On-the-job award is revolutionary

Lastmonth the first Investment Administration Management Awards were presented tostaff who had completed a year-long training programme designed to improvetheir knowledge, business acumen and ability to manage.  Work-basedand focusing on the development of confident team leaders and administrationmanagers, I believe that the nationally accredited award is revolutionary atleast within the investment funds sector – and thought Training readers may beinterested to find out more. Ibelieve that it is revolutionary from two important aspects: –Participants meet award requirements, through continual, on-the-job assessmentrather than one-off exams, and each candidate works under the direction andsupport of a personal “mentor”. They have to complete five modules comprisingcourse work and an assignment, set in conjunction with their line manager. Theyconclude with a project, based again on a real business issue, specific totheir organisation.    –The training represents an unprecedented investment in training foradministration staff oft neglected relative to fund managers and other “frontoffice” staff. Member firms of this association got together to identifythe  skills needs in their respectivefast-moving, hi-tech “back offices” that could not easily be met by piecemealin-house programmes. The evaluation now demonstrates that benefits are alreadybeing realised by award winners and their firms.  Feedbackfrom candidates includes the comment that choosing real subjects forassignments meant that information from workshops and manuals was “retained andput to good use rather than gathering dust in a file”.  Seniorline managers comment that staff have grown in confidence, encouraging otherteam members to work more effectively and identifying opportunities to increaserevenue.TheInvestment Administration Manage-ment Award is a joint-venture project betweenourselves, the investment funds trade association; Edexcel, the leadingawarding body; and MDA, a training provider with relevant expertise.  Successful participants are given a BtecProfessional Development Award.    VictoriaNyeDirector, training and educationAssociation of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article On-the-job award is revolutionaryOn 1 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. read more

