Q and A

first_imgThe employment law team at Pinsent Curtis Biddle answer questions onworkplace issuesEqual rights for men Q A man in our accounts department has asked if he can work reducedhours following the birth of his first child. Are we legally obliged to let himwork part time? A At the moment, there is no law which states that employers mustagree to allow employees to work part time. However, it is now well-establishedby case law that a refusal to allow a woman to return part time after the birthof a child may constitute indirect sex discrimination under the SexDiscrimination Act 1975. The basis for such a claim is that a practice orpolicy of requiring full time working generally has a greater adverse impact onwomen by comparison with men – statistics have shown that women have morechildcare responsibilities which makes it difficult or impossible for them todo full-time jobs. A man would not, therefore, be able to bring a claim ofindirect sex discrimination because men do not, generally speaking, belong tothe sex which is disadvantaged by a requirement for full time working. However, in the recent case of Walkingshaw v The John Martin Group, MrWalkingshaw succeeded in his complaint of direct sex discrimination after hisemployer refused to let him work part-time. He had been a full-time mechanic,but after his wife, who also worked full-time, had a baby, the couple decidedthat one of them would work part-time to care for the child. The mother’s jobwas seen to be of more benefit to the household, so it was decided MrWalkingshaw would ask to work part-time. At a meeting with his employer, therequest was refused as it was considered impossible and ‘too complicated’. Hisalternative suggestion of job-sharing was also considered to be ‘too messy’.The meeting lasted no more than 20 minutes, and he was told that the decisionwas final. Mr Walkingshaw resigned and claimed direct sex discrimination on the basisthat the employer allowed female employees to work part-time and that,therefore, he had been treated less favourably than a woman would have been insimilar circumstances. His claim succeeded. It seems, therefore, that employers who allow female employees to return towork part-time are under an obligation to treat requests from male staff in thesame way. The solution is not to refuse requests from women to work part-timeas that could lead to claims of indirect sex discrimination from femaleemployees. The Government has announced its intention to introduce new law which willallow employees to request flexible working without having to rely on argumentsof sex discrimination. Linda Jones Family friendly Bill Q How will the Employment Bill affect the rights of working parents? A The Bill contains a number of significant ‘family friendly’employment rights which will apply regardless of the size or resources of theemployer. These rights are likely to come into force in 2003. First, the Bill sets out to improve the current arrangements for statutorymaternity leave and pay – extending ordinary maternity leave from 18 to 26weeks. This will be followed by a further 26-week period of additional leave ifthe woman in question has completed one year’s continuous service. As a result,most working mothers will have the right to take up to a year of maternityleave (the current maximum is 40 weeks). The payment period for statutorymaternity pay (SMP) and maternity allowance, which are only payable duringordinary leave, will also be increased to 26 weeks. Second, the Bill will give working fathers who satisfy certain conditionsthe right to two weeks paid paternity leave on the birth or adoption of achild. Initially the rate of pay will be the lower of £100 per week or 90 percent of the employee’s average weekly earnings. Such payments will beadministered in the same way as SMP. Third, the Bill will introduce a new right of up to a year’s leave when anemployee adopts a child. Only the first 26 weeks of such leave will be paid,and the arrangements for payment and the level of pay will mirror those forstatutory paternity pay. The Bill has recently been amended to give parents of children under six theright to request more flexible working arrangements (such as a reduction inhours) to enable them to cope with their child-minding responsibilities.Although the employee will not be able to insist on a change in terms theemployer will have to follow a prescribed procedure when considering therequest and will only be able to refuse the request on one of a number ofspecified grounds. These include the burden of additional costs or theinability to reorganise work among existing staff. Helen Milgate Unfair dismissal regime Q What changes will the Employment Bill make to unfair dismissal claimsand what are the implications for employers? A The Employment Bill proposes a radical overhaul of the unfairdismissal regime. The aim is to promote the resolution of employment disputesin the workplace rather than the tribunals, controlling the continual rise intribunal applications. A key proposal is the introduction of statutory dismissal and grievanceprocedures. These would form part of every contract of employment and imposecertain minimum procedural steps. Significantly, the procedure applies to anydismissal, not just a disciplinary dismissal. It is likely that employees will be barred from bringing complaints to atribunal before the statutory procedure, including an appeal stage, has beenexhausted. But it is doubtful that they will lose the right to complain at allor that the new procedures will significantly reduce the number of employmentclaims. In many dismissal cases employees do appeal against their dismissalbefore bringing proceedings. Exhausting a grievance procedure may be lesscommon, but the overall impact of the change may be to delay claims rather thanreduce their number. Nevertheless, the introduction of the statutory procedures will create newrisks. If employers fail to comply with the statutory dismissal or grievanceprocedures the dismissal will be found to be automatically unfair. The failurecould also be a breach of the employment contract, giving rise to anautomatically unfair constructive dismissal claim. The basic steps of the dismissal procedure are not of themselves onerous.More problematic are the general requirements of both procedures, which requirethat each step under the procedure should be taken without unreasonable delay,that the timing and location of meetings be reasonable and that meetings areconducted in a way which allows both employer and employee to explain theircases. There is obvious scope for argument as to whether these have beencomplied with. Applicants may well focus on these issues in any tribunalhearing in the hope of establishing automatic unfair dismissal liability. Failure to follow the statutory procedure – dismissal or grievance – couldalso have a major impact on compensation. If proceedings are begun before thestatutory procedure is completed, the tribunal must increase or decrease anyaward by 10 per cent (depending on whether the failure to comply is due to theemployer or employee’s default) and can at their discretion increase ordecrease the award by 50 per cent. A related reform is the increased role for the statutory statement of themain terms and conditions of employment, which must be given within two monthsof the start of employment under s1 ERA 1996. As a minimum, employers should review their existing dismissal and grievanceprocedures and ensure that managers are aware of the need to follow these withcare. Christopher Mordue Worker involvement Q I am considering creating an informal employee work group to discussissues within the workplace. One of my managers has said that this could soonbe a statutory obligation upon all companies. Is this right? A Following the European Commission’s perceived success of EuropeanWorks Councils in achieving worker involvement in multinational companies, ithas been keen to extend worker information and consultation obligations intocompanies based in one member state. A draft directive on national-level informationand consultation of workers is making its way through the European legislativeprocess. As currently drafted it will oblige ‘undertakings with at least 50employees in any one Member State’ to inform and consult employeerepresentatives on: – the situation, structure and probable development of employment within theundertaking – measures envisaged which could pose a threat to employment – decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation orcontractual relations Christopher Booth Age discrimination Q Can I decide not to employ someone simply because they’re too old, inmy view, to integrate with my young workforce? If I do this, could the personbring any claims against me or my company? A It is unlawful in the UK to treat anyone less favourably on thegrounds of their sex, race or disability. An employee or worker who considersthey have been discriminated against on these grounds can bring a claim at anemployment tribunal and, if successful, be awarded compensation. It is not, currently, unlawful to discriminate against a person purely onthe grounds of their age. However, at present more men than women work beyondthe age of 60 and accordingly age should not be used as a factor duringredundancy selection procedures, as to do so could lead to sex discriminationclaims. The Government has issued a Code of Practice entitled Age Diversity inEmployment. However, this is only advisory in nature and has no legal force,although Employment tribunals are able to draw unfavourable inferences if itsprovisions are not observed. The Government has also launched the Age Positivewebsite in anticipation of age discrimination legislation in the future (www.agepositive.gov.uk). The Government reports that 90 per cent of people believe employersdiscriminate on the grounds of age, and the new website has a test foremployers on this basis. It is open to employers at present to recruit younger staff without theprospect of an employment tribunal claim, although this position may change,and as the working population ages, age discrimination may become less of anissue. Alison Elmore Keeping track of pension benefitsQ My employer has just outsourced the IT function in which Iwork. I know that my new employer will honour TUPE, but moving means I have tocome out of my present employer’s generous pension scheme. When I raisedconcerns, my present employer assured me that the rights and benefits under thenew employer’s scheme would be about the same. I have just received a letterfrom my new employer and it says I will be entitled to join a scheme, but itwill be a money purchase scheme as opposed to final salary, which will be muchless beneficial to me. Can I do anything?A In the High Court recently,in Hagen v ICI, the court established that in exceptional circumstances anemployer might be liable for misrepresentation if he makes promises about whata transferee will offer by way of terms and conditions, including pensionrights, provided that the promise is relied upon and causes loss. However, theICI case is unusual.  It was foundspecifically in that case that the employer had misrepresented pension rights(but not other terms) with the new employer and a financial claim on thatground succeeded. But, unusually, given the special relationship between ICIand its workforce and the unions, it was found that the workforce would havebeen able to influence the employer to negotiate better terms with thetransferee had the true position been known. Rarely will this be the case. Thebest advice is to get an assurance in writing from the employer beforetransferring and ensure that the advice given to you is as specific aspossible. But few employers will be as specific as ICI about prospects for thefuture.Dr John McMullenNational Head of Employment Law Q and AOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_imgThis week’s training newsTaking the first step About 100 first line-managers at glass firm Pilkington are taking part in anew development programme. Successful staff will receive the NEBSM introductorycertificate in management. The course, which was developed by Training forAdvancement and is deliveredon-site at Pilkington, consists of four workshopsbased on practical work-related topics.  www.pilkington.comLearn about anything Staff at Land Rover will be able to take part in non-work related trainingat the firm’s expense following the launch of the Associate Development Scheme.ADS allows employees to take courses in almost anything on or off site. Thecollaboration between the company and unions also provides information centresat each of Land Rover’s sites outlining courses available.  www.landrover.comPontin’s programme The Hotel and Catering Training Company has teamed up with holiday companyPontin’s to offer staff more training. Candidates will learn in the workplacewhile working towards NVQs or by taking part in a Modern Apprenticeship scheme.The programme has been successfully piloted at Pontin’s’ Brean Sands site andwill now operate at all eight holiday resorts.  www.hctc.co.ukCommitment pays off A group of 10 managers from drinks firm Britvic have received the NEBSmanagement certificate as well as high praise from bosses for their commitment.The team has attended a year of workshops and training, often starting at 6ambefore working a full shift. Projects were based on work related issues anddesigned by training company the People Development Team.  www.britvic.co.ukWorldwide Budget More than 2,000 staff in 69 countries have accessed Budget Rent-A-Car’sonline learning centre. After just six months online, the site has helpedchange the company’s development policy to one of continual learning. The sitecontains raining modules covering business-specific programmes and transferableskills courses. All the material can be adapted to meet local needs and thesite is updated each month.  www.budget.co.ukOnline learning The Government’s Centre for Management and Policy Studies has launched aninternet-based training scheme for leadership. The PRIME: Leadership package isa first for the public sector and allows leadership skills to be honed in theworkplace. Eight government departments have committed to the scheme and aprivate sector version is in development.  www.cmps.gov.uk/prime Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. TrainingOn 4 Jun 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Focused approach needed to address council shortages

