Previous Article Next Article Beingsent on a secondment is no longer merely a handy way of sidelining a managerwho is past their use-by date. The placements are now seen as mutuallybeneficial to the company and the employee. Lucie Carrington reportsSecondmentsare no longer simply an expensive way of putting senior managers out to grass.They have become a key management development tool for junior, middle andsenior managers. Nordo they always involve sending someone off to work for a good cause for acouple of years and wondering if you will ever meet again. Nowthere is a plethora of approaches firms can take, from the traditionallong-term secondments through to short-term or day release-type schemes.Theadvantages to both sides of the secondment equation are obvious – developingmanagers gain experience that their own organisations perhaps cannot provide.And the host organisation gets business skills it probably can’t afford.“Manylarge organisations are realising that the only role models their developingmanagers have are the previous generation of managers. But these are notnecessarily the right role models for the future of their business,” saysRobert Rosenfeld, consultant at Garner Hall.“Atthe same time they are keen to limit the amount of management development thatgoes on in the classroom and are on the lookout for more creative ways oflearning.” Secondments get the thumbs up on both counts.TheGovernment runs a massive secondment scheme called Interchange. It is designedto provide civil servants with experience of business, and to give businesspeople first-hand knowledge of Whitehall. NetworkingpotentialInterchangeis also aimed at bringing fresh, new, business skills into government and hasbecome a major plank of the Government’s modernising agenda. Sofar nearly 4,000 Interchanges have taken place. These include long-termsecondments of up to three years, shorter attachments, job shadowing, mentoringand non-executive postings. Butwhile it is potentially a terrific networking moment for firms, it is maybe notthe best training and development opportunity.Businessin the Community has been brokering short-term secondments between the privateand voluntary sectors for several years. It calls them community assignmentsand they are part-time projects involving 100 to 200 hours spread over aboutsix months. Voluntaryorganisations come up with the projects they want done, while BITC develops thebrief to meet the needs of the secondee. Corporate clients include Marks &Spencer, insurance firm Marsh UK, Barclays Bank and the Contributions Agency.Interpersonalskills“Theyare particularly good for developing interpersonal skills such as confidence,initiative, problem-solving and negotiation skills,” says Amanda Jones,director of corporate community investment at Business in the Community. “Wevisit every secondee and go through a competence assessment with them todetermine what they want to get out of the secondment. “Wealso visit their line managers to be sure that they will support secondeesthrough the assignment.”Itall sounds too easy, but secondments do require a tremendous amount ofpreparation, says learning and development director at the Industrial SocietyAndrew Forrest. He suggests there are several crucial steps for firms to takeif their schemes – short- or long-term – are to succeed: –Secondees, their line managers and the training department must be clear aboutthe learning goals –Secondments should be a step up for someone if they are to be trulydevelopmental, but they must also be achievable, Forrest says–Programmes should also build in a time for testing the water. Secondees need toget some idea of the management style of their host organisations and be surethat there will be no culture clash before taking the plunge. Forrest says, “Itseems obvious, but it goes wrong so often. People bumble through, making themost of a bad job.”Forrestalso recommends that all forms of secondment should include mentoring. Thiscould mean calling on someone back home or someone in the host organisation. Anddevelopment specialists must also be ready to manage secondees’ expectationsafter a secondment. “It often results in people wanting to take a morestrategic role in the organisation,” Rosenfeld says. Soif a company is touting a secondment scheme as a route to senior managementcompetence, then it could be that there has to be a senior management job atthe end of it.LloydsTSB invests in futureLloydsTSB has turned to the voluntary sector as a means of broadening the experienceof future leaders of the bank.Togetherwith consultancy Garner Hall, Lloyds TSB has developed a short-term secondmentprogramme, Delivering Value. This allocates small teams of managers tostrategic projects that voluntary organisations could not otherwise consider. Essentially,these teams provide six days’ free consulting over a 12-week period whilecontinuing with their day jobs.