Marconi crisis led to training change

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Marconi crisis led to training changeOn 4 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today The crisis at telecoms giant Marconi last year prompted the creation of acomprehensive online learning programme, according to the firm’s vice-presidentfor leadership development. Dina Consolini said the online learning project was introduced to improveand standardise staff development after the slump in the telecoms marketsforced the firm to axe 8,000 jobs worldwide in November 2001. “If it hadn’t gone so badly wrong we probably wouldn’t have come downthis route. But because of the situation it has come to the attention of theCEO,” she said. Previously, training used traditional methods, with classroom learningdistributed locally and varied depending on location. “Traditional training is just not sufficient to deal with the needs ofthe company and online learning provides an effective global alignment. It’salso more time and cost effective,” she added. Marconi University was launched last summer, drawing on learning expertsfrom around the company to offer a worldwide training network. The firm alsodeveloped an in-house executive coaching programme and a PDP system. Consolini, speaking at the IQPC HR Measurement conference, also said thefirm would outsource more of its administrative HR. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Head to head

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Aregular monthly series where we look at similar roles in different sectors andindustriesThisweek Alison Warner, head of HR at Stephenson Harwood and Irene Cowden, group HRdirector at Securicor, compare notes on their careers1.What are your main responsibilities?AWI am responsible for the provision of all HR services, including theimplementation of policies and procedures, recruitment and retention, trainingand development and employee relations across Stephenson Harwood. In addition,I represent legal firms on the executive committee of the Association ofGraduate Recruiters, giving input on issues relating to law firms.ICDeveloping Securicor’s overall HR strategy and making sure it is implemented.Ensuring our HR strategies are taken into account when developing the businessmodel. Developing the company’s culture and group organisation. Selecting anddeveloping the best people and senior management. Recognition and reward.Spreading knowledge and best practice throughout the organisation.2.What’s the pay like?AWIt is fair, but there are reasons other than the salary alone as to why I cometo work.ICIn line with market rates.3.How flexible are the hours?AWNot terribly, but that is part and parcel of this role. I tend to work late inthe evenings as there are fewer interruptions and I can concentrate on gettingthings done when it is quiet. I regularly work 10-hour days and longer whenneeded.ICAll our employees are required to be flexible, and in return we encourage theright work-life balance. Our employees work the hours the role demands, but inreturn we are as flexible as possible.4.What do you like most about the job?AWThe fact that no two days are the same and that there is always something newto learn.ICWorking with a top team to move the business forward. Witnessing people you sawarrive at the company, develop and grow with the business.5.What are the challenges?AWThe fact that no two days are the same and there is always something new tolearn! Working in a professional services firm is a real challenge in itselfbut I wouldn’t do it unless I enjoyed it. We recently merged with another lawfirm and the challenges presented by the merger have been tremendous. I havehad a crash course in TupeICSecuricor has grown rapidly in a very short space of time and the challengesare great but exciting. Among others we must ensure we spread the values of theorganisation, share best practice across the organisation, understand theorganisational culture in our regions, and ensure the business units retaintheir autonomy.6.What is your biggest headache?AWI think the amount of changes to employment legislation over the past few yearsand potential legislative changes in the future. Not only are these challengesfor HR professionals but introducing policies and ensuring best practice iscomplied with is a headache in itself. Within the firm, currently the biggestchallenge is the integration of two businesses and for HR dealing with the‘people’ issues which resulted from the merger.ICI don’t tend to see things as headaches, but rather as challenges as describedabove.7.What size is your team?AWThere are 10 of us in the HR team. The core HR team comprises six people:myself, two HR managers, an HR officer and an HR assistant. In addition we havea training and development function comprising a training and developmentmanager, a training adviser an HR and training administrator and a graduaterecruitment administrator. HR also has responsibility for payroll and thesalaries manager is part of our team.ICI have a small team of people specialising in executive development, complianceand benefits, and employee communications. This team is small because wedeliberately want the business units to have autonomy, which is why there arehigh level HR specialists in the business units who make decisions aboutrunning their own businesses.8.Who do you report to?AWThe chief executive, John Pike.ICThe group chief executive, Nick Buckles.9.What qualifications do you have?AWI am educated to degree level and I am a member of the CIPD. More importantthough are the 10 years practical HR experience I have, something which cannotbe gained through qualifications.ICBA Hons degree, Member of the CIPD.10.What are your career aspirations?AWAt the moment I am happy in the role I have. It keeps me sufficientlyinterested and motivated. I am due to go on maternity leave shortly and I thinkcombining motherhood with my role will be enough to keep me occupied for awhile.ICLast year it would have been appointment to the board as group HR director!11.What training and development opportunities are there?AWStephenson Harwood has invested a lot in training and development over the pastfew years and we see it as one of the keys to the