Feedback doesn’t have to leave you feeling bruisedOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article The Inland Revenue has learned a lot from 360-degree feedbackOperational managers at the Inland Revenue remember the introduction of360-degree feedback as a bruising experience. In 1995 the department went through a major reorganisation. Officers incharge in the network offices found themselves managing their offices – nowwith just one layer of management. This was a culture shock to them and themanagers below them. As part of a development exercise, the 600 officers in charge were asked toundergo an upward feedback process. Each nominated nine people to give themfeedback and set up two open commentary boxes for them to use. These were used fully by many participants who took this opportunity ofletting the officer know exactly what they thought of them. And althoughofficers then had a one-to-one session with a consultant, many were left verybruised and having to deal with strained relations on return to the office. But we have moved on, and with the help of 360-degree specialist FeedbackFundamentals the IR has developed processes that reduce this bruising. What was missing in 1995 were two key elements: – Education and support for all those going through the exercise – A safe process to allow the managers to explore the results with the teammembers in order to make greater sense of the results. Upward feedback, although part of the 360-degree concept, is far narrow andpotentially more emotive process. Unlike a 360-degree exercise the audience ismore likely to be working closely with the manager concerned. We put three elements in place: – Set up a two-hour education seminar for managers who were considering afeedback process – Encouraged managers to arrange a meeting with team members to educate themabout the process and their roles – Set up support networks or helplines for all those involved. These elements helped with the next stage, which was bringing together themanager and team members to explore the results. People are happy to complete a questionnaire anonymously. But to attend ameeting with the manager to discuss their report is another thing. Obviously team members need to be made aware of what to expect, so thereshould be no surprises of being involved with the discussion stage of theprocess. It is often not enough to stop the process at the stage where the managerreceives the feedback report and has a one-to-one coaching session. The teammeeting goes a long way to explaining perceptions and offering ideas fordevelopment. It has to have a high level of comfort attached to it for the manager andteam members. Getting the ground rules in place for giving and receivingfeedback is vital. A facilitator is also key to the success of the exercise. At the meeting, team members are given copies of the manager’s report. Theyhave time to absorb the report, then work in small groups and finally sharethoughts with the manager. This develops team members just as much as managersbecause it gives them a greater insight into each other and how relationships arebuilt. Is this still bruising stuff? We think not. Instead, handled properly, it isa powerful method of building relationships all round. By Peter Leighton, a management consultant with the Inland Revenue and isspeaking on 360-degree feedback at a Roffey Park forum on 11 May www.roffeypark.com Comments are closed.
Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This week’s lettersLetter of the weekWho would want ‘blame’ position? If no single person is held accountable for health & safety, the defencefor people accused will almost certainly include a claim that “I thoughtone of the other guys had done that”. This makes prosecution difficult,which is why some advocate making a single individual ultimately responsible.But who would want that job? Decision-making is rarely a one-person exercise. A director responsible forhealth & safety will still need to compete for budgetary share to pay forexpenditure. Ultimate control of the company rests with many stakeholders andnarrowing down the responsible person(s) will be virtually impossible. The best route to good health & safety management is throughcomprehensive safe working systems, policies and procedures, in which everyindividual is properly conversant, backed up by a systematic assessment of allof the risks and a prioritised health and safety improvement plan. I believe that there is more mileage in grant-aid support for the trainingof competent people combined with more policing by HSE and local authorities.Over time, assessment of H&S management systems to a nat-ional standard, byan independent body could be made mandatory, the tax system modified toencourage early accreditation. Knee-jerk reactions, looking to blame individuals will not help in the longrun. Organisations which fail in their duties should eventually face muchheavier fines and boards of directors should be removed from office andprevented from taking up directorships elsewhere. Ian Stain Industry & Employee Services via e-mail Companies must be held liable Graeme Loveland (Letters, 17 July) seems to have missed the point about theGovernment’s proposals regarding corporate killing which seek to address asignificant defect in the law. Currently, an organisation cannot be foundguilty of manslaughter unless an individual is identified as the”embodiment of the company itself”. The complexity of largeorganisations means this is virtually impossible. The proposals remind us of some of the disasters where there has been majorloss of life – the Herald of Free Enterprise (187 