“Fromthe point of view of developing managers and executives, the opportunity to usethe real world is a very powerful tool,” says senior manager, managementdevelopment John Wilson.“Makingit up the last few rungs of the ladder is about broadening out skills anddeveloping strategic thinking. So there has to be a strategic element tosecondments, they can’t be about operational improvements.”About45 senior managers take part each year. They are identified as potentialleaders of the organisation through the bank’s internal appraisal andassessment systems. Programmedirector and consultant with Garner Hall Robert Rosenfeld says, “Generally,they will have had significant experience inside the organisation, but not muchexposure to business issues in a non-banking environment.”Theprogramme involves three or four projects running at the same time. Teams havenot necessarily worked together before and are allocated projects that aredesigned to stretch them. So, for example, a marketer would not necessarily getthe marketing project. “It has to be a real challenge,” Rosenfeld says.Projectsare identified through the Lloyds TSB Foundation, a grant-giving body withplenty of third-sector contacts.Theprogramme is divided into three modules and kicks off with a three-day session. Participants come together as alarge group to find out more about the principles and practice of consulting.Teams then meet up with their clients and spend time honing and refining theirproject brief.Overthe next six weeks they work further on the project, perhaps individually, as agroup or with the client. After six weeks they have another opportunity to goout to their clients and see how things have changed. Duringthe second six-week break participants finish off the project ready for apresentation to the client. A separate presentation to the Lloyds TSBuniversity and the foundation gives them the chance to show what they havelearned from the project. This makes up the third module.“It’sa unique programme because it relies on the individuals taking part to make ithappen rather than on trainers or facilitators,” Rosenfeld says. “Alot of management training still assumes the participants are children. Butthis is about doing a serious job. It’s a grown-up approach to managementdevelopment.” Comments are closed. First-class postOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Parental leave move slammed as damagingOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Employershave described the Government’s move to extend parental leave to all employeeswith children under five as unnecessary and potentially damaging to Britishbusiness. Last week Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers announced that the Governmentwill give employees 13 weeks’ unpaid leave if their child was under five on 15December 1999. Currently parents can claim parental leave only if the child was born afterthis date. Employees will be able to ask for a maximum one month off a year until theirchild’s fifth birthday, although employers will be able to delay leave if it isduring a busy time for the company. The move brings Britain into line with the rest of the EU, and will benefitnearly three million employees. The decision, made the week before the TUC andthe Government meet in the European Court of Justice to rule over itsinterpretation, has angered employers who believe that too much parentallegislation is being implemented. The CBI claims the decision will stiffen employers’ resolve to fightpart-time working under the work and parents green paper, released last year. Lew Swift, director of HR at the Walton Centre for Neurology andNeurosurgery, says, “The move will dramatically affect the NHS. Nurseshortages will worsen and the potential impact on services combined with othernew parental legislation will leave the NHS struggling. Mike Emmott, the CIPD’s employee relations adviser, thought employers wouldbe hit badly by the new rules. He said, “Short-term crowding, numerous employees taking paternityleave at the same time will worry employers. This will bring a modest expenseas organisations will have to train existing staff to cover positions as wellas recruiting temporary employees.”