firm’s future success. Toremain competitive, it is vital our lawyers are up to speed with the latestlegal developments and we run an annual training and development programme forlawyers, which is also open to anyone in the company looking to expand theirknowledge. We invest heavily in recruiting and training graduates as futuresolicitors and in recent months we have developed a suite of courses forsecretarial and support staff. We are really proud that our first NEBS‘trainees’ (qualification in supervisory management) have just completed theirqualifications.ICWe have strong training and development programmes and put a lot of emphasis onthis area, both in developing people professionally but also, and often moreimportantly, developing them personally to allow them to take on moreresponsibility and build their personal skills.12.What is your holiday entitlement?AW30 daysIC25 days and I take all of it, honest!13.What’s your working environment like?AWI think we have the best offices in London. We are directly opposite the frontof St Paul’s Cathedral and have a view to beat all others.ICInformal, fun, focused and flexible.14.What other benefits do you get? (company car, etc)AWThe benefits are very competitive: private medical insurance, permanent healthinsurance, life assurance, gym subsidy, season ticket loan, well womenscreening and a pension.ICCompany car, and a company share scheme.15.What’s the best part of working in HR?AWThe fact that we can make a difference to people and ultimately to the company.I also love the interaction with people.ICInfluencing people’s behaviour, developing people and seeing them grow andprogress in the organisation.16.How does your firm treat work-life balance?AWWe think it is vital that people have a good work-life balance. In professionalservices firms, the client comes first and there will be times when we have towork long hours to meet their requirements. However, there are also other timeswhen people do not have to work long hours and leave on time; we don’t have thekind of culture that means people stay late because they feel they have to.ICSecuricor encourages it and this includes offering flexible hours. We encouragestaff to be open and the responsibility is with each employee to ensure theyhave the right work-life balance.17.Who do you most envy? (what’s your dream job)AWMy dream job is one in which I am respected, can make a demonstrable differenceto the organisation I work for and one which I enjoy. ICJudith ChalmersAlisonWarner, head of HR, Stephenson Harwood Jobat a glanceSizeof team: 10Holidays: 30 daysBenefits: private medical insurance, permanent health insurance, lifeassurance, gym subsidy, season ticket loan, Well Woman screening and pensionReports to: chief executive John PikeCurriculumvitae2000Head of HR, Stephenson Harwood1998 Legal and graduate recruitment manager, Stephenson Harwood1996 National personnel and training officer, Moores Rowland1992 Recruitment officer; staff training manager; training and developmentmanager, HarrodsIreneCowden, group HR director, SecuricorJobat a glanceHolidays:25 daysBenefits: company car and share schemeReports to: group chief executive Nick BucklesCurriculumvitae2002Group HR director, Securicor1999 Divisional HR director, security division, Securicor1995 HR director, cash services UK, Securicor1995 Six months secondment in South Africa as part of a start-up project team1991 Personnel director, security businesses, Securicor Head to headOn 29 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Prepare to justify bonus awards

first_imgMartin advised employers to adopt clear parameters whencalculating bonus awards, and to ensure bonus levels are scrutinised by severalmanagers so it can justify discrepancies objectively. New statutory equal pay questionnaires could become a usefulweapon for high-flyers unhappy with their annual bonuses. But they will also “allow pressure to be brought tobear upon the employer at an early stage to justify bonuses paid to comparatoremployees”, said Stefan Martin, partner at law firm Allen & Overy. Prepare to justify bonus awardsOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.center_img The questionnaires, due to come into force in April, aredesigned to allow employees who believe they may have an equal pay claim torequest information on colleagues’ pay levels from their employers. The questionnaires have also led employers to question howthey can reply to them without breaching the Data Protection Act 1998. Comments are closed. “The procedure will, inevitably, be used as anegotiating tool in severance situations,” he said.last_img read more

Back to basics

first_imgWhilethe IT sector has had little good news since the internet crash, in HR there isroom for optimism. Keith Rodgers reports on companies looking for systems tohelp them cut costs and get…TEXT:There’s nothing like a deep recession to focus the minds of those in ITmarketing, and the current downturn has certainly made its mark. With hopes ofa recovery in corporate spending dashed in 2002, software vendors are facing upto the fact that 2003 is going to be yet another struggle. Fromthe heady days of the internet boom, where potential counted for everything,sales are now focused on the hard realities of cost savings and businessefficiency. That’s not to say that the next 12 to 18 months will be dull forthe HRIT industry. Products for such areas as self-service and performancemanagement are sufficiently maturing to catch the eye of the averagecost-conscious practitioner.Newtechnical developments that haven’t yet hit the HR headlines – such as thegrowing acceptance of digital signatures – promise to cut yet moreadministrative hassle out of the HR job description. Andemerging business challenges, particularly in respect of contractual workers,are likely to spawn a new breed of application.Butas they assess what the next 12 to 18 months hold in store for the HRcommunity, IT vendors and consultants tend to focus first on the financial andpractical realities. Financially, investment in IT today has to delivertangible returns, measured either in cost savings, productivity increases, moreefficient working practices or better support for management decision-making.Thesecriteria mean