Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Parlez-vous HR Européenne?

Typique. Absolutement typique. La même vielle histoire. Angleterre avait 64% du play, mais Barry fait un give-away goal sur une assiette.



Quelquefois, je me demande pourquois je bother

But I wonder how much of England’s mauvais football performance could possibly be put down to the lack of clear dialogue between coach and players? After all it’s not just a literal understanding of the spoken word that is important in the communication process, as this example from an ancient edition of The Economist illustrates:

John says: I hear what you say
Jacques hears: He accepts my point of view
John actually means: I disagree and do not want to discuss it further

John says: With the greatest respect
Jacques hears: He is complimenting me
John actually means: I think you are wrong or foolish

John says: By the way
Jacques hears: This is not important
John actually means: The main aim of this discussion

John says: I’ll bear that in mind
Jacques hears: I will act on that
John actually means: I will do absolutely nothing about that

John says: Correct me if I’m wrong
Jacques hears: Correct him if he’s wrong
John actually means: I’m correct, please don’t contradict me

Jacques says: Je serai clair
John hears: I will be clear
Jacques actually means: I will be rude

Jacques says: Il faut la visibilité Européenne
John hears: We need European visibility
Jacques actually means: The EU must indulge in some pointless international grand-standing

Jacques says: Il faut trouver une solution pragmatique
John hears: We must find a pragmatic solution
Jacques actually means: I am about to propose a highly complex, theoretical, legalistic and unworkable way forward

OK, on Lundi le ref était diabolique, mais l’equipe sont tous un bunch de no-hopers!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Adidas announce strategic U-turn on recruitment outsourcing

When Brazilian striker Luís Fabiano commented: "It’s supernatural! All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you!” he was speaking of the Adidas Jubulani football.

He might, however, have been speaking of the HR Strategy of the Adidas Group, who have just announced that they are reversing their earlier strategy of outsourcing recruitment, and have decided to bring the activity back in-house and in doing so save up to almost £5m in headhunter and advertising costs.

Adidas moves recruitment in-house to save €6m a year

Isn’t it fascinating and ironic that the alleged benefits of the majority of outsourcing initiatives are cost reduction and improved service delivery but, almost without exception, whenever an organisation elects to “insource” an activity it is for exactly the same reason!

A quick browse through one of the most popular HR textbooks will reveal comments such as:
Outsourcing appears to encourage the measurement of the value of HR and it is suggested that this comes about through the need for service-level agreements and key performance indicators with a greater focus on customer satisfaction.

Outsourcing allows the internal HR function to concentrate on driving the direction of HR rather than carry out more mundane tasks.
Certainly in the case of Adidas, reducing costs and improving processes are specifically quoted as reasons for this major decision.

Where cost is uppermost, it’s not always HR that is calling the tune. As the sadly-departed Marcia Roberts (former Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation) warned:
As a potential outsourcing agency for recruitment, you often find yourself replying to tenders and dealing not with HR but with the purchasing department – which is more likely to be concentrating on cost.
Alarms bells will clearly be ringing in a number of providers of outsourced recruitment services, but internal HR functions should also be checking their internal capability to manage the implications of similar U-turns on the issue of who manages recruitment.

Further reading: Another U-turn on HR outsourcing

Monday, 28 June 2010

Revolutionary manager guides England to World Cup victory (Brazil 2014)

In 2014 when a relatively inexperienced manager guides England to World Cup glory, the business community will inevitably seek to learn what it can from the managerial and leadership style and structure of the victorious team.

The successful manager will be able to anticipate a lucrative book deal and a never-ending speaking schedule following in the footsteps of Sir Clive Woodward addressing managers eager to apply his (or, dare one even suggest, her...) management strategy to the employees on the jam tart production line.

As the bright-eyed managers line up at the book-signing after the corporate away-day, the questions on all their lips will include:

How much of the success was down to the tactical skills of the manager?

How did he manage to unite a disparate group of individuals into such a united, focused and effective team that were stronger collectively than they were individually?

How much of the team's success was due to the innovative managerial and team bonus and incentive scheme introduced by the FA in response to the debacle of 2010?

How did he succeed where others had failed?
But in the absence of any such victory, perhaps it's time for Fabio Capello (as the Chief Executive of England Football Limited) to answer the criticisms of his shareholders (the English public) in just the way he would have to do were he at the helm of a FTSE 100 organisation.