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Skills Council would help solve crisis over retention and attract new bloodRecruitment and retention in the public sector has hit the headlines withthe release of the Audit Commission’s latest report (News, 3 September). It isthe perennial crisis story of public employers striving to attract the besttalent. But the real picture is more complex and begs the question: whichcrisis are we dealing with exactly? While the NHS and central government agencies can speak for themselves,local government has its own distinctive characteristics. It has selectiverecruitment and retention problems in the middle ranks of some professions andcertain geographical areas – most notably, the South East. Problems are becoming increasingly severe in some areas, and there is amajor need to confront the age profile of the workforce by recruiting youngerstaff. The Audit Commission suggests a number of proposals for local employers,central government and national bodies, designed to re-invigorate the publicsector ethos and make working for the public sector more rewarding. However, there are specific actions that need to be taken by localauthorities in response that will not be addressed by improved recruitmentstrategies and better working environments. The Employers Organisation intendsto work with the Audit Commission and others to develop policies that will workfor local government. In many professions that are more or less unique to local government –public safety work such as trading standards or building control, for instance– there are problems in bringing new, suitably qualified people into theworkforce. Better co-ordination is needed to develop personal developmentprogrammes and provide training opportunities. It would help if local government had a sector Skills Council to lead thedevelopment of professional qualifications in partnership with relevant prof-essional bodies. We will continue to lobby government to put such anorganisation in place. It also cannot be denied that a clear career path in critical localgovernment professions could be enhanced in some cases by an ability to providemore flexible rewards for the best staff. We are helping local government toconfront this sticky issue of pay. Pay system modernisation, based perhaps onnewly developed competency and appraisal systems, will be a central issue forcouncils during the next few years. Although the resources available are limited, better value for the pay billand suitable rewards for the best performers need to form part of the rewardpattern. Greater flexibilities have already been built into the national paystructure to encourage this, but more work needs to be done. An important focus for this achievement will be the proposed National JointCommission on Local Government Pay and related issues that form part of theAcas-suggested settlement of the recent pay dispute. The unions may strongly believe that recruitment problems in local governmentaffect the lowest paid jobs, but local employers know that this isn’t usuallythe case. Councils need to plan for where the problems really hit them. The Employers Organisation feels that improved recruitment and retentionpolicies must be developed as part of a much more strategic approach to HRmanagement in local government that places people at the heart of the missionto improve services. In our recent publication, Productivity, Performance &Improvement, for example, we have been exploring the relevance of highperformance HRM practices for local government, and developing an eight-pointplan for priority HR interventions. This includes improved recruitment andretention policies linked to proper management development, improved team-basedworking, and sickness absence management. We are glad that the Audit Commission agrees that HR management reallymatters in local government, but the hard work starts with the development of ameaningful set of policy recommendations that can eventually deliver this. By Rob Pinkham, the deputy executive director of the EmployersOrganisation for Local Government Focused approach needed to address council shortagesOn 17 Sep 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Dixons joins Govt scheme targeting long-term jobless

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Dixons is looking to recruit more than 1,000 long-term unemployed people aspart of a joint initiative with Jobcentreplus. The scheme is part of the Government’s Ambition:Retail programme, whichhelps unemployed people to start a new career in the retail sector. The electrical retail group, which recently announced plans to recruit10,000 new employees in the UK and Europe during the next five years, hopes theinitiative will help to fill 1,370 vacancies across the country and assist withthe screening process. Dixons group HR director, David Longbottom, said the alliance withJobcentreplus would provide Dixons with better knowledge of local job marketsand improve advertising. “Our aim with this process is to make sure we reach as many talentedpeople via jobcentres as we possibly can,” he said. Dixons joins Govt scheme targeting long-term joblessOn 29 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Grey matters

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Grey mattersOn 1 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Employment rights for retirement-age staff, anti-ageism legislation andchanges to pensions provision are all up for grabs as employers struggle withtheir demographic destiny. Sue Nickson advises on what it means for HR policiesPeople are living and working longer than ever before, and the birth rate isin decline, a trend which is likely to continue for at least 20 years. TheOffice for National Statistics predicts 35 per cent of the workforce will beaged over 45 by 2005, rising to 40 per cent by 2010. Politicians and employers are having to address the complex consequences ofthis demographic trend, for working patterns, retirement ages and pensions. Itseems inevitable that as the population ages, it will become necessary forpeople to work longer. Recent challenges to the validity of UK legislation onunfair dismissal and redundancy rights of the over-65s, together with theEuropean-led drive towards age equality in the workplace, are adding to thedebate on what are and will be acceptable (and legal) age-related practices inthe workplace. Current legislation: unfair dismissal and redundancy Currently, employees who have reached 65, or the normal retirement age for thejob (NRA), are not eligible for statutory