dead), Kings Cross (31),Clapham (35), Southall (7). However, despite successful prosecutions under theHealth & Safety at Work Act, it was not possible to prosecute the companiesresponsible for manslaughter, prompting serious criticism of the law. Subsequent public inquiries into these accidents identified seriousmanagement failures, the consequences of which should have been foreseeableeven without the benefit of hindsight. Loveland considers the idea of corporate killing to be “politicallycorrect claptrap”. We are talking about killing caused by anorganisation’s gross carelessness. The proposed offence of corporate killing isnot a “tabloid sensationalist label” as he suggests, but areasonable, measured attempt to make organisations vicariously liable for theactions of their managers and employees who cause death – the same way they arefor other civil and criminal offences. Eric Letherman Health & Safety adviser, Manchester Risks must be rammed home The problem of lack of senior executives’ responsibility for the welfare oftheir employees and members of the public, is not a new one. Those employed inhigh-risk activities, such as the Fire Service, have always been managed bysenior executives who have had personal experience of the risks involved. Risk-aware executives are less likely to end up in jail because they canappreciate the dangers and manage their undertakings accordingly.Unfortunately, in many large organisations chairmen and chief executives havelittle experience of the actual work processes or risks involved. These are precisely the people who need to concentrate on the safetyimplications of corporate decisions, which is why the Government intends totighten up what are sloppy and open-ended arrangements for identifyingresponsibilities. Bernard Angus Corporate H&S Adviser, Crawley Borough Council LettersOn 7 Aug 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article
Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… Related posts: Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. The leaders who changed HROn 22 Jan 2002 in HR transformation, Personnel Today Some the great captains of industry have had a profound effect on peoplemanagement. Jane Lewis examines the legacy they have left to HRThomas Carlyle’s view of history as “the biography of great men”has become a ubiquitous debating point among A-level students. The questionhere is its relevance to the world of business. More specifically: to whatextent have the contributions of individual business leaders shaped thedevelopment of people management over the decades? Recently, it is true, the credibility of captains of industry as forces forgood has reached an all-time low – the shiny sea of the 1990s boom has recededto reveal a very ugly landscape indeed. With plummeting company values have come widespread revelations of ethicalviolations in the boardroom, countless examples of personal greed in the faceof corporate failure, and the continuing exposure of unscrupulous,short-termist business plans. No wonder there is such disillusion in the air. This was demonstrated in a recent survey, which found that the cartooncharacter Dilbert – a man who stands for the ordinary office worker against theforces of modern management – is now ranked higher as a business model thaneven that secular saint Sir John Harvey-Jones. Here we attempt to restore the balance by singling out individuals(Harvey-Jones included) who have made a difference – both to the developmentand welfare of their own employees and, more generally, to the evolution of HRpractice over the years. They range from out-and-out paternalists, through aggressive downsizers, tonew economy prophets. Although not all their legacies have necessarily beenhappy ones, they have all helped shape the Anglo-American business environmentas we know it today. William Hesketh Lever, founder, Lever BrothersBackground: A one-time Boltongrocer and devout Congregationalist, Lever founded Lever Bros in 1885 andpioneered the use of modern branding and advertising techniques to establishhis Sunlight soap as one of the bestsellers of its day.In the 1920s the company merged with a Dutch margarinemanufacturer and became Unilever – now a global brand giant with annual salesof £29bn. Elevated to the peerage, Lever became Lord Leverhulme.How he changed HR: Lever’spolicy of enlightened paternalism developed and extended ideas pioneered byVictorian industrial reformers like George Cadbury. He was one of the first toblend together social and employment contracts. The most tangible expression ofthis was Port Sunlight, the model workers’ village he built next to hisMerseyside factory.With its church, sports festivals and school, Port Sunlightimitated the tradition of a rural village and most events were presided over by‘Uncle’ and ‘Aunt’ Lever. For those used to the slums of Birkenhead and Liverpool it wasArcadia, and Lever was rewarded with unified loyalty from a grateful workforce.But the idyll couldn’t survive the free-thinking forces of the20th century -by the end of the 1930s it was alleged that “no man ofindependent mind” could “breathe for long in the atmosphere of PortSunlight”.How the legacy lives on:Lever’s paternalist outlook, together with his emphasis on religious duty,found echoes in the US, particularly in the early years of IBM and later in theMormon hi-tech companies WordPerfect and Novell.Within Unilever itself, the ethos moved on to embrace a moremodern corporate outlook, but the company is still renowned for its highethical standards and the Lord Leverhulme Trust continues to finance researchon reform in the workplace.John Spedan