You were paid a salary far in excess of any of even your international rivals yet failed to deliver any degree of

You surrounded yourself with a hand-picked, highly paid team of consultants, advisers and assistants who proved to be as ineffective as they were invisible.

You had the option to recruit your employees from (supposedly) the best talent pool in the world, but your selection decisions were at best questionable, and at worst divisive.

As CEO you were accountable for motivating and inspiring your workforce, but it was clear that not only did they have little confidence in you, but that also you failed to respond in any way to the unofficial 360-degree feedback offered by key personnel.

As CEO you were responsible for the maintenance and development of the England Three Lions brand and image. You failed in this responsibility.

Like most CEOs you agreed to a specific set of performance objectives (including guiding the England team at least as far as the World Cup semi-finals). You failed to achieve this particular priority objective.

In view of the above it has to be pointed out that you have lost the confidence of the vast majority of shareholders.

Were you a junior employee in this organisation it may be considered appropriate for you to be issued with a performance improvement plan, but as the most senior executive within this prestigious and (previously) much-loved business, you are asked to give serious consideration to your future.

You may wish to talk to the HR Director. He's very good at advising displaced executives.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Another survey on employee retention. Another load of nonsense.

Like all of you, my e-mail inbox is regularly filled with the 21st Century equivalent of advertisements for snake oil.

Personally, I'm not in the habit of sending off for miraculous herbal medicines, teeth whitening compounds or guaranteed weight loss treatments. Nor am I generally inclined to provide my personal banking details to charming gentleman from Nigeria who (for some unfathomable reason) wishes to deposit large sums of money into my account.

I tend to regard these too-good-to-be true offers with a healthy dose of scepticism and suspicion.

But I am becoming convinced that many of my colleagues in HR must be taken in by such incredible offers if recent news items are anything to go by.

The particular item that has led me to this conclusion is the widely circulated report that apparently 59% of British employees are seriously considering leaving their current job.

Hay Group: Employee engagement and enablement critical as companies face mass employee exodus in 2010

Readers of HR Case Studies will (of course!) be aware that a similar survey in January of this year indicated that a mere 33% of employees were dreaming of pastures new. Why the figure has almost doubled in six months isn't addressed in the Hay report, but then cross-referencing against earlier surveys isn't a regular feature of such pseudo-sociological studies, is it!

HR Case Studies: Bumper year ahead for HR Professionals and Recruiters

To save readers the trouble of recalculating the impact of the Hay survey (should the the highly unlikely predictions prove to be correct), here's what we all have to look forward to:

According to the International Labour Organisation, the general level of employment in the UK amounts to 29,475,000 individuals aged 16 and over.

That therefore means that if 59% of this population moves jobs, 17,390,250 individuals will be on the move in the second half of 2010.

Assuming that the mass exodus only starts on July 1st, that means that this year 95,289 posts will need filling each and every day (with a corresponding number of exit interviews and inductions). Cancel the holiday, HR Managers!

That's 476,445 “Sorry you’re leaving” and "Good luck in your new job” greetings cards cards to be sent each week. (Note to self: must buy shares in Clinton's Cards)

Even continuing to assume that each departing employee receives the stingiest of leaving presents (a Parker Jotter Ball Pen (stainless steel with chrome plated trim, priced £3.49)) this still amounts to a boost of £60,691,972 to the economy.

Perhaps the new UK coalition government have missed a trick here in not increasing tax on beer, as if each departing employee invites 10 colleagues for a swift pint at the local pub to mark their departure, that’s 173,902,500 pints of beer to be commemoratively swilled away. At an average price of £2.60 per pint, that’s a staggering £452,146,500.

We all need to feel the deepest sympathy for the growing community of cyber-recruiters. Assuming a miserly 20 applications for each vacancy that needs filling, that’s still 347,805,000 CVs to sift during the course of the year. Sorry candidates: if you think the service you get from recruitment consultants is rubbish now, just wait until the pace heats up!

Clearly all the above is an entire fiction, dreamed up in the over-fertile imagination of a marketing consultant in a company that would love such a forecast to become reality.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when the responses to such a survey were analysed, the commissioning organisation took off the rose tinted spectacles, furrowed the brow and expressed a degree of disbelief in the results?

Perhaps it would be too optimistic to expect them to accept that the survey had been so poorly constructed that the results were utterly worthless.

But no, the silly questions were asked, the silly responses given, so the silly report needs to be unleashed on a credulous population.

So, my dear HR colleagues, can I make a plea for a modicum of restraint before passing on such "interesting" but nevertheless pointless examples of essentially advertising copy?