that many purchasing decisions will be made from a relativelynarrow perspective – employee self-service, for example, is typically seen interms of the administrative costs it can save, rather than as a platform fornew, collaborative working practices. They also mean that bigger investments –such as building a central data repository to allow for better performanceanalysis and workforce planning – have to be approached from a very pragmaticperspective.Deliveringthe basicsInpractical terms, meanwhile, HR has got to be able to deliver the basics,starting with the core HRMS system. Jason Averbook, director of global HCMproduct marketing at Peoplesoft, suggests that organisations will still need tostreamline their HR foundations in 2003, with a particular emphasis on dataaccuracy and credibility. Just as the finance function is coming under glaringscrutiny, so the HR function will need to ensure that its compliance andregulatory activities are being carried out properly. This may just be a tickin the list of basic requirements for many organisations, but it’s likely to bea core concern for the board.SteveFoster, formerly at KPMG Consulting and recently appointed practice leader atRebus, adds that HR also needs to check that its core HRMS systems are up tothe job. In the mid-1990s, the expectation in HR was that you’d buy a productand stick with it for the next five years. The internet has changed that, andHR practitioners need to be sure that their HRMS system both exploits thecapabilities of the web and provides a suitable platform for them to build ongoing forward.Highon that list of web capability, of course, is self-service. Today, theprinciple of HR self-service is widely accepted in both the UK and the US, evenif companies are in widely varying degrees of readiness and implementation.Typically, organisations have started with relatively basic rollouts – perhapsoffering employees the capability to change their personal details online or,as an incentive to use the system, distributing pay advice. This year, thosecapabilities will gradually be extended at an employee level, and at the sametime, manager self-service will start to take off in the mainstream. MaryKathryn Reese, who heads the Human Capital Management practice for DeloitteConsulting’s SAP Alliance, suggests that this process has four stages ofevolution:–Employee self-service is typically applied to HR functions.–Self-service moves beyond HR itself, becoming a vehicle for better knowledgemanagement across the enterprise and for collaboration between different departments,or even different companies. –Manager self-service begins to climb up the HR agenda. Experts agree that thishas been far less popular than employee self-service until now, partly, saysReese, because the applications have not been rich in capability orparticularly intuitive. That, she argues, is set to change–Manager self-service also moves into the realm of collaboration.Averbookargues that the key emphasis in self-service will increasingly shift fromasking whether it’s being adopted, to ensuring that, as it rolls out, all thenecessary people are pulled into the process. To do this, companies need toestablish which business processes will allow them to reduce costs and focustheir efforts accordingly, ‘market’ the enabling technology to employees toensure the automated option becomes a natural part of daily activities, andwork out how the roll-out will impact on other parts of the organisation – forexample, if an individual makes an online change to one business process, willit have a knock-on effect?Whileself-service provides both cost-savings and a collaborative platform in its ownright, it also has significant implications elsewhere in the HR function. Mostexperts agree the gradual roll-out of self-service and employee portals willalso be a major factor in the adoption of HR data analysis, which is set toclimb from its relatively low levels today. “People are talking about itmore and more – how we are going to prove our worth, and do a bit more thanexpected,” says Foster. “You need a handful of early adopters who cantell a good story – and some US companies are starting to take it onboard,” he says.Gatheringthe dataOnereason for the slow adoption of data analysis in HR has been the difficulty ofgathering the necessary data, which typically lies in a mixture of HR, financialand other operational systems. The major application vendors have pushed a‘data warehousing’ strategy to tackle this, encouraging organisations to builda central repository to collate the necessary information and then use businessintelligence tools to analyse the results. But that task isn’t always easy tojustify from a purely HR perspective. While a number of larger, high-profileorganisations have gone down the data warehousing route, others have preferredto extract specific data from a limited number of operational systems and carryout smaller-scale business analysis.Inthe end, it may be other parts of the business that help provide the answer.Wayne Carstensen, UK managing director of Arinso, believes that datawarehousing will come to the fore in the next 18 months as organisations seekto improve the level of intelligence across their entire company, not just inHR. Customer relationship management or financial projects may drive theinitiative, but HR will benefit. Whatever prompts an increased take-up, thebenefits will be significant. Averbook comments, it means companies will beable to focus less on gathering input as on the quality of the data output.Alongsideself-service and data analysis, IT experts expect a range of other technologiesto come to the fore within the next 18 months, including applications designedto tackle long-standing HR requirements such as competency management andsoftware aimed at newly-emerging challenges.Somedevelopments will arise from steps taken by vendors to fill holes in theirportfolios – Carstensen, for example, argues that multi-jurisdictional payrollwill become a pressing requirement in the coming years. Others will representchanges in delivery mechanisms to overcome HR’s ongoing cost-constraints-e-learning providers, for example, will come under pressure to distributecontent more cheaply. Then there are the technological