PeopleOn 16 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Chris Rickets on the fast-pace at QtabLife in the fast lane is more than just a hackneyed expression formotorcycle enthusiast and newly appointed director Chris Rickets. Rickets has joined strategic consultants Qtab from the Kingfisher group,where he was head of HR at Chartwell Land, the property development andinvestment subsidiary. However, any thoughts of boardroom life slowing him down are ill founded ashe explains, “Italian motorbikes are more of an obsession than a hobby tome. I own a Ducati, which I use for getting to and from work. I also use it forspecial track days and recently rode it round Brands Hatch andDonnington.” In between these hair-raising feats, Rickets has managed to gain 12 yearsworth of HR experience, across a diverse range of sectors. He has worked in publishing, health, property and local government and it’sthis exciting mix of disciplines that he’s looking forward to most in his newrole. “Working with an eclectic mix of clients, learning about theirbusinesses and helping them become better at what they do is the aspect I’llenjoy most,” he says. “The best thing about a career in HR is working with people to enablethem to learn, develop and succeed, whether it’s a trainee or the plcboard.” Rickets, who has two young children, holds an MA in HR and completed thestrategic retailing programme at Oxford University. CV2001 Director, Qtab1997 Head of HR, Chartwell Land1995 Freelance management training consultant1992 Training and development manager, Colliers Erdman LewisOn the moveRaj Joshi joins William M Mercer as HR operations consultant. He moves fromAbbey National, where he was a senior HR consultant. Before that he waspersonnel and training manager at Debenhams. His new role will include advisingcompanies on HR service, delivery, implementation and operational reviews.F&C Management has created a new position on its executive board forPeter Cole, who becomes group head of HR. He will play a key role inamalgamating three firms into the F&C brand, under the parent companyEureko BV. He joins from Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, where he was head ofHR. Cole has also held senior positions at SBC Warburg, Swiss Bank Corporationand Bank of America.Darren Gardner has joined GMC Admiral as a senior consultant in its HR andpayroll services sector. His main responsibility will be selling combined humanresources services to new clients – mainly companies with over 5,000 employees.Gardener joins from Rebus where he was for six years. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
With changes in retirement ages and retaining older staff firmly on theagenda, pension benefits must be handled carefully. Peter Dickinson highlightsthe key issues for the successful management of occupational pension schemesWhile pension legislation has always been highly complex, managing a pensionfund is increasingly onerous. Recent developments in IT coupled with a growinginterest by pension scheme members – and their lawyers – means 100 per centaccuracy is demanded at all times. The pressures on HR managers and trusteescan be further intensified if the firm’s management controls are inadequate orthe employer is not interested in staff pension management. The catalysts for change Internet/intranet technology Communication through this medium, stimulatedby stakeholder pensions, is becoming widespread. For example, members can nowaccess their personal accounts for transaction purposes or to find out aboutbenefits. The Turnbull Report Published September 1999, it was aimed initiallyat quoted companies, but has implications for occupational pensions schemes. Itemphasises: – The value of a risk-based approach to create and review internal controlsystems – Financial controls alone are insufficient – The need to set business targets to be achieved within specified timeframes – Identification of associated risks – Risk management techniques to be improved The Myners Report Published March 2001, it singles out the followingpoints: – Perceived lack of investment awareness by trustees generally – Need for effective decision-making structures within pension schemes – Effective division of time by trustees between their variousresponsibilities – Trustees having the “right mix of skills and experiencecollectively” – Whether the scheme’s control environment is “fit for its intendedpurpose” (echoing Turnbull) Myners also highlights the need for trustee training and recommends thatsponsoring companies ensure trustees have sufficient “in-house”support staff. FRS 17 This financial reporting standard essentially requirescompanies that sponsor defined benefit (final salary) schemes to include ascheme’s actuarial surplus or deficit in their audited financial statements.The surplus (or deficit) has to be updated annually on a market value basis.The standard started being phased in over two years in June 2001 and will meancorporate managers putting pressure on trustees to minimise any negative impacton the company’s financial results. Against the above developments, HR managers and trustees should focus on: – Developing a coherent management structure – Creation of a good governance culture (regarding regulatory compliance) – Provision of clear objectives – Investment portfolio structure, management and custody – Administration controls and performance measures – Communication between employer, trustees and third parties – Financial controls – Identification and assessment of management risks associated with the setobjectives and adaptation of management structures to control risks Trustees’ key duties Despite pressures arising from economic developments, trustees’ generalduties remain constant. They must therefore act: – In accordance with the trust deed, rules of the scheme and statutoryrequirements – Prudently, honestly and with the utmost good faith – In the interests of members as a whole, taking a fair balance betweenparties They must also: – Take advice on technical matters – Invest funds in accordance with status objectives With today’s emphasis on “real-time” accuracy, penalties forerrors can be severe. Training for trustees and staff is vital. Penalties and pitfalls Even if trustees are very careful, they can be in breach of any one of thehundreds of statutory regulations. This situation is not helped by the factthat actuaries, auditors and certain other advisers can “whistleblow”to the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra), with or withouttrustees’ knowledge. Breaking the rules can incur statutory penalties, ranging from fines fortrustees and employers, to disqualification and even imprisonment. Of moreconcern is Opra’s recently stated policy of publicly naming and shamingtrustees and employers whom it has penalised for infringements. HR departments must also be aware of the need to constantly update the adminrecords and the growing impact of case law. Against this background, trustees should undertake a “regulatorycompliance” audit, concentrating on: – Calculation and timing of contribution payments by the employer – Timely investment of contributions – Application of performance standards for completion of benefitcalculations and payments – Completion of annual audited accounts – Appointment and subsequent supervision of statutory advisers – Custody, security and management of investments – Dispute resolution procedures Outsourcing administration Smaller pension schemes frequently outsource all their activities, whereasthe medium/large schemes usually outsource on a specific basis. For any scheme, it is critical that the employer’s management controlsystems deliver accurate data to tight timescales. In particular, trusteesshould ensure that: – Services provided by the employer and associated timescales are defined(even if at “no cost” to the scheme) – Employer systems are secure and that “ownership” of membershipand financial records is clearly defined – Disaster recovery and contingency plans operated by the scheme’smembership and financial records – They have recourse against the employer for actions taken by staff whichmay be detrimental to the scheme eg fraud, negligence – They have access to employer’s internal control reports covering payroll,personnel and cash management In respect of relationships with independent third parties, trustees shouldensure: – A management agreement exists – Clear objectives and operating performance standards are agreed – A stable and documented control environment exists (ie operating manuals) – The third party is technically competent and can provide both detailed andstrategic advice if required – The third party’s software systems are “industry compatible” External consultants Getting the best from an external consultant relies on communication andteamwork, involving a three-way relationship between trustees, employer’smanagement and the consultant. Too often trustees delegate, then relax, creating a vacuum in which nothingdevelops. This can be avoided by having: – A clear management structure and defined roles for individuals – Trustees with specific responsibility for day-to-day liaison/progresschasing – Structured trustee meetings with a pre-set annual timetable – An educational programme allowing trustees to gain necessary understandingof strategic and practical issues Conclusion Teamwork is the key to successful pension scheme management. A balancedtrustee board should include responsible members with specific experience in: – Internal controls, risk management and general co-ordination – Investment structures, management and administration – Human resources management – Financial reporting Peter Dickinson is a partner specialising in pensions administration atSmith & Williamson Tel: 01483 407100 e-mail: [email protected] Pension schemes at a glanceOn 20 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. 