Lewis, chairman, JohnLewis PartnershipBackground: When Lewisinherited his stores from his father in 1929 he immediately set aboutremodelling them. Convinced the ideas of the Russian revolution would spread toBritain, he hedged his bets against the introduction of Soviet-styleco-operatives by setting up a trust which turned the stores into aprofit-sharing partnership for all employees.How he changed HR: Among thefounding principles of Lewis’s trust was the proviso that it must secure”the happiness in every way of its members”. The democratic ethicsestablished then continue today – employees elect workers councils whichmonitor the day-to-day implementation of management decisions. They also elect a central council that acts as an alternativeboard of directors and share company profits. Other perks include thrivingsocial clubs, universal access to corporate yachts and holiday houses andnon-contributory pensions. The in-house newspaper, The Gazette, is a paragon offree speech.How the legacy lives on: Fewcompanies have imitated this unique corporate structure, but many have adoptedprofit-sharing schemes similar to those first enacted by Lewis. More than 30years after his death, the group – which now includes Waitrose – is much biggerbut largely unchanged in ethos.Staff are among the best paid on the high street and thecompany has never made redundancies. In 1999, however, there was a near revolt.Some staff members, keen to scoop a possible £100,000 each, wanted to float thecompany – but Lewis’s original trust was so water-tight that it would need anAct of Parliament to change it. As one of the UK’s most resilient retailgroups, the John Lewis Partnership continues to demonstrate against the oddsthat capitalism and Marxist ideology can be combined successfully.Jack Welch, CEO, General ElectricBackground: Welch joined GE in1960 and rose quickly through the ranks to become CEO in 1981. An abrasivepersonality, he once conceded that he needed to improve his socio-politicalrelationship skills – he was said to be so anti fat people (“undisciplinedslobs”) that they hid when he did the rounds.How he changed HR: Withinmonths of taking charge, Welch fixed a company that many had been unaware wasbroken, selling off vast tracts of the business and laying off 132,000 workersin one of the largest corporate downsizing exercise yet seen, for which heearned the nickname Neutron Jack.But the financial results soon spoke for themselves and Welchremained unrepentant – the real job killers, he remarked, were “weakmanagers”. The hatchet-job accomplished, Welch turned to HR reform,personally devising and introducing a wealth of new measures – including360-degree management, boundarylessness, employee work-outs, six sigma qualitycontrol, reverse mentoring and, latterly, forced grading.He succeeded in creating a remarkably cohesive culture, theglue of which was the corporate study centre he founded at Crotonville where heregularly lectured.How the legacy lives on: A measure of Welch’s enormousinfluence is that many of the radical messages he began preaching 20 years agoare now business cliches.He was the most admired and imitated CEO of his time andheralded a sea-change in corporate culture, particularly in terms oflegitimising huge downsizing programmes.Ironically, given his own lengthy tenure at GE, which onlyended this year, he was the man who did more than any other to end the”jobs for life” culture.SirJohn Harvey-Jones, chairman, ICIBackground: SwashbucklingHarvey-Jones, spent the Second World War in a Royal Navy submarine beforeserving with British Intelligence as a Russian interpreter. His 30-yearrelationship with ICI, then the bellwether of the UK economy, began withoutfanfare – he claims he only joined so he could spend more time with his family.Lacking either a degree or technical training, he was a misfit initiallyunprepared to tow the company line. In 1982, when he got the top job, manyconsidered the move a foolish gamble.How he changed HR:Harvey-Jones swept through the “drab and introverted” ICI,restructuring management right up to board level and dislodging the”baronies” that were impeding the company’s ability to change andgrow.An inspirational leader, he was one of first to stress theimportance of breeding entrepreneurial flair and project-based teams. Thesetactics helped transform a loss-making operation into one boasting profits of£1bn by the time he left.Harvey-Jones was equally active in promoting “human rights”within ICI, introducing a series of progressive personnel policies. These,combined with his cheery, approachable manner, are one reason why it is oftenforgotten that during his tenure he sacked over half the workforceHow the legacy lives on: Harvey-Jonesdid more than any other UK business leader to remove the dominance of commandand control culture.ICI may no longer be Britain’s largest company, but hepositioned it for sustainable growth. His HR policies heralded a newpreoccupation with work-life balance, which he continued to stress afterleaving ICI to take up a consulting role as “Britain’s most expensivetemp”.His long-term legacy was to put a human face on big businessand promote a common sense-based approach to the way companies are managed.Herb Kelleher, chairman,South West AirlinesBackground: In 1971 Kelleherquit a Texas law practice to launch South West Airlines, the first low-cost,no-frills carrier. A zany individual with considerable chutzpah, Kelleher isthe American entrepreneur straight out of central casting – chain-smoking, harddrinking, and generally credited with a heart of gold.How he changed HR: Kelleher’sbrilliance wasn’t just seeing a hole in the