Comments are closed. One early, high-profile and successful prosecution of a major businessfigure under a proposed law of corporate killing could be followed by a slumpin the accident statistics as business priorities are reassessed across theeconomy. This statement is from an article by the TUC’s general secretary and willsend a shudder down the spines of senior HR people in large corporations. The offence of corporate killing is proposed in the draft Safety Billpromised by the Home Office to be included in early legislation of the newParliament (see p1). Still up for discussion is whether the legislation willforce companies to nominate a director to be personally responsible for healthand safety or whether it will be a collective board responsibility. Any HR director will welcome steps to improve health and safety in a companyto protect their staff and the public. And this piece of legislation will meancompanies will have to review their approach to health and safety policies,test that they work and ensure managers can enforce it. But it is unfair that HR directors should shoulder all the burden ofresponsibility and then take the blame and punishment when things godrastically wrong. Why should a personnel director be disqualified from actingin a management role or, even worse, go to jail? A safety disaster could beblamed on the finance director who did not agree to spending on safety, orpinned on an operations director who failed to control workplace risk, ratherthan an HR director who did not oversee safety induction training. The HRmanager can drive health and safety but the whole management board should takecollective responsibility for it. Related posts:No related photos. Work safety failures not just HR’s faultOn 19 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. LettersOn 31 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article This week’s lettersLetter of the week Balance initiative missed the point I read with interest your cover story (News, July 17) about work-lifebalance initiatives at UBS Warburg and I applaud the motives behind them andwish them success. However, I can’t help feeling that we might be about to missthe point. Surely the reason any individual might want a better work-lifebalance is not so that he or she can cope with the problems of life from theoffice desk, but is about creating a pattern of work that enables thatindividual to be most effective at work and have time to pursue interestsoutside the office. Maybe it’s just a question of semantics. Work-life balance suggests that thetwo are inherently incompatible when, for most people, they are inextricablylinked. Perhaps a more accurate, description is work-home balance and thisredefinition might help to focus on the key issues. I agree that it is veryuseful to manage your household affairs from the office, but the in-escapableimplication of this is that individuals will be able to spend more time at workbecause everything else can be dealt with by phone or over the Internet. We have been working hard over the past 18 months to change the way ourstaff think about work and how they balance the demands of a rapidly growingbusiness with home lives. In principle, we are happy to consider homeworking,job sharing, hot-desking, shift working as well as process redesign andorganisational structure as legitimate actions that help deliver top-classbusiness performance while recognising the other demands on our time I recognise that the increasing demands we place on our staff to do more inless time and with less support reflects the general economic climate, andthere are many people who thrive on this kind of pressure. But we all know thatfor most of us this is a one-way ticket to individual and corporate burnout.Using some of the alternatives I’ve outlined above may point the way to a workenvironment in which what you do outside the office counts as much as what youdo in it. Kevin Cripps HR director, Cogent Partnership is not just a passing fad We should very much welcome the contribution of the Industrial Society’sPatrick Burns (Comment, 10 July) in highlighting the importance of theGovernments Partnership at work initiative. It does appear that sometimes theFund is very much on the margins of the Government agenda, yet the Fund ismaking a valuable contribution to the sea change taking place in many workareas in the field of employment relations. I totally agree with Patrick when he calls for the Fund to be expanded, £5mover four years is a tiny amount compared to other government grant schemes. Inaddition, I would call for more help for smaller employers to participate inthe scheme, there must be a lot of SMEs and small voluntary-sectororganisations who would benefit from grants towards developing more progressiveemployment relations cultures in their organisations. I also support the idea of lifting the barriers for public sectororganisations in participating in the initiative. Particularly when, forexample, employment partnerships are so central to the HR strategy in the NHS,sometimes the idea of “match funding” can be a serious disincentive. Since its recent launch, the Centre for Employment Relations andPartnerships has uncovered a considerable level of interest from work organisationsacross the Midlands, our aim has been to establish an affordable support or-ganisation to aid smaller employers to build partnership cultures within theirorganisations. While some HR practitioner may see social partnerships as a passing fad, wecan point to the lessons of many employers