Sunday, 31 January 2010

Performance Management Case Study

Here's a post that is mainly for those Business Studies and HR teachers who read HR Case Studies.

The attached case study describes a common situation where a newly appointed manager needs to be set performance management objectives by his line manager.

As is frequently the case, there are probably too many items to go into the suite of objectives for the year, so the manager will have to exercise some discretion over what goes in and what stays out.

Also there are probably a couple of items that just need to get sorted out rather than captured in a formal appraisal paperwork. Or is this not the right approach?

Surely not all of the objectives can have timescales attached? Or can they?

And let's face it: the idea that each of these issues can be written up as SMART objectives is daft. Or is it?

And is ten items too many to be included in a performance management review?

Good luck!

Performance Management Case Study

Friday, 29 January 2010

Ten things you can buy with about £220

  1. A Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Titanium Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Watch
  2. A 32K iPod Touch
  3. A Dewalt DC925KA XRP Combi Drill
  4. A TomTom GO 950 LIVE Satellite Navigation System
  5. A pair of Oakley Juliet Sunglasses with Carbon Frame and Polarised Black Iridium Lens
  6. A decent exercise bike
  7. One bottle of Chateau Leoville Lascases 1955 2eme Grand Cru Classe St Julien
  8. 25 Le Hoyo du Dauphin SLB cigars
  9. A rather tasty Ibanez SA120EX Electric Guitar

OK that’s nine. What else might you want to spend your 220 quid on?

How about the total average provision for learning and development per UK employee in 2009?

Not much, is it? And if you’re unlucky enough to work in the public sector, that amount decreases to £127 per head.

That’s about the same as a lousy bottle of Chateau Leoville - Barton 1964 2eme Grand Cru Classe St Julien.


Sir Alex Ferguson and training evaluation

Even the most ardent of Manchester United supporters would probably agree that to have Sir Alex Ferguson as the referee in a match involving his team would be unlikely to lead to an unbiased result.

But why do we face a constant barrage of HR related reports (proving this or demonstrating that) where the reports have been sponsored and undertaken by organisations with a clear vested interest in the outcome?

This week Management Today have advised the world that UK firms waste about £10bn a year on training that doesn't improve performance.

Apparently 25% of staff who undergo training see no performance benefit whatsoever – either because they don’t use their new skills, or because they don’t do any good.

OK, some of the problems identified by the report make a lot of sense. The report identifies four common failures in providing effective training:

Attending courses that are ill-suited to employee needs
Attending courses that the employee knows they won’t use
Poor timing of when the course takes place
Employees forgetting everything by the time they need it

And, although far from rocket science, the recommendation of the report writers for effective training is eminently sensible: line managers need to work more closely with their charges to make sure that they go on appropriate courses, and can utilise their new skills afterwards.

But a quick glance at the website of the report’s authors informs us that, “measuring learning activity is relatively easy, but how do you evaluate the performance improvement due to learning? And how much do line managers impact on the transfer of learning to the workplace? We can help answer these questions and support L&D decision making. As part of our managed learning service, we will measure all your training through our evaluation tools. We can devise an evaluation approach to meet your exact needs, up to the elusive Return on Investment level”

Management Today: A quarter of all training is pointless

Vested interest?

You bet!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Two casualties of the recession: Bankers and Strippers

No man is an island, we are all connected. Sometimes the connections are surprising. As a small example, the dramatic changes in The City of London’s banking community have had an impact on café’s, restaurants, taxi drivers and strippers. Strippers? Yes, esteemed blog followers. The unseen world of the Gentleman’s Club appears to be caught up in the fallout from the disasters of the finance business.

My suspicion is that not many of the shy and retiring readers of HR Case Studies will be familiar with the life of a stripper, so allow your intrepid editor (accompanied by the glamourous Annie*) to enlighten you.

From an HR point of view the first point to note is that the women who work in these clubs are self-employed and not employees. They pay the club a fee ranging from £40 to £100 each night to work so everyone arrives needing to work. At £20 a dance the first dances count for nothing in Annie’s mind. As a motivator to work it’s fairly direct. Pay-to-work also applies to Hairdressers and Day Traders. It’s strange what connects people.

