Thursday, 29 April 2010

Time for change at 10 Downing Street

Presumably in response to Gordon Brown’s misguided moment in calling a pensioner who raised the issue of immigration "bigoted,” recruitment consultancy Badenoch & Clark have launched a campaign inviting the UK public to vote for whether Gordon Brown should become an author, university lecturer or perhaps launch an anger-management consultancy if he fails to win the next election.

But it’s not just gaffe-prone Gordon that’s in the spotlight: voters will also be able to suggest what David Cameron and Nick Clegg should do after the election, as well as Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vincent Cable.

So far, suggestions for Cameron have included becoming the editor of The Daily Mail or going back to his public relations roots and setting up Cameron Communications. Nick Clegg has also been tipped to become a children’s TV presenter or a work for a leading charity, such as the RSPCA.

Heralding the launch of the campaign, Andy Powell, Director at Badenoch & Clark, said: “With post-recession career prospects at the forefront of many people’s minds at the moment, we wanted to give the UK public a chance to vote for the future careers of public figures who may be considering alternative employment following the general election.”

The Public Speaks: UK public invited to vote for PM’s next job

But how about turning the tables on this one? Rather than voting on what we’d like Brown, Cameron and/or Clegg to be doing after the election, why not start with a blank sheet of paper and consider who out of all the leaders of industry, sport, media and the arts in the UK we’d like to see being given the key to 10 Downing Street? Richard Branson? Alex Ferguson? Bono?

All suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Saying one thing, doing another . . .

According to a survey (yes, it’s been a long time since we had one of those, isn’t it!) in the current edition of Management Today, employees “work harder for firms which do the right thing.”

Summarizing research undertaken by the Kenexa Research Institute, a division of US-based HR and recruitment specialist Kenexa, MT reports that even in a chilly economic climate, people prefer to work for companies that do right by the environment and their fellow human beings.

Employees still value CSR, despite recession

Although it’s difficult to ignore the scepticism in Management Today’s tone, it’s interesting to read that workers who rate their firm’s environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities positively are more likely to be proud of the organisation, demonstrate a higher level of job satisfaction and are more likely to say they intend to stay, and are also more likely to recommend it as a place of work to their friends.

That’s all fine and dandy, but are employees actually prepared to put their money where there mouth is and work for organisations who boast green credentials and have a favourable CSR record?

Here’s the current Top 10 in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for:
  1. Nando's (Restaurants)
  2. Goldman Sachs (Financial Services)
  3. Sytner Group (Prestige Car Retailer)
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers (Professional Services)
  5. Mothercare and Early Learning Centre (Specialist Retailer)
  6. Boots Opticians (Retail/Professional Opticians)
  7. Signet Trading (Jewellery Retailer)
  8. Mott MacDonald (Multi-disciplinary Consultancy)
  9. Bourne Leisure (Hospitality and Leisure)
  10. KPMG (Audit, Tax and Advisory Services)
The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies 2010

The list isn’t exactly awash with verdant shades of green is it?

My suspicion is that the majority of employees feel more comfortable if the company they work for has a good track record in CSR, but I’m not convinced that many will actually choose to leave their current employee just because it doesn’t recycle its waste paper.

Would you consider switching employers just because a company had a better reputation in CSR?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

What sort of leader do you want?

With the first of the televised debates between the leaders of the major UK political parties almost upon us, it’s a suitable time to ask the question of what sort of leader we’re looking for.

And although there may be more than just a few thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean separating the UK and our friends in the Land of the Brave and the Free, the results of a recent survey into confidence in leadership should offer food for thought to Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

The 2009 National Leadership Index (“A National Study of Confidence in Leadership”) reveals that:
69% of Americans believe that they have a leadership crisis
67% of Americans believe that unless they get better leaders the United States will decline as a nation
Only 41% of Americans believe that the country’s leaders are effective and do a good job
The six factors that are considered in arriving at an overall rating are Trust, Competence, Working for the Greater Good, Shared Values, Results, and Being In Touch.

And which sort of leaders do the Americans trust?
A great deal: only the military
A moderate amount: those in the medical and charity sectors, together with those in the supreme court, local government, education, the legislature and religious organisations
Not much: those leaders in business, state government, congress, news media and, bottom of the pile (surprise, surprise!) those in Wall Street
Trust in military leaders, the executive branch and business has increased since 2008, but trust in the leader of state government and Wall Street has plummeted for the second year in a row.

The report’s summary is pertinent not only for Brown, Clegg and Cameron and for US leaders, but also for all those in positions of authority:
None of these findings will come as a surprise to leaders who seek to retain the nation’s confidence. The ongoing challenge is to explore what it means to practice these broad leadership qualities in the context of one’s own sector and leadership journey. With the public’s confidence, there is much that leaders can do for the common good. Without it, the path to good results is much less clear.
National Leadership Index 2009

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

NHS silliness: the infection spreads

(An apparent health and safety risk)

A belated Happy Easter to all readers of HR Case Studies! And on that note . . .

Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the case of Shirley Chaplin, a Christian nurse moved to a desk job after refusing to remove her crucifix at work. Yesterday she lost her discrimination claim against her employers after an employment tribunal ruled that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals NHS Trust had acted in a reasonable manner.

The Exeter nurse had claimed the trust was trying to prevent her from expressing her religious beliefs, and confirmed that she had worn her crucifix for most of the 30 years that she has been a nurse.

The NHS Trust argued that actions "were motivated by health and safety"

Devon nurse loses crucifix 'ban' claim at tribunal

The case of Mrs Chaplin was supported by a number of the senior bishops within the Church of England, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton.

In a recent letter to the Daily Telegraph, the bishops stated:

The cross is ubiquitous in Christian devotion from the earliest times and clearly the most easily recognisable Christian symbol. For many Christians, wearing a cross is an important expression of their Christian faith and they would feel bereft if, for some unjustifiable reason, they were not allowed to wear it. To be asked by an employer to remove or "hide" the cross, is asking the Christian to hide their faith.

Is there something about the UK Health Service that it is breeding a group of politically correct but nevertheless downright idiotic policy makers? After all, don't forget that if you're a paramedic in Lancashire, far more important than your ability to care for the seriously injured is your compliance with the regulations to (1) ensure your green shirt is tucked in at all times, (2) only wear footwear (fully polished of course) issued by the trust and (3) ensure (if appropriate) your religious headwear is "clean and laundered." Oh, and most significant of all, (4) comply with the 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Wear Novelty Socks

As far as the claim of the NHS Trust that its actions "were motivated by health and safety" is concerned, I'm in danger of laughing myself into Accident and Emergency.

My literary Health and Safety thought for the day:

“If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”