are “planning on leaving” their employers (as opposed to just 19% in 2009).

It appears that much of the workforce is simply “hanging on to their jobs”, waiting for the economy to recover – then jumping ship. That’s the problem: low engagement leads to low employee performance.

Social media
The year 2011 was the year of ‘social’ – social recruiting, social rewards, social learning, social performance management and social career management. ‘Social’ will be the biggest buzzword of 2012, closely followed by ‘mobile’. Your Employees are already interacting through social media. And you’re probably utilising social as an effective recruitment tool. It’s an obvious step to make it possible for employees to recognise each other through a social platform as well. In 2012, we will see the practices of ‘social’ start to revolutionise rewards and recognition, as well as learning, performance management and even career management.
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Workforce engagement: lessons from the third sector

3417729672_689d13827eYou might assume that any organisation that increases output 20-fold with only a three-fold increase in staff must come from the private sector. Especially if it has also reduced staff turnover by half, reduced staff sick leave by one-third, and quadrupled income over four years? Well, according to Personnel Today, it’s actually a charity.

For more information visit the Personnel Today website.

Photo by Uwe Hermann

There’s an app for that: Mobile apps to help with the day job

day job appsMobile internet usage will overtake PC-based usage within the next four years, according to forecasts released in September by market research firm IDC. According to, the report also said sales of mobiles and tablets will soon overtake the sales of PCs.

For more information visit

Photo by Cheon Fong Liew

HR recruitment 2012 – Who’s going to win in an Olympic year?

What does the New Year hold for HR professionals – and what HR roles, and in which sectors, will be up for grabs in an Olympic Year?

If 2011 saw HR face a sustained increase in workplace unrest as austerity measures, longer working hours, stress and a genuine skills gap took their toll on the UK workforce, what can HR professionals expect in 2012?

Rising unemployment is sure to continue a growing trend of staff absence, sickness, stress-related problems and grievances, as revealed in the latest research undertaken by Speechly Bircham and the Management Learning Board at King’s College London.

The study concludes that future increases in working hours were only expected to result in higher staff turnover and even more workplace unrest this year. Two out of five of those questioned anticipated seeing a deterioration in employee relations during 2011, while 29% believed that the number of employee grievances would continue to rise.

Engagement remains high on the agenda, with just over two thirds stating that maintaining employee engagement was a priority this coming year, with the majority hoping to achieve it by ensuring that their leaders and managers were up to the job.

Sarah Malley, Director of Morton Steel, says: “I would hope that going into 2012, our clients would continue to be cautious but optimistic with their recruiting. I think everyone has gone through their restructuring now so I think next year should be stable”.

So what does that mean for members of Team HR – who stands to win, and who may fall back in the ratings?

Positions on the Podium
The good news is that HR as a whole will be just as valued, and perhaps even more so, in 2012. Organisations will continue to reshape and restructure in the face of the economic climate – so the trend of the last three years, which has seen HR itself restructure more towards Change Management and Business Strategy, as opposed to ‘transactional and tactical’, will continue.
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