advances that will beginto have a bearing on the HR function. For example, Reese suggests that wideracceptance of electronic signatures will allow HR to reduce levels ofpaperwork, cutting the signed hard copies typically required to back-up e-mailand other electronic communications.Thisis not just a technology issue – like self-service, it’s also a matter ofembracing new forms of verification that require a higher degree of trust inemployees.Knowyour workforceReesealso suggests that software vendors will start to release more products to helpcompanies understand their contingent workforces. In the Harvard BusinessReview last year, management guru Peter Drucker pointed out that a”staggering” number of people who work in companies are no longertraditional employees – companies either employ temporary workers directly, oroutsource large chunks of their business altogether. As Reese argues,understanding these members of the extended workforce – where they work, howmuch they’re paid, and so forth – is becoming ever more important.Competencymanagement is also rising up the HRIT agenda. Long a bugbear for HR, Carstensenreports that increasing numbers of companies are now acknowledging that theycan’t avoid the issue much longer. Historically, the biggest barrier tocompetency management has been the sheer scale of the task – defining a coreset of common competencies is a headache in itself, and that’s beforeorganisations attempt to persuade line managers to start the process ofevaluating employees against those ‘standards’. Averbook suggests, however,that the process could be kick-started as organisations start to carry outperformance reviews online, a process that will automatically begin to collatethe core data required. Competencyprofiling also feeds into a broader requirement for effective resourcing.Companies require a better understanding of their workforces’ skillsets andwhether they they’re deploying their human capital assets to the best effect.The applications that support this kind of analytical exercise stretch fromspecialist recruitment software to the planning tools that allow companies to drawup a talent management strategy.Thiskind of interaction between different HRIT applications suggests thattechnology may at last be catching up with the long-standing strategic demandsof HR. The concept of ‘joined-up HR’ may be somewhat hackneyed, but the realityis that very few organisations today can claim to have integrated the coreactivities that form part of a human capital management strategy. Aligningcorporate objectives with departmental and individual goals, including inincentive systems, measuring performance and rewarding on the back of thatmeasurement, is a loop that makes perfect sense in theory.Inreality, it is only now becoming achievable as the different components areautomated and integrated. There is no easy way for the technology industry tomake joined-up HR a reality, but the foundations are falling into place andwill support the trend in the coming years.Keyfactors in self-service–Establishing which business processes will allow them to reduce costs and focustheir efforts accordingly.–‘Marketing’ the enabling technology to employees, ensuring that the automatedoption becomes a natural part of an individual’s daily business activities. –Working out how the rollout impacts other parts of the organisation. If anindividual makes an online change to one business process, for example, doesthat have a knock-on effect on another? Comments are closed. Back to basicsOn 11 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article This week’s guruPortillo checks out working at AsdaGuru was interested to hear that former Conservative leadership candidateand MP for Kensington and Chelsea Michael Portillo has swapped his Westminsteroffice for a supermarket checkout. He is serving customers, tidying up and putting security tags on clothing aspart of a BBC documentary in which the MP takes on the life of a single workingparent for a week. He has swapped his multi-million pound home and moved into a small terracedhouse in the working class suburb of Seacombe, Merseyside. Portillo was said to be “revelling” in his new role behind theclothes counter at Asda. However, Guru suspects that the right-wing MP haslittle commitment to his new job and is more likely to be grooming hisman-of-the-people image before making a fresh leadership challenge. Burning issue of sick excuses Guru has been impressed with the quality of workplace excuses he has beensent, following his article on the New York city trader caught insider dealingwho claimed he was a time traveller from 200 years in the future. HR manager Jane Boyd phoned her boss to say: “Hi Linda, sorry thecareer development report isn’t on your desk today as promised, but I gavebirth yesterday so I didn’t get time to do it.” Senior HR officer Richard reminded his boss that he had been following hisspecific instructions after being ‘roasted’ for ‘failings’ on a project.”So it is the old adage of doing as I’m told,” he said. Tony Day was on the receiving end of a particularly painful-sounding excuse.He was in charge of a smelting furnace in Zambia as an undergraduate, when hereceived a letter from one of the furnace operatives stating that he couldn’tcome to work because: “My testicles have been paining me and I cannotstand on them.” Guru’s favourite was from HR adviser Maria, who received a self-certificatewhich gave the reason for absence as “I got stuck in a sunbed”.According to Maria, the lady in question claimed to have fallen asleep on asunbed and became so dehydrated that, on awakening, she was unable to move,leading to severe sunstroke. Friend of the stars thrills with frills In last week’s issue, Guru thrilled his disciples with an account of hismeeting with England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s charismaticright-hand man Tord Grip. This week, Guru can’t resist boasting again about his new-found life sharingthe celebrity spotlight. His most recent ‘celebrity’ friend is none other thanpop diva Ms Dynamite. OK, maybe friend might be over-egging the pudding, but they did both attendthe Commission for Racial Equality Race in the Media Awards where PersonnelToday won the specialist magazine