redundancy payments and cannotgenerally bring unfair dismissal claims (under sections 156 and 109 EmploymentRights Act 1996). The validity of these exclusions has been in question forsome time. Most recently, in Harvest Town Circle Ltd v Rutherford 2001, claimsfor unfair dismissal and a redundancy payment were brought by Rutherford, whoat 67 was on the face of it excluded from both by his age. It was argued thatthe upper age limit discriminated against men and amounted to unlawful sexdiscrimination, which could not be justified. At first instance, the tribunal agreed. But in August 2002, the Stratfordtribunal – following guidance from the EAT – considered detailed statisticalevidence and found the exclusion did have a disproportionate and unjustifiableimpact upon men. This decision dealt with the statistics at such length and in such detail,that other tribunals are unlikely to dispute the point about disproportionateimpact. It would be a brave employer that took on the burden of disproving thestatistics relied on in this case for some time to come, not least because itwould probably be more expensive to do so than just conceding unfair dismissal.The Secretary of State’s appeal is to be heard by the EAT in May. Future legislation: age discrimination At present, there is no legislation outlawing age discrimination, despiteevidence which suggests it is not a minority issue. A recent report by the Employers’ Forum on Age estimated the annual cost ofageism to the economy is £31bn. While the Government has extolled the economic and social advantages of anage-inclusive workforce, this is supported only by a non-enforceable Code ofPractice, the current version of which is Age Diversity at Work 2002. However, the Government has until December 2006 to implement its commitmentunder Article 13 of the EU Employment Directive 2000 to put in place agediscrimination legislation. In the consultation exercise on the FrameworkDirective (Equality and Diversity: The Way Ahead), which closed in January2003, the Government made certain basic proposals for age discriminationlegislation. A second round of consultation will commence this spring, followedby a final consultation on the draft regulations in spring 2004. The Governmentenvisages the regulations will be in force no earlier than December 2006. The Government proposes that like existing anti-discrimination legislation,the age regulations will outlaw direct discrimination, indirect discrimination,harassment and victimisation. The Directive applies to: – access to employment, self employment or occupation, (including selectioncriteria and recruitment conditions in all branches of activity and includingpromotion) – access to vocational guidance, training, and work experience – employment and working conditions, including dismissals and pay – membership of and involvement in a workers’ or employers’ or employmentorganisation or any professional organisation – virtually all categories of worker except, in most cases, the genuinelyself employed. It will outlaw unjustified age discrimination for all relevantworkers, young or old The Directive allows for justified differences of treatment when acharacteristic constitutes a genuine occupational qualification for the job. Italso provides that differences of treatment on grounds of age may be”objectively and reasonably justified” by a legitimate aim within thecontext of national law. There will no doubt be considerable debate on thispoint during the consultation exercise. The Directive itself gives examples of when discrimination might bejustified, to include allowing: – Special conditions in respect of certain age groups “in order topromote their vocational integration or ensure their protection” – The fixing of minimum conditions of age, professional experience orseniority in service for access to employment or certain advantages linked toemployment – The fixing of a maximum age for recruitment based on the trainingrequirement of the post in question or the need for a reasonable period ofemployment before retirement So far as compulsory retirement is concerned, the Directive will meanemployers will not be able to impose their own retirement age, unless there arecircumstances peculiar to the business which provide an objectivejustification. Future legislation: pensions and tax Increased longevity is posing complex challenges for the affordability ofpensions. While most workers hope for continued rising standards of living inretirement, as many as 3 million people are estimated to be saving inadequatelyfor that purpose. At the same time, occupational schemes are under pressurefrom rising costs, with some schemes being closed or employer contributionscut. The Government’s proposals in the face of this are contained in twoprinciple documents. The Department for Work and Pensions has published a GreenPaper entitled Simplicity, Security and Choice: Working and saving forRetirement. The Treasury and Inland Revenue have also published proposals forthe simplification of pensions taxation in Simplifying the taxation ofpensions: increasing choice and flexibility for all. Both principal documentsare consultation papers. The consultation for the Green Paper closed on 28March. The consultation on the tax proposals closes on 11 April. Although there are no proposals to increase the state pension age, the GreenPaper does propose that people should be encouraged to work past 65 bydeveloping the concept of flexible and phased retirement. It is also proposedthat from 2010, people should gain at least 10 per cent for each year that theydelay drawing their pension (compared to 7.5 per cent now). Further, peopleshould be allowed to remain in the same employment while receiving any pensionbuilt up in that job (this is prohibited under the current tax system).Tax-efficient early retirement, except in cases of ill health, will move fromage 50 to 55 from 2010. The Government hopes to introduce the tax changes vialegislation from April 2004. The combined effect of these age-related issues will be profound. Employersneed to be prepared for the changes ahead if they are to make appropriate andtimely changes to policies, procedures and practices. Those who participate inthe current consultation process on the scope and shape of impending agediscrimination and pension legislation, will be contributing enormously to theobjective of having workable and effective legislation. Sue Nickson is head of employment at Hammonds Over 65s dismissal and redundancy– Pending appeal, employees over theNRA, or if there is none 65, can bring claims for unfair dismissal orredundancy. This is regardless of whether there is a contractual retirementage. It is likely that all such claims will be stayed during the appealprocess, which could go as far as the ECJ and may therefore take many months toresolve– Do not assume that all employees will wish to retire at theNRA or 65. Communicate with those approaching retirement age to discuss theirexpectations and needs– Explore possibilities for alternative