Recipes for sharing learning

first_img Comments are closed. Roger Smith, head of learning and development at Marlborough Stirling,reveals his plans for harnessing technology at his new employer. He is 50 (butdon’t tell anyone)How long have you been in this job? Nine months How long have you been with your organisation? One whole year. What does your role involve? Looking at how to help the company achieve the strong growth it expects bydeveloping the skills and knowledge of the people – increasing their bandwidth.What’s the best thing about your job? It being relatively new, I still feel the buzz and the excitement. I enjoymaking change happen within the organisation. What is your current major project? Developing a single supported process for learning and development. Thereview process uses skills and knowledge matrices to drive learning needs andthe individual can choose lots of delivery methods to achieve the learning,from one-to-one coaching from internal experts and PC-based delivery through toclassroom events. All this is supported by technology and available through ourintranet – I told you that I need to spend some money! Preferred terminology – training, development, education, learning? Learning – it implies the responsibility is with the individual, which itmost certainly is – and development. In fact, I considered having stickers madeto stick above the washbasins saying, “You are looking at the personresponsible for your development.” Favourite buzzwords? Knowledge management – the people within an organisation should not just bethe recipients of learning events, but should have a responsibility to createinformation that can benefit others. Organisations need to manage this processand make the best use of the mass of knowledge that exists. This will be a keydifferentiator for organisations that really want to create a sharing and learningenvironment. Most loathed buzzwords? E-learning – or, to be more precise, the letter “e”. It seems tobe a reason for PC-based learning to be charged at extortionate prices.Everyone’s rush to get “e” in their portfolios means that somesuppliers are getting away with a con of massive proportions. The e phenomenaseems to provide a way for good, indifferent and badly designed learning to beconsidered under the same umbrella. There’s nothing wrong with good e-learning,but some of the bad e-learning is complete rubbish and can be downrightdangerous. Are you good at self development? I’m sorry to say that I’m not particularly good at it. I tend to get tooinvolved in doing the job rather than looking towards my development needs. Icould say this is because it’s a new job, I’m really enthusiastic and it’schallenging, but these would all be excuses. Where do you want to be in five years’ time? Doing charity work in South America or Africa. Helping to make a differenceto people who have nothing. What was the most useful course you ever went on? How to talk to finance directors, by Nick Leeson`. What was your worst course ever? There are several. I find that a lot of classroom courses are slow andreally labour the points. It is not my preferred learning style. I likeinformation to hit me quickly and like to able to move forward at my own pace. What did you want to do for a living when you were at school? Be a rock star. It seemed an obvious choice for someone who really wantedto learn to live a life of excess. What was the best career decision you ever made? Agreeing to a completely left-field suggestion to take responsibility forthe running of my previous organisation’s training centre, a 30-training room,200-bedroom beast of a place. What was the worst career decision you ever made? Disagreeing with the sales director and chief executive at my previousposition… Evaluation – holy grail or impossible dream? Difficult, but essential. You must understand the value you are adding tothe individual and the organisation. Even though everyone agrees development is”a good thing”, you must be able to prove to your boss that theinvestment being made is giving the benefits expected by the people, theorganisation and the shareholders. How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time? There will be incredible technology – which works. People will be takingresponsibility for their own learning needs and organisations will fullyencourage and invest in the development of sharing cultures. It will become aquestion of keeping up with the demand for innovation rather than trying toencourage it. I will be involved in a truly global enterprise where clients,staff and shareholders will see the value being added by learning anddevelopment. What do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future? E-management, e-strategic planning, e-resilience, e-adaptability ande-analysis. What advice would you give to someone starting out in training anddevelopment? Learn from others, keep in touch with what’s new and keep your mind opentoall things. How do you network? By keeping in contact with people, benchmarking with other organisationsand attending events. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Bass player for the Stones – I’d be the youngster! Do you take your work home with you? Only when absolutely essential. I believe that home life is just as (no,more) important than work and that people need the time to relax and recharge.I work hard and believe I am very efficient and effective when at my workplace.I make no apologies if people think this is heresy. You are on this worldonce… and if you don’t enjoy it, what is the point? What is your motto? Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Describe your management style in three words or less? Relaxed, but committed. How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues? Fair, fun and always looking to improve things; delivered what he promised. Recipes for sharing learningOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img