award for its Refugees in Employment Campaign(see page 3). Guru is sure that Ms Dynamite kept staring at him during the posh do at theSavoy, although that could have been because of his frilly cerise dress shirtthat always draws admiring glances. Boss takes all on a summer holiday This week, the TUC complained that the UK is the only country in the EUwhere employers can include bank holidays as part of the statutory minimum fourweeks holiday. However, furniture company Durham Pine has gone to the opposite extreme.Owner John Marshall, is so grateful to his staff for helping the company post a£2m profit, that he is paying a reported £200,000 to take at least 119 staff –as well as their partners, children and friends – on a week-long holiday toMajorca this summer. Staff will be on full pay during the holiday and the break won’t be deductedfrom their annual holiday entitlement. Guru pointed out the obvious benefits ofsuch a holiday scheme to his MD in terms of morale, commitment andteam-building – but he wasn’t buying. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. GuruOn 22 Apr 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Absence costs dear, despite university research claims

first_img Comments are closed. So absence costs almost nothing, according to Swansea University research (, 18 August)? I think the researchers should go and speak to people in HR who have to deal with the outcomes of workers’ long periods of absence and the impact that has on other staff in their teams. There is a cost implication involved as HR and departmental managers have to log and manage the absence, as well as managing the stressful conditions faced by those who do continue to hold the fort. There is also the need to appoint temporary staff to backfill positions to enable organisations to cover absence.Linda StilesSenior HR adviser,Edexcel Previous Article Next Article Absence costs dear, despite university research claimsOn 5 Sep 2006 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

HR thinkers: History repeating itself

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. In January of this year, professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University Management School published a paper indicating that the single biggest determinant of an organisation’s productivity was the degree of engagement that the employees have with the task. It was just over 70 years since the psychologist Elton Mayo came to the same conclusion.In the intervening period, dozens of studies have reached the same outcome. So why has this wealth of evidence had barely more than a pin-prick’s influence on the way the vast bulk of companies organise themselves? Why is the average call centre still run on the basis of transaction cost, rather than employee skill and commitment?Some commentators argue that most HR studies only show a direct correlation between satisfied staff and good business, not a cause-and-effect link. However, the gains from high employee commitment can be huge, so the explanation must run deeper.Andrew Lambert, founder director of the Corporate Research Forum (CRF) – a network of researchers and employers dedicated to looking at the link between people development and business success – says there are no simplistic, linear relationships. “It is certainly not done and dusted that you just spend money on people and see a return,” he says. “A number of things have to come together.” Core componentsMany organisations are now using internal measurements of their workforce and comparing them with business results to help understand the relationship between the two. Last month, a poll of CRF members revealed that employee surveys were far from just a ‘nice to have’ and were now positioned as a core management tool.Standard Chartered Bank, for example, has worked with research company Gallup to measure engagement since 2000.“We have found that bank branches with high levels of engagement outperform those with weaker engagement on a range of measures, including revenue and profit margin growth, customer satisfaction, and employee loyalty and retention,” explains Debbie Whitaker, group head of human capital management at Standard Chartered.The bank also has a human capital scorecard to ensure that core people measures – such as the talent pipeline and retention of top performers – are integrated with business planning.Nick Starritt, a director of the Performance and Reward Centre – a sister organisation to the CRF for senior reward directors – agrees that the next step is to develop more standardised methods. “The HR function hasn’t been codified in the same way as other disciplines,” he says. “Therefore, I don’t think it has appealed to professional business people.”The importance of measurement methodologies can be illustrated by examples from history where breakthroughs in employee engagement practices have become corrupted over the years. W Edwards Deming, considered to be the intellectual father of the ‘quality’ movement, set out 14 management principles, eight of which were people-related. These included driving out fear, promoting teamwork and instilling continual learning. Companies such as Sony and Toyota embraced the principles and have been strikingly successful. But in other attempts the ‘people’ elements mysteriously disappeared.Driving out the fearClive Morton, director of the Morton Partnership, is a former HR director who has worked for both British and Japanese manufacturing firms. “Deming was talking about teamwork at a time when, frankly, it was not common parlance,” says Morton. “He believed, fundamentally, that you had to drive fear out of the workplace. Nowadays, you still have people at the highest levels in our organisations who firmly believe in fear.”Some argue that the HR profession itself is to blame for the failure of management principles. Rhiannon Chapman, adviser on people and skills at the Society of British Aerospace and a former chief executive of the Work Foundation, says HR has been an obstacle to disseminating these principles.