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Letters

May 12, 2021

first_img Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 7 Oct 2003 in Military, Personnel Today Related posts: This week’s letterCBI selective when it comes to the ‘flexible’ UK economyIt seems that even the CBI is willing to selectively use statistics tobolster its claim that a flexible labour market can be directly linked to lowunemployment levels. In particular, its claim that the UK has the lowest unemployment in the EUis patently untrue. While it is true that France and Germany have significantly higherunemployment rates than the UK, the latest OECD figures show that Austria,Ireland, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands all have lower unemployment rates. Moreover, in Sweden and Denmark – countries that most people would consideroffer a very high level of social security – the unemployment rate is onlymarginally higher than the UK. The reality is that there is no discernablepattern. It is also interesting that more than half of the EU countries have lowerunemployment than the US, which both Labour and Conservative politicianspromote as an exemplar of a flexible labour market. While flexibility may wellhave a part to play in providing employment to a low-skilled workforce, this isno basis on which the UK can compete with low-wage economies such as China. If the CBI considers flexibility as “a jewel in the crown of the UKeconomy”, one must only assume that it considers everything else as beingmere cut glass. Graham Evans Details suppliedDoctor’s letter gave me good belly laugh Having just about stopped laughing after reading Dr Phil Peverley’s letter(News, 2 September) regarding sick notes, I would just like to say how verytrue to real working life this is. I am the MD of two businesses within the printing industry and my associatesand I are constantly battling against absenteeism due to supposed illness. Wehave a number of employees who continually flout the sicknote scheme, andunless you come straight out and accuse them of lying, there is nothing you cando. And if you did accuse them of lying, you would probably be stuck with aconstructive dismissal charge. Here’s an example of a recent situation concerning one employee. The employee had been off work for two weeks and had made no phone calls orany other attempt to contact the company to explain his absence. When he didcontact us, he said he had had enteritis, which two days later had turned intofood poisoning. Two days after that he had two wisdom teeth extracted. Anothertwo days later, his fifth grandma died. Then he developed a mouth infectionfrom the teeth extraction and now had lockjaw. When he returned to work last Monday, lo and behold, he had backdated sicknotes covering everything. We tried to approach his GP, but of course all theinformation is confidential. Never was an article so true to life. David C Tye Managing director, Nottingham Print Finishers Take steps to avert the impending crisis It is gratifying to see, at long last, that business is beginning torecognise the critical role played by people in securing success. With disciplines like human capital management, HR professionals aredemonstrating to the board how strategic management of ‘soft’ people issues canlead to hard performance gains. Retention and succession planning are key elements of any people managementstrategy. But how many companies are acting to capture and retain the knowledgethat resides within their employees’ heads, and in their employees’ informalwork networks? And how many have even determined how much of that knowledge isrelevant and useful? With the Baby Boomer generation nearing retirement, this is becoming acritical issue. For some sectors the day of reckoning is uncomfortably close.Energy is just one example. Here, according to the Society for PetroleumEngineers, 44 per cent of the industry’s experienced knowledge base is due toretire by 2010. Each individual who walks out the door represents the loss of decades ofaccumulated experience and expertise. Enterprises do not think twice aboutsecuring, and insuring, the value of easily replaceable physical assets such asvehicles and computers. Yet they adopt an entirely different attitude when itcomes to the real source of value in the business – knowledge. Clearly, this cannot continue. Businesses need to act, and they need to actnow, if they are to avert the coming crisis. HR professionals can play a critical role in preparing enterprise for futureknowledge deficits, and they can do this by factoring knowledge successionplanning into their wider strategies for attracting, retaining and replacingtalent. The good news is that the rewards of such an integrated approach can beharvested now, and not just in the future. Building knowledge management intopeople management strategy will yield benefits today, in terms of increasedbusiness agility and competitiveness. And, for HR professionals, adopting this integrated approach will supportthem in their ongoing campaign to become a partner to the business. Dorothy Leonard The William J Abernathy Professor of Business Administration, Harvard BusinessSchool Journalists are not always out to get you Your feature on how to handle a TV interview (23 September) was timely. Thefallout from Enron and WorldCom, from Higgs and now the Hutton inquiry, meanthat the national media is interested as never before in how organisations arerun and how they treat their people. However, this is not necessarily bad news for HR and it is a shame thefeature focused on how frightening facing the camera can be. Actually, for theHR community this is a wonderful opportunity to find its voice at last, and tobe listened to attentively. Journalists are not always intent on tripping you up. Most of the time, theyare simply trying to get to the facts, spot the trends, present some compellinghuman interest stories – all of which HR professionals can help with, while atthe same time grabbing the chance to spread the good news about theirorganisation’s policies and practices. Colette Hill Managing director, Colette Hill Associates Sexism in the police force is no surprise Your article ‘Watchdog warns police over sexism’ (News, 23 September)explains that the Police Complaints Authority has criticised lenient punishmentfor sexist officers who escape with a fine rather than dismissal. Well surprise, surprise. In the private sector, it is common for those withrare, expensive skills to exploit the organisations’ reluctance to let them go.Everyone knows of situations where Teflon-coated spin doctors can breakrules, behave incompetently, and push sexism boundaries in the workplace withcomplete impunity. Need to replace a cleaner? Easy. They will probably behaveand call you ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’. But if you need another radar computerprogrammer, it is probably easier to smooth the waters over than find areplacement. Where unscrupulous individuals want to play havoc, the organisation suffersin the long run, through inefficiency, bad press and stress. The high cost of putting an officer on the street will always mean thatinspectors and superintendents will be compromised between booting out PCs,being under-resourced in the community and giving them a slapped wrist forsexism in the workplace. I don’t have all the answers, but if police officers faced a stint in thelocal military police clink – like their peers in green uniforms – maybe theywould start to behave. Unfortunately, this is not an option on civvy street. Tony Howell Details supplied CIPD member does not mean ‘better’ I was alarmed to read recent correspondence from one of your readers whobelieves they have been unsuccessful in finding a new role thanks tonarrow-minded recruiters rejecting those without appropriate CIPDqualifications (Letters, 23 September). As much as I would like to believe that the contributor simply did not fitthe person spec or that their experience does not fit the job spec for thepositions they are applying for, I cannot help but think that maybe it isbecause they do not have the CIPD qualification I find it alarming that so many companies seem to insist on the requirementto have a CIPD qualification. I myself do not have the qualification; indeed, Irefuse to pay money to confirm what could be confirmed simply by taking fiveminutes to read over my CV. I am as capable and knowledgeable without the qualification as I would be withit, so why then do so many practitioners refuse to look any further whencandidates do not possess this ‘essential’ selection of letters? Could it be that they are compelled to create a person spec of somesubstance and then stick to it come hell or high water? Or, as I suspect, theydo not recruit outside the CIPD circle as to do so would invalidate their ownsense of worth over having achieved membership of a club for which they spendtheir hard earned cash on maintaining? Have HR practitioners become so insecure in their own abilities andexperience as to rely so heavily on a membership (and it is a membership, not aqualification) that is barely rated among many HR practitioners andcommentators? I do not doubt that the CIPD could play a significant role in taking theprofession forward. Is it not maybe more damaging, however, to create astandard that is an irrelevance to many within the profession? A good practitioner will be good regardless of membership, just as a poorpractitioner will be poor even with the membership. The letters CIPD change nothing about a professional other than to dip intotheir wallet/purse. Alasdair Martin HR officer, Quisine Foods center_img Comments are closed. 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…last_img

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