Case studies

first_imgHR calls for clarity when taking on asylum-seekers Automotive Precision Components employs 20 refugees at its factory inTonbridge, Kent. The personnel manager of the component manufacturing company, which employsover 500 staff, wants the Government to get rid of its six-month delay beforeallowing refugees and asylum-seekers to work when they enter the country. Peter Vanson says, “These people have been the salvation of ourcompany. With less than 1 per cent unemployment around here, there are severepeople shortages. We have found that refugees are invariably literate andnumerate and make excellent workers.” All the refugees that the company employs have found out about vacanciesthrough asylum-seeker and community networks rather than the employmentservice. Vanson believes the Government needs to better co-ordinate theemployment of refugees and set up a skills database. The personnel and training manager at car parts company Mr Clutch isconcerned about breaking the law when employing refugees. The Rochester-based company employs one refugee among its 120 staff and hashad problems recruiting refugees in the past. Andrea Young says, “I amworried about breaking the law. The current system lacks clarity. There arenumerous stamps that refugees can have concerning work but instead of sayingwhether they can or cannot work in the UK, it skirts around the issue.” Young believes that a standard permission-to-work document would help her tofill the company’s skills gaps. “A standard document would really help.The motor industry is no longer a career of choice, so we are not getting thequality of applicant that we used to. Refugees would fit perfectly into ourmarket. “They are highly skilled in the motor trade because it is seen as agood career in other parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe andAfrica.” Jewish Care’s HRdirector Delia Goldring believes employers are in aCatch-22 situation when they try to employ refugees. Employers know theycan fill vital roles with able refugee candidates, but they risk breaking thelaw due to confusing Home Office paperwork. Goldring says, “The documentation for refugees and asylum-seekers variestremendously and this can be compounded by the lack of a National Insurancenumber. The bureaucracy works against employers, and if they accidentallyemploy an ineligible refugee, the Inland Revenue picks up on it and they face ahefty fine.” Jewish Care, which has 1,500 staff, receives several applications a yearfrom refugees and asylum-seekers, and it also runs an unemployment advisoryservice that helps refugees in the Jewish community to find work. Employers also need to know the value of overseas qualifications, claimsGoldring. “We need some kind of skills database or directory because weneed to know what a refugee’s qualifications will buy in the UK workplace. Whatis a degree in Poland equivalent to in the UK? Trying to prove experience andqualifications can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.” Scottish fish processing company Whitelink faced problems when it triedto employ local refugees. The Fraserburgh-based company encountered difficulties when it attempted tosecure accommodation for 10 refugees that it wanted to employ to tackle localskills shortages. Whitelink uses a specialist recruitment agency Fast Labour inNorfolk. It employs 10 full-time and three part-time Russian refugees through theagency, but pays 25 per cent more than it would if it employed staff directly. Valerie Ritchie, HR manager at Whitelink, says, “The refugees are hereto work so the bureaucracy doesn’t make sense. By employing them everyone ishappy, the company, the refugee and the Government, as it does not have tosupport them. The refugees are very reliable and add value to thebusiness.” Ritchie backs Personnel Today’s campaign for a permission-to-work documentand a refugee skills database. He says, “I have given up recruitingrefugees without an agency. To first find them and then recruit them is justtoo much hassle.” Travel West Midlands wants to target refugees as part of a bus driverrecruitment campaign. William Shore, training manager at Travel West Midlands, contactedBirmingham City Council and the employment service to find out the best way toadvertise jobs to refugees and asylum-seekers, but neither could provide anyhelp. The bus company employs 3,700 drivers but currently has 70 hard-to-fillvacancies. Shore believes the Government needs to provide better guidance on where andhow to recruit refugees. “It has been a frustrating exercise and a realeye opener on the lack of information held about employable refugees,” hesaid. The HR team at Naafi wants to recruit refugees to fill skills shortagesand increase the ethnic diversity of staff. Naafi is having problems addingleisure and retail assistants to its 4,500-strong staff base, and ethnicminorities represent less than 1 per cent of its employees. Tricia Martin, HR adviser at Naafi – which provides the military withretail, catering and leisure services – also wants the Government to abolishthe law that restricts the employment of refugees on military bases until theyhave been resident in the UK for five years. She says, “There are no contact names or numbers to tap into to gainmore information. It is a shame considering we are talking about legitimaterefugees who would be much better integrated into society if they wereemployed, draw less funds from the state and gain self-respect.” Jurys Kensington Hotel, in London, employs 15 refugees as cleaners andporters, and its HR and training manager believes they play a crucial role inthe company. Robert King explains, “The refugees we employ are essential to our business– they are prepared to work hard and get their hands dirty.” He supports Personnel Today’s calls for a standard permission-to-workdocument and a skills database. King says, “We see a lot of different types of documentation from theHome Office and the Immigration Service which can make it difficult to work outwhether refugees are eligible to work. “You need honest employees in a hotel because staff have access toguests’ property, and we need to be able to prove that the person applying forthe job is who they say they are. A standard document would help employersquestion if something isn’t right.” He is also convinced that a skills database would get refugees andasylum-seekers into work quicker. “If employers could use a databasecontaining checked information and some idea of the individual competencies ofthe refugee, then it would allow them to get into the workplace morereadily.” Reporting by Mike Broad, Paul Nelson and Ross Wigham. Comments are closed. Related posts: Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img Case studiesOn 20 Nov 2001 in Military, Personnel Today 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 read more