market, it also lay in fostering anew kind of corporate culture to tap it.His philosophy had everything to do with size – “thinksmall, act small, get bigger”. He considered humour a strategic advantagein business and made it a central requisite in the hiring process.When flight attendants and schedulers sparred over flightschedules, Kelleher had them swap jobs for a day to get some perspective. Thetime and money devoted to employee recruitment and assimilation paid dividendsin terms of South West’s low churn rate and “collegial” culture.Kelleher believed in grooming talent in the long-term – thebest example of this is the company’s president, Colleen Barratt, who joined asKelleher’s secretary.How the legacy lives on: Kelleher was one of the earliest models forthe kind of anti-corporate, iconoclastic leader lionised in the 1980s by gurussuch as Tom Peters.But his real legacy is the huge number of successful copy-catoperations (from EasyJet to Ryanair) which followed Kelleher’s culture-based,people-centric approach to management.Sir JohnBrowne, chairman and CEO, BPBackground: The son of a BPman, Browne joined BP on graduation and has been there ever since. He tookcontrol in 1995 when BP was worth £20bn and steered it into the big league – itis now a £138bn business. “It’s up or out”, he said.Although it is sometimes claimed he is autocratic and rules byfear, Browne is quietly unconventional and has gained a reputation for hisradical proposals.”The more you grow up the more you understand that no onereally conforms and everyone has something slightly different to offer,”he says. How he changed HR: Brownedemonstrated, through his policy of aggressive growth via mergers andacquisitions, that it is possible to marry huge conglomerates speedily andsuccessfully.In the past three years he has led three mega-mergers,assimilating 100,000 new employees worldwide. But his greatest contribution tothe history of HR has been his wholesale push into outsourcing.BP was the first major organisation to sign up with HR providerExult and its endorsement of the new model sparked a flurry of similarannouncements. In an ideal world, says one BP insider, Browne would”outsource everything”. Even BP’s finance and accounting is nowmanaged by PricewaterhouseCoopers.How the legacy lives on: Brownewill always be remembered for achieving one of the most radical shake-ups inthe oil industry. He has also achieved a remarkable PR transformation for BP –from global despoiler to environmental champion in a few short years.Nonetheless it is still too early to gauge his real impact onthe development of HR – that will depend on the success, or otherwise, of hisoutsourcing programme. One thing is clear, however: whatever happens at BP willprove a decisive factor on the path taken by the rest of the HR community. John Chambers, CEO,CiscoBackground: Chambers cut histeeth at IBM and Wang before joining Cisco in 1991. Under his leadership, thecompany swiftly outstripped competitors to become the world’s leading providerof networking infrastructure and a key founder of the Internet age.Beloved on Wall Street, as much for its revolutionary supplychain management and reporting systems as for actual sales, Cisco was seen as aparadigm of the new economy business model.Between 1997 and 2000 its share price rose by 916 per cent andit briefly overtook Microsoft as the world’s most highly valued company.How he changed HR: Chamberswas one of the most vociferous and successful exponents of the 1990scustomer-centricity movement. His unbending focus on customer service went waybeyond the Dedicated to Customer Success slogans he made employees wear ontheir ID badges.He linked management compensation directly to Cisco’stwice-yearly customer satisfaction polls. Cisco was also a leading force behindthe practice of rewarding staff at all levels with share options.Chambers’ strong emphasis on the importance of corporateculture in determining financial outcomes was also ground-breaking. Despiteaggressive acquisition, he established a “cult-like” cohesion atCisco. He also spent lavishly on staff education and apprenticeships.How the legacy lives on: Withboth Cisco’s revenues and its share-price in free-fall this year, Chambers hashad to do the unthinkable and is cutting 8,500 jobs. He nonetheless continuesto inspire fervent devotion from the workforce.But his greatest HR legacy is the way he put alternative payand benefits schemes firmly on the map. Some of these – most notably shareoptions – have now been called into question. But it was Chambers above all whoopened the debate.Meg Whitman, CEO, eBayBackground: highly regarded asthe dotcom that bucked the trend, online auctioneer eBay continues to go fromstrength to strength and is on track to pull $1bn in revenues next year underCEO Whitman.It now trades in everything from Beanie Babies and Elvismemorabilia to high-end computer servers and auto parts. Whitman joined thefirm in 1998 after a career taking in both Procter & Gamble and Hasbro.She is acclaimed as an excellent example of “howsuccessfully management practices developed under the old rules can be appliedunder the new”.How she changed HR: The HRchallenge inherent in eBay’s revolutionary business model (it is themarketplace for some 37.6m buyers and sellers worldwide) cannot be overstated.The company began with two strong values: egalitarianism andcommunity, or – as one user puts it – “capitalism for the rest ofus”. Whitman’s strength was to make these values explicit in simple rulesthat helped managers perform.She once described her most important contribution to thecompany’s success as “developing the work