in our EU Partner countries who canboast increased productivity, efficiency and improved quality of services asevidence that partnership does work. Robert Quick Head of centre for Employment Relations & Partnerships, Mackworth College “It’s” the most HR misspelt word Susan-Carol Bayliss commented in “Employer spelt out its appeal”,(Letters, 10 July), that liaison might be the most misspelt HR word. Well, Ithink it’s “its”, if you see what I mean! At least your headline to Susan-Carol’s letter was correct, but manyapparently educated people get it wrong. As for “redundantapostrophes”, I’ve seen them all – even a notice on the M74 about”road work’s”. I lecture in HRM and my colleagues and students thinkI am picky for pointing out these errors, but as Susan- Carol points out, it’sabout presentation. Can’t computer spell-checks be programmed to sound an alarmat such mistakes? Mary Brown Via e-mail
Advice is given on how to decide whether to stand and fight or beat astrategic retreat when an employee makes a claim for occupational noise-inducedhearing loss. By Dr S J Karmy With Police Constable Alan Ross launching a £15,000 claim against the GrampianPolice this spring for a hearing loss allegedly caused by 14 years of noiseexposure to the barking of police dogs, it is difficult to know from whichdirection the next noise-induced hearing loss claim will come. The government of Southern Ireland understands this, as it has paid out£104m since 1996, after a sizeable portion of the Irish Army claimed against itfor noise-induced hearing loss caused during training. A total of £85m was setaside in the 1998 defence budget for settling claims and it is thought that thefinal cost will top out at between £144m and £160m. This is far from being an Irish phenomenon, however. Figures produced by theAssociation of British Insurers suggest that the number of claims fornoise-induced hearing loss is running at roughly a third of the total claimsfaced by insurers for all types of industrial injuries. Add to this the currentcampaign by the TGWU to highlight the acoustic problems faced by employees inthe UK’s rapidly growing call centre workforce, plus the financiallycompounding effect of adding noise-induced tinnitus to a claim fornoise-induced hearing loss, and it can be seen that the need to monitor thehearing of employees in British industry is as high as ever. Previous articles by the present author have emphasised the value ofindustrial audiometry in protecting the hearing of noise-exposed employees,which it does in a variety of ways. Undoubtedly, this is the main objective of a programme of hearing testing,but the rest of this article explores what can be done with the audiometricresults to allow the employer to defend itself against undeserved claims, andto justify payment to those with reasonable grounds for legal action. Reacting to a claim Given the nature of the slimmed-down human resources and occupational healthdepartments of the 2000s, a difficult judgement needs to be made when a claimarises. How do you decide whether you should stand and fight, or beat astrategic retreat? It is all too tempting to hand the whole matter over to your insurer foraction, but as likely as not, it will wish to settle the claim quickly for youout of court. This is not as generous as it seems, for next year your insurancepremium will probably rise to take account of the new and proven risk ofsuccessful hearing loss claims against you. Over succeeding years, theinsurance company will eventually get back more than the value of the originalaward as, quite naturally, it needs to make a profit. Leaving the decisions totally in the hands of the insurers displays asomewhat relaxed attitude. Your company really needs its own test protocol, onewhich will provide results that can be used to encourage the insurers either tofight or settle. Such a protocol is suggested towards the end of this article.It may be needed for a second reason. You will probably need help in the futureto refute claims by well-meaning medical practitioners that a particularemployee’s hearing loss was caused by noise exposure. To explain why, we mustdiscuss the 1989 UK Noise Regulations that are about to change. The new noise regulations Just when we had become used to the UK Noise Regulations, it is now almostcertain that they will be tightened as a result of more restrictive Europeanlegislation to be adopted before the end of 2001. Tighter UK Noise Legislationmust then be enacted before the end of 2004 – which could mean as early as2002, although a later date is more likely. Full details of the likely form of the new legislation are available fromScientifics – see the address at the end of this article – but in a nutshell, afar higher number of employees than ever before will be included in the hearingconservation programme and the permissible noise exposure limits will be lowered.The current main second action level of a daily noise exposure of 90dB(A), forexample, will be reduced to 87dB(A) and employees will be able to demandhearing protection at levels 5dB lower than is the case currently. For a few months earlier this year it even appeared that the noise exposurelevel at which employees could request hearing checks under the new directivewould be lowered by 5dB from its current daily noise exposure value of 85dB(A)as specified in the original 1986 EEC directive, thus vastly expanding thenumber of employees in the audiometric testing programme. However, the HSEfought this proposal and the current 1986 value will be retained in the newdirective. The alert reader may find this starting level of 85dB(A) difficult toreconcile with the current higher starting levels for audiometry given in theHSE 1995 guidance booklet Health Surveillance in Noisy Industries but this isbecause the HSE advised UK Ministers that the 85dB(A) EEC obligation could bemet by referring to the NHS all employees exposed to this level who wanted anannual screening test. Surely this advice can only be valid in a parallel universe. When the newregulations come into force it would be surprising if Brussels allowed the UKto get away with that very suspect NHS ploy twice. Of particular relevance here, however, is that the new directive doescontain interesting wording on the topic of audiometric results. If, ontesting, an employee is found to have an “identifiable” hearing loss,a doctor, or a specialist if the doctor thinks it is necessary, shall assesswhether the damage is likely to have been due to exposure to noise at work. Ifthe loss is thought to be due to noise, then the doctor or other suitablyqualified person should inform the employee accordingly. This raises the question of how the doctor or other specialist is going tobe able to decide if the loss is due to noise or not. A wrong decision will notonly affect the particular employee, but also trigger audiometry for otheremployees thought to have been similarly exposed. Obviously the HSE will need to write a new code of practice on audiometricassessment, but this is not likely to happen swiftly, and in the meantimecompanies and the medical profession will need some guidelines to assist insuch assessments. To do this, a scientific method is needed whereby you can demonstrate thelegitimacy or otherwise of a noise-induced hearing loss claim, the sameconclusion with which we ended the last section. Scientific proof Fortunately, it is now possible to put scientific, numerical proof forwardagainst the expert who retreats behind the “in the light of myexperience” defence when asked for evidence to back up his claim that theloss was caused by exposure to noise at work. Epidemiological studies over the last few decades have allowed scientists tolink episodes of noise exposure quantitatively to the resultant hearing loss.Using these results, you can assess how closely the measured hearing lossmatches the degree of noise to which the employee has been exposed. However, atleast two problems remain. Firstly, some of the calculations required can be laborious and difficult toapply mathematically by the uninitiated. Many conceptual traps also await theunwary. Secondly, a variety of calculation formulae and methods exist, anddecisions need to be taken as to which to use, and which database of non-noiseexposed controls should be used. One answer is to accept the help and guidance offered by a piece of softwareknown as NoiseCalculator. It enables non-specialists to perform thesophisticated calculations and checks. However, a third problem still remains. Linking noise exposure to a measuredhearing loss is complicated by the variability of the effect of noise upondifferent people. Expose 10 employees to the same amount of noise, and 10different noise-induced hearing losses will probably result. So how do you link cause and effect? The answer is to adopt the sameprocedure in the investigation as would be used by the courts in deciding uponthe outcome of the whole case. Here the major decision would be taken “onthe balance of probabilities”, and it is possible to use the mathematicsof the chosen assessment method in the same way. Again, the software will help,as indicated by the screenshot of the NoiseCalculator (Figure 1). The crosses and circles represent the hearing acuity in the employee’s leftand right ears respectively. The upper and lower bounds of the grey area showthe hearing losses to be expected in the 25th and 75th percentile of thepopulation if exposed to the same amount of noise as the employee in question.The white line bisecting the grey area shows the median expected loss, whilethe lower dotted line represents the loss that the 10 per cent most susceptiblepeople in the population might sustain after the given noise exposure. As can be seen, the hearing loss exhibited by the employee in question isfar worse than any of these percentile boundaries, meaning that it is highlylikely that some other damaging mechanism must be at work. This gives stronggrounds for the construction of a defence, and a justification to go to theexpense of funding a full clinical investigation of the employee concerned. And what if you have no accurate noise exposure data for the employee? Well,use a worst-case estimate. If the hearing loss of the employee greatly exceedsthat which is likely under worst-case conditions, then the case for the defenceis greatly improved. If you do not have any noise level measurements availableat all, then the programme will suggest typical levels in various occupationsfor you. Additionally, you can run a few worst-case scenarios predicting the possiblelosses that an employee may have sustained in previous occupations. The programmewill divide responsibility for the currently observed hearing loss between allthe employers in the employee’s work history, according to the noise exposurefor which they were responsible. This would give a legitimate reason for approaching the previous employersto discuss the overall claim with a view to arriving at an agreement over ajoint out-of-court liability payment. It is more than likely that initiallythey would