Football focus keeps Accenture on the ball

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Consulting company Accenture is planning to screen all of the 2002 World Cupmatches at its UK offices. Tim Robinson, HR director for Accenture in the UK, said the company feels itis important to enter into the spirit of the World Cup and it recognises itsimportance to staff. The games will be shown on big screens in communal areas of the offices andbecause it is a global company with a number of overseas consultants based inthe UK, the firm will show all the matches, not just England games. Robinson said the company wants to turn a possible negative into ateam-building opportunity for its 7,000 staff. During the Cup, cafés at the Accenture offices in London, Manchester,Newcastle and Windsor will be selling ‘World Cup’ food with 10 per cent of the revenuegoing to charity. “Rather than looking at this event in negative terms of absenteeism, wewant to turn it into something positive. “By screening matches in all of our UK offices, staff can watch gamestogether, have fun and also raise money for charity at the same time,”said Robinson. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Football focus keeps Accenture on the ballOn 14 May 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Pay audits are key to equality

first_imgOne year on, the recommendations of the Equal Pay Task Force and its JustPay report are beginning to have an impact. The basics of an Equal Pay Review are straightforward. Within a Stage Onereview there is a requirement to undertake a ‘pay system equality check’ aswell as a ‘review of like work’ and a ‘review of equal value’. The latter twoinvolve simple comparisons of average hourly earnings and identifying gendergaps between pay for men and women. The main difficulty is whether thisinformation is available in a readily usable form. The Equality Check establishes whether there is a fully communicated ‘policyon equal pay’ and whether responsibility for implementation has been clearlyassigned. The crunch comes, however, with one question in the equality check:”Is there a single analytical job evaluation system in place?” Organisations cannot conduct a cursory ‘review of like work’ but mustaddress the issue at a more fundamental level – namely with a well-designed,inclusive and soundly implemented job evaluation scheme. This provides the foundation for a successful Stage 2 Review, to identifythe nature, causes and extent of pay inequalities and requires an action planto resolve any differences. The selection of factors in an analytical job evaluation scheme must benon-gender biased (there is guidance given on this in the EOC publication GoodPractice Guide on Job Evaluation Schemes Free of Sex Bias). This does notpreclude, however, the factors selected having a hard business edge to them. The best business-focused and gender-proofed schemes are designed, developedand implemented by user organisations themselves – with, generally, onlyminimal external advice being necessary if the HR team does not have theexpertise. Of course some resource input is necessary, but with the latestadvances in job holder ‘self evaluation’ this too can be limited. Job descriptions, which form a fundamental input to job evaluation, need notbe burdensome or restrictive. They can, when audited and improved, bestreamlined documents that can flex to the changing needs of the organisation.To obtain real value, the same document should be used for recruitment,training and performance improvement activities as well as providing a basisfor fair pay. The implementation of job evaluation results – whether used to devise a payspine, grades or broad bands – can result in gender bias and a pay audit willestablish whether this is the case. The potential this gives to enhancedevelopment and control of costs while rewarding contribution and achievementis immense. Derek Burn is director consulting, DLA-MCG Pay audits are key to equalityOn 21 May 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Out of touch MBAs add little to the bottom line