ethic and culture of eBay as afun, open and trusting environment.”How the legacy lives on: Bydint of simply surviving the dotcom collapse, Whitman’s place in HR history isassured. The question now, aseBay moves away from its “touchy-feely communitarianism” into bigbusiness, is whether she can scale up the business without losing the ethosthat has made it such a worldwide hit.Twoto watchIt’s all very well and good to practise enlightened Hr when times are good,but maintaining morale and a cohesive culture in the face of retrenchment in adeclining economy is a more difficult act to get right. Here are two CEOs whoare tackling the issue rather well at the moment.Andrea Jung, CEO, AvonBackground: When Andrea Jung took the reins at Avon in1999 the company (founded 1886) had withered to become the grey old lady of thecosmetics industry – its last memorable slogan – “Ding dong, Avoncalling” dates back to 1953. Amid plummeting sales, the company further alienated its armyof reps by establishing a dotcom arm that bypassed them and sold direct tocustomers.How she changed HR: In the past two years Jung hasoverhauled virtually everything about the way Avon does business and hasrestored the operation to profit and self-belief.She began by tackling the morale of its reps – returning themto a central role in Avon’s strategy, either advising clients one-to-one orcommunicating with them online. Jung signed on as an Avon lady herself just toget a feel for the job.Her own glamorous appearance (poised and impeccably turned out)means she is treated more like a rock star than a Fortune 500 company boss whenshe travels to meet reps. And her willingness to share her”experiences” Oprah-style has done wonders for staff loyalty. Under Jung, Avon has also achieved the highest ranking on theUS Council for Social and Economic Priorities – which measures issues such as work-lifebalance, environmental friendliness and philanthropy.CraigConway, CEO, PeopleSoftBackground: Conway underwent afiery baptism in the dog-eat-dog environment of Larry Ellison’s Oracle beforegaining a reputation as a turnaround specialist.In 1999 he joined PeopleSoft – the firm founded by DavidDuffield that arguably invented HR software – at a low point in its fortunes.Once a darling of the stock markets, PeopleSoft crashed toearth in 1999, unable to withstand the downturn in enterprise-wide softwaresales.How he changed HR: PeopleSoftunder Duffield was the epitome of the kind of cosy, geekish, familial culturethat came to represent a new kind of paternalism in many hi-tech operations –Duffield even signed his e-mails by his initials DAD.Conway’s challenge on taking over, was to eliminate thesloppiness that had seeped into the company’s processes, and completely rewriteits software offering. His achievement is that he has managed to accomplish thiswithout destroying PeopleSoft’s tightly-knit culture, or causing morale toplummet even further.His solution was to stem the defection of talent withinnovative new pay structures and introduce strict new procedures. Weak foreign sales doubled when he hired a French national tohandle international tasks such as local tax rates. By bringing discipline toPeopleSoft, Conway has pulled it back from the brink.
Calls for more commitment to rehabilitationOn 18 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Nearly 30,000 staff are forced to leave work permanently due to illness orinjury every year because rehabilitation services in the UK are so poor, astudy claims. The report by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the TUC findsthat about 14.5 million working days are lost annually because of work-relatedill health, at a cost to the economy of more than £14bn a year. Getting Back to Work blames a lack of early intervention, an inconsistentapproach to rehabilitation across the UK and no clear leadership on the issue. The ABI’s director general, Mary Francis, said employees and employers aresuffering as a result of inadequate rehabilitation. “Britain’s rehabilitationservices are far from healthy. The current system is failing ill and injuredworkers and their families. The longer someone is off work, the less chancethey have of returning,” she said. The report calls for greater awareness of the importance of effectiverehabilitation among employers and mandatory rehabilitation policies. www.abi.org.uk Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article
Trainoperator Connex has trained a number of staff as special constables in a bid tohalve the number of assaults on its employees.Lastweek, 15 Connex staff members started working as British Transport Policespecial constables to increase uniform presence and improve staff and customersafety on the Connex South Eastern line. Connexwill release them on full pay for a minimum of 200 hours a year to carry outtheir duties for the BTP. In return, the train operator will pay the staff anextra £1,000 a year after tax.Thecompany, which employs 3,000 staff, expects to have 50 employees working asspecial constables by the end of this year and 100 by the end of 2003.Thetrain operator is paying for the extra transport police officers needed toaccompany the special constables on their duties.Connexdecided to train staff as constables after its commercial director, GlenCharles, witnessed a staff member, who also worked as a special constable,defuse a potential problem.Charlessaid: “It is quite harrowing for staff when they are assaulted. Themajority are verbal assaults, which lead to staff having days off to recover.They can feel trapped if other people are not around. With the extra presenceof constables, staff should be