If such restraint eludes you, just send me details of your bank account, and in return I'll forward you a packet of my patent restraint-increasing tablets. Any similarity to Trebor Mints is purely coincidental.

Monday, 21 June 2010

What motivates you?

If you're expecting a detailed discussion on motivation, then I'm afraid that you'll need to look elsewhere!

Today's HR Case Study is more of a diary entry to capture the feeling of job satisfaction and pleasure gained from spending much of the last two weeks in the absolutely delightful company of a group of around 150 Malaysian students on an intensive Business Studies program in the UK.

They were polite, enthusiastic, fun, challenging, incredibly hard-working, studious, engaged, appreciative . . . and I could go on.

Two thoughts have remained with me as I've been teaching this group:
  • why aren't all students like this?
  • isn't it great when you're working with a motivated group of individuals, when it seems that they motivate you rather than vice versa!
I know that some of the students will be reading this so - you were a real pleasure to work with, and I'm sure you'll do equally well in your remaining modules: you certainly deserve to do so! Thanks for keeping me on your toes! Hope you like the pics!

Click here for more pics!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

England: Eleven Players, Eleven Questions!

Readers of HR Case Studies will no doubt have their own questions to ask after England's commiserable, deplorable, inadequate, lamentable, miserable, pitiful, useless, woeful, grotty, wretched performance on Friday evening.

But here are a few HR related ones produced by the HR Case Studies editorial team. Enjoy!

You are the Chief Executive of the English Football Association. As Fabio Capello’s boss, you are due to undertake his mid-year performance appraisal. Summarise the issues (both positive and negative) that you plan to raise in the appraisal meeting.

Produce a job description and person specification for the job of England football manager

Devise a suitable recruitment and selection process for (a) the successor to Fabio Capello and (b) his Personal Assistant. What are the differences between the two processes, and are they justified?

Is the ability to speak English fluently an essential criterion in the person specification for the English football manager?

Graham Taylor (former England Manager) commented today: “The manager is responsible for results; the players are responsible for the performance” Discuss.

Wayne Rooney’s post-match comment of "Nice to see your own fans booing you, that's what loyal support is" has drawn massive criticism from England fans. Many organisations would discipline employees for such outspoken comments. Consider a suitable disciplinary penalty for Rooney.

Fabio Capello is reportedly due to receive a bonus of £2m if the England team win the World Cup. BT Chief executive Ian Livingston was entitled to a bonus of up to £1.6 million - two times his £800,000 salary - if all the group’s financial targets were met. Compare and contrast the two bonuses and discuss how (or if) either can be justified.

By referring to the various theories of leadership, discuss the differences between the roles of the England Manager and the Team Captain.

Research the history and current activities of the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association). Why do many players choose to join a Trade Union, and are their reasons for doing so any different to other employees?

Sebastian Deisler played successfully for Bayern Munich and the German National Team, but gave up both because of depression; Robert Enke, goalkeeper in the German National Team threw himself in front of a train in November 2009 battling with depression since 2003. Marcus Trescothick, the highly successful Somerset and England cricketer was forced to abandon his international career by clinical depression. Are there particular pressures of work that are faced by international sporting celebrities, and what could be done to help those players who struggle to cope with such pressure?

Many organisations are expecting an outbreak of absenteeism on Wednesday when England are due to play their final group match. Some organisations have made arrangements for employees to watch the match in work time. You are the manager of a call-centre manned by 60 employees (40 females and 20 males). A (male) representative has approached you and asked permission for a TV to be made available (and visible!) during the match. What factors would you take into consideration in accepting or rejecting his request?

Friday, 18 June 2010

Wayne's a lumberjack and he's OK (hopefully!)

Wayne and Colleen Rooney and the England Squad in last minute team-building activity yesterday

Even though today is his birthday, I'm sure that Fabio Capello will be giving consideration to the most effective way of motivating the members of his team prior to their match against the mighty Algeria this evening.

Perhaps he might wish to look into a study of lumberjacks which was undertaken and published in the Annual Review of Psychology way back in 1975 (when Wayne Rooney wasn't even a twinkle in his father's eye ..)

The studies indicated that high productivity was maintained when a manager remained with the men and set production goals for them and, in particular, output per man was higher when moderately difficult goals were assigned to the men.

