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Posts tagged: employee engagement

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.”

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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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