When new ideas break in the US, youcan be sure that they will hit our shores soon after. David Falkus looks intothe future as forecast by the recent TechLearn conference in FloridaTechLearn delegates flying fromLondon to Washington DC and on down to Orlando, Florida, with British Airwaysand United Airlines were treated to a double helping of the disaster movie ThePerfect Storm. This in-flight entertainment is in turn the perfect metaphor forthe business world as it enters 2001 under the impact of the Internet, itselfless than 2,000 days old, and became a theme to permeate the whole conferenceproceedings.Addressing his audience of some3,250 delegates, mainly trainers from 42 countries, representing over 100million workers, TechLearn 2000 speaker Tom Peters warned, “We’re in the midstof a hurricane, a white-collar revolution in which over the next few years 95per cent of white-collar jobs will go or be transformed. And no-one knows wherewe’re going.”Said Peters, business thinker andlifelong trainer, (quoting management guru Peter Drucker), “The period 2000 to2002 will bring the single greatest change in worldwide economic and businessconditions since we came down from the trees. Forgetting the past is essential. Asone US delegate put it, “The problem is not how to get new thoughts into yourhead, but how to get the old ones out”.TechLearn 2000 – organised byElliott Masie, business entrepreneur and skills adviser to the US government –developed a number of themes. These included the need to “focus on people,performance and business models. E-learning is more than a smarter way oftraining. It is about changing our lives and the way we do business”.So the task is not merely to trainstaff, but to train customers and to train suppliers; to train in a interactive peer-to-peer way (known as P2P), inwhich trainees train each other, with content created by users (so it needs tobe as easy as Powerpoint). What began as simple e-mails between students andtrainers, and between students in chatrooms, is being replaced by two-waybroadband versions.Participants were advised thattrainers presenting proposals to top management should avoid referring to“e-learning” and “getting involved in technology”. Instead they should focus onthe business model, on “ROI” – return on investment – on shorter time to marketof new products, and on shorter time before newly-recruited staff are up tospeed and productive.The vision, in the words of WayneHodgins, strategic futurist for Autodesk Inc, is “to have the right stuff”,with just the right content, to just the right person, at just the right time,on just the right device, and – because the scene is so fast-changing – to havegreat “course correction” capabilities in order to stay “on target.”Advice for those entering thise-learning new world included:– Start with a small project, ratherthan putting the most popular classroom programme on the Web, only to find thatattendances drop,– Talk to in-house IT professionals,getting them on-side, and “borrowing” existing delivery mechanisms wherepossible,– Outsource web-hosting and learningmanagement systems (LMS),– Don’t dismiss classrooms as dead,see them as part of “blended learning”,– Buying in modules is morerealistic, although standards like Scorm (shareable courseware object referencemode) with metadata attached to course modules describing contents andownership. The just-launched version 1.2 allows course modules to run underdifferent Learning Management Systems, reducing development times and costs ofnew courses. Students who have taken a particular module previously need nottake it twice.Among the delegates was DonaldClark, CEO of UK e-learning content production company the Epic Group. Hecompared the development of e-learning in the UK to the US and predicts that inthe UK, “The current phase is one of ‘laying track’, in that intranets andlearning management systems are being bought. In the second phase, content willbe king.”As he points out, we ignore theInternet at our peril. “The Internet is already the largest learning resourceon the planet, with content and delivery climbing to new levels, as were-conceptualise learning by focussing on good design, simulations and learningby doing.”Of course the US approach gives usan insight into a frantic world. What can we make of a conference wheredelegates enjoy an evening out at Disney’s The Magic Kingdom, and on the finalmorning welcome Mickey Mouse on to the conference stage? But in many respects we have similartastes. Recent research by Epic, in conjunction with the Department forEducation and Employment, predicted that the UK take-up of on-line learningwill be over 22 per cent within five years from its current usage by 5 per centof UK organisations. The current standing in the US is that 25 per cent of thatcontinent’s companies use on-line learning. So are we really so far behind?Five forecasts for 2001From the UK perspective, informationtechnologies will continue to define how business is done here and impact onworkers in a new global marketplace, according to British business coach JohnMiddleton, the founder of the Bristol Management Research Centre. Here are histop five predictions:1- The Internet is experiencing growingpains, not death throesMiddleton quotes the president of Intel Andy Grove, “Companies not using theInternet to improve just about every facet of their business operation will bedestroyed by competitors who do.”2 – The new economy is a work-in-progress“Globalisation has made suchspectacular progress that today you couldn’t talk of an international divisionof labour as we did before the 1970s,” says Middleton, quoting historian Eric Hobsbawm.3 – The new economy supplements thetraditional economyIt does not supplant it.4 – Size really doesn’t matterThere is no longer irony in the phrase “a one-person global business”5 – Blue-collars have felt the pinch– white-collars will be nextMiddleton points out Tom Peters’ prediction that 90 per cent of white-collarjobs in the US will be destroyed or altered beyond recognition within the next15 yearsTaken from Writing the New Economyby John Middleton, published by Capstone and distributed by Wiley. More on www.wiley.co.ukor phone 01243 779777 Related posts:No related photos. Weather the stormOn 1 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.