This led to the following recommendations about goal setting which I'm sure that Capello and the boys will find useful

  • Goal difficulty: set goals at levels which will stretch employees, but which are not beyond their ability levels. Wayne Rooney: I want at least two goals from you in the first 45 minutes.
  • Goal specificity: express goals in clear and precise language, if possible in quantifiable terms. Robert Green: you fouled up last match; this time I need a completely clean sheet from you.
  • Participation: allow employees to take part in the goal-setting process to increase the acceptability of and commitment to goals. Guys: do you reckon 2:0 is reasonable, or do you think you're capable of more?
  • Acceptance: if goals are set by management, ensure they are adequately explained and justified. I need at least a two-goal difference between you and Algeria, otherwise we might still be in danger in the last match of the group stage.
  • Feedback: provide information on the results of past performance to allow employees to adjust their behaviour. Guys: last match you were dreadful, and a draw against the USA just wasn't good enough. This time, play like you're proud to be in an England shirt. Or I'll wrap a vuvuzuela round your neck.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Nine simple steps to becoming overwhelmingly charismatic

Don't you just love it when what appears to be a dry and dusty piece of academic literature suddenly offers a thought-provoking insight into an important issue?

Browsing through (as one does!) and article entitled "The effective use of power" by Benfari, Wilkinson and Orth, I stumbled across their discussion of referent power or charisma: the ability of a leader to exert influence based on the belief of their followers that the leader has desirable abilities that can (and should) be copied.

Benfari and his academic chums suggest that developing charisma is valuable and straightforward and (very importantly!) doesn't cost anything! Here are their keys to charisma:
  • Get to know the motives, preferences, values and interests of your colleagues
  • Respect differences in interests and don't attack another person's style
  • Give "positive strokes", use reward power, confirm others' competence
  • Invite reciprocal influence, show that you respect their influence
  • Share information, give your expertise, particularly where you stand to benefit
  • Minimize concerns with status, put signs of office aside
  • Develop communication skills, use clear and consistent messages
  • Understand how people react to stress and crisis
  • Get to know the informal political structure of your organisation

Simple! Let's get started!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Fabio Capello business lesson

 This man is not Fabio Capello

OK, no doubt when Peter Crouch directs a winning header into the top left-hand corner of the net in the 89th minute of the World Cup Final on July 11th, all doubts about Fabio Capello's managerial ability will disappear like hot pies at half time in a League One match on a wet February evening.

Until then, I think we're allowed to raise one or two questions about the size of the salary that is paid to this son of San Canzian d'Isonzo.

Here are the facts:

  • Capello's estimated salary is £6m per year
  • In the two and a half years in which Capello has been employed by the Football Association, he has been paid in salary, before bonuses, approximately £17.5m
  • Until the start of the World Cup, Capello's salary worked out at £1.75m for every competitive match, or £19,178 per day
  • Capello earns four times as much as Marcello Lippi (manager of current World Cup Champions Italy)
  • When Alf Ramsey led England to World Cup Glory in 1966, his salary was £7,200. At that time an average teacher earned £2,300 per year
  • Capello thus earns more in six days that Ramsey did in his entire 11 years as England Manager
  • Alf Ramsey's bonus for World Cup success was a knighthood and £5,000.
  • When Ramsey stepped down as England manager, he received a payoff of £8,000. When Kevin Keegan won his Constructive Dismissal claim against Newcastle United in 2009, he was awarded £2m (plus interest!)
  • If Capello manages to motivate, manage, cajole or threaten the (by Saturday's standards) lacklustre England team to win the title, it's reported he will receive a bonus of £2m 
Having said all that, Wayne Rooney and a select number of other Premier League players in the England squad are also said to earn in the region of £5 million per year. Clearly that's significantly more than (I assume!) most readers of HR Case Studies! Many investment banking executives still earn much more than £1m each. Even in the hard times faced by those working in the financial sector, in 2009 the capped pay and bonuses of senior managers in Goldman Sachs still  amounted to a package in the region of £1m each.

Goldman Sachs, Wayne Rooney and The Talent Myth
  • So this brings us back to the old conundrum: whether a goalscoring superstar, a financial wizard or a World Cup Winning managerial genius, are these guys worth the salaries they're paid, and do you reckon you could do their job?

Friday, 11 June 2010

The ten best excuses for not paying minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. Currently the National Minimum Wage for workers aged 21 and over is £5.80 per hour (though all rates are due to increase in October 2010)

Direct Gov: The National Minimum Wage

Compliance with NMW legislation is enforced by officers from HM Revenue & Customs who may carry out inspections of employers at any time. There is no requirement to provide reasons for an inspection.