“HR, to its own misfortune, has developed an air of mystique about what it does. It uses a lot of jargon and keeps itself to itself,” she says. “I have heard HR people claim to be the conscience of the business, which is outrageous and appallingly insulting to their line colleagues. That distancing hasn’t helped at all. Line management thinks that HR is complicated and mystifying and best left to the HR people.”At the Society of British Aerospace, Chapman has made an effort to work closely with process experts to build the skills the sector needs, using language that line managers are familiar with.Rules of engagement According to Starritt, mainstream management thinking has to change too. “A highly engaged workforce outperforms a merely satisfied one time and time again. Why wouldn’t business schools be teaching aspiring managers more on the softer skills needed to create conditions for an engaged workforce?” he asks. And there is a wider conceptual barrier. The operating and financial reviews – proposed, then scrapped and now under reconsideration by the government – rest on the assumption that people reporting is a mere supplement to traditional measures that are more commercially useful.It could be argued that the opposite is nearer the mark. A recent article by Rick Guzzo and Haig Nalbantian of Mercer HR stated that “about a quarter of the company reports seem oblivious to the fact that business operations actually require a workforce”. Most HR managers would contest that it’s unfair that they should have to demonstrate conclusive evidence of their worth when no other discipline in management has to. Either way, history has thrown up a wealth of different approaches to measuring how developing people affects business growth. Choosing the right one is the challenge.Philip Whiteley is a writer for the Corporate Research Forum and Performance and Reward Centre.HR theories through the years1920s-1930s: Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne experiments The Hawthorne experiments were conducted by the psychologist Elton Mayo in Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant in Cicero, Illinois, US, between 1927 and 1932. The researchers selected a group of workers and increased the lighting as they worked. Productivity went up. Then they decreased the lighting. Productivity went up again. The researchers concluded that it was the initiative of paying attention to people’s efforts that was the biggest single determinant of improved performance.1930s-1950s: W Edwards Deming and ‘total quality management’W Edwards Deming developed the total quality management (TQM) approach, which is based on teamwork, multi-skilling and driving out fear. He, along with Joseph Juran, is largely credited with devising the ideas of teamwork that led to the rise of the Japanese manufacturers in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.1970s to the present: Gallup, International Survey Research, SirotaSirota compares US stock market performance over two 12-month periods. Client companies with high engagement scores were compared against peer companies, likewise those with low engagement scores. In 2002, when the Dow index was struggling, share price of companies with high engagement outperformed their peer group by more than 18%, whereas the low engagement companies’ stock price declined by about 3% more than their peers. The 2004 scores had slightly different percentage scores, but showed the same reciprocal relationship.1980s to the present: Jeffrey Pfeffer & Mark HuselidJeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organisational behaviour at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the US, has amassed a wealth of evidence on the links between effective management of people and business success. Mark Huselid at Rutgers University has published research showing that firms that make people development a strategic objective consistently perform better than others.Corporate Research and Reward Centrewww.parcentre.comPeople still matter – just ask the top that shaped HR thinkers: History repeating itselfOn 11 Apr 2006 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Miriam Margolyes praises occupational health for coronavirus work

first_img Janet Lambley 3 May 2020 at 1:18 pm # Miriam Margolyes praises occupational health for coronavirus workBy Nic Paton on 24 Apr 2020 in Coronavirus, OH service delivery, Occupational Health, Personnel Today, Wellbeing Its always been a problem. Many people are unaware of the importance of Occupational Health in ANY workplace. Talking toolkits: unpicking Covid-19 return-to-work advice for occupational healthWith the UK now gradually reopening for business, organisations across the workplace health spectrum have been developing toolkits and resources… Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Related posts: The actor Miriam Margolyes has given a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to the dedication and commitment of occupational health professionals working to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of NHS and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.In an exchange with Professor Anne Harriss, who is due to take over as president of SOM (the Society of Occupational Medicine) in June, Margolyes expressed praise for the work of OH practitioners, as well as frontline NHS workers, in the fight against the pandemic.Margolyes, who is well known for her roles in Call The Midwife and the Harry Potter franchise, recorded a video for SOM in which she said: “I know that all those of you who work in occupational medicine, doing so much to look after the safety of the people who work for the NHS and all those in transport and shop workers, and I know that you are not properly recognised for the work that you do.“So this is my special ‘thank you’ to all of you who do occupational medicine. Thank you, bless you; keep going, stay safe.”Professor Harriss, who is Occupational Health & Wellbeing’s CPD editor, is set to be SOM’s first OH nurse president, and so Margolyes also expressed her thanks to OH nurses for “all you are doing; stay safe”.Margolyes said the contribution of OH was often being overlooked within the media coverage of the pandemic and, indeed, was often not well understood by the public.In a follow-up email to Professor Harriss, she said: “I know now through talking to you, that occupational health professionals are also on the frontline in that fight against the pandemic, keeping our NHS staff safe.