The returns on this investment can be considerable. Even though there are fewer bankers with less cash Annie’s take home pay can range from nothing to £200 on a bad night to as much as £1000 on a "lucky" night. She works two or three nights a week on a flexitime arrangement that would be the envy of many firms.

Wondering what sort of person takes their clothes off for the pleasure of others (oh, and not forgetting the receipt of a not insubstantial sum of money)?

Oh they're all sorts. Some really nice girls and some that I don't like at all. OK, they're prettier than average, but apart from that you have those who left school at 16 and some with university degrees. Some are single mums and some are married. Some are paying for their studies and some are just doing a job. There isn't really a typical dancer.
And how easy is it to make a success in the twilight world?

Let's just say the good girls make good money, and the bad girls don’t last. It can be tough for some if they have the wrong attitude. It also depends on why a girl is working. Some of them are the main earners in the house if their partner is unemployed; a fair number are single mums, and then there are those like me who have other jobs which help to make life a bit more predictable. Motivation is different from girl to girl.
And has there been a noticeable effect caused by the recession?

As the bankers and traders have had a bad time, we've had a bad time too. Not only do we have fewer big money evenings, but sometimes we can have a lot of guys in the club, but not many of them actually spending. They drink, get a bit cheeky and maybe have a dance but then clear off. But there are too many girls now chasing too few guys with too little in the wallet.
Is this your only source of income, or do you have other strings to your bow?

I work part time, three days a week as a PA to a senior manager in a large commercial organisation. The work is fine, regular and routine. It can be frustrating. I can do so much more, but I usually hide the fact that I've got a brain! I’m more than happy to explore, for example, the parallels between Shakespeare's Tempest and John Fowles' The Magus!
If, dear reader of HR Case Studies, you're wondering if you'd recognise Annie if you bumped into her at either the CIPD conference, or a convention on Post-Modernism in Contemporary English Literature; you probably wouldn't:

I don't deny what I do. Ask and I'll tell. But I don't wear a t-shirt at the weekend saying 'Hey, I'm a stripper'. It's what I do, some of the time; it’s not what I am.
* Of course it’s not her real name.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Goldman Sachs, Wayne Rooney and The Talent Myth

My heart bleeds for the soon-to-be impoverished partners at Goldman Sachs.

Although many executives working in Britain ranked below partner-level earn much more than £1m each, the 100 UK-based partners are capping their 2009 pay and bonuses at £1m each. Hard times indeed.

But if Wayne Rooney and a select number of other Premier League players can earn in the region of £5 million (yes, spell it out, five million pounds) per year, perhaps the Goldman Sachs partners may feel undervalued.

Ask another question, however, and a different view emerges. Don't ask if either a Goldman Sachs partner or a Premier League football player deserve the money they are paid. Ask if you could do what they do - and with the same results.

I doubt that there are many of us who could put on Rooney's boots and, as he did this weekend, score four goals against Premier League opposition (OK it was only Hull City!), but what would be the result if we slipped into the pinstriped suit of a Goldman Sachs banker? Would any of us be unable to make even one or two correct investment decisons?

The usual argument that is wearily paraded by the banks is that they have to pay such astonishing salaries to attract and retain the talent.

There is a different view:

The talent myth assumes that people make organisations smart. More often than not, it's the other way around.

Think about it!

Goldman Sachs UK partners cap their pay at £1m each

New Yorker: The Talent Myth

Friday, 22 January 2010

The staggering growth of social media: No comment required!

What happens when your employees are not engaged: They lick your chicken.

An unlicked chicken

Here’s a challenge for those of you involved in Employee Engagement: could you have succeeded with this guy who used to work in my local Asda store?

Film of supermarket worker Adeel Ayub who worked in the Asda store in Fulwood, Preston was posted on YouTube by one of his “friends” and accomplices.

The oh-so-hilarious prankster is shown letting off fire extinguishers, throwing eggs in a store room, ripping seats in the employee rest area, cutting his colleagues’ clothes, playing football in the aisles of the store, and urinating in a rubbish bin. His ever-so-funny encore for the appreciative audience is licking a raw chicken before putting it back on the shelf.