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Room for improvement

first_img Comments are closed. Dealing with an employee’s poor performance is perhaps one of the mostfamiliar problems faced by an HR professional, and yet it is one that is notoriouslydifficult to measure. How much time should you allow to show improvement? Howdo you measure that improvement? And what of the question of the part-timeworker? Joanna Broadbent and Sam Whitaker provide some answersProbationary periodRebecca is a sales person for A Limited. She passed her probationary period,but has not met her sales targets since. Can A Limited dismiss her immediatelyfor poor performance or will it have to follow a proper procedure? JB comments:  If Rebecca hasbeen employed for less than a year, she will not be able to bring an unfairdismissal complaint. A Limited may therefore decide to dismiss her immediately.However, Rebecca could still bring a sex, race or disability discriminationclaim alleging other staff have been or would be treated more favourably. ALimited could follow a fair procedure to minimise the risk of such a claim. Where Rebecca has more than a year’s service, she has protection againstunfair dismissal. A Limited will need to show a permitted reason for thedismissal (such as capability) and that it acted reasonably in dismissing her. To show that it has acted reasonably, a proper procedure should be followed.This means investigating the cause of the poor performance, warning Rebecca andgiving her a chance to improve. A Limited should ask Rebecca to attend ameeting and tell her about the problems with her performance beforehand. If themeeting may result in disciplinary action, a fellow employee or trade unionrepresentative can accompany Rebecca, even if the union is not recognised.Rebecca must have a chance to explain her performance, and A Limited must thendecide whether a warning is appropriate and if so at what level. It will almost certainly be unfair to dismiss Rebecca without giving her aformal warning. The warning should say what improvement is required, by whenand what will happen if she does not improve. A Limited should then considerwhether it can help her meet that standard, for example by providing extratraining or a more experienced employee to assist her. As a practical point, it is important for employers to deal with poorperformance when it arises. It is obviously less risky to dismiss a poorperformer before he has a year’s service than afterwards, but dismissingsomeone immediately before he reaches a year’s service is not risk free. Ifsuch an employee is dismissed immediately, but would have attained a year’sservice if he had been given his statutory notice (one week), he will legallybe deemed to have a year’s service, and will therefore be able to bring anunfair dismissal complaint. Improvement timeJason, a secretary, has been given a written warning about the accuracy andspeed of his work. His employer, B&C Co, has warned him that he may bedismissed if his performance does not improve. It now wants to know how long ithas to wait for an improvement, and whether it can dismiss if the desiredimprovement does not take place. SW comments:  How long someoneshould be given to improve depends on the circumstances, in particular how longhe is likely to take to show any improvement. For example, a secretary wouldoften be able to show an improvement within four to six weeks. In contrast, asales person might need a longer period to demonstrate improvement, as there islikely to be a gap before improved performance is reflected in sales figures. The cause of poor performance will also be relevant to what will be areasonable period. If illness or a lack of training is at the root of theproblem, a longer period may be needed. Other factors for B&C to bear inmind will be Jason’s length of service, how long he has been aware of theproblems with his performance and the extent to which his performance fallsbelow the expected standards. If Jason does not improve within a reasonableperiod, it will not be fair for B&C to simply dismiss him. It will stillneed to follow a fair procedure, by investigating the cause of the problem, andconsidering whether a further warning and period for improvement should begiven. In Jason’s case it will probably be appropriate for anotherinvestigation and meeting to be held and a final written warning given. IfJason does not improve then, dismissal may be appropriate, but a fair procedurewill again need to be followed. This will include having another meeting withJason to discuss the situation and giving him a chance to explain. B&C willthen have to consider whether there is suitable alternative employment that hecould be offered before taking a decision to dismiss. Written warningsOne of D Limited’s employees, Paul, was given a final written warning andthree months to improve his performance, failing which he would be dismissed.He made some improvement in those three months, so no further action was taken.Two months later Paul’s performance is again poor. Can D Limited rely on theearlier warnings? SW comments:  Where a warningfor misconduct has expired, it will generally be unfair for an employer to takeit into account when deciding whether to dismiss the employee for furthermisconduct. The position in capability dismissals is slightly different. In Kraft Foods Ltd v Fox (1978, ICR 311) the EAT recognised that an employerwill not necessarily be acting unfairly just because one period for improvementpasses and a further period is given: “it may well be that the employer isbeing over-generous; but being over-generous is not the same thing as beingunreasonable”. It may therefore be fair for D Limited to rely on theearlier warnings and dismiss Paul now. To increase the chances of such adismissal being fair, it would be sensible for employers to write to anemployee at the end of the initial improvement period, saying that dismissalmay still result if the improvement is not maintained. The period of time thathas elapsed since the original period expired will also be relevant to whetheran employer is acting fairly. Part-timeE Co has started action against Jessica because of poor performance. Shecomplains that the allegations are being made because she works part-time. Shesays that Dina and Fred, full-time employees who do the same job, are poorperformers, but that they have not been subject to any disciplinary action.What steps should E Co take as a result of these allegations and what are the risksinvolved? JB comments:  The Part TimeWorker (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 came intoforce on 1 July 2000. Since then, part-time workers have had the right not tobe treated less favourably than comparable full-time staff just because oftheir part-time status. If action is only being taken against Jessica becauseshe works part-time (and she can show that a similar full-time worker such asFred or Dina has not received that treatment), she can argue that she has beensubjected to less favourable treatment. If her tribunal claim succeeds,unlimited compensation could be awarded. To reduce the risk of a claim, E Co will need to investigate Jessica’scomplaints before taking any further action. In particular, it will need to lookinto Fred and Dina’s performance and establish whether it is better thanJessica’s. If it is, Jessica is not being treated less favourably, and E Cowill want to address its concerns with her performance. If Jessica’sperformance is no worse than anybody else’s, proceedings against her will haveto be dropped, or proceedings against the other employees started. As part ofthe investigation, E Co should consider how it would demonstrate to anemployment tribunal that Jessica’s performance is worse than that of othermembers of staff. Something more than a subjective assessment is likely to berequired, such as past performance appraisals and concrete examples of theareas in which Jessica’s performance is below standard. If action is continued, Jessica could try to argue she is being victimisedbecause of her allegation that she has received less favourable treatment as apart time worker. To combat such an allegation, E Co will need to show thatproceedings for poor performance had already started before the allegationswere made, that it thoroughly investigated the allegations and that thetreatment given to Jessica is no different from that given to any other underperforming member of staff. Victimisation claims may be harder to defend if theinitial investigation showed that Dina and Fred were not performing adequately.Sam Whitaker is an associate, and Joanna Broadbent a senior professionalsupport lawyer, at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Room for improvementOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Camden provides refugees with first step on job ladder

first_imgCamden provides refugees with first step on job ladderOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today CamdenBorough Council is running an innovative work placement scheme to give refugeesthe chance to get relevant experience in the UK. The council, in partnership with London-based charity City ParochialFoundation, has offered refugees three six-month placements in financial andaccounting roles in its social services and chief executive departments. Jennifer Muhammad, Camden’s employment project officer and a member of theHR team, explained that the council’s involvement in the work placement schemesprang from its commitment to valuing diversity. She said, “This is an employment initiative which reflects thecommunity in which we live.” Statistics from the London Research centre back this up. Currently, an estimated240,000 to 280,000 refugees and asylum-seekers live in Greater London boroughs.However, Muhammad stresses that there is no guarantee of employment at theend of the placements. During the placements, the council provides training in telephone skills andgives careers advice to the refugees. Their travel and subsistence is paid and,due to their unemployed status, the refugees are still available for other workduring the scheme. Once the pilot scheme is completed, the HR team will present a report toCamden’s equalities committee to evaluate the success of the project. Muhammad said, “We will discuss the viability of the scheme and whetherwe can run it on a regular basis as part of our existing work experienceprogramme.” Camden looked at the refugees’ expectations before placing them on thescheme. “The feedback from the refugees indicates that they wanted to improvetheir communication skills and find out how an office runs in the UK comparedwith their home countries,” said Muhammad. An Industrial Society report, Turning Refugees into Employees, found thatone of the main employment obstacles facing refugees is gaining UK workexperience. www.camden.gov.ukBy Karen Higginbottom Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Corporate bullying puts employees under strain