more comfortable. Staff will have less time offsick and spend more time at work.”Connexand BTP hold two meetings a week to discuss any problems and negotiate staffrelease for police duties.Staffare released from Connex duties for a month to complete the intensive trainingcourse. The BTP’s HR team is solely responsible for the welfare of the Connexspecial constables while they are in uniform. This includes insurance, travelexpenses, meal allowances, training, number of hours worked and counselling.JamesDeller, training manager for London south at the BTP, said: “Connex staffknow the issues, terminology and problems on the line, so it has been easier tointegrate them into the BTP.”ByPaul Nelson Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Connex seeks to cut assaults with own constablesOn 2 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
Related posts:No related photos. Outsourcing HR has not produced the desired results andcompanies are stalling on implementing programmes. But all that could change inthe coming year, says Caroline Horn When HR outsourcing mega-deals first started hitting the headlines three orfour years ago, the market anticipated that many more would follow. The newcontracts, termed ‘end-to-end’ HR outsourcing programmes, included Exult’s£430m contract to outsource British Petroleum’s entire global human resourcesfunction, and BAE Systems’ joint venture agreement with Xchanging, worth morethan £1bn, to manage its procurement, HR and other administration functions. Such mega-deals are now valued at more than £5bn according to TPI, aHouston, US-based outsourcing advisory firm, but the outsourcing market has notperformed quite as well as had been expected. Gartner Dataquest reckons that by 2005, the worldwide outsourcing marketwill be worth some £37bn, but this has been downgraded from an earlier forecastof £42bn – and there are no guarantees that we are on track for the latestforecast. Philip Vernon, European partner at Mercer HR Consulting, says: “Themarket has not grown or taken off in the way that people expected. It is stillin the early adopters stage – but it was there four years ago and the challengeis, when does it cease to be at that stage?” Outsourcing is nothing new to HR – payroll, pensions and recruitment havebeen outsourced for years. But for many HR directors, the case for the‘end-to-end’ outsourcing of HR departments has still to be made. Although anumber of such deals now exist, Howard Spode, director of HR outsourcing forRebusHR UK, says: “A lot of people are standing back and waiting to see ifit works.” The new providers in outsourced HR have yet to demonstrate a successfultrack record, says Vernon. “It will need one of them to say, ‘look what Ihave done for organisation X, see what I have achieved across four countries,and the cost savings have been Y’. When they can say that, they will have astrong proposition.” Anthony Hesketh, lecturer in management at Lancaster University, points outthat the US is further down the line with outsourcing than Europe but eventhere, the jury is still out. “There are cases in America where HR has been outsourced andstreamlined, and there have been huge benefits. When it works it works well,but maybe it will only work well in particular organisations.” There are a number of reasons why HR directors remain nervous of outsourcinga significant part of their services, not least of which have been the teethingproblems experienced in the early projects undertaken by the likes of BP, BAEand Cable & Wireless. Given the history, HR directors must feel they wouldbe taking a huge personal risk in encouraging an organisation to outsource. The risks, they say, are not just associated with the costs, although thosecan be high in the initial stages of outsourcing. There is also concern withinHR departments about loss of control over HR services, the question of howstaff will react to using an outside provider, and anxieties over the removalof in-house HR expertise. A company could also find itself handing staff overto a third party with subsequent morale and legal issues. Shell, which has been standardising its HR processes globally across all itsbusinesses, chose not to use an outside supplier to provide its sharedservices. John Hofmeister, group HR director for Shell Group, says he remainsopen to the idea of outsourcing and that the main reason for not doing so was abusiness-driven decision (Shell Group wanted the savings that derived from thatstandardisation to go directly to its shareholders). There were other issues stemming from the relative youth of the market.”I have not yet met an outsourcing operation that could meet our needs ona regional, never mind a global, basis,” he says. But he also maintains that large-scale outsourcing has long-term risks.”I’d worry that major outsourcing is a long term dilution of the HRcapability in a company that outsources it. I cannot see how a company thatoutsources can sustain sufficient HR capability to handle, over the long-term,the range of HR responsibilities within a company.” Removing administrative burdens from your HR department is one thing, saysAngela Baron, adviser for organisation and resourcing at CIPD, but there areother HR activities, such as performance management systems, company cultureand managing change, that are more difficult to outsource as they impact onHR’s broader role. “Some of that could also be outsourced, but how can HRthen make a success of strategic planning?” she asks. The question of corporate culture and how well that is absorbed andreflected by a supplier is another significant issue, says Baron. “HRstaff are