Clearly lost for words, here's a list of the top ten best (or is it worst?) excuses that were given to visiting National Minimum Wage enforcement teams by employers who were failing to comply with the requirement:
  1. He doesn't deserve it - he's a total waste of space
  2. But she only wanted £3 an hour
  3. I didn't think the workers were worth NMW
  4. I didn't think it applied to small employers
  5. He's disabled
  6. They can't cope on their own and it's more that they would get in their own country
  7. She's on benefits - if you add those to her pay, it totals the NMW
  8. He's over 65 so the NMW doesn't apply
  9. The workers can't speak English
  10. I only took him on as a favour
  • Today's HR Case Studies Brain Teaser: Do any of these excuses have any justification?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Overworked Americans can't use up their holiday entitlement

Yesterday's HR Case Study considered the clearly outrageous suggestion from across the Atlantic that the unemployed should be actively discouraged from applying for vacant job positions.

HR Case Studies: HR: How can you be so stupid?

The feedback from readers certainly suggests that UK HR Professionals are far less taken in by such a strategy than those in the land of the Brave and the Free.

But perhaps the unemployed Americans may be a more fortunate bunch than immediately meets the eye, especially as employees in the USA have the least entitlement to annual vacation in the industrialised world.

The 13 days that most Americans are entitled to compares very unfavourably to Italy (42), France (37), Germany (35), Brazil (34), Britain (28), Canada (26) South Korea (25) and Japan (25)

To make matters worse, one in six US employees are unable to use up their entitlement because of overwork (according to a (yes, you've guessed it!) survey!)

HRM Guide: Overworked Americans can't use up their holiday entitlement.

The survey also shows that:
  • 34 per cent of respondents said their jobs were so pressing that they had no down time at work.
  • 32 per cent work and eat lunch at the same time.
  • 32 per cent do not leave the building during the working day.
  • 19 per cent say their job makes them feel older than they really are.
  • 19 per cent said workplace pressures make them feel that they must attend work even when injured or sick.
  • 14 per cent feel that company management only promotes people who habitually work late.
  • 8 per cent believe that if they were to become seriously ill they would be fired or demoted. 
All of this is summed up in the words of a computer analyst in Poughskeepie who has gone without a vacation in two of the last four years:
If you take off a week, you've got three times as much work to do when you get back.
So, unemployed Americans, don't worry, at least you have some time off work!

  • Or are we actually much better off in the UK?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

HR: How can you be so stupid?

There are times, my fellow HR Professionals (and I use the term lightly) when I am ashamed to be counted as one of your number.

A job advert recently appeared (in the USA, it has to be said...) which stated that job applications would not be accepted from anyone who was not currently in employment . The precise words were: “Client will not consider/review anyone not currently employed regardless of the reason.”

Far from condemn such an evidently crass and divisive approach, at least one member of the HR community stated that such an approach was really no big deal and in fact probably had much to recommend it, particularly as the unemployed do have an annoying habit of applying for a large number of jobs, some of which they may be not entirely suitable or eligible for. This thus adds to the administrative burden of those involved in the shortlisting and selection process.

Unemployed? Then Don't Bother Applying

Admittedly, the HR "professional" goes on to offer some highly strategic advice to the unemployed ("Keep busy", "Network, network, network" and (I jest not, dear readers!) "Don’t answer the phone if you were asleep when it started ringing."

But. My stars! How can the "no applications from the unemployed" approach be endorsed in any shape or form?

Or perhaps we should embrace this strategy by requiring the unemployed to wear sackcloth and ashes, and walk around leper-like, ringing a bell so that there is no danger of them contaminating the master-race of the employed?

Or perhaps we should even encourage them to end their miserable lives, thereby removing themselves as a burned on the taxpayer? Sorry Dave. I'm going to have to let you go. Here's your termination letter and a cyanide pill. I know you'll do the right thing.

The "only those in employment need apply" approach is clearly based on the utterly fallacious assumption that out-of-work employees contributed to their own unemployment (or possibly even deserved it).

It's not often that the editor of HR Case Studies pleads with his readership, but please, please PLEASE! my fellow HR Professionals (especially those in the UK!): tell me that I'm not alone in finding such an approach utterly abominable?