employment and/orworking patterns where necessary or desired – Do not rely on impending retirement to resolve problemsrelating to discipline, performance or sickness with older employees; followfair and appropriate procedures in all cases. Assume a genuine and fair reasonfor dismissal will be required, and that a fair procedure towards dismissalmust be followed – Do not select for redundancy by reason of ageMany believe older workers bringbenefits to business such as:– Improved staff retention rates– Higher staff morale– Decreased short-term absenteeism– Higher productivity– Improved public image– Widened customer base– Increased breadth of skillsAvoiding ageism in the workplace– Review the wording of job ads toensure they do not contain age discriminatory conditions– Review or draw up workable policies to avoid any inference ofdiscrimination which could be based on age– Agree a fair and consistent retirement policy with employees.The policy should not impose a ‘normal’ or contractual retirement age unlessthere are particular business circumstances which provide an objectivejustification, and should include the use of flexible, extended or phasedretirement options and/or flexible work patterns such as part-time work, jobsharing and secondments – Regularly analyse the age profile of the business to assessthe age diversity of the workforce– Review pay, incentive and reward schemes to ensure theyobjectively and fairly reward skill and productivity, rather than longevity– Review redundancy selection criteria and policies to ensurepeople are not selected for age-related reasons Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

What makes Indian call centres tick

first_imgWhat makes Indian call centres tickOn 29 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article DeeDee Doke travelled to Bangalore and New Delhi to see how major operatorWipro Spectramind is using people development to deliver a competitive serviceand put the integrity back into business in IndiaIt’s no secret that call centres and business processing outsourcing (BPO)have become big business in India. So big, in fact, that the workforce of thecountry’s largest third-party remote processing centre grew from 50 to 5,000 injust two years, and is still growing. During the last three months alone,demand for its services has been climbing at such a pace that Wipro Spectramindhas added an average of 800 new recruits every month just to keep up. Its HR team can even afford to be selective as up to 150 applicants walk into each of its sites every day. Between 7,000 and 8,000 young men and womenrespond to every advert the company places. But only seven or eight out ofevery 100 are hired to work the eight-and-a-half-hour shifts, five times a week– serving UK and US clients – at the firm’s sites in Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhiand Pune. “We choose the raw materials – uncut diamonds,” said companychairman Raman Roy. “Then we cut the diamonds and polish them.” A June 2002 study by India’s National Association of Software and ServicesCompanies and global consultancy McKinsey estimates that the global potentialfor BPO’s in 2005 is £148bn, with India’s share worth £15bn. By 2008, thesurvey predicts, the country will need more than one million call centreworkers to meet demand. International clients Spectramind’s call centre clientele includes the Dell Computer Corporationand immediately recognisable brand names which the company will not publiclyreveal. Among its many BPO clients are the Scottish Parliament, Thames Water,ABN Amro, Allianz, NTL, Thomas Cook, Nokia and Microsoft, and many otherpotential clients have visited. “We’re very excited about the growthprospects,” said Roy. The New Delhi call centre operation lies within an industrial zone of thesprawling city where monkeys stalk past the windows and over the roofs. Inside,several floors are filled with operator cubicles, and a single floor may bededicated to a sole client. Banners cheering on the given team hang from wallsor the ceiling. With no dress code, a Metallica t-shirt is just as at home inthe office as a sari. The grand finale of a team briefing before a shift is arousing blast of cheers. While the attrition rate – said to be in the high 20s – is higher thanSpectramind’s management would like, the company aims to create a workplaceculture far from the sweatshop stereotype, building on the philosophies of suchpop management gurus as Ken Blanchard and the traits of the Generation Yworker. “Everything revolves around fun as a value,” said RajaVaradarajan, vice-president, talent engagement and development. Because recruitment is so critical to the business’s success, the concept offun in the workplace has been extended to involving staff in bringing in newemployees. Prizes such as motorcycles, trips, mobile phones and cash areawarded in special recruitment drives, which have led to impressive statistics.Recently, 19-20 per cent of new hires were recruited by existing staffreferences. “We want to increase that to between 40 and 50 per cent,”said Varadarajan. Rigorous processes The company’s recruitment process is rigorous. The first level of hiring isoutsourced, and only shortlisted candidates ever meet a hiring official fromSpectramind. If a candidate ultimately does not make the grade but seems tohave potential, the company invests in pre-hire training to try and bring themup to the desired level of capability. Last year, between 400 and 500 candidates received pre-hire training with asuccess rate of 60 to 65 per cent, Varadarajan said. Even those who fail are likelyto succeed elsewhere. “The pre-hires are often hired by our competition,” he added. Once hired, the battle is on to keep the new recruits who undergo intensivetraining in UK or US culture, intonation and call centre work itself beforemanning the phones. By UK standards, the pay is poor, ranging from theequivalent of £112 to £168 a month. However, it is reasonable by Indianstandards, and even more so for the young singles with an average age of 23,who typically work there. Traditionally they live at home well into adulthoodor share flats with friends if they come from outside the city. Development opportunities Ambitious workers can advance their careers if they choose to stay in thebusiness. Up to 60 percent of Spectramind’s supervisors come from within. “We’ll provide opportunities for growth. And career development is notvertical alone – it’s also lateral,” Varadarajan said. “We allowmovement across functions.” Innovative employee perks at Wipro Spectramind actually benefit the employeras well. A concierge service, available to every employee, keeps the worker onthe job while someone else handles the inconveniences of Indian life, such ashaving to pay household bills. Employer-provided transportation gets staff tojob sites on time and returns them to their homes – with the safety of femalestaff taken particularly seriously. A male employee is always the first to bepicked up and the last to be dropped off on