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PeopleOn 15 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Being pigeonholed is not something that The Transformation Partnership’s newdirector Lynda Hatcher really has to worry about. The many facets of her personal life make sure that she simply can’t bestereotyped, as she explains: “I’m the mother of twins, enjoy swimmingregularly and I’m also a Radio 4 fanatic. I still enjoy nightclubbing and Iguess that makes me pretty hard to pigeonhole.” The new HRconsultancy works to improve people processes to ensureorganisational transformation is effective and will draw on Hatcher’s HRexperience from several companies including WHSmith Group, L’Oréal and theBritish Medical Association. Hatcher, who is an MCIPD with a degree in Economics, believes that the roleof HR is shifting and she enjoys the strategic aspect of the profession. “HR gives you the opportunity to see across the business in a way thatfew other careers can offer.I like being in a function which is probably on thecusp of transforming itself,” she says. In her new role, she will be responsible for organisational change and thegeneral HR strategy alignment. “I hope to be successful in businessdevelopment and in ensuring the people aspects of change are taken fully onboard. I also hope to see more HR functions moving from being transactional,into driving business change,” she says. She joins from Britannic Assurance where she worked on a major change anddownsizing programme and helped devise HR strategy and policy. CV2001 HR director, The Transformation Partnership1998 HR and change manager, Britannic Assurance1997 Principal consultant, KPMG1994 Head of HR, British Gas Energy CentresOn the moveJames Reed has joined TaylorWoodrow’s construction business as HR director. Reed was previously HR managerwith the BOC Group where he was responsible for the provision of acomprehensive HR service across the distribution services division. He has over16 years’ HR experience in various sectors and in his new role will be a keymember of the management team. His brief is to improve internal customerservice by modernising the HR service. There will be an immediate focus onresource and succession planning as well as change management practices.Automotive firm North Eastern Tyreand Exhausts has appointed Michelle Bellerby as its new HR manager. Bellerbyhas a degree in HR from Teesside University and a GNVQ in Business and Finance.She is also CIPD qualified. She will have responsibility for training, internalassessments and staff inductions. She will also deal with employment law issues.The General Dental Council hasrecruited Paul Coleman as a personnel manager. Coleman, who is CIPD qualified,joins the organisation from Thurrock Council, Essex. In his previous job, heprovided a range of HR services to schools and departments of the educationauthority. His new role will include responsibility for the operational HRfunction as well as training and development. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. UK employees are failing to take up work-life balance options, according to a new report.The study by the independent Institute for Employment Studies, Work-life Balance: Beyond the Rhetoric, says employers are offering increased options as they recognise the business benefits of the schemes, but employees have not embraced them.Sally Dench, IES Senior Research Fellow and author of the report, said she found a gap between employees’ demands and take-up of the options.She said: “Rights to time off and flexible working practices are rarely enough. A change in culture and attitudes within the organisation is necessary for the successful implementation of work-life balance practices.“If senior managers are serious about promoting work-life balance they need to be proactive. It rarely happens without positive leadership from above.”Weblink www.employment-studies.co.uk Previous Article Next Article Staff slow to take up work-life optionsOn 30 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today
Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Website of the week: www.article13.comOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today The words ‘corporate social responsibility’ are often guiltily put to theback of an HR professional’s mind. We all know how important CSR is, butembarking on a CSR programme can seem like a major task. The website from CSRand sustainable development consultancy Article 13, provides a good one-stopshop for HR professionals who want to make their company more ethically-mindedbut don’t have much time to do it. As well as news, features, briefing papers,best practice case studies and a useful jargon-buster, you can download twoquestionnaires to help you assess the situation in your organisation and itsstrengths and weaknesses. Information is simply and clearly presented and itprovides a list of all the main trade bodies and institutes relating to CSR. Ifyou want to start immediately, click the carbon neutral link that will pointyou in the right direction for offsetting your contribution to CO2 emissions.At the moment, you can take out a two-month free trial to the service(registering requests minimum information and takes seconds) or there is anopportunity to obtain a 10 per cent reduction on the £350 annual subscription.And in case you are wondering, Article 13 takes its name from an agreement atthe 1992 Rio Earth Summit that called on businesses to help educate and changepeople’s attitudes and behaviour towards the environment.