strong communicators of company culture and if HR is outsourced to anunsympathetic supplier there will be a clash.” A negative impact on company culture could have broad implications, saysHofmeister. “HR has a huge impact on the culture of a company, andultimately, what differentiates one company from another is the strength of itsculture to create and deliver value to shareholders. If you outsource HR, youlose that.” But while the question of outsourcing does raise genuine concerns in the HRcommunity, it is also suggested that by rejecting outsourcing, HR management issimply protecting its territory. As one consultant put it, expecting HR tohappily adopt outsourcing ‘is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas’. This is because the likely result of outsourcing is a dramatic reduction inthe size of the HR department, and the requirement for very different businessskills on the part of the remaining HR team. The argument about whether to outsource also depends on HR’s ability orwillingness to approach outsourcing from a broader perspective and to reallyconsider the business arguments for outsourcing. BAE is a firm proponent of outsourcing and its HR agreement with Xchangingis part of an ongoing pro-outsourcing policy. Chris Dixon, HR director ofShared Services at BAE Systems, says there are clear business reasons for doingso. “We set ourselves a five-year target, and I believe that by the end ofthis year [the second year] we will have substantially completed theprogramme.” Having reached this stage, and with an accompanying 15 per cent reduction inHR costs, the company is now looking for productivity improvements. Dixon argues that it is the emotional argument – handing over the controllevers, and anxieties about staff reactions – that is preventing othercompanies from benefiting from outsourcing, and he agrees that such issues areharder to resolve. He also warns: “Don’t kid yourself that by switching to an outsourcingprovider, they will give you everything you demand, or that your internalactivity will transform itself. This is as much about mindset as a physicalchange programme, and you have to work at both.” Strategic focus It is easy for companies to underestimate the changes required to make HRmore strategically focused, says Alan Bailey, head of business processoutsourcing at Xchanging HR Services. HR departments will be used to managingresources, not to thinking about what services they want, and senior managementmay not have been trained to think about strategy. Bailey says: “HR directors might need senior coaching and training instrategic issues – or a company might actually decide it needs a differentperson to do that role.” To hone its in-house HR strategic skills, BAE is sending 70 of its top 100senior HR specialists to the University of Michigan (UoM) to develop strategicskills and knowledge. Suppliers are working harder than ever to convince their audience of themerits of outsourcing, and to show that they provide a good service and highstandards of technology, as well as proving the business case for outsourcing.But given the market’s continued wariness, suppliers are also becoming moreflexible in their approach and with their product. As Vernon points out: “It’s not all about the organisations with 25,000employees, but those with 5,000 employees. There are a few providers operatingin that smaller market but the problem in both is to provide a business modelthat works effectively for both client and provider. You need to drive thebusiness case for both organisations.” Xchanging appreciates that some companies will want to start small and grow,and it is focusing on offering transactional services as well as an HR advisoryservice. Oracle is another provider helping clients to outsource their businesssystems side initially, and then encouraging them to consider other HR servicesfurther down the line. At this level, providers can offer many skills and resources that companiesmight not have in-house. Sharon Douglas, HR director of outsourcing providerCeridian Centrefile, says: “Employers need to understand the true value ofoutsourcing – it is not just about cost reduction but having access to worldclass resources and knowledge.” Outsourcers can also offer reliability and predictability, coping with thepeaks and troughs in the business. And far from having a negative effect on strategic development, she saysthat outsourcing can play a crucial role. The starting point is to understandthe value of HR, says Douglas. “What we have to do in the outsourcing business is to talk aboutoutsourcing at a strategic level – from the processes around recruitment toperformance management and training and reward.” Understanding how HR impacts on the bottom line will help organisations tounderstand the benefits of outsourcing. Hesketh says: “Board rooms areonly just starting to look at the HR function and are starting to ask some veryserious questions about bottom line productivity from HR. That is making HRmore performance-oriented.” And, he adds: “Organisations that want to think seriously about addedvalue from HR, and whether they are getting a good return on their investmentfrom HR, should look at outsourcing.” Despite the difficulties experienced in the last few years, suppliers are,on the whole, optimistic about the long-term trends in outsourcing. Baileysuggests that a handful of FTSE 250 companies will embark on outsourcingrelationships this year. But by the latter end of next year, he predicts arapid rise in the number of organisations wanting to outsource. Previous Article Next Article End-to-end outsOn 25 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