reject such an approach, but sight of the calculations described maychange their minds. What can you do immediately? – Ramp up your hearing conservation programme – Start audiometry as recommended by the HSE – Use the most accurate form of audiometry available – the zigzag Bekesymethod – Think of using an audiometer such as the CA850 shown that contains aninternal database, or link it to your computer or occupational health softwarepackage so that you have sequential audiograms with which to both protect anemployee and form a defence – Look at the way you are measuring noise – are you still measuring thenoise emitted by machines, or are you now able to measure the actual noise doseexperienced by an employee? Noise measuring equipment has become less expensive and more sophisticatedover the last decade, as has hearing protection. Review what you are using –any design changes which encourage employees to make full use of them all ofthe time they are exposed to hazardous industrial noise are to be welcomed.Earmuffs are available, for example, containing receivers which accept threeentertainment channels from an aerial strung around the factory walls, and anew natural sound technology earplug has been launched with flatter attenuationcharacteristics, permitting better reception of speech, and a more consistentperformance in differing noise environments around the plant. The new noise regulations will force industry to concentrate even harder onits efforts to eradicate noise at source, and it is worth looking regularly tosee what new advances may be available to make protecting the hearing inindustry easier. Further information can be obtained from the author at SJK Scientifics,Epsilon House, The University Research Park, Chilworth, Southampton SO1 7NS,Tel: 023 8076 7954 or e-mail scientifics@FSBDial.co.uk Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. A word in your earOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today
Outsourcing, restructuring, corporate acquisition and consolidation usuallyspell dislocation for the workforce. This presents HR professionals with agreat challenge. Sara Bean reports on how one of Europe’s largest computerservice companies copes with constant changeThe legal and practical considerations of organisational change oftenpresent the greatest challenge to an HR professional. How do you ensure asmooth transition while managing both corporate needs and those of theindividuals affected by the change, and negotiating numerous legal hurdlesincluding Tupe, information and consultation laws and contractual matters? HR specialists at EDS grapple with the question every day. The US-basedglobal company pioneered the IT services industry back in the 1960s, and nowsupplies e-business and information technology services to client organisationsin 46 countries. But when EDS takes over the running of the IT department of ablue-chip client, it also assumes responsibility for the people who work there.Although the company has a high graduate intake (over 600 graduates in the UKalone in 2000 and 2001), just over 40 per cent of its 38,000 employees inEurope joined the company by transferring from a client organisation. Managing the needs not only of the client, but of EDS and the transferringemployees is a daunting brief. The company’s rate of growth is way ahead of themarket rate – since 1984 it has made around 400 outsourcing deals throughoutEurope. “It’s a massive challenge,” says Graeme Simms, EDS HR director forEurope. “There may be a lot of technology around supporting change, butseamless transition is a difficult goal. In fact, I spend 90 per cent of mytime managing the change drivers needed to integrate thousands of new peopleinto the organisation.” And, explains Simms, “When you get a global organisation wanting tooutsource in more than one country, you cannot isolate those countries in theway you treat the workforce.” Because many of the organisations that enter an outsourcing relationshipoperate internationally, EDS often has to navigate its way through the legal,political and socio-economic mores of a number of countries simultaneously. Forexample, in 2001, the company signed a contract with the Swedish-based engineeringfirm SKF, which entailed the transfer of some 700 people across 39 countries.Not surprisingly, the company relies heavily on the services of its solicitors,Allen & Overy, who not only advise on the legal aspects of a transition,but also work in close partnership to satisfy the business requirements of manyprojects. Pension protection Dr Neil Bentley, employee relations specialist for EDS Europe, says thecompany’s mantra is always to stay legally compliant when people transfer. Thefirm aims to offer the same terms and conditions overall as the outgoingemployer, including pensions rights. This is more generous than the currentTupe position, which does not require the pensions of transferring employees tobe protected – although that may change under the Government’s review of theregulations. However, explains Bentley, it is just as important to minimise theapprehension of incoming employees who find they are now working for anentirely different organisation from the one they chose to join. EDS places emphasis on good communications throughout a transition programmewhich, because it can take around 18 months to complete, can be a time ofanxiety for those involved in the move. Says Bentley, “People are ourfocus, and that sort of change can be traumatic. Few people like change. We tryand alleviate that stress and