“I didn’t realise their expertise covers so much: advising doctors, nurses and all health professionals on PPE use, fitting respiratory protective equipment, protecting cleaners and porters and supporting NHS team members to ensure their health and wellbeing – they’re there when needed. I couldn’t be more grateful.“And I now realise (and I didn’t before) that occupational health helps protect other essential workers outside the NHS – such as bus drivers, street cleaners, bin men and women, postal workers, shop workers, the police, fire service and the military who built the Nightingale Hospitals so fast.“They’re facing an unprecedented challenge. They have the same fears and anxieties we all do. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of them,” Margolyes added.center_img Previous Article Next Article Reply Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: July 2020Sleep disturbance affects Covid-19 medicsAlmost 40% of paediatric healthcare workers in Wuhan experienced sleep disturbance during the Covid-19 pandemic… One Response to Miriam Margolyes praises occupational health for coronavirus work Coronavirus: lockdown ‘phase two’ may bring added headaches for occupational healthNiggles, aches, pains and anxieties stored up during lockdown need to be nipped in the bud before they become long-term…last_img read more

From industrial windfalls to office market freefalls: Chicago’s biggest real estate stories of 2020

first_img203 Sheridan Road in Winnetka and 3507 West 51st Street on the Southwest Side (Redfin, 42 Floors, iStock)Let’s start with a bit of good news — given that 2020 didn’t provide Chicago’s real estate market with much of it.The industrial sector withstood a bruising year far better than most others, sustained in large part by Amazon. As e-commerce orders soared during the pandemic, the Jeff Bezos behemoth went on a warehouse-leasing binge in Chicago.But other asset classes in the city have spent the last nine-plus months on a skyscraper elevator in freefall. The ride has left much of the industry queasy and stumbling as it heads into 2021.During the early months of Covid, as Chicago retailers were still grappling with lost revenue, protests over the police killing of George Floyd led to widespread store looting and vandalism across downtown and other neighborhoods. Then it happened again in the summer. Pandemic-related closures and restrictions have devastated those business owners and landlords, with many now barely hanging on.The local hotel industry also remains among the most hobbled in the U.S., while Chicago’s office market, once a turbocharged engine, has sputtered. Companies have shed downtown space at alarming rates, with a growing number looking to sublease and some ditching their leases entirely.But Chicago’s housing market may be one other silver lining. Sales have picked up in recent months, especially in the suburbs, after having stalled out earlier in the year.Industrial strengthAmazon went on a warehouse shopping spree. From March through July, the e-commerce giant inked lease deals for 11 million square feet of distribution centers in the Chicago area alone. Amazon accounted for over 50 percent of new leasing volume during the second quarter in Chicago, according to Colliers International, though the total fell in Q3. Still, investors have taken notice. Last week, investment firm GCP paid $42 million for a 316,000-square-foot Amazon-leased warehouse on the Southwest Side, among the priciest deals in the city this year on a per-square-foot basis.Room at the innsWith Chicago’s hotel occupancy among the lowest nationwide, loan defaults have piled up. Recent appraisals have slashed property values, including at the Palmer House Hilton and the 610-room JW Marriott. And, as of September, the pandemic had cost the city about 12,000 hospitality jobs.By October, numerous hotels in Cook County had skipped their latest property tax payments, adding up to nearly $500 million. Even the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport, owned by the city of Chicago and operated by Hilton, was late in paying its taxes.But some investors also went bargain-hunting. In November, billionaire entrepreneur Joe Mansueto agreed to buy the Waldorf Astoria Chicago for $54 million, a year after its lender seized control of the Gold Coast hotel in foreclosure proceedings. And a select few firms eyed new construction. Developer Marc Realty Capital wants to build a 296-key hotel in Fulton Market. It would be the second hotel project the company is slating for the trendy neighborhood. Marc Realty and investor Relu Stan filed plans for the 14-story hotel at 311 North Sangamon Street last month.Retail reckoningThe hits kept coming for Chicago’s retail industry. On top of dealing with the pandemic, many Magnificent Mile and Downtown stores sustained damage from looting and vandalism in late May and again in August, when some protests over police brutality turned violent.More than 2,500 businesses hurt by Covid-19 and the lootings did get a boost in August, receiving a total of $46 million in grants. But many others said they still hadn’t received payouts after filing business interruption claims, despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker telling insurers to “do the right thing and do it fast.”Adding to the problems, the restaurant industry received mixed messages about Covid restrictions from the state’s two most powerful elected officials.In late October, Pritzker said he was imposing new restrictions on indoor dining in Chicago, while Mayor Lori Lightfoot began trying to change his mind over concerns about the fragile state of the economy. But with Covid cases continuing to rise, a stay-at-home order was imposed; indoor dining remains suspended and nonessential businesses must close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.Malls get mauledMore mall owners around the Chicago area sought to give up on their struggling retail properties, which have been squeezed by capacity limits and Covid closures. Among them is Starwood Retail Partners, which in late October decided to hand over the keys to its nearly 1 million-square-foot Louis Joliet