Related posts:No related photos. Reference checking may seem passé, but research shows that three-quarters ofemployers see it as an essential part of selection. Paul Nelson reports Reference checking remains one of the most effective methods of ensuringthat a recruitment decision is the right one. Research by IRS Employment Review reveals three-quarters of employers usereference checking as part of the recruitment process. In the public sector,the proportion is even higher, with nine in 10 employers depending onreferences when making a selection decision. The IRS research also shows that organisations regularly act on theinformation they receive on job candidates from former employers and oftenchange employment decisions on the basis of unsatisfactory references. Six outof 10 employers have rejected a candidate, or failed to confirm an appointmentbecause of an unfavourable reference in the past year. A third of the employers polled have turned down one or two applicantsbecause of the quality of the reference. Of the 113 organisations surveyed, 15 per cent have changed employmentdecisions three or four times, in the last year, because of references and onein 10 firms have changed five or more employment decisions. One of the reasons for the continued emphasis on reference checking isevidence that more job candidates are lying or exaggerating their achievementsor experience on their CVs. The Risk Advisory Group checked almost 900 CVs on behalf of employers in thefinal quarter of 2001 and found inaccuracies have increased by more than 20 percent compared to a similar sample of CVs the previous year. Neil Rankin, recruitment and retention editor of IRS Employment Review,believes many job applicants would be surprised by the weight employers placeon references. “For job hunters this may be surprising news. Referencesseem to have a poor image, seen as a throwback to former times but they arestill an integral part of the selection process.” The IRS study reveals that reference checking typically occupies the finalstages in the recruitment process, with seven out of 10 employers waiting untilthey have decided on a candidate before checking references. Almost a quarter of employers obtain references after the interview stageand before choosing a preferred applicant, while one in 14 employers checkreferences at the first stage of the recruitment process – before interviewshave taken place. Only 30 per cent of the public sector organisations polled obtain referencesafter a job offer has been made. More than half ask for references after thefinal interview process but before a job offer has been made. A fifth of publicsector organisations conduct reference checks before any interviews are held –compared to only 4 per cent of private sector firms which obtain references atthe same stage. Jacqueline Coonie, personnel and training manager for Portsmouth Council,which has a rigorous reference checking policy, agrees references are importantbut stresses that they should not be considered in isolation. “References are a very useful selection tool but only in context of theoverall process,” she said. The IRS study finds that when seeking references, employers are mostinterested in candidates’ absence records, with nine out of 10 highlighting itas a priority. More than 80 per cent of employers are interested in opinions on candidates’performance in their last job and 70 per cent are seeking opinions on jobcandidates’ suitability for the vacancy applied for. Two-thirds of employerswant information on work history, punctuality and disciplinary record. The IRS research is supported by a CIPD study revealing that employersregard reference checking as the fourth most important part of the recruitmentprocess, behind interviews, applications and CVs. Imogen Daniels, development and resourcing adviser at the CIPD, advises allorganisations to regard reference checking as essential. “They are animportant part of the recruitment process, not an add-on that is completedafter bums are on seats,” she said. Daniels is concerned that some employers are not using references correctlyand only take up references after a candidate has been offered the job. Shesaid: “The CIPD recommends that employers take up references before anoffer is made. There is a lot of pressure on recruiters, especially on those inareas of skills shortages, to snap up candidates before competitors.” “Even though many employers will only give objective references, it isstill worth checking before you bring someone in,” she said. www.irsemploymentreview.comCase Study The National Portrait gallery The National Portrait Gallery places references at the centre of itsrecruitment process. The gallery’s standard application form insists on the applicant supplyingthree references. The form has a tick box that asks the applicant if they canbe supplied before an interview. References are then sent a form including aperson specification, the reason for leaving and absence records. Caroline Wynter, personnel manager at the gallery, said: “In mostcases, we are able to take up references before the interview process. The jobcircuit for galleries and museums is quite small, and job hunters have usuallyalready approached their manager about a change of career.” Because gallery work involves children and the potential loss of thecollection, security checks are also run on potential employees. Gallery line managers have the authority to write references for current andformer staff although they must contain only factual information copied topersonnel. Keeping candidates in checkOn 11 Jun 2002 in Candidate experience, Personnel Today Comments are closed. 