address those fears. We aim to be the employer ofchoice, offering all our staff the best opportunities.” The company has found that the legal requirement for works councils in manyEuropean countries is a useful reference point when dealing with, andreassuring, nervous transferees. The firm’s European Works Council, withrepresentatives from 17 countries, and the domestic works councils in 12countries, are closely involved with transition projects; many of the currentrepresentatives are able to offer experience of moving from one company toanother with new recruits. Their motivation, says Bentley, is that the employee representatives seethemselves as having a positive role to play in company development. “Theyunderstand the need to be able to cope with the business changes. There is atrust between management and works council representatives which works bothways. For that reason, the works councils are there to tell the truth, to givetheir honest opinion on their experiences of working for EDS.” Consultation process A typical transition programme operates in three phases. During thepre-transition period, EDS and the outgoing company will discuss the employee benefits,terms and conditions, and cultural and organisational details involved in themove. The two companies will also enter into consultation with the employeesthemselves, either with an employee representative group set up especially forthe transition, an incumbent works council or a trades union. This process also applies to the UK, where there have been 120 outsourcingdeals since the company was established in 1984, 102 of which have taken placesince 1994. In fact, over the last five years the firm’s UK base has doubled insize, its ranks swelled by new recruits such as the Inland Revenue, the LondonBorough of Brent, Rolls Royce, the DVLA, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Xerox. In the UK, explains Lance Williams, HR director, the union is often verymuch part of the transition process. “Of the 120 transfers into EDS in theUK, a third of them have involved trade unions. The UK does not currently havea mature works council infrastructure, so much of our work has been with tradeunions. We find that moving people from the public to the private sectorusually involves a union.” And although Williams agrees that the eventual introduction of the Europeandirective on informing and consulting employees in the UK will invariably meanthat more become involved in outsourcing programmes, he says, “I thinkthat the trade unions will continue to make a significant contribution in theoverall employee relations arena.” During the pre-transition period EDS will also develop a transition andacclimation plan for all the new employees, and give them the opportunity tomeet with EDS representatives to discuss the implications of the move. The second phase of the transition process is the transfer itself, theeffects of which, explains Williams, the firm likes to keep to a minimum.”Our main aim is to ensure that day one in EDS is just like the previousday in the old organisation so that we are able to take the employees with usthrough change.” Importance of communication By the time the transfer takes place, a full communication programme will beunderway with details of all new personnel set up in the administration system.Company managers will be on site to answer queries. New recruits are graduallyassimilated into the company. According to Williams, labour attrition rates arelow, with an average turnover of only around four per cent among people whohave transferred, compared with an industry average of 15 per cent. The companyavoids relocating staff where possible, preferring to keep employees at the originalsite through development of the existing business. The company is a plural society because of this, explains Williams. Itharbours a common set of values and practice overlaid with a culturallysensitive approach to each client and market place, he says. For example, the staff at the DVLA, embedded into EDS seven years ago, willbe more integrated than those who came in via the ITSA deal with the Departmentof Social Security last year (see case study). But ultimately, says Williams “we’re committed to growing each accountand usually increase opportunities, not deplete them”. “We’re careful not to eliminate the best practice that comes across,but build upon it with our additional expertise and knowledge, while adding agreater opportunity for training and development.” Case study – ITSAIn a major deal with the Departmentof Social Security (now the Department for Work and Pensions) last August, EDStook over the management of the department’s IT operations. The agreement involved the transfer of 1,550 staff from theDSS’ Information Technology Services Agency (ITSA) to EDS. The companyestablished a three-way consultation process between the Public and CommercialServices union (which had a collective agreement covering the entire workforce),the outgoing employer and EDS to discuss all aspects of the transfer from Tupeto pay and conditions. Because the collective agreement between the existingemployer and union still applied at that point, the company got in as early aspossible to address concerns and inform the trade union of any operationalchanges envisaged.Once the administrative changes had been agreed, the companyissued a “measures statement” that outlined processes that mightchange for employees as part of their transfer from a public to a privatecompany. This dialogue was conducted as a three way process all the way throughto the point of transfer. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Dealing with changeOn 1 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today