first_img Previous Article Next Article New research claims that “corporate bullying” such as excessivemonitoring is more damaging than intimidation by other members of staff. A study by a London University professor has found that employees are more likelyto suffer from an organisation’s institutionalised practices than from bullyingby managers. “Like the McPherson report on racism in the Met, this research showsthat by focusing solely on the bad apple in the barrel, institutionalisedpractices can continue unchallenged,” said organisational psychologist DrAndreas Liefooghe. “Companies can claim to have taken action because they have producedanti-bullying policies. In reality this means institutionalised bullying suchas excessive monitoring continues unchecked.” The research, which was presented at the British Academy of Managementannual conference last week, challenges the belief that workplace bullying isperpetrated by a few individuals. It reveals that employees feel their companies create policies andprocedures that are in themselves bullying. Most employees feel unable to speak out even through their unions for fearof reprisals which might damage their careers, Dr Liefooghe claims. The study also shows staff think they are bullied by organisational demandsto cut costs while striving to achieve ever-increasing targets. Dr Liefooghe, said, “I’m not denying that interpersonal bullying doeshappen at work but institutionalised bullying is much more insidious anddifficult to tackle. “Focusing on individuals lets companies off the hook. Whether they willbe prepared to do anything about it is a different question. As one directorsaid to me, ‘If that is what is they [the employees] call bullying, perhaps weshould do more of it’.” Dr Liefooghe talked to more than 500 employees working in the financialservices, telecoms, new media and catering sectors about their personalexperiences of bullying in the workplace. By Ben Willmott Corporate bullying puts employees under strainOn 11 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Staff look for rewards and fairness

first_imgStaff look for rewards and fairnessOn 15 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Almost two-thirds of employees do not have any kind of rewards or incentivesin their current job, research reveals. The survey of 830 staff by consultancy Capital Incentives & Motivationalso shows that being fairly treated at work is more important to UK employeesthan good pay and job security to motivate them at work. Nearly 70 per cent of all respondents identify cash or vouchers rather thana specific prize as the most effective incentive. Overall, fairness was named the most important quality in a boss, but morefemale than male participants say they want recognition and encouragement fromtheir employer. The research found that for both men and women training, good promotionprospects and, surprisingly, job security are less important factors. Graham Povey, managing director of Capital Incentives, said: “It isinteresting that employees still value fair treatment and recognition ratherthan a good salary a year after our launch survey revealed the same results. “This certainly proves that money isn’t everything. “Being valued and well respected at work is what we all truly desire. “Companies need to realise that to retain staff and keep them happy,they must incentivise them in some shape or form.” www.capital-incentives.co.uk Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Consignia posts its intention to outsource HR

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Consignia is set to outsource its HR administration in a 10-year deal worth£600 million in a bid to cut HR costs and update its IT systems. The troubled firm, which is losing £1.5 million a day, will put the contractout to tender in May and aims to sign an agreement this financial year. Gerry Smith, who is responsible for Consignia’s HR administration, whichcosts £60 million a year to run, said: “Currently our HR systems arepredominately paper-based. We want to equip ourselves with modern HR equipmentand processes in line with other modern employers.” The deal would include all the company’s 900 HR administration staff andprovide all areas of functional HR, such as payroll, benefits, sicknessabsence, training, and recruitment. Smith said the move would open the way for Consignia to modernise its HRsystems by increasing its use of e-HR. “The company has an intranet site, but it is not as well used forHR-type process as it might be,” he said. Consignia is looking for a large outsourcing firm with a proven track-recordin managing contracts on a similar scale. Related posts:No related photos. Consignia posts its intention to outsource HROn 23 Apr 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Chemist prescribes distance courses

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article High street chemist Lloydspharmacy has launched a versatile, paper-baseddistance learning project to support managers in its 1,300 stores. The Professional Management Development Programme was created by thetraining and development team and consist of four modules – Our People; OurPharmacies; Our Customers and Our Business Performance. Each module includesexercises and case studies to enhance the individual’s learning and supporttheir continuing professional development. “The package can be used to put together a bespoke professionaldevelopment plan because each module is standalone, employees can opt to takeone or as many modules as they feel fit,” said Andrea Turner,Lloydspharmacy training and development manager. An added bonus of the distance-learning project is that it is being used toreinforce a cultural change within the business. Pharmacy management is complex, explained Turner, because it combinesspecialist subject knowledge with people and financial manage-ment and keepingup to speed with changes.” Such is the appeal of the programme that regional training managers andsupervisors have asked to use it. But there are no plans yet to make it aglobal, online resource. By Stephanie Sparrow Chemist prescribes distance coursesOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Right side of the brain is key to business success