first_imgOut of touch MBAs add little to the bottom lineOn 25 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Jonas Ridderstrale, author of the best-selling management book, FunkyBusiness, likes to refer to the old joke about MBA standing for ‘mediocre butarrogant’. And it’s not sour grapes – Ridderstrale has an MBA himself.According to him, MBA graduates share a “dirty little secret”. The secret is that they all study the same books. His point is that MBA graduates cannot give your organisation a competitiveadvantage if they are just introducing the same business models as their peersin competitor organisations. Research by the Work Foundation, revealed exclusively in this week’s issueof Personnel Today (Features, page 21) questions the value of MBAs and whethercompanies are getting any return on course fees of up to £60,000. Organisationsare spending at least £10m a year on people who repay them by leaving thecompany within a year of graduating, the research shows. From the graduates’ point of view, the MBA brand is as powerful as ever asit is a passport into the lucrative world of international consulting. Nearly aquarter of MBAs work in consulting, and less than one in 10 were doing sobefore they took the degree. Even if the MBA graduate stays you probably have no measure of how effectivethey have been. Little or no work has been done on assessing MBA graduates’contribution. Which brings us to the biggest concern of all: hardly any MBAs cover HRmanagement and few offer training on personal development and leadership. Inother words the MBA concept is looking increasingly out of touch with the realworld where it is recognised that in the knowledge economy it is people whoprovide the only source of competitive advantage. It is time companies stopped being star-struck by MBAs and started asking ifthey are worth the paper they are printed on. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Hotline launched to help workforce deal with stress

first_imgStaff at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are benefiting from a newemployee assistance programme designed to help them deal with the stresses ofmodern life. More than 60,000 civil servants have been given access to a confidential hotline,offering advice and support on a variety of issues arising from home and worklife. In the first two months since its launch, almost 600 troubled staff havesought advice, with about 400 concerned over personal problems and 160complaining about workplace issues. Kevin White, group HR director at DWP, said the hotline was launched partlyfor business reasons but also to provide staff with a good working environment.The hotline provides access to professionally-qualified counsellors, who canset up private meetings for staff seeking advice on work or personal problems. Previous Article Next Article Hotline launched to help workforce deal with stressOn 5 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Career file: Keeping faith with online methods

first_imgCareer file: Keeping faith with online methodsOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today OliverCouchman, 26, a training consultant at Standard Life, invites readers to holdon to the dream of e-learning, yet surprisingly, forecasts a rosy future forclassroomsHow long have you been doing this job? Six months. What does your role involve? I am an in-house business partner to our internal account managers. Theyrequire a range of soft-skills, process and FS-technical training to improvethe value-add and relationship they offer to independent financial advisers. What are the best and worst things about this job? The best is the wide spectrum of the collective training need, whichcontinually enhances the quality of our training interventions. The most difficulttask is to quantitatively justify training – it comes with the job, but there’sa world of qualitative benefits and we need to widen the lens. What is your current major training project or strategic push? I am project managing the initial launch of an online study guide, whichprovides substantive product knowledge and technical training to our base ofIFA account managers. I am also delivering time management and presentationskills courses and manage external providers of advanced learning solutions. What did you want to do for a living when you were at school? I wanted to write music for film and television. What was your first job? Crowd steward at Chelsea and Wembley Stadium. How and why did you become a trainer? I had a chance to join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ behavioural change managementteam after my initial accountancy and legal training with them. What was the best career decision you ever made? Moving into an in-house role with Standard Life – I now get to ‘be therewhen it happens’. And what was the worst? Putting 95 per cent of my time into e-learning, thinking it was thismystical thing that would transform life as we know it. It has a very valuableplace, but we are humans and like to network and seek assurance from smileyfaces. Which of your qualifications do you most value and why? My law degree – it gave me a balanced view of natural law and the widerconcept of equity. What was the worst training course you have experienced as a delegate? I went on a tax-calculation workshop which spent zero time gauging theaudience’s knowledge and ongoing energy levels. Do you think that evaluation is a Holy Grail or an impossible dream? Good evaluation of 50 per cent of training solutions is entirely attainable.The remaining 50 per cent requires some reality – in many agreeable outputs tobottom-line, it is impossibly hard to distinguish the training input from theothers it has bled into. How do you think that your job will have changed in five years’ time? The audience will continue to be more demanding with their e-learningexpectations; solutions will need to be more enthusing and more involving.Shock-horror, we will still have classrooms. What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future? Interpersonal skills; global, regional and sector commercial awareness. What advice would you give to someone starting out in training anddevelopment? Keep an open mind; know your place as part of a project but challenge allthe time – the best trainers have directed passion and it shows through theirwork. What is your preferred terminology? ‘Appropriate training’, ‘business-partner’ and ‘hand-holding’. I also likethe word ’empathy’ and the phrase ‘duty of business care’. Which buzzwords do you loathe? Centric (as in learner-centric) – I’m cutting down on my usage and will weanonto learner-centred Are you good at self-development? Do hairdressers have bad hair? But, I have begun over the last 18 months toset aside time for my own progression. Up close and personalHow do you network?Courses are great for networking. I also travel between London andEdinburgh and around the English branches. It’s good to meet people at theirplace of work.If you could have any job in the world what would it be?I would like to act in a Merchant Ivory/Working Title film, or play for aPremiership team.Describe your management style?Demonstrative, participative, trusting.Do you take work home with you?Yes, but I’m dealing with my problem.What is your motto?Understand, then contribute and care.How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues ?As approachable, someone who is calm under pressure and delivers.Where do you want to be in five years’ time?Still on ‘planet training’ but with my wife, two children and a better car.Which courses and learning experiences have been most usefulfor you? I have been on some greatsoft-skills courses, however, it is my own course responsibility which ishoning my experiential learning.Which is the best management book you have ever read?The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R Covey (Published bySimon & Schuster)Which training gurus, management experts or business peopledo you most admire?I happen to believe that Bill Clinton is the greatest public speaker of ourtime. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Met introducing police crèches