Related posts:No related photos. HSC boosts consultationOn 1 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has announced a new package ofmeasures to improve employers’ consultation with workers on health and safety. The package consists of two stages. Work will start immediately on thefirst, which includes new regulations to harmonise general consultationarrangements, based on the principles of the existing Safety Representative andSafety Committees Regulations 1977. The regulations will empower employees inworkplaces where unions are not recognised to decide whether they wish to beconsulted by their employer on health and safety issues directly or through anelected representative. The HSC will be testing workers’ safety adviser pilots in workplaces wherethere is little or no employee representation and health and safety performanceis poor. The second, more medium-term stage will consist of: – A publicity campaign to raise awareness of the new regulatory package – Research to explore more practical and less resource-intensivealternatives to provisional improvement notices (PINs), which are issued bysafety representatives in some other countries, to notify employers of analleged breach of the law and – Exploring new enforcement initiatives and training for inspectors relatingto worker consultation in the light of the new regulations. Commenting on the package, Health and Safety Chair Bill Callaghan said,”Genuine consultation is central to forming effective partnerships betweenemployers, unions, workers and their safety representatives.
south asiaKeeping employees happyCompanies in India are plying staff with benefits such as steam baths and Jacuzzis, and family social events in a bid to retain talent, writes Helen RoweThe Indian company Infosys appears to have solved the attraction and retention problem. No-one seems to want to leave the technology firm where staff benefit from everything from stock options to policies aimed at keeping their family life running smoothly. Apparently staff – known as Infoscions – do gripe from time to time, but mostly about the amount of tax they pay.Named earlier this year as India’s best employer by HR consultants Hewitt Associates, the company is widely admired and its policies emulated by competitors. Like other leading South Asian companies, Infosys knows attracting talent – and keeping employees happy where they are – is vital given the particular challenges firms in the region face.The main problem for HR practitioners in South Asia is that the skills of the most sought-after employees are so easily transferable across borders. Staff with crucial skills can find employment almost anywhere in the world, particularly in the US. Indeed, they continue to be in great demand internationally and command high salaries.South Asian-based firms have to provide this group of employees, most notably IT specialists, with good reason to stay. Infosys has largely achieved that aim with an ambitious range of policies that leaves virtually no staff need unmet. In particular, in a region where the extended family unit is still strong, there is heavy emphasis on policies that benefit the family members of employees.According to Infosys’ head of HR, Hema Ravichandar, those who do leave do so largely for unavoidable family reasons or to return to higher education. Many of those later return to the company.“The biggest challenge has been to recruit, empower and retain the best and brightest talent,” says Ravichandar. “To do this we’ve designed a comprehensive compensation and benefits package. We provide loans to employees at all levels from the day they join to address their needs – whether it is for housing, or to buy a car or personal computer.“Also, on joining, every employee is granted stock options, and there’s medical insurance cover for employees and their families that does not curtail expenses under any of the heads that a normal insurance policy would.”With its “campus”, as it is known, in Bangalore, Infosys has also aimed high. Its aim, according to Ravichandar, is holistic, to enrich employees “intellectually, physically, emotionally and materially”.The site boasts food courts, gyms, saunas, steam baths, tennis courts, an outdoor Jacuzzi and a 5,000 sq ft swimming pool, to name just a few of the facilities. Social events include employees’ families, and children explore their parents’ workplace through the firm’s “Petit Infoscion” days.Madhavi Misra, a consultant with Hewitt, says the attractive working environment at Infosys is an example of the way companies operating in south Asia have raised their game over the past 10 years to prevent staff being lured to Europe and the US.“What has happened in South Asia is that the mobility of the top talent has forced companies to increasingly adopt global practices,” says Misra. “This has led to top companies such as Infosys setting global standards that have been followed by others. It is about addressing employees’ needs and HR keeping its ear to the ground in terms of any changes in those needs and requirements to keep the policies effective. That is the way it is going to continue.”Misra says policies that provide benefits to employees’ families are particularly effective in South Asia, a region in which even Bollywood stars are heard talking constantly about “honouring” their parents. In contrast to many regions, family has never been anything other than central to the lives of the vast majority of the population.Other leading companies have also tried to focus on enriching the family life of their staff as an attraction and retention tool. At Procter & Gamble’s Indian operation, the company will meet the cost of any retraining expenses for the spouses of relocated staff to help them gain new employment. After the extent of late working became a concern several years ago, a taskforce was also created. The result was a host of flexible working options from compressed work weeks to job shares.At Hewlett-Packard, there’s an annual family ball and a day off once a year to mark a special occasion of the individual employee’s choice. On this day, each member of staff has the option of taking their family out for a meal paid for by HP.Other initiatives include bank ICICI’s Saturday morning kids’ club, as well as scholarships and a monthly “learning” excursion for employee’s children, while Hindustan Lever helps children gain places at good schools and provides holiday homes at a nominal cost.Hewitt’s Madhavi Misra says the success of these family-focused policies means they will increasingly become the norm for skilled staff in the region. Given the surplus of unskilled manpower, however, it is unlikely that smaller employers will feel compelled to go down the same road for many years, if ever.