first_imgRight side of the brain is key to business successOn 21 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Trainingprogrammes are failing because they are too heavily based on left-brain areaswhich focus on logic, and not enough on right-brain activities such asintuition, it is claimed.Speakingat the AEDIPE annual congress, Anthonie Paris, chairman of training firm AMIInternational, said that despite training departments being equipped with newhigh-tech tools, this technology has not delivered results such as better staffmotivation and customer satisfaction.”Whynot?” he asked rhetorically. “The answer lies in failing to use bothsides of the brain,” he said.Hewarned that for trainers to be effective, they must use the right side of theirbrains – linked to emotional intelligence and intuition – as well as the leftside which is associated with logic.”Programmesoften fail because people think of processes in terms of flow charts, devoid ofright-brain thinking,” he said.Parisadded that a whole-brain approach was required, incorporating right-brainissues such as customer satisfaction and staff motivation along withaccommodating differences in how staff prefer to learn. Paris,who develops simulation training programmes for space agency Nasa, said blendede-learning is the best way to accommodate different preferred learning styles,combining self-paced learning, virtual and real classrooms with coaching andsupport. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Skills shortages caused by surge in recruitment

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Skills shortages caused by surge in recruitmentOn 20 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Pay pressures and skills shortages are on the rise, caused by an upsurge inrecruitment activity, according to a new report. The latest monthly Report on Jobs from the Recruitment & EmploymentConfederation (REC) and consultants Deloitte, reveals that the ongoing recoveryin business confidence has resulted in a sharp expansion of demand for staff. Recruitment consultancies reported a marked growth in demand for allcategories of employees in March – both for permanent and temporary positions –compared with the previous month. But the overall availability of candidatesdeteriorated significantly over the same period. For companies seeking to fill permanent positions, skills shortages weremost pronounced for executive/professional staff. Hotel and catering vacancieswere proving hardest to fill for employers seeking temporary or contractemployees. Average salary rates paid to both permanent staff and temporary/ contractstaff sourced from recruitment consultancies showed marked growth, as a directconsequence of rising demand. Some 19.6 per cent of respondents said that average salaries paid topermanent staff were up on the previous month, while 16.5 per cent ofrespondents said that salaries had risen for temporary employees. REC managing director Gareth Osborne said: “Skills gaps are continuingto open up and the rate is increasing, proving the importance of having a goodpool of labour for companies to choose from.” www.rec.uk.com last_img read more

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Proactive approach to HR is good for business

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. I have been speaking with two friends about HR over the past couple of weeks– a senior profit-and-loss manager with a large, US-based, brand name inconsumer and business goods; and a key functional leader in North America for a European household brand name. Both of these guys frequently call me to ask HR questions – not about taxlaws in Belgiumor about retirement schemes in Singapore,but about broader HR issues in their areas. Then it occurred to me that both of their employers enjoy solid reputationsas having good HR departments and policies. So why were they calling me todiscuss their HR issues? I posed this back to them, and was disturbed with the similarity of theanswers. They each have designated local HR ‘go-to’ people, and HR functions at acorporate headquarters. But they only hear from HR when it wants to give them anew policy or procedure. Their HR ‘go-to’ people only transmit. When my friends do ring their local HR with a query, they can’t get ananswer that doesn’t include fitting them into a policy document. Local HRdoesn’t seem to be able to conjure up solution. When they call corporate, they are immediately referred either to a specificpolicy document, or back to the HR person who couldn’t respond in the firstinstance. Neither do they hear from their HR people on a proactive basis. They neverget a ‘how are things going?’ call, or one that asks ‘what’s new in thebusiness?‘. They can forgetthe call that might say ‘I saw the second quarter figures, and I think HR canhelp with x’. HR is part of their problem, not part of their solutions. There’s a crime being committed here, and as a profession we must hunt downthe criminals and stop them. We have an obligation to our businesses to not only engage our line managerson an exceptional basis, but rather in a continual dialogue about the thingsthat HR can do to support the business. There is a requirement that HR must become more focused on the enterpriseand it’s myriad nuances,rather than on HR itself. Simple expertise in HR is required, but no longersufficient. Our line managers rarely need ‘in-the-box’ solutions. If we’ve done theright things in development, they should be able to solve most issuesthemselves. It’s the unusual issues that allow HR to show its abilities. Are you showingyours? Do your line managers call you with their issues, or are they callingstrangers? If so, why? HRmanagement is about relationships.Lance Richards, GPHR, Senior directorof international HR for Kelly Services and adviser to SHRM Proactive approach to HR is good for businessOn 10 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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