This week, he is starting a two-month jail term after he was sentenced at Preston Magistrates Court. For some unfathomable reason he was shocked at the sentence, and his solicitor does not believe that “the sentence is proportionate to the crime”

Lancashire Evening Post: Asda saboteur who denied licking raw chicken is jailed. (Warning! Contains link to video footage which some might find offensive)

  • What might Asda wish to do to minimise the negative impact of this former employee's actions on current staff?

Thursday, 21 January 2010

New role models for HR professionals: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

Shame on you People Management magazine!

In the current online edition of the CIPD's flagship publication, there's a report on (yet another!) workplace survey, this time one undertaken by that well known player on the field of Human Resources, Lloyds Pharmacy. According to the survey HR professionals are amongst the workers most likely to engage in an office romance.

But just cast your eyes over this:

Call centre staff polled the highest - at nearly 29 per cent - when asked to admit to a romantic indiscretion with a colleague. Finance employees ranked second at 28 per cent, while HR workers came in third place, with 26.5 per cent confessing to an office romance.
"Admit to a romantic indiscretion?" Hang on there People Management! Whatever happened to good old honest workplace romance? Why assume that any office based relationship must be indiscreet! I'm sure that many HR professionals will be well versed in untangling the complex web of extra-marital flings and illicit passion in the customer service department, but there must also be numerous instances of unattached boys and girls finding their life partner at work (even in the HR department while co-operating on the implementation of the new performance management system, or downsizing the sales team!)

Forget Dave Ulrich and Linda Gratton: Let's have Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as the role models for HR professionals.

Here's looking at you, kid.

More than a quarter of HR professionals admit to workplace flings

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Radio Advert ruled as offensive to Germans

There seems to be a German theme emerging on HR Case Studies this week.

In what appears to be a crass error of judgement, Reed Recruitment recently launched a radio advertisement (for their own recruitment jobsite) implying, in the view of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that Germans are tyrants. The ASA has subsequently banned the advert, saying that it could cause serious offence to some listeners and was found to be offensive because it used a negative stereotype.

Whether the 13 individuals who complained to the ASA were German or not, we do not know.

The Advertising Standards Authority also judged that:

While the use of stereotypes was inevitable to establish a character in a short radio advert, this should not perpetuate damaging misconceptions. We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others. We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners.

Ultimately, the advert was judged by the ASA to have breached rules governing good taste and must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Fortunately for the esteemed readers of HR Case Studies, here's a link to the Reed Recruitment advert for you to judge for yourselves.

Guardian: Radio Ad ruled as offensive to Germans
  • Offensive, or just good humour? What do you think?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Echte Leader schauen nicht in Führungsbücher, sondern in die Augen ihrer Mitarbeiter

Echte Leader schauen nicht in Führungsbücher, sondern in die Augen ihrer Mitarbeiter

The HR Case Studies editorial staff liked the quotation so much that they decided to write a blog about it!

In English this roughly translates as "A real leader doesn't look in leadership books, but into the eyes of his employees"

By well-timed coincidence this also reflects the view of a new report by the Work Foundation which suggests that the best way for leaders to achieve outstanding performance is by following a ‘highly people-centred approach’ and to focus on stretching and enabling their staff so they can excel.

Admittedly, Management Today (who have just reported on the Work Foundation's findings) are rather sceptical, but the study is still worth a glance. (Ocular pun number one!)

The Work Foundation’s latest report is based on a two-year qualitative study of about 260 people at six big UK companies, including Tesco and Unilever about what they thought of their leaders, and leadership more generally. The conclusion was that those considered ‘outstanding’ rather than merely ‘good’ leaders had certain things in common.

Rather than focusing on tasks, they look to understand people and their motives
They develop people through challenge and support, not training and advice
They’re self-confident without being arrogant.
They worry as much about the mood and behaviour of their people as their organisational objectives
Sadly, Management Today is not convinced that this study provides any objective evidence for a direct link between a people-centred approach and better corporate performance. "As far as we can see, it just proves that leaders who focus on people are more popular with their people" protests the eminent journal.

