HR jobs from Simply HR Jobs
Blog Social Careers Courses Topics

Olympic sickness absence and how HR can avoid it

Usain Bolt credit Phil McElhinneyFrom the moment news broke that London would be hosting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, concerns have been voiced in HR circles that ‘sickies’ or sickness absences will soar across businesses during the Games.

Unplanned sickness absence already costs UK businesses 16% of payroll, according to the Institute for Employment Studies, but this could see a worrying hike during July when athletes are thrilling the world with their sporting feats, and workers decide not to miss the action.

What kind of rise in sickness absence should HR managers expect and how can any impact on business be prevented? According to a report in the Telegraph last year, as many as 1 in 6 employees plan to phone in sick during the 2012 Olympics, while 15% of employees intend to take official annual leave, putting a strain on some enterprises.

Statistics such as these are leading HR departments to design ways to head off unplanned sickness absence, keep staff feeling happy and motivated, and even to use the Olympics as a means of bolstering employee engagement.

According to employment relations organisation Acas employers should ensure they plan ahead of the Games and consider more flexible working arrangements to minimise potential disruption. “It’s also important to manage staff expectations to ensure your business runs smoothly,” says an Acas spokesman. “Some members of staff may even get fed up with all the fuss, and any perceived favouritism shown to those with sporting interests.”

Read more »

Anonymous CVs – Where does your organisation stand?

group of professionalsThe government has proposed a new initiative that aims to make it a lot easier for job hunters to get a job without fear of discrimination during the application stage. The new strategy has been designed so that companies in the future will ask for anonymous CVs that omit information, including the candidates’ names and where they went to school.

The idea behind the recruitment initiative is to give candidates a fair chance of getting an interview and to help eradicate the idea that you can get a job because of who you know or what top school you attended, rather than what you know and your capabilities.

Already, around 100 of the UK’s largest businesses have joined the initiative to help change the culture that currently exists when recruiting for new posts. Under the government’s Business Compact scheme, major firms including Tesco, Coco-Cola and Barclays have come on board and agreed to use new application forms which will not include information such as school, name, gender and ethnicity.

By agreeing to the scheme, companies will use an application form with blanks for name and school, as these questions are believed to often lead to discrimination when selecting candidates for interview. It is thought that companies may unintentionally discriminate against names that sound foreign. The type of school attended favours the old boy network that still exists.
Read more »

The HR Society appoints Angela O’Connor as president

Angela O’Connor has become the first female president of The Human Resources (HR) Society.

O’ Connor is the society’s eighth president and founder and CEO of the HR Lounge, a consultancy that offers bespoke HR services to businesses. Angela’s previous roles include chief people officer at the NPIA, HR director at the CPS and head of HR at three London-based local authorities.

The outgoing president is Andrew Mayo, who has held the position since 2006.
Multinational 3M has also appointed a new senior vice president of HR – Marlene McGrath. McGrath will report to the firm’s president and CEO Inge Thulin. She has led HR for 3M’s international operations since 2006.

Thulin comments: “Marlene’s international experience and proven leadership skills make her an ideal leader for this important assignment.

“Her deep understanding of 3M’s employee brand will serve the company well as we expand our operations around the world.”

The role has been filled by Angela Lalor, who announced her departure from 3M to pursue opportunities at Danaher Corp.

Henkel, which owns brands such as Pritt, Sellotape and Schwarzkopf, has appointed Stéphane De Schryver as its HR director, UK and Ireland.

De Schryver will join the UK and Ireland executive committee and head the region’s HR team. De Schryver will focus on acquisition and development for Henkel’s businesses, and will be tasked with transforming and integrating HR processes. De Schryver joined Henkel in 1993.

An employer’s guide to talent management in 2012

Mercer’s report at the end of 2011 painted a grave challenge for Talent Management here in the UK as well as across other developed countries. Over 50% of employees admitted that they would leave their current organisation if they could, with most people citing the global economic climate as the reason why they choose to stay put – for now. Accordingly, as the UK and other world economies stabilise, competition to retain high-potential employees will be at fever pitch.

Here in 2012, talent management already firmly occupies the HR, learning and development and leadership agenda. So what are the key principles that organisations can adopt to make a real difference in talent management terms in order to ensure that they select, develop and retain their best performers and future leaders? Here are the key actions that will be vital for successful Talent Management in 2012.

1. Make sure you are ‘In the Know’
Are you aware of the talent that your business cannot afford to lose? Do you know such individuals as well as your competitors’ head hunters do? Crucially, do you keep in touch with your talent on a regular basis? As a Talent Manger, you need to be deploying some of the characteristics of the world’s best executive search firms.

2. Keep the Dialogue going
Do the people that you can’t afford to lose know just how much you value them? The secret of great talent management is about genuinely knowing your people – and continually connecting with them.

One leading third sector organisation found that by designing a ‘talking talent toolkit’, managers had the resources to distinguish between a ‘performance conversation’ and a ‘talent conversation’. This provided a practical means for leaders and managers to hold conversations with employees to help them truly understand each individual’s future aspirations and desires.

3. Align your talent to the wider business challenges
Is your top talent aware of your business strategies and realities? Encouraging your people to work on ‘real’ business issues and challenges is one of the best ways to develop your talent pipelines.

Ensuring that high-performers are given goals and objectives that are stretching and aligned to business imperatives is key to ensuring they have the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and strengths within different contexts.