first_img Previous Article Next Article Met introducing police crèchesOn 11 Feb 2003 in Police, Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. The head of the Metropolitan police has called for a crèche at every mainpolice station in London to help staff with childcare and recruit more women. Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens told a conference for senior femaleofficers the Met had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ over female recruitment inthe drive for ethnic minority candidates. Only around 17 per cent of the Met’s officers are female. He said this wasnot good enough, and should be more like 30 per cent. To help tackle gender diversity, he announced that a new crèche would beopened for recruits at Hendon police training college within four to fivemonths. A review of the force’s flexible working policy will be published later thisyear, with the emphasis on better management of long or unsociable hours. The Met is set to launch a childcare voucher scheme in April for staffearning less than £30,000. last_img read more

BSkyB stays tight-lipped over McCoy resignation

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. BSkyB stays tight-lipped over McCoy resignationOn 15 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Broadcaster BSkyB has had a senior HR staff reshuffle after group HRdirector Craig McCoy resigned following controversy over union recognition. McCoy left last month after threatening that jobs would be lost if staffvoted in favour of union recognition. His departure followed an ongoing disputewith broadcasting union Bectu. McCoy sent a letter to staff, telling them the company would consider outsourcingits call centre operations if a vote forrecognition of Bectu was successful(News, 18 February). BSkyB corporate communications manager Robert Fraser told Personnel Todaythat McCoy has been replaced by Marie-Helene Ferguson – the broadcaster’ssenior employment solicitor. Sources at Sky told Personnel Today that Anne Necus, head of HR anddevelopment, has also left the company, but Fraser said he could not comment onthe matter. He refused to say whether Necus was still working for Sky or to namethe current head of HR and development. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

No recourse over dismissal by text

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. No recourse over dismissal by textOn 10 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today New European employee consultation laws to be introduced in the UK would nothave prevented The Accident Group from sacking staff by text messages. The firm caused a furore after it sacked more than 2,400 staff, many by textmessage, after parent company the Amulet Group went into administration. However, Mike Emmott, employee relations expert at the Chartered Instituteof Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the forthcoming Information andConsultation Directive (ICD) would have done little to prevent the firm actingin the way it has. The ICD, to be introduced into the UK for larger companies from 2005, willforce employers to consult with staff in more detail and at an earlier stageabout issues affecting job security. “The ICD wouldn’t really have helped because current laws already coverthis. There are legal remedies – and I don’t think the directive would add tothe effectiveness of those remedies,” Emmott said. Under the Collective Redundancies Directive, a firm must consult withelected staff members if it plans to make more than 20 people redundant. Emmott said The Accident Group’s actions hinge on how much the company knewabout its parent company’s financial situation, and if management had enoughtime to consult with staff. “At least the text messages meant they allknew at the same time and before the story hit the press,” he said. By Ross WighamSecurity officer breaks bad newsA City worker only learned of his impending redundancy when hissecurity pass failed to open the car park exit barrier. After complaining to the security officer on duty, Mike Newmanwas told his pass had been cancelled by his employer, Dutch-owned bank ABNAmro, because he was about to be made redundant. last_img read more