But the Germans certainly seem to agree!

Focus on people not targets, managers told

  • What do you think?

Friday, 15 January 2010

"I'm not recruiting him! He's a fat bastard!"

I am sad to say that this is a true story.

The editor of this esteemed publication once assisted at an assessment centre for first line supervisors in a public sector organisation. Admittedly it was one in which a degree of physical fitness was required, but other factors were equally important. Of the candidates assessed on the day, one individual clearly emerged as the one who most closely fulfilled the full range of assessment criteria (including verbal and numerical reasoning, team work, critical thinking, problem solving and leadership potential). The recruiting manager was visibly uncomfortable with this particular candidate being selected for the supervisory role. “So,” questioned your faithful editor, “Why do you not want to progress with appointing this high-performing candidate to the vacant position?” His response? “Because he’s a fat bastard!”

This incident may have taken place a number of years ago but, according to a study undertaken by Slimming World (not often quoted in HR Case Studies, one has to admit!) and YouGov, 'Fattism' is alive and kicking in the workplace.

The responses from those who considered themselves to be overweight are inevitably subjective (“They would say that, wouldn’t they!”, I hear some cry) but the research indicates that when overweight people do get a job, they are twice as likely to earn a low salary, four times more likely to suffer bullying about their weight, and six times more likely to feel their appearance has caused them to be overlooked for promotion.

More worrying though is the fact that of the 227 bosses surveyed, one in four male managers said they would turn down a potential candidate based purely on their weight, and one in 10 admitted they have already done so.

  • Is this a serious problem, or do we have enough other more important prejudices to overcome in the workplace?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Up to 124 million working hours lost due to adverse weather conditions.

The Editor of HR Case Studies makes his way into work last week

According to a YouGov poll reported by People Management journal, up to 124 million working hours were lost in a single week due to the adverse weather conditions.

The snow which covered most of the UK in the first full working week following the Christmas break affected three-quarters of all employees.

Here’s a list of the effects of the snow on UK businesses

  • 45 per cent of British workers faced travel disruptions
  • 71 per cent claimed that the lack of grit on major roads was the major hindrance
  • 78 per cent of the sissy chaps from the south-east claimed that they were disrupted by the weather
  • 54 per cent of the sturdy employees from the West Midlands (where there was more snow than in the south-east) suffered disruption to their working
  • 50 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed felt pressurised to get into work
  • 10 per cent had to postpone or cancel business meetings
  • 8 per cent of workers were forced to stay at home due to school closures
  • 11 per cent of staff who were unable to travel to their workplace were able to work remotely from home
  • 12 per cent of British workers were unable to work at all

The total cost of the adverse weather so far in 2010 could be as high as £450 million, according to estimates from the Forum of Private Businesses.

Snow disruption costs businesses over 100 million working hours

  • Come on, admit it: how did you cope with the snow?

Race and colour are no longer a disadvantage in Britain, according to UK Communities Secretary

In a speech to be given later today to mark a decade of the Race Relations Amendment Act, Communities Secretary John Denham will say that the government has made significant progress in tackling racism, and that poverty and class are now more likely to be the causes of disadvantage rather than skin colour.
That does not mean that we should reduce our efforts to tackle racism and promote race equality, but we must avoid a one-dimensional debate that assumes all minority-ethnic people are disadvantaged.
Debating the issue with Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick it Out, on the Radio 4 Today programme, Denham disagreed with the suggestion that it appears that you are more likely to be at a disadvantage if you are white and working class than if you are black, but reaffirmed the government’s commitment to deal with inequality regardless of where it comes from.

Displaying remarkable unity with the Communities Secretary, Lord Ouseley added that all forms of potential forms of inequality, including race, poverty, class and sexual identity, need to be addressed as a coherent whole, without singling out race as one discrete issue that affects poverty or inequality.