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Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article This week’s website of the weekHelp at Work carries a technology warning – telling users to look elsewhereif you want ‘a leading edge technological experience, with loads of video,sound and flashy stuff’. Such no-nonsense sentiments will do much to endear thesite to Luddites and busy HR professionals alike who’d rather cut straight tothe info than wait for a big graphic to download. Help at Work, launched byColin Gauntrey, who has worked in training and development for all of hiscareer, is founded on the principles of experiential learning and situationalcoaching and aims to help individuals progress and develop in their workinglives. It also has a corporate offering, which takes the form of a bespoke sitebased on the Help at Work principles that aim to assist a company with the trainingand development of their staff. The backbone of the main site is a set ofguides, some of which are free and some accessible to members for an annual feeof £45, but there are plenty of opportunities to get a taste of the site beforeyou commit. All information is bite-sized, easy-to-access, and the tone islively and highly pro-active. Its three most popular information guides at themoment are: ‘I don’t enjoy what I’m doing’, ‘I can’t get people to co-operatewith me’, and ‘My boss is a bully’. Comments are closed. Website of the week: www.helpatwork.netOn 17 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Graduates choose BA as their dream employerOn 29 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today British Airways is the most popular company among graduates looking fortheir dream job, according to an internet poll. The airline, which has had a troubled few years, was named the favouriteemployer by graduates followed by IBM, the BBC and British Telecom. JP Morgan Chase was the highest rated financial services company – normallypopular with graduates – finishing in fifth place. The research was carried out by recruitment website totaljobs.com, whichpolled around 400 graduates. Keith Robinson, a director at totaljobs, said the apparent fall in thepopularity of the financial institutions showed that salary was no longer themain concern of young jobseekers. “It is interesting to see BA topping the tables ahead of companies likeJP Morgan Chase and PricewaterhouseCoopers. “As City jobs traditionally offer the highest salaries, this indicatesthat despite the increasing financial burden on graduates, money is not theirsole focus. “Despite the industry slowdown, IT companies are still a popular choice,”he said. Top 10 graduate employers1 BritishAirways2 IBM3 BBC4 British Telecom5 JP Morgan Chase6 Microsoft7 PricewaterhouseCoopers8 Accenture9 Boots=10 Morgan Stanley=10 Foreign andCommonwealth Office
The head of one of London’s leading universities says top business people,government staff and academics need to be seconded between sectors if the UKeconomy is to improve. David Rhind, vice-chancellor at City University, London, told PersonnelToday he believes greater co-operation and movement between sectors, as happensin the US, would dram-atically improve business. “Getting people from one sector to come and work in another is acrucial success factor for the British economy, and, beyond that, the nature ofsociety we are trying to build,” he said. “I am very keen on the idea that we bring in people from differentsectors and we bring our people to a sector, preferably on secondment.” In the US, this system is more common. Laura Tyson, dean of London BusinessSchool, was a key architect of President Clinton’s domestic and internationalpolicy agenda during his first term in office, and was appointed to theposition from an academic background. Rhind said working out a system to facilitate movement in the UK wasdifficult, and he welcomed input from Personnel Today readers. He said there are obstacles to overcome; academics are generally paid farless than business people, and many business people are out-of-touch with whatmodern universities are like. He invited business people to come to City University, either for a visit orto do some research, and said he is looking for workplaces for academics. “It would be of benefit to all of us,” he said. Secondment between sectors would improve UK’s economyOn 2 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article
Call centres losing millions of working days to absenceOn 1 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Callcentres are losing millions of working days a year because of staff absence,according to a study.Thesurvey by technology organisation Dimension Data, for call centre firmMerchants, found absenteeism is a problem for the contact centre industry,which accounts for almost 3 per cent of the UK’s workforce.ItsMerchants Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report 2003 found that UKabsenteeism was running at 8 per cent, equating to 10 million lost working daysa year among the country’s 500,000 call centre employees.Thestudy of more than 200 call centres around the world also reported very highstaff turnover rates, at 19 per cent globally, but up to 25 per cent in Europeand the UK.Thepoor attrition rate and absenteeism may be partly dueº to not enough emphasisbeing placed on career development, staff retention and salaries, which had notchanged much since 1999, the report suggested. AdrianGarton, contact centre HR manager at Merchants, said absenteeism levels were aconcern. “Although contact centre management would appear to be compensatingfor any agent absenteeism, this can only be a short-term solution, as it onlytreats the symptoms and will ultimately lead to increased ‘burnout’ rates amongthe supervisor levels,” he argued. TheHealth and Safety Executive (HSE), meanwhile, has called for greater ‘communitysharing’ among call centres to improve their occupational health record.Communitysharing is where employers share information to identify existing problems,assess risks and share best practice. Such an approach could help to addressconcerns about OH support in call centres. PsychosocialRisk Factors in Call Centres: an evaluation of work design and well-beingargues psychosocial issues are a major contributory factor to poor mentalhealth among call centre employees.Workingas a call handler is more stressful than working in other jobs, although notall staff are affected equally, or by the same factors, it suggested. Workingin some call centre environments, such as telecommunications and IT businesssectors, affected well-being more directly, it added.www.ccbenchmarking.com Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.