“The approach in relation to the families of staff is almost overwhelming,” adds Misra. “Policies are very much aimed at integrating the family and involving them in the company too. There’s a level of involvement that probably wouldn’t be tolerated by staff in other countries where they might prefer to keep more of a distance between their home and work lives, but these are countries without the particular cultural background and family focus that applies in South Asia.” Comments are closed. Special Report Compensation and benefitsOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
War strategy needed for key staffOn 3 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Employers must have contingency plans in place in case key members of staffwho are members of the reserve armed forces are called up if the UK joins theUS in a war against Iraq. Norman Hodges, HR director at Rank Leisure Machine Services, who is aLieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army, urged organisations to be preparedto act in the event that the UN weapons inspectors fail to fulfil their missionin Iraq. “Organisations need to know who is in the reserved armed forces, who islikely to be called up and who is key in these roles,” he said. “Itis similar to a maternity situation.” Hodges, a former paratrooper in the regular forces, said employers have theright to appeal against the call up of reservists under the Reserve Forces Act1996 if they can prove at a tribunal hearing that an individual is keyemployee. “The last time the appeals system was used in 1991, some 50 per cent ofappeals were successful,” said Hodges. Employers whose staff are called up under the RFA are eligible for financialcompensation from the Government.
Previous Article Next Article News in briefOn 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. This month’s news in briefNew role at barclays Neville Pritchard, a Training Magazine TD2001 awards finalist, joins thesenior management team in learning and resourcing at Barclays this month. He movedto Barclays from Abbey National, having joined the company in 1995 as nationalsales training manager, and progressing to become head of group training anddevelopment. E-learning Manchester Speakers from BAE systems, the Crown Prosecution Service and Rolls-Royce arejoining a strong line-up at this year’s e-learning Manchester conference andexhibition – the only event of its kind in the North. It takes place on 18-19March at the city’s G-Mex Centre. Car academyCar and van contract hire company Lex Vehicle Leasing has launched aspecialised development programme, The Lex Academy, to build on its staff’scommunication skills and knowledge base. Employees are allowed to take at leastone day a month away from their daily roles, to further self-development,explained general manager, training and development Karen Bush. Tailored apprenticeshipsThe largest independent retailer in Wales, Gilesports , is celebrating thesuccess of its NVQ Apprenticeship Programme. Assistants attain NationalTraineeships in Customer Service via a customised NVQ programme, developed bytraining provider the Lexicon Group. “They get training specific to whatGilesports needs, not what a generic NVQ course says they should have,”said Gilesports HR manager Linda Lavender. www.lexicon-group.co.ukHappy Northerners Employers in the North of England are happy with the level of theiremployees’ skills and qualifications even though the general level is lowerthan in the South, according to the Skills in England 2002 report by theLearning and Skills Council. The LSC fears such organisations have slipped intoa low-skill wage trap that may not be sustainable in the long term. www.lsc.gov.uk/researchreports/sie/2002 Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Female directors are in the minorityOn 2 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Less than 6 per cent of directors in UK companies are female, despite womennow making up almost half the workforce. A study of 568 UK companies on the FTSE All-Share index by the EthicalInvestment Research Service (EIRIS) shows just 5.3 per cent of directors arewomen. Publishing group Pearson is the only company in the FTSE 100 to have afemale chief executive, Dame Marjorie Scardino. Duncan Brown, assistant director-general of the Chartered Institute ofPersonnel and Development, said one reason for women’s under-representation atsenior level is that good people management practices are often not applied tothe boardroom. “Recruitment processes have been lacking. Potential people indisadvantaged groups, such as women, are not being picked early anddeveloped,” he said. “Excluding 50 per cent of the pool is a damningindictment of how boardrooms are run.” However, Ruth Lea, head of the policy unit at the Institute of Directors,said headhunters were “looking desperately” for female directors, butthat the pool of available talent was quite small. “It’s not as if women with appropriate qualifications are not beingused,” she said. “We have an increasingly large proportion of womenon boards, but on average, women aren’t as interested. I don’t think we’ll see50 per cent of women making up boards; many prefer to have a family. It isself-selection, not discrimination.” www.eiris.org Related posts:No related photos.