4. Don’t underestimate the value of assessment
Do you know the attributes that will predict the success of your future business leaders and/or chief executive?

While many organisations have adopted valid generic talent development models, some are now questioning whether this ‘off-the-shelf’ approach is enough to meet the business’ specific long-term needs.

Internationally, there is an increasing appreciation that, although many companies have signed up to generic competency-based models to determine what ‘good’ looks like, this generic approach is not predictive when it comes to identifying future leadership potential.

5. Respect Diversity and aim for Inclusion
Should all talented individuals be nurtured in the same way? It’s important to highlight the needs of underrepresented talent groups. Firstly, this means being explicit with the under-represented group in question about some of the challenges that members are likely to face. Women, for example, tend to receive lower ratings at assessment centres and are typically more apologetic in board meetings than men.

Beyond that, it’s also crucial to explore how the organisation can intervene in a way that best helps underrepresented talent to understand their strengths and ensure that they are in an optimum position to make their next career move.

6. Realise ALL the strengths
Do you know how to develop unrealised strengths? Are your talent strategies based on the development of these strengths or do they expose individual’s weaknesses under the guise of development opportunities?

Assessing and developing the realised and unrealised strengths of individuals can act as a tool for unlocking their potential, the potential of the teams in which they operate and the potential of the wider organisation.

Having a rounder view of each individual should ensure that any career moves are not made on the basis of trying to overcome personal weaknesses and/or learned behaviours. This is a key reason why some individuals flourish in one area of the business but fail dismally when they move to another. Organisations should not only ever place people in positions that play to their strengths as everyone requires opportunities to grow and develop.

Don’t let a tweet destroy your career progression

Twitter logosWith the job market and the economy currently languishing in the doldrums, it can be harder than ever to get your foot on to the HR career path, or move up the ladder to your next challenge. And to make matters even harder, employers now are using even more sophisticated techniques to carry out background checks on new applicants – including social-media checks.

Through a service pioneered by Social Intelligence Corp, a start-up in California, employers can now receive reports on their prospective next recruit that flag up their social-media usage and history. This means potentially that every ill-advised tweet, dodgy Facebook status or drunken photo can be retrieved and compiled into a fairly enlightening dossier for HR to peruse.

Of course, this isn’t entirely a surprise to job hunters, who have been hearing warnings of such searches for some years now. However, what many don’t realise is just how easy it is to access seemingly private social-media accounts and how permanent online updates are. And if it seems a little ‘Big Brother’, then sadly your concerns are irrelevant. As the Social Intelligence team point out, they aren’t detectives – they gather what’s already available, publicly, online. Increasingly it will become part of the HR department’s job to look into applicants’ online history, and social media activity, as a new stage of the recruitment process.

Read more »

Are performance reviews still relevant in 2012?

If you want to know how productive and effective your staff are, how they feel about their careers and what level of job satisfaction they have, then the tried-and-tested method is to conduct a performance review. Traditional thinking in the world of HR considers a regular performance review (at least once a year) the litmus test for all the above questions. But aren’t there drawbacks to performance reviews, limitations that render them much less effective in today’s working world? Working lives, management styles, etiquette, employment law and the reciprocal relationship between employer and employee have all changed in the last few decades. So where does that leave the performance review as a useful diagnostic tool?

Naturally, any employer has a right to know if their staff are performing well and in turn, employees have a right to career development and a level of satisfaction in their work. Many employers and employees dislike the performance-review process. They think it is confrontational and an exercise in making staff fearful about job security. They can feel like an unappreciated cog in a machine and employers are left open to grudges and negativity from staff.

Performance reviews which use forced ranking are particularly fraught with difficulties, especially as it pushes many aspects of employment and employees into constrained boxes. Furthermore, it only allows a certain percentage of employees into each category, whether that is ‘needs improvement’ or ‘exceeds expectations’. In the real world, it is rarely the case that forced ranking will provide an accurate reflection of reality. Worse, it is seen to create distrust among colleagues or encourage favouritism and it can demoralise a whole team. This is hardly the outcome anyone conducting a performance review would hope to achieve.

Other employers see performance reviews simply as a form-filling exercise or a chore to be endured once a year but never referred to again until the next year. Small wonder then that some employees do not feel they are useful or an accurate reflection of their work or their career prospects. If both sides are distrustful of the efficacy of the process, then in all likelihood a company will lose good but frustrated employees and retain underperforming ones who are only interested in treading water. It creates an atmosphere where people are more interested in personal job security, not the collective performance of the team or company as a whole.

Perhaps performance reviews, rather than being about ticking boxes and assigning people to categories or giving them a ranking, should be about feedback and creating a constructive plan for the year ahead, something for company and employee alike to work on. Measuring specific job-related tangibles, if possible in a particular work environment, is an obvious way to see improvement and is more precise than deciding whether or not an individual meets or exceeds expectations based on an arbitrary ranking system.

Forms with set questions on them will never apply to all roles or all individuals and the premise that no one can ever get full marks in a scoring mechanism because ‘there would be nothing left to aim for’ is outdated. If an employee is doing an outstanding job, then they should be recognised for it, not perpetually being seen to be ‘under achieving’ just because no one ever gets top marks. This is demoralising and the employee is left wondering whether they have done a good job or not. Rather than a yearly review, in the run up to which employees get nervous, a quick monthly feedback session (from both sides), lasting no more than five or ten minutes, will go further in making goals tangible and achievable and it is easier for an employee to see and document any changes that have been implemented over the twelve-month period.