Denham concluded:
We need to make people feel that they don’t think that people are being singled out for special treatment just because of the race that they are from. If people get support and help it needs to be because of the needs they have. We’re committed to tackling inequality and disadvantage whoever you are and wherever you are.
BBC News: Ethnic minorities "no longer always disadvantaged"

BBC Have Your Say: Are ethnic minorities still disadvantaged?

  • What tangible evidence can you provide demonstrating that progress has been made in tackling the issue of race discrimination in the workplace?
  • Do you agree with the suggestion that it's wrong to single out individual minority groups for special treatment, and that inequality needs to be addressed as a coherent whole?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Business Lesson: Judgement Day for a blame culture


Just watching people blame each other is enough to establish a culture of blame in an organisation.

The current edition of New Scientist reports on an article snappily entitled, “Blame contagion: The automatic transmission of self-serving attributions” which was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and concludes that “we already know that people are more likely to blame others when they themselves have been blamed - a 'kick-the-dog' kind of effect." But, according to the results of recent experiments, a blame attitude can even spread to mere witnesses of a public dressing-down.

In one experiment, run by Nathanael Fast of the Department of Management and Organization, University of Southern California, one group of volunteers were asked to watch footage of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger blaming others for a failed strategy, and a separate group to watch a different clip of him accepting personal responsibility for it.

When asked to write about a failure of their own afterwards, those in the first group (i.e. those who had watched Arnie terminating his team with blame!) were 30 per cent more likely to blame this failure on others than those in the second group.

The findings of the report are quite frightening: not only is blame socially contagious, but when people blame others for their mistakes, they learn less and perform worse.

"Leaders who want to prevent such a culture from spreading should be careful not to be seen pointing the finger," concludes the report.

New Scientist: Why the blame game shouldn't be played in public

  • Is it realistic to aim for a completely blame-free culture in the competitive organisation of today?

£9.6m is “going rate” for the job according to RBS chief executive

In defending his bank's pay structure to a committee of MPs the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has admitted that even his parents think he earns too much.

He said that he was offered the "going rate" of £9.6m for his job but claimed that his own pay package was worth next to nothing as the share price of RBS is currently so low.

Shares in the bank have fallen for the past three years, declining 41% last year and 87% in 2008.

He holds shares worth up to £3.4m but will only be allowed to sell them in 2014, should the bank's share price rise above 70p.

  • “My parents think I earn too much.” How effective a measure of the appropriateness of remuneration levels do you think this could be?

Monday, 11 January 2010

British Social Attitudes Survey reveals deep concerns over diversity

The publication in March of this year of the latest British Social Attitudes survey is certain to cause many UK businesses to question how effective the diversity agenda has been.

Speaking on Radio 4 yesterday, report author Professor David Voas (Professor of population studies at Manchester University) confirmed that the majority of people in the UK regard Britain as deeply divided on religious lines, and that tolerance towards religious diversity breaks down when it comes to feelings about Islam.

Responding to the finding that 52% of respondents agree that Britain is deeply divided along religious lines, Professor Voas stated that this “was not necessarily to say that it should be, but mainly people making an observation.”

Professor Voas added that this perception is relatively new, and that religion now seems to be joining race and social class as a major source of social division.

The positive news from the report is that 70% of respondents agree with the proposition that we must respect all religions. (Even the 60% of respondents who describes themselves as unreligious are of this opinion!) The bad news is that there is also, according to the report, “a strong indication that tolerance of diversity is limited when it comes to Islam.” In particular, the report reveals that although only 15% of respondents would be bothered by the construction of a large church in their community, the majority would be concerned by the construction of a large mosque.

Interviewed on the Radio 4 Sunday programme, Professor Voas explained:
“There seems to be willingness to pay lip service to the virtues of religion and the desirability of respecting religion, but when it comes down to specifics, people tend to show surprising levels of intolerance and anxiety about particular groups, with Muslims being the main target of that. The report certainly tells us we have something to worry about. It’s clear from the study that although some of the antipathy toward Muslims comes from those with a generalised dislike of anyone different, there’s something like a fifth of the population that respond negatively only to Muslims. Relatively few people feel unfavourable towards any other religious or ethnic group on its own. So there’s obviously something about Islam and current events that hasn’t helped and does worry people.”

Those with responsibility for diversity within UK businesses will be concerned that the report suggests that there is, according to Professor Voas, “more anxiety as a result of concerns about extremist violence and to some extent religious oppression, so our attitudes towards religion generally have been affected by some of this anxiety and it is likely to be making us less tolerant.”

  • If the British population is as “deeply divided along religious lines” as the report suggest, how does this affect the way that diversity should be addressed within the workplace?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Taking bullying seriously: The Church of England

This morning's Radio 4 Sunday programme included a fascinating news item concerning bullying of ministers within the established church. But banish the idea of a bullying bishop or a vengeful verger: most of the reported bullying, intimidation and harassment comes from the parishioners rather than the clergy.

The issue is clearly being treated seriously not only within the church but within the UK Trade Union movement.

Responding to claims of abuse, harassment and bullying, the Church of England has issued a Dignity at Work booklet, offering “practical advice to help prevent bullying and harassment, and to deal with any cases that occur”

A telephone helpline has been set up by the Faith Workers Branch of the trade union Unite, which says intimidation of ministers and priests from all denominations is a hidden problem. A bishop is among the 150 clergy and ministers who have sought protection with the trade union Unite from what it describes as a culture of bullying in the established Church. Apparently most of those who have sought help are members of the Church of England but Roman Catholic priests, rabbis and imams have also joined Unite, according to the national officer for the union’s faith workers’ branch.

The natural response to such cases may be one of surprise or even an accusation of hypocrisy. After all, surely the church is the last place where you'd expect to encounter such behaviour, isn't it?

But rather than criticise the church, it would be more appropriate to applaud it for implementing good business practice firstly by accepting that a problem exists and subsequently introduding processes to address it in a sensitive and effective manner.

Radio 4 Sunday Programme

Times Online: Clergy and ministers need protection from Church bullying, Unite union says

Unite (Trade Union): Faith workers branch members’ information

Church of England: Dignity at Work booklet

  • HR Professionals: if your organisation has introduced an anti-bullying policy, has it been effective?
  • Business Studies Students: assuming that your school has an anti-bullying policy, how effective do you believe that it has been, and how would it transfer into a work environment?
  • Clerics: is there a reluctance to admit that bullying behaviour actually occurs within the church?

Friday, 8 January 2010

In search of the lost chord: HR Carnival 2010

Along with upward of 70 other fellow HR bloggers, the HR Case Studies team posted a video entry on the January edition of HR Carnival: a fortnightly showcase of the best (and worst!) from the HR and management blogging world.

In case you missed it on HR Carnival, I've posted it here for the education and amusement of the wider community!

So here's your chance to meet the entire staff of the HR Case Studies organisation, in their extensive (and expensively furnished) state of the art office environment.

(Graham plays a Takamine EN-10 acoustic guitar with D'Addario strings. He is available for concerts, recitals and major sponsorship deals. And tuition)

Jonathan Ross: Lessons for HR (!)

Jonathan Ross’s decision to leave the BBC may be a disappointment to some and a welief to others, but at least it serves as a weminder to HR pwofessionals of the importance of welevant and wealistic pwocesses.

  • Make sure that you have a wobust succession plan in place for your high performers and key talent
  • If an employee thweatens to leave, incweasing his wemunewation won’t always wetain him or her; pwoviding twaining is often a more effective wetention stwategy
  • Check that your key talent have wetention clauses in their contwacts, so that if they wesign, you can legally wequire them to work their notice pewiod
  • When wecwuiting new employees, if the ability to communicate clearly is important, make sure that this is stated as a wequirement in the job specification
  • By all means use the buddying approach to welcome newly wecwuited employees into the company, but keep them away from Wussel Bwand: he’s twouble!
Jonathan Ross to quit as TV and radio host with the BBC
  • Are there any more HR pwocesses that Wossy would stwuggle with?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bumper year ahead for HR Professionals and Recruiters

Rejoice! If the results of a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers are to be believed, 2010 promises to be positively the best year since the invention of sliced bread for the UK’s HR and recruitment community!