the bus routes. The cost savings to Wipro Spectramind result in two ways: staff are sure tobe on the job when they are needed, and the firm invariably gets good pricesfrom the vendors for their services. “We negotiate based on scale, and it is always a win-winsituation,” said Varadarajan. With the shift of IT enabled services such as call centres and other BPOconcerns to India reaching floodlike proportions, Spectramind is mindful thatthe competition for both new business and qualified workers has gone beyondintense. “The shakeout has already started,” said Varadarajan. “Thebig players are in now.” Profile Wipro LimitedEmployees: Between 18,000 and19,000Headquarters: Bangalore, IndiaOther facilities in India: Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai,New Delhi, PuneOverseas locations: Australia, Canada, Finland, France,Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, United Arab Emirates, US Net income in 2002: $170m, down 3 per cent from 2001Revenues in 2002: $902m, plus 28 per cent from 2001 History: First created as a cooking oil company. Cookingoil, along with other consumer products, is still made by the company, butWipro has gone on to embrace software, hydraulics, medical systems, callcentres, business process outsourcing and energyRecruitment: About one in every 100 applicants is hiredHR practices include:– Highly formalised succession planning at managerial levels– A requirement that 5 percent of the workforce’s time bedevoted to training and development– An annual technology forum for sharing information amongemployees about company projects– Identification of and strategies to retain ‘at risk’ talentthat may be planning to leave– An employee portal that, among other offerings, providesemployee self-service, promotes knowledge sharing and allows workers tonominate colleagues for recognition– Competency mapping – Life-cycle leadership training Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

The dating game

first_imgWill the DTI’s plan to introduce legislation on just two dates a year helpor hinder employers? Compiled by Simon KentGerald DawsonPrincipal personnel consultant, Rebus HRThe plans by the DTI to have two specific dates for the introduction of employmentlaw changes hold a number of advantages for an employer. However, it isessential the DTI ensures the introduction of this change does not preventproper consultation with the appropriate parties prior to the legislation beingintroduced. The new system should not be an excuse to rush through legislation,as this will limit an employer’s ability to understand the implications of theproposed changes and thus cause additional work and confusion. The change should allow employers to focus resources at specific times ofthe year. This means we will be able to identify what changes need to be madeto policies and procedures and these can then be communicated to the workforce.Standing dates could be entered into the respective line manager’s diariesto facilitate half-yearly updates on the changes and how they affect theirroles. At the moment, with piecemeal implementation and the increased use ofregulations rather than acts of parliament, it can be difficult for employersto keep track. The disadvantages will most likely focus on the number of updatesimplemented in one go. Widespread changes would place significant strains onresources, particularly if a key number of policies and procedures requireupdating and introducing within short timeframes. This may result in employershaving to prioritise and important areas may get pushed down the pecking order.From the outsourcer’s outlook, it would mirror what currently exists inrespect of payroll legislation. The clear advantage is it allows forwardplanning. As a result, manpower resources can be set aside to update all ourcustomer’s policies and procedures within the required timeframes. It is alsohoped that through having these policies and procedures on a central database,the time spent on updating can be minimised, allowing customers to benefit fromthe ‘economies of scale’ that an outsourced service can provide. The disadvantage is that where the service is tailored to individualcustomer requirements, the economies of scale factor would not be appropriateand this may have resource implications. Mike HindmarshHR president and company secretary, President Office FurnitureIt is a good idea, but will have avery limited impact. The benefit it brings will be offset by trying to rememberwhat you need to do. Giving two dates is really a halfway house – the datewhich is most appropriate for legislation changes is 6 April. If the DTI were to make all changes on that date, it would havea better impact, because employers would know everything happens on that dayalongside legislation on other issues such as tax and benefits. If the DTI wants to use fixed dates, it should limit that toareas where money-related changes are involved. HR and finance directors couldthen remember to make the necessary changes when required. Changes inemployment legislation have a different impact on different businesses, so forother areas of legislation, it is a matter of making sure it has been thoughtthrough.Roger Leek HR director, Fujitsu ServicesIn principle, it is a good idea. Theset dates will allow us to plan effectively for the roll-out of new legislationand arrange communications and training strategy for both HR teams andemployees. The annual statement provided each January with the changesplanned for that year will also help. We, like many other employers, have noofficial way of being notified about what is coming up, and are constantly onthe lookout in journals and liaising with our lawyers for advance warning ofchanges. We have also found the e-mail alert system from the DTI useful. However, the set dates for legislation do nothing to addressthe sheer volume of employment law organisations are forced to deal with. Wehave seen an approximately equal number of laws passed in the last five yearsas in the previous 25. Catherine Glickman HR director in involvement, TescoWe are in support of the two datesand believe it will help enormously. Having certain dates when we knowlegislation is coming in means we can be confident that we have coveredeverything required and can better manage those changes in the businesses. At the moment, we are very clear about when legislation takeseffect, but we are often waiting for codes of practice. The codes are where thedetail is and so they are as important to us as the legislation. I want to seethe legislation and codes aligned so that as employers, we are clear what weare implementing and when. Our personnel managers and stores will know thatrather than this drip of legislation throughout the year, everything will beimplemented on these two dates. Our one concern is that we may end up with enormous chunks oflegislation coming through at once. That could be an issue for us if we don’thave enough notice.Diane Sinclair Lead adviser on public policy, CIPD The DTI should regard this as a firststep in a series of changes needed to help increase awareness and understandingof new employment law among employers and workers. We are pleased the DTI has chosen two set dates for law to comeinto effect, broadly in line with our recommendations. The institute did notfavour a single date each year, which would likely put organisations underheavy pressure if a significant number of changes have to be implemented at thesame time. However, the DTI should bear in mind that the introduction ofnew law will be facilitated by buy-in from employers, so gaining their supportfor regulations is still critical. Fixed dates for implementation is one steptowards achieving this, but the DTI needs to build on this to help ensure wemaintain widespread compliance in the face of new laws. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article The dating gameOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