Related posts:No related photos. Acas thinks again on academic researchOn 5 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Acas is set to add an academic arm to produce research on industrialrelations issues. The arbitration body is not going to revive its think-tank department thatwas dismantled more than 10 years ago, and is looking to produce work-relatedresearch and employer guidelines on best practice. Speaking at the AnUMan conference, Acas chairwoman Rita Donaghy, said:”We must have solid academic information about the link between industrialrelations and productivity.” Donaghy told the conference this development could involve working closelywith bodies such as the CIPD. “We are looking to rebuild the thinking capacity. There are expertsworking for Acas who have built up internal research, now it is time to move onand work with groups like the CIPD, Industrial Society and the IPA,” shesaid. Donaghy told delegates she would like Acas to take on a more proactive role.www.acas.org.uk Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article
Previous Article Next Article The Work Foundation has created a panel of inquiry to look at improving thequality of working life and productivity in the UK. Launched by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, the year-long Workand Enterprise Inquiry will consider high-productivity workplaces in the UKthat incorporate effective work-life balance for staff, with the aim ofproducing best practice guidance. Work Foundation chief executive Will Hutton said the major challenge facingthe UK is to close its long-standing productivity deficit while improving thequality of British working life. “The Panel of Inquiry will examine these two aims, sometimes presentedas conflicting, to establish robust recommendations as to how they can best bemarried together. The encouraging level of private sector interest in theinquiry indicates the urgency of the problem and the business community’sconcern to find solutions in this area.” The panel also includes head of research John Knell, chief economist RebeccaHarding and Margaret Wheeler of Unison. www.theworkfoundation.com Related posts:No related photos. Panel seeks to improve quality of UKworking lifeOn 4 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
This month’s news in brief Going the distanceRos Morpeth, chief executive of the National Extension College is to leavein March 2003. She has helped steer the NEC Since 1987 to become a major playerin tutor-supported home study courses and a major publisher of open anddistance learning materials. Her replacement will lead the NEC in its nextphase – implementation of e-learning. www.nec.ac.ukHostages eventCompanies from across the UK are offered the chance to improve their teammethodology and performance and raise money for children’s charity NCH. The event, Liberation, is a computer-based challenge from Liverpool-basedEvensis. It involves participants in negotiating the release of hostages. Aguaranteed 15 per cent of all revenue generated will go to NCH. Lunchtimeintroductory meetings are being held in Manchester and London this December. www.openchallenge.comBrewing sucessNorth East-based Federation Brewery has synchronised a customised trainingprogramme with the implementation of two new production lines and machinery. Asa result, 26 employees have just completed NVQ level 2 in PerformingManufacturing Operations with training provider Assa and a further 16 areenrolled. www.assaltd.co.ukMetSkill sharpens upThe Metals Industry Skills & Performance (MetSkill) has obtained£800,000 from the National Learning & Skills Council to develop a newgeneration of team members and leaders. The funding means metals companies canaccess industry-developed training for less than 25 per cent of the standardcost. To find out more e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org www.metskill.co.ukGlobal e-learning event The subject of e-learning will take centre stage in 2003 when ScottishEnterprise hosts the global conference eLearn-international 2003.The event,held from 9-12 February next year will line up worldwide experts fromgovernment, commerce and academia. www.elearninternational.co.uk In briefOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.
Related posts: The world waits as virus causes business panicOn 29 Apr 2003 in Coronavirus, 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… Previous Article Next Article Almost half of the world’s multinationals have put a limit on travel tocountries affected by SARS, research has found. A poll of just under 400 multinational organisations, by US HR managementconsultancy Organization Resources Counselors (ORC), shows that most companiesnow require high-level approval for business trips. A fifth of firms are paying for expats to return from the most seriouslyaffected regions. Employers are taking action to stop the spread of SARS. Some are lettingreturning staff take time away from the office as unpaid leave while othersexpect staff to work from home. Four out of 10 firms are conducting surveillance of employees with SARS-likesymptoms. Geoffrey Latta, executive vice-president at ORC, said: “If the numberof cases grows, companies may implement stronger restrictions. But employersare doing the right thing by communicating with staff on the issue.” www.orcinc.com Comments are closed.