The nation’s managers have labelled HR reactive and say the function failsto play an important role in managing change. And, managers believe, HR needs to improve it’s influence with seniorexecutives and concentrate on aligning with business goals. The findings, from the seventh annual Management Agenda study by the RoffeyPark Institute, surveyed 735 UK managers. It found that while 32 per cent ofrespondents felt HR added value to the business, some 37 per cent believe itlacks credibility. Some 90 per cent of the organisations surveyed reported experiencing change,predominately as a result of restructuring. Nearly a third (32 per cent)downsized – up 20 per cent in a year. More managers than ever before (74 per cent) reported suffering work-relatedstress, while 57 per cent said their workload had increased in the past year. www.roffeypark.com/reports Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Bosses say HR is too reactive to have big impactOn 27 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Fitness is linked with productivityOn 2 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Fit and healthy workers are as much as 20 per cent more productive thantheir ill or unhealthy colleagues, a new study claims. The first UK-based investigation of workers’ health and their performanceseems to confirm fears that ill health and productivity are linked. The research shows the productivity gap between ‘poor’ and ‘good’ health isaround seven hours, which is equivalent to losing a full working day everyweek. The findings concur with previous studies in the US suggesting that healthand well-being have a major impact on workers’ productivity output. The survey, by consultancy Vielife and the Institute for Health andProductivity, found the gap is most marked between the top and bottom quartilesof the 2,000-strong sample. Clive Pinder, who analysed the research at Vielife, said: “The linkbetween health and productivity is something employers have believed intuitivelyfor some time. Poor health increases absence in the short-term and thesubstantial costs of ill-health in the long-term.”
Comments are closed. US oil workers join London protest at BPOn 20 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. American trade unionists joined environmental protesters outside the BP’sannual general meeting in London last week, claiming the company is exploitinga loophole in the US oil workers’ agreement to cut healthcare contributions.Members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers Union(PACE) said that because new BP staff from May 2004 will get no contributionpaid to healthcare insurance by the company, this will store up major problemsfor people when they retire. Monthly healthcare costs average US$900 (£500).
Read full article Comments are closed. Are the multi-skilled, or the specialists among us, more future-proof & better equipped for organisational evolution?I believe there are two trains of thought on this. These days with organisations advocating agile or iterative processes, we have witnessed a shift in not just how we meet deadlines and time restraints but in our professional mentalities. Everything is quicker, processes more streamlined and we are always looking for ways to create new efficiencies as we all deal with ever changing goalposts on a day to day basis. With this we of course become more than just what our defined position descriptions would have meant 5 to 10 years ago and instead we must be broader skilled, dynamic, out-of-the-box problem solvers who have to turn our hands daily to tasks which historically wouldn’t have been ours.On the other hand, we have a growing trend of positions being broken up into several roles where in the past they may all have been taken care of by one position. An example of this could be the role of an internal recruiter. In years gone by, a recruiter would be responsible for the end to end process of finding candidates for any given role – engaging them, appropriately screening them, interviewing them, coordinating interviews with relevant hiring managers – and thereafter would also be responsible for “closing” or hiring. However these days, a large number of recruitment roles are broken up more distinctly into sourcing, recruiting and account managing.There is merit in both methods but I will be interested to see moving forward whether it is the specialist or the broader-skilled that demonstrates more staying power. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Position Descriptions of Christmas PastShared from missc on 19 Dec 2014 in Personnel Today