HSE publishes its blueprint for tackling workplace stress

first_img Previous Article Next Article HSE publishes its blueprint for tackling workplace stressOn 1 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Organisations encouraged to take part and offer feedbackThe Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has outlined in greater detail how itsmanagement standards for dealing with stress in the workplace will work. A blueprint for the Management Standards for Stress was posted on the HSE’swebsite at the start of June, a few weeks later than planned, setting out themethodology and thinking behind the standards. Organisations are being encouraged to have a look, with details of how totake part on the website and any feedback set to be incorporated when thestandards are formally launched next year. Some 20 public and private sector employers have agreed to pilot thestandards (see box below), which are based on seven causes of stress, asoutlined in the HSE’s Tackling Work-Related Stress. As a benchmark, the standards estimate that about 20 per cent of employeeswithin an organisation are likely to be very or extremely stressed at any onetime. To meet the standards, at least 85 per cent of an organisation’s employeeswill need to be satisfied with the demands put on them, the level of controlthey have and the sort of support on offer. When it comes to managing relationships, roles and change, the standard willbe achieved if at least 65 per cent of employees indicate they are satisfied. Within each standard, the HSE has outlined a range of measures thatorganisations need to achieve, for instance, ensuring there is adequatecommunication and consultation. Firms are also expected to carry out an auditto identify problems, consult with unions and managers and provide confidentialcounselling, where appropriate. Bill Callaghan, chairman of the Health and Safety Commission, said:”There is a difference between the buzz people get from doing achallenging job, and an unreasonable pressure that can harm health, lead toabsence and put additional strain on colleagues, who are trying to cope in aneven more pressured environment. “So, in developing a new approach, it is important to get activeparticipation, agreement and feedback. That is why we have decided thatinnovative firms seeking an answer can have a go with this scheme.” www.hse.gov.uk/stress/stresspilot/index.htmKey standardsThat at least 85 per cent ofemployees: – indicate they are able to cope with the demands of their jobs– have a say about the way they do their work– receive adequate information and support from theircolleagues and superiorsThat at least 65 per cent of employees:– indicate they are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours(for example, bullying) at work – indicate they understand their role and responsibilities– indicate the organisation engages them frequently whenundergoing an organisational changeIn all of these, firms must also demonstrate that there aresystems in place locally to respond to any individual concerns. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Clear skies ahead

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Clear skies aheadOn 19 Aug 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Airtraffic control in the UK went through turbulent times in 2002, but theappointment of a new general manager signalled a change of fortune, and theNational Air Traffic Service is now firmly back on course. Ross Wigham reportsFlyingis supposed to be the ultimatefreedom and as your holiday jet cruises ataltitude, it can often feel like the only plane in the sky. It’s not. Onaverage, there are another 9,999 planes in the air somewhere around the world,with about 5,300 air movements per day controlled from the UK.Thereality is that the skies around the UK are filled with aircraft taking off,landing or en-route to somewhere else, all of which have to be controlled fromthe ground.Despitethe fact the UK has the largest amount of air traffic outside the US, theorganisation in charge of controlling the skies has been in crisis for the lastyear.TheNational Air Traffic Service (NATS) has been blighted by delays, poor employeerelations, recruitment difficulties, equipment problems and a continuallypostponed move to a new £623m nerve centre at Swanwick in Hampshire.Addingto its problems was a rocky transfer from public to private ownership.Eventsreached a nadir when staff threatened to go on strike over pay and a lack ofconsultation – a situation compounded by staff shortages, overwork and mistakeswith the new computer system.Thishad a direct effect on the public, with average delays of 2.6 minutes per flightand, at its worst, there were more than 900,000 minutes of delays in just onemonth.Theman brought in to resolve the situation was general manager Paul Louden, aveteran of the organisation with 35 years service – 19 spent as an air trafficcontroller at Heathrow airport.Onhis appointment a year ago, he immediately set about building closer links withthe main union, Prospect, to try to heal the rift with staff and get theorganisation moving in the right direction.”Weknew we had to fix our problems with the unions because as a company we werebleeding badly last year. Staff also needed to believe in the company morebecause we’re totally reliant on the staff to deliver,” says Louden.”HRalso had to start working with staff to re-build some trust and establishrelationships on an individual level.”Thefirst problem was the move to new Swanwick headquarters, which was 80 milesaway from the old centre (which is still in use) at West Drayton, near Heathrow.Loudenalso needed to regain the trust of the controllers as many had concerns oversafety following the installation of new equipment and NATS’ privatisation.”Wewanted to assure people that going through privatisation has had no impact onsafety. British Airways and the British Airports Authority are both privatecompanies and nobody questions their safety. There was a lot of resistance toprivatisation from staff,” he says.Togetherwith Prospect, he agreed a new approach to employee relationships