Mall, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. Starwood had last made a payment on its $85 million CMBS loan in March.Less than a month before that, BlitzLake Partners and GW Properties relinquished their Orland Park mall after skipping more than 90 days of loan payments. The duo is now facing a multimillion-dollar lender foreclosure lawsuit tied to the 164,000-square-foot shopping center.One note of optimism: A Brookfield Property Partners venture landed a $475 million refinancing of the second-largest shopping mall in the Chicago area. In October, Morgan Stanley provided the debt on the 2.2-million-square-foot Oakbrook Center, which Brookfield owns with an affiliate of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The deal marked the largest refinancing of a Chicago-area commercial property since June 2018.Office overloadThe fall of downtown the city’s office market, which entered 2020 riding high, was swift and sharp. By the third quarter, remote working had pushed the vacancy rate to 16.5 percent, the highest it had been in a decade. Available office sublease space, meanwhile, reached a record 4.6 million square feet in the same period, as companies — including tech firms that had recently plowed into the market — scaled back their footprints and future plans.“They’re downsizing or rightsizing,” CBRE’s Bradley Serot told The Real Deal’s Akiko Matsuda in October. “They don’t need the space as robust and large because they’re not going to recruit as much as what they were planning.”But not everyone is heading out. 601W Companies, which transformed the Old Post Office into a modern office building, is taking on another major redevelopment project nearby. The company will pay $180 million to overhaul a 591,000-square-foot property at 801 South Canal Street. In February, 601W paid $68 million for the vacant office building.And this fall, Pittsburgh-based Normandy Properties dropped $412 million for the McDonald’s global HQ building in Fulton Market. The seller, a joint venture of Sterling Bay and JPMorgan Chase, developed the 575,000-square-foot building in 2018. The fast-food giant has a long-term lease and occupies about 85 percent of the nine-story building. The deal also marked Chicago’s priciest investment sale in 2020. The second spot on that list belongs to Michael Shvo, who in January paid $376 million for the nearly 50-year-old “Big Red” office tower in downtown.Home, home againThe Chicago-area housing market evaporated in the early months of the pandemic — particularly in the city’s core. But since this summer, it has been charging back. Sales jumped in August, when more than 13,000 homes sold across the nine counties, about 20 percent over the same period the year before.A recent weekly report from Midwest Real Estate Data showed Chicago-area home prices have maintained a double-digit increase year-over-year ever since, according to Crain’s.As home sales picked up in the city, it surged in the suburbs with buyers prioritizing more space over proximity to Chicago’s central business district. That trend was most apparent at the top of the market. Five of the 10 most expensive homes that sold in Cook County in 2020 were in tony Winnetka. Last year, just one suburban property made the top 10 list.And in a sign of the times, the priciest home that sold during the pandemic this year came with 9,000 square feet of private beach.Contact the author Tags2020 in Reviewamazonchicago industrial marketChicago office market Full Name* Email Address* Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message*last_img read more

“We are recovering”: Manhattan home sales finally increase

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Co-ops and condominiums that sold from January through March spent an average of 138 days on the market, up by 13.1 percent from the previous quarter and by 20 percent from a year ago.New-development units that sold spent an average of 261 days on the market and traded an average discount of 8.6 percent from the final asking price. The number of closed sales fell by 2.1 percent from the previous quarter, but rose by 9.2 percent from the first quarter of 2020.“We haven’t recovered, but we are recovering,” Miller said. As sales rise and inventory falls, the quarter’s results are a big step in that direction and better than expected at this point in the post-Covid rebound, he said.Contact Cordilia James ManhattanNYC Luxury MarketResidential Real Estate Full Name* Email Address* Share via Shortlink Tags It’s the first time in the past four quarters that sales have exceeded year levels.Manhattan’s residential market appears to be on the rebound.The borough saw 2,457 home sales close in the first quarter, a 2.1 percent increase from the same period a year ago and a 28.7 percent jump from the previous quarter, according to a Douglas Elliman report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel.The small year-over-year increase isn’t one to glance over: It’s the first in the past four quarters, noted Jonathan Miller, the report’s author.The other boroughs have boomed since the summer, but Manhattanites’ wealth and mobility made the island a “laggard,” Miller said. This quarter’s report shows that sales in the borough are now moving — or moved, at least — in the right direction.ADVERTISEMENTThe median sale price was $1,075,000, up by 2.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020 and by 1.4 percent from a year earlier. But condos and co-ops lagged the broader market as their median sale price decreased by 4.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.Listing inventory is up 18.2 percent year-over-year. “That’s important,” Miller said, “because inventory was the third-highest in history last summer, but because of the gradual increase in sales and reduction of inventory from panic sellers who pulled their listings from the market, inventory is now relatively consistent with history norms.”The spike last summer was attributable in part to pent-up demand following the spring lockdowns and ban on home showings.Read moreManhattan’s condos get year-end sales boost as inventory balloonsManhattan home sales down 46% last quarterLong Island home sales spike in fourth quarterlast_img read more