Dutch MEP Ieke van den Burgh has hit out at the minority of EU memberstates, led by the UK, for blocking progress of the new European TemporaryAgency Work Directive. The controversial directive, which would give temps the same employmentrights as permanent workers, has stalled at the Council of Ministers afterstaunch opposition from British and Irish employment ministers, supported bytheir German and Danish counterparts. Speaking at the 2010 Work Odyssey conference, Van den Burgh – who isresponsible for drafting the directive – expressed disappointment that theamended proposals were being blocked by the group of member states, despitebeing approved by the European Parliament. She claimed the directive would maintain “the right balance”between flexibility and security, while providing basic protection from day oneto vulnerable temporary workers. This view is supported by the European temporary business organisationCIETT, which represents several big staffing firms including Adecco, Manpowerand Randstad. Euro CIETT chairman Fred van Haasteren told the conference that the newlegislation was necessary to lift ‘unjustified and unnecessary’ restrictions,allowing companies to offer staff more flexible contracts of employment. Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimates that in theUK alone, as many as 160,000 permanent jobs could be at risk from thedirective. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. MEP criticises stalling tactics on temps rulesOn 6 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. CSR report highlights store’s ethical stanceOn 22 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Slower-growing chicken, less use of pesticides, and ethical tradingpractices are features of retailer Marks & Spencer’s first corporate socialresponsibility (CSR) report. The company’s account of its social and environmental impact alsohighlighted its use of organically-grown products and the launch of the Marks& Start community programme. CSR reporting, a relatively new tool in business management, is a way ofmeasuring a company’s operations in terms of the social, environmental andethical effect they have on the wider community, and it is beginning to be seenas a essential factor in recruiting top talent. M&S’s report for the year ended 31 March focused on five areas of socialresponsibility: ethical trading, animal welfare, community programmes,sustainable raw materials and the responsible use of technology. Former chairman, Luc Vandevelde, described the past year as”challenging” and said it was fair to ask if its commitment to CSRhad waned. “The answer is emphatically ‘No’,” he said. “We believe thatthe future success of our business depends on good corporate behaviour and ourcontribution to society as a whole.” Among the changes implemented at the retailer in the past year was theintroduction of slower-growing chicken raised in living conditions designed toimprove their welfare. The company also launched its Marks & Start community programme, whichhopes to provide work experience for up to 2,500 disadvantaged people.
Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. The Rise of the #T-MOOC (Twitter MOOC) – India HR Chat | India HR ChatShared from missc on 16 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today “Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have gained tremendous popularity over the last couple of years. The New York Times dubbed 2012 -‘The Year of the MOOC,’ and it has since become one of the hottest topics in education. “Read full article
Donald Trump and Rosemary Vrablic (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)New details about the resignation of former President Donald Trump’s longtime personal banker at Deutsche Bank were revealed Wednesday in a regulatory filing.Rosemary Vrablic was “permitted to resign” after an internal investigation found she engaged in “undisclosed activities” related to a real estate deal, Bloomberg News reported. Those activities included “the purchase of the property from a client-managed entity, and the formation of an unapproved outside entity to hold the investment,” according to the filing.Vlabic, along with a colleague in the private banking division, Dominic Scalzi, stepped down at the end of 2020.Read moreDeutsche Bank wants to cut ties with Donald TrumpTrump’s longtime banker resigns from Deutsche BankDeutshce Bank probed in Manhattan DA investigation In August 2020, Deutsche Bank initiated an internal review of a Manhattan apartment purchase made by Vrablic and Scalzi from a company partially owned by Trump’s son-in-law, former White House adviser Jared Kushner.Vlabic oversaw hundreds of millions in loans to Trump after Kushner, one of her private banking clients, introduced her to Trump. The former president had already defaulted on another loan from Deutsche. The relationship also drew undesired scrutiny from lawmakers and prosecutors.The German lender signaled in November 2020 that, pending the outcome of the presidential election, it would sever ties with Trump. It publicly did so after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January.Deutsche Bank still holds more than $300 million in debt from the former president. Those loans will come due soon, with $125 million for the Doral golf resort in Miami maturing in 2023 and $170 million for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., maturing in 2024.[Bloomberg News] — Georgia KromreiContact Georgia Kromrei Full Name* TagsDeutsche BankDonald Trumpkushner companies Share via Shortlink Message* Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink