Letters

first_imgLettersOn 14 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. This week’s lettersHR needs to offer solutions and stop pointing the fingerHow refreshing to see the number of letters concerning sick leave are dyingdown. Personnel Today can now return to the (by now familiar) topic of HRneeding to take a more strategic approach to gain credibility as a businesspartner. How does the profession expect to be taken seriously when the main issue ofthe past few weeks in its leading publication was the age-old problem ofabsence management? The level of debate (and volume of column inches) this issue provoked, notto mention a rather unsightly rush to point the finger at someone else – inthis case, GPs – appears to clearly illustrate why MDs and CEOs are reluctantfor HR practitioners to become involved in strategic matters. Meanwhile, your last ‘HR Strategy Forum’ (23 September) featured answers toa case study that comprehensively spelt out the basic steps required to ensurethe success of a change process within any business. Your expert panel also gave very credible answers to two other fundamentalHR issues: union recognition and employee involvement. However, on the evidenceof the case study – a financial services business – did the panel reallyaddress the issue from a business perspective and offer anything other than thestandard ’employer of choice’ and ‘engage your staff’ approaches? The case study highlighted that the business in question had a call centre(which shows it was not a core business) and high staff turnover in an areawhere unemployment is low (meaning attractive salaries had to be offered andextra costs were incurred through recruitment and retention). None of your expert strategists’ answers mentioned the possibility oflooking at wider solutions to the business problem. For example, could thecompany have relocated to a more favourable area, outsourced the call centre,or even ‘off-shored’ the service? Perhaps I was expecting too much, but your panel’s responses simply servedto further demonstrate how isolated HR professionals appear to be from thewider business. I realise that HR faces a chicken and egg situation. How can it become morebusiness-focused if the business itself doesn’t allow it to be involved? HRneeds to finally begin implementing solutions to the old personnel issues. Itneeds to proactively offer HR solutions that actually fit the wider businessenvironment. Until we address basic HR issues within a business, we should stopcomplaining about not being taken seriously when we attempt to get involved instrategic issues. Paul Flavin Resourcing director, The HR People Internet recruitment firm begs to differ Lucie Carrington’s article, ‘Slipping through the net’ (30 September), whichdiscussed the findings of the recent Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), ismisleading. It claims the report makes “rough reading for internet job sites”due to the number of companies “abandoning e-recruitment altogether”.However, it fails to put key data in context, and then simply leaves out otherdata which might lead readers to the opposite conclusion. It talks about the reduction in use of internet job sites, but neglects tomention that the use of every recruitment method (with the exception of thenational press) has also decreased in the past quarter. In fact, according to the RCI, the fall in the use of job sites isrelatively minor in comparison to larger decreases in the use of selectionconsultants, employment agencies, executive searches, regional newspapers andprofessional magazines. The article also mentions some of the reasons why recruiters have reducedtheir use of job sites. But it doesn’t point out that the RCI survey didn’t askwhy recruiters had reduced their use of other recruitment methods. This givesthe impression that there are particular problems with internet recruitmentalone. I think common sense suggests that this is unlikely, especially when –as the article correctly states – the RCI study reports that recruiters’ use ofjob boards and corporate sites is set to rise. The article also omits the study’s most important finding of all: where HRprofessionals are going to invest their recruitment pounds. The RCI clearly shows that job sites will be the winners, and are set to seethe greatest increase in revenue of all recruitment methods. Andy Baker Chief executive, Workthing Get real to enjoy the fruits of diversity While we were delighted to read authors Rajan and Harris’s article ondifferent approaches to diversity (9 September, 2003), we disagree thatintelligent people think along similar lines, with perception being the onlydifference. The best leaders nurture divergent views, recognising their value in leadingchange, generating energy and inspiring new ideas. Positive change is ofteninitiated by those who challenge the status quo, and who express opinions thatare not mainstream. Corporate culture is necessary, and gives people a sense of belonging andconsistency. However, a culture that is too strong can overwhelm all that ispositive about diversity, and stifle creative thinking. This type of ‘group-think’ will be the death knell of organisations in the21st century. In 15 years of running leadership development programmes, we have repeatedlyseen how fearful participants are when they encounter a highly diverse group. However, by being encouraged to forge new networks in a safe, cross-sector,real environment, they create their own understanding of how to deal withdiversity, and find it full of opportunity. The UK’s leaders need more real experience with diversity, not thetheoretical or hypothetical kind. Julia Middleton Chief executive, Common Purpose Pay more mind to getting the right fit I completely understand Jane Robson’s letter about the war for talent (30September 2003). It drew my eye initially as I had worked for an investment bank that wasusing the same slogan to train internal staff. It is nice to see that someone is thinking more about the right ‘fit’ in apublic sector organisation. I was thrilled to land an investment bank on my CV and thought it would bemy last move. But the organisation merged not long after I joined, and I foundI didn’t ‘fit’ anymore. I felt lost. I was subsequently made redundant, and now I feel that people who don’t fitare expendable. The powers that be wait, watch you flounder, tell you it isn’tworking out and let you go, leaving you feeling that it was all your fault. I’m glad to see this problem is now being addressed, so others won’t have togo through the same experience. Details supplied Directors must face up to responsibilities I want to convey my personal feelings and probably those of thousands of HRstaff around the world. Employees are often treated like robots with no personal lives or efficiencylimits. The fault lies neither with the employee, their GP, their line mangeror the HR department, but with the directors and boards that make the decisionto line their own pockets instead of investing in people and ensuringsufficient staffing budgets. Despite our best efforts, HR staff unfortunate enough to work inorganisations where human resources take second place to operations face aconstant battle against the top dogs, who often think they can close the pursestrings as tightly as they wish without any consequences. But the result is lowmorale and high absenteeism – the responsibility for which is always assumed bythe HR department. Suggestions of holistic remedies, referrals to occupational healthspecialists and gradual integration back into the workplace after periods ofabsence, are only possible if the HR function is given the adequate resources(man, money and minutes) to facilitate such methods. In my opinion, our directors and boards need to stop concentrating on whichyacht to buy this year, and start considering the thousands of individuals theymay be responsible for instead. Details supplied Variation is the key to stress reduction I work as a personnel officer and deal with a fair number of factoryworkers. I fully understand the comments of Mary Louise Brown (Letters, 16September), and agree that a repetitive position can easily result in stress. However, counting the sicknotes should be looked at more closely. If we didnot keep a record of the sickness levels within an organisation, we would notbe able to properly manage absenteeism or monitor workplace issues. In my company, we used to have problems with sicknotes related to stress,but when I started to look beyond them, I discovered that it is better to delveinto what makes a difference. We introduced job rotation and enjoyable training days. The latter includedfactory workers, office staff and management. Since then, we have hardly seen asicknote for stress in the past two years. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that only a clinicalpsychologist could correctly diagnose stress? Christopher Manson Personnel officer, Shetland Catch Strategic investment is needed in training I read with interest your article on the skills managers are missing today(23 September 2003). It would seem that the majority of organisations still don’t have strategictraining programmes in place, resulting in vital skills gaps being ignored andproductivity and employee motivation levels dropping. Our recent survey found that only one in five workers are actually trainedin the specific skills they need to carry out their current jobs effectively. Aworrying read. If companies want to meet business goals and remain competitive, they muststart investing strategically in training – ensuring long-term businesssuccess, and not just short-term satisfaction. Laura Kelly International marketing communications manager, NETg last_img read more