HR Magazine: One in three employees make it their new year's resolution to quit their job

Apparently a third of UK employees (33%) say they have not felt valued by their employer during the recession and would leave for another job if they could.

So, let’s look at what this means for those HR and recruitment professionals who have been twiddling their thumbs over the last year or so.

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 33% of this population moves jobs, 9,825,000 individuals will be on the move in 2010.

Clearly all annual leave for HR Managers and recruiters will be cancelled, and weekend working will be required to cope with the fact that on every day this year 26,917 posts will need filling, with a corresponding number of exit interviews and inductions.

The manufacturers of “Sorry you’re leaving” and "Good luck in your new job” greetings cards will already be rubbing their hands with glee as they prepare for the 134,589 cards that will be sent each week.

Assuming 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 £34,288,250 to the economy. Good news again!

If each departing employee invites 10 colleagues for a swift pint at the local pub to mark their departure, that’s 98,250,000 pints (or a mere 12,281,250 gallons) of beer to be commemoratively swilled away. At an average price of £2.60 per pint, that’s a staggering £255,450,000. A Labour victory at the election is almost a cast-iron certainty, as the tax revenue from increased alcohol consumption alone will be sufficient for Alistair Darling to lower income tax. Hallelujah!

And just think of all the other new suits, ties and briefcases that will be needed as employees move into their new jobs.

I feel most sympathy (or perhaps jealousy) for the new breed of cyber-recruiters. Assuming a miserly 20 applications for each vacancy that needs filling, that’s still 196,500,500 CVs to sift during the course of the year. If I were a recruitment consultant, I’d make sure that my laptop was backed up regularly, as there will inevitably be frequent system failures due to the excessive demands on all networks.

It’s going to be a tough, but nevertheless good year. I’m sure we’ll survive together!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 16:31).

For those readers of HR Case Studies who possibly feel that the Christmas and New Year break (especially when combined with the adverse weather conditions) has added a few years and pushed them a bit nearer the biblically allotted span of three-score years and ten, never fear, Management Today has some good news for you!

The Management Today list of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs features an extraordinary 68 who are aged 60 or over, with no fewer than 11 who have passed their 70th birthday!

In a culture that seems to be increasingly obsessed by youth, it’s good to see that those of more mature years appear to have the staying power that may well be, like, lackin' in da kids of today, innit?

So, fellow wrinkly readers of HR Case Studies, award yourself a pat on the back.

Because you’re worth it!

  • Do the management development processes in most organisations favour the rapidly rising young person, to the detriment of the wise and experienced older person?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

HR Professionals in a dither over Performance Management

With the joys of Christmas and New Year behind us, the next event in the calendars of many employees will be the annual objective setting element of the performance management process.

As this important activity is generally agreed to be owned by the HR function, it's seriously disappointing to read the results of the most recent CIPD survey into current trends and practice in performance management.

The Performance Management in Action report not only reveals that the UK's HR professionals are card-carrying members of the Don't Know Party, but also paints a picture of a function that has ownership of a process that it simply doesn't believe in.

After removing the ditherers of the HR profession, we're left with the following depressing results:

Most HR professionals disagree that Performance Management:

  • has a positive impact on individual performance
  • has a positive impact on organisational performance
  • helps line managers to manage people better
  • helps line managers' capabilities to manage people better
  • can impact on employee well-being
  • can help people understand the organisation's strategic priorities
  • can help individuals understand how their behaviour and actions affect the achievement of the organisation’s strategic priorities

As the Performance Management in Action report correctly notes, it is the application rather than the process itself that makes the difference in terms of performance management. But it’s still a concern that at a time of year when employees are entering the first stage of a cycle which will almost certainly affect their career development and pay, the custodians of that process are at best ambivalent, and at worst entirely negative about its validity and effectiveness.

CIPD Report: Performance management in action: current trends and practice
  • Do you think that it’s just the HR profession that’s skeptical about the performance development process?
  • Can any of the positive effects of the performance management process outweigh the negative view that’s reported above?
  • Does the lack of belief in the performance management process reflect unfavourably on the HR profession?