conductedthrough a partnership approach called ‘Working Together’.TheWorking Together document stated exactly how the union and NATS should becommunicating – with a specific commitment to openness, honesty and discussion.NATSpromised to let the trade union representatives have more influence on thedecision-making process, problem solving, policy communication and training anddevelopment.”We’veworked hard with our staff and developed a partnership approach with the unionso we’re not in conflict. Working together is critical to us as is communicationwith our staff,” explains Louden.NATSalso built a new management team focusing more on the concerns of thecontrollers in the operations room, and used HR to communicate and negotiatewith the 1,200 strong workforce.”Allthe evidence shows that if you need to make major changes you [should] do itslowly. However, we built a new centre, introduced a new computer system andaltered the way people work. In hindsight, we should have done things moreslowly and the fact the project was late didn’t help,” he says.Becauseof the communications problems and the resentment that had grown around it, HRset up a graffiti board where staff could ask questions and raise issuesanonymously.Amanagement group was then set up to look at solutions and report back on whatwas being done to resolve matters.SharonJohnson, HR manager at Swanwick, says the idea helped get problems out in theopen and was a starting point for improving relations with the controllers.”Wefound that confidence soon grew and people were putting serious questions to usabout the organisation. This was the start of the improved dialogue,” shesays.HRalso worked on the organisation’s core values to see what the staff wanted fromthem. Staff from across NATS were put into groups to give feedback on what theyactually expected and needed.”Operationalstaff had been quite insular because their job is so important and safetycritical. It’s been good to get people together and get a broader perspectiveso they can contribute to the whole site.”Afterseveral meetings, the groups drew up literature to raise awareness and getfeedback on the changes within the company and its core values.However,there were still major problems around pay, conditions working patterns andstaff shortages, which Louden decided to handle with a new, conciliatoryapproach.”We’vemanaged to get rid of some conflict and the staff have bought into theseimprovements,” he says.”I’vetried to create an environment where staff can perform and they’ve done that inspades. Staff are the key element in the organisation.”Thenew centre provided a more comfortable environment to help staff deal with thechallenges of controlling aircraft  andLouden wanted the new management style to mirror this.”It’snot like in the movies where everybody is shouting and at each other’s throats.We’ve created a relaxed atmosphere where staff can concentrate and work in anincredibly focused way,” Louden says.Toreduce some of the shortages, NATS used the Working Together scheme to changethe way the UK’s 22 air sectors were operated and agreed a new overtime system.DavidLuxton, national secretary of Prospect, negotiated on the union side and agreedthe new overtime system that paid controllers an extra £500 per additionalshift.”Thiswas a breakthrough because it gave management the workforce flexibility itneeded and prevented the closing of air space,” he says.Italso helped reduce the delays from an average of 2.6 minutes last year to just1.5 minutes today. Although this was achieved following a reduction in flightsdue to 9/11, SARS and the war in Iraq, routes were becoming much more complexand budget airlines grew massively.”Thecloser relations have helped us to reach agreement and get results. Things likethe graffiti board helped because managers took ownership of theproblems,” he adds.Luxtonsays the talks have helped ease the atmosphere of distrust. Previously, many ofhis members were complaining about the prescriptive style of the managers andfelt there was nowhere to go with grievances.Althoughstaff also now feel more listened to, especially concerning safety andequipment, Luxton believes there is still much to be done.”Agood start has been made to addressing the issues, but we’re still working withNATS to address the problems of training, communication and trust betweenmanagers and staff.”Trainingis a particular concern as the current pass rate for new controllers is only 65per cent, which is adding to the staff shortages. However,NATS has just developed a much more sophisticated modelling system, whichshould improve this over the next five to six years.Recruitmentis still a major concern and Louden admits that even though around 100 newcontrollers are entering the service this year, he still needs more.”I’mconfident we have enough controllers to deliver the service, but I’m alsocertain we need to do more work on the way we select and train our new staff.”Facts–The new air traffic control centre at Swanwick cost £623m–Swanwick deals with more than2 million flights per year–The UK has the largest amount of air traffic outside the US–UK air traffic control deals with 5,300 air movements each day–London’s airports have 90 million passengers per yearWeblinkwww.nats.co.ukEmployeerelations at NATS before Louden’s arrivalNovember2002 – Staff threaten strike action after executives receive large bonusesdespite problems within the serviceNovember2002 – NATS admits passengers could face further delays because of staffshortages and computer problemsSeptember2002 – NATS is accused of sexism after placing a recruitment advertisemententitled ‘bird watching’ in lad’s magazine Loaded. It featured alongsideadverts for cannabis seed, sex lines and erotic websitesAugust2002 – Staff shortages intensified after it became clear just three newcontrollers would pass through training in 12 monthsAugust2002 – MPs attack the “cost-cutting and penny-pinching mentality” atNATSJuly2002 – The number of overload reports filed by staff doublesMay2002 – Staff admit to misreading the heights of planes and mistaking locationsbecause of confusing fonts on new computer systems last_img read more

Applications Integration — Core HR And Talent Management«In Full Bloom

first_img Comments are closed. “Looking for an appropriate image to convey the necessity of deep integration across core HR (whose system’s name is HRMS) and talent management (whose system’s name is usually abbreviated TM), I remembered this really terrific graphic from Josh Bersin.  Giving tremendous credit where it’s due, this graphic is from an equally terrific post by Josh entitled: “Workday 10: Talent Management And HRMS Converge and dated in March, 2010 (and doesn’t it seem almost quaint to be referencing Workday 10?).  I won’t speak for Josh, but I’ve been preaching the need for tight integration across H”Read full article Applications Integration — Core HR And Talent Management«In Full BloomShared from missc on 15 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more