After all we're called Human Resource Managers. Not Inhuman. Not Inhumane. And hopefully not Stupid.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The six habits of the rich and famous

A book with a title of “The Protestant Work Ethic: Psychology of Work Related Beliefs and Behaviours” may not sound like every HR Case Studies reader’s cup of tea, but this somewhat scholarly work by Adrian Furnham (published in 1990) nevertheless laid the foundation for other “How To Be Incredibly Successful” books such as Steven Covey’s multi-million selling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

A significant number of authors have attempted to identify the secret ingredients which lead to successful individual performance by comparing recognised high achievers with merely average performers.

In his review of some of the vast selection of books on the rich and famous, Furnham found consistent themes such as:
Perseverance: tenacity, single-minded determination and concentration.
Ability: especially in creating and exploiting opportunities.
Contacts: knowing the right people.
Self-reliance: striving for independence.
Thinking big: but taking moderate risks.
Time management: making the best use of time, and planning progress.
Tantalisingly, Furnham does state that , “It cannot be assumed that these factors caused the success, indeed they may have been a consequence of success” but at least his list gives those use who wish to progress from mediocrity to magnificence a good route-map to guide us.
  • Today’s question: is there anything blindingly obvious that’s missing from the list?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

France worse than China in workplace suicides.

The media was buzzing last week when the UK launch of the Apple iPad coincided with two employees of the Chinese electronics firm Foxconn making suicide attempts, one of them successful. The 25-year-old worker who cut his wrists on Thursday was the 13th suicide attempt since January at the firm's southern Chinese plant. Fortunately he was treated in time for his life to be saved. Not so fortunate was one of his colleagues who jumped to his death from the seventh-floor balcony of his dormitory building at the company's industrial complex in Shenzhen.

The Independent: Two more suicide bids at iPad plant hours after media tour

The factory, which is renowned for its efficiency, makes mobile phones, laptops and other digital equipment for a wide range of well-known clients, including Nokia, Hewlett Packard and Apple. Indeed the new iPad device is produced there.

Tragic though this news is, before we rush to condemn the company for its clearly questionable work practices and environment, it's worth pausing to put the story into context with other events much closer to home.

In fact, perhaps we shouldn't even be surprised at the sitiation in Foxconn. As long ago as the 19th Century, French sociologist Emile Durkhiem showed that suicide rates of different countries and populations were related to how well people were integrated into society and whether or not societies were undergoing rapid change and turmoil. No one could argue that the awakening of the Sleeping Tiger of China has not inevitably led to significant change and turmoil.

HR Case Studies readers will also be familiar with the shocking series of suicides at France Télécom which have taken place while the Company has been implementing a modernisation drive. Since February 2008, there have been 25 suicides and a further series of attempted suicides. The French government are already involved in this particular case, and ministers have urged a more ''humane'' approach to job changes at France Telecom, prompting the CEO to hire 100 additional advisers in human resources and launch negotiations with unions on workplace stress.

France Télécom halts restructure amid suicides

A look at the league tables of suicides (deaths per 100,00 of the population) clearly places the former Soviet Bloc nations at the top:
1. Lithuania (46)
2. Russian Federation (41)
3. Belarus (37)
4. Latvia (34)
5. Ukraine (31)

18. France (17)

28. China (14)

30. Germany (14)

44. USA (11)

56. United Kingdom (8)
As France is evidently a nation of greater suicide risk than China, rather than jump to conclusion about the pressures of work in the Far East, perhaps we should be taking a harder look at how our neighbours across the channel are responding to this situation.

Incidentally, the nations where suicide seems to be almost unheard of are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jordan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.

World Health Organisation: Suicide Rates (per 100,000), by country, year, and gender.

Take care out there; it's a stressful world

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Job Vacancy: Only the beautiful need apply . . .

Cornell University’s Department of Study into the Blindingly Obvious has just published a report indicating that in criminal trials, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. Also, the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences – with an average of 22 months longer in prison.

Apparently (and I assume that someone must have funded such crucial research) some jurors make decisions rationally, based on facts and logic, while others reason emotionally, taking into consideration factors unrelated to the case - attractiveness being one of them.

CNS News: Blind Justice? Attractive Get Breaks with Juries

The good news for readers of HR Case Studies is that decisions based on subjective factors are never, ever made in HR.

Managers (whether HR Managers or otherwise) would never, for instance, allow Richard Gere to be recruited as a refuse operative in preference to the much better qualified Albert Steptoe, or Julianne Moore rather than the sabre-toothed tart that is Sybil Fawlty to be engaged as a hotel receptionist.

Would we?