BNFL’s tougher new work culture wins HSE’s praise

first_img Previous Article Next Article BNFL’s efforts to improve work culture and safety atSellafield nuclear plant over the past year have been acknowledged in an HSEreport released last week.Sellafield’s HR team have driven forward a tough new workculture seeking to instill self-discipline and responsibility among the8,000-strong workforce.The “zero tolerance” approach to wilful breaches of safetywas a response to three critical HSE reports in February 2000, and a media scandalabout the falsification of safety data. Staffing shortages and poor managementwere among the criticisms. Last summer BNFL, in co-operation with the unions, developednew standards and expectations for its staff. They came into force on 1 August.Peter Woolley, Sellafield’s head of HR and public affairs,said, “We had to get the employees to understand that there were basicstandards of behaviour that would have to be met.”The standards included adhering to 20mph limits at the site,the proper use of access passes and consuming food in the right areas. In theensuing six months, 20 people were dismissed for non-compliance. But Woolley admits that while the standards have gone a longway to improving quality and safety standards at Sellafield, there has been aprice to pay.He said, “It is medicine that needed to be taken but it hasnot been very palatable. Morale is not high.”The HR team recruited 400 additional staff and hascontributed to significant management restructuring. It is now targeting morale.By Mike Broad Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. BNFL’s tougher new work culture wins HSE’s praiseOn 27 Feb 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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UK must be made a land of learning opportunities

first_img Previous Article Next Article The next government has to raise the public’s aspirations by developingworld-class educational system and workplace learning capabilities, claims theIndustrial Society’s manifesto. It is also calling for the Government to foster a climate that nurturescaring employers who are as concerned about the means as they are the profits. The manifesto, Making Work Better, wants a new Companies Act and improvedinformation and consultation rights. The new government also needs to encourage workplaces that include, ratherthan discriminate against, issues, including age, gender, disability and ethnicbackground. The manifesto calls for a Discrimination Commission. WillHutton, chief executive of the Industrial Society, said, “The centralissue of work and the quality of work has failed to register on the radar screensduring this election campaign. “It follows that work should be considered, alongside education,health, crime and transport, as a key area we need to improve. In this electioncampaign it is the invisible issue.” www.indsoc.co.uk Related posts:No related photos. UK must be made a land of learning opportunitiesOn 30 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Five-month delay for new Tupe regulations

first_imgEmployers face at least a five-month wait for the new Tupe regulations tocome into force. The legislation, which protects employee terms and conditions when they aretransferred from one organisation to another, was due to be implemented on 17July but will not now become law until December at the earliest. John McMullen, national head of employment law for law firm Pinsent CurtisBiddle, told Personnel Today the draft regulations, which will be subject to athree-month consultation period, are now unlikely to be produced untilSeptember. McMullen, who advises the CBI on Tupe, said the current UK regulations needto be changed because they are based on the Acquired Rights Directive of 1977,which was overwritten by a new EU directive on Tupe in 1998. “The EU directive was implemented in June 1998 but has no legal forcein individual counties until those countries produce their own regulations. “The directive itself is not very radical. The main question is whereTupe applies. It could be decided by EU case law that we already have or memberstates can go further than the directive requires, providing they are lookingafter employee rights.” McMullen said one of the issues holding up the new regulations was pensions.He explained, “At the moment pension rights are excluded from Tupe. Thedirective itself does not require member states to alter that but it does allowmember states to allow pension transfers if they want. “This is going to appear in the consultation document. As an issue ithas huge ramifications for small contractors. Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Statute andPractice, said he hoped the new delay to the Tupe regulations meant more timewas being spent resolving difficult issues such as pensions. “I hope the extra time is being used to tackle these troublesome pointsbut I am afraid I have no confidence that this will be the case,” he said. By Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Five-month delay for new Tupe regulationsOn 31 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Firms must get formal on flexible practices

first_img Previous Article Next Article Firms must get formal on flexible practicesOn 4 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today As the summer holiday season comes to an end, it is now one long haul atwork until the Christmas break. This time of year makes staff reassess their working lives and considerwhether they have got the balance right between their jobs and their lives outsidework. How can they earn a decent living, rise up the career ladder and havemore time to spend with the family or doing leisure pursuits? As autumn beckons, the Whitehall and Westminster machine is slowly gettingback into gear and the lobbyists are equally hard at work trying to influencethe employment policy agenda and flag up their specific interests. The Industrial Society, which hasn’t stopped churning out its huge volume ofreports over the summer, has published a survey of more than 500 HR professionalson the issue of flexible working (News, p1 & Comment, p21). There is no doubt that both this and the whole work-life balance debate arehot political topics – the party conference season will see some policyannouncements and the Work and Parents Task Force led by Professor Sir GeorgeBain is due to report back in November. The Industrial Society research is encouraging in that it shows that manyemployers are offering more flexibility at work – nine out of 10, in fact. Butthis is on a very informal basis. It is startling that over two-thirds of HRspecialists questioned do not have written or formal policies on flexibleworking in their organisations. HR managers should grasp the nettle and try to formalise flexible workingarrangements that exist in their organisations. This will help retain staff, befair and transparent and allow for more innovative approaches rather than justhaving a definition of flexible working as 8am to 4pm instead of 9am to 5pm. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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HR can lead way on maximising talents

first_img Previous Article Next Article HR can lead way on maximising talentsOn 18 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. People are not your most important asset. I know that is a heretical thingto say, but the reality is that it is the right people who are your mostimportant asset – the ones who are fully engaged in what they do for you. I have a horrible feeling that a lot of what companies do acts against thissince many of the management processes used actively destroy peoplepsychologically by concentrating on weakness, “areas of opportunity”and filling in gaps in people that they are incapable of filling. I would get rid of competency models and anything that ends upcompartmentalising people and stifling what comes naturally to them. It is HR’sjob to help people define their talent and to then build the organisationaround that. Much better to concentrate on getting selection right, on lettingthe wrong people go, and in creating roles that allow people to do what they dobest on a regular basis. The same is true for leadership models. There simply isn’t one way to dothings – great leaders do it their own way and smart companies let them get onwith it. They also create open, flexible working environments – building “socialcapital” – everywhere to ensure that people have an emotional andpsychological reason to stay around. Personally, I shudder at the thought of the training money I have wasted inthe genuine pursuit of developing the well-rounded “super-worker”. Ifsomeone isn’t competitive, they never will be and they won’t learn how to beso. If they are an Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver in Myers-Briggsterms, they won’t ever be good at detail and structure – so don’t put them in ajob that demands a lot of this. It strikes me that this is really what managing talent is all about. Asksomeone to do something that comes naturally and they will excel and are likelyto be hugely productive. Ask them to work on a development plan that plays totheir non-talents and the reverse is usually true. There has been much written about the war for talent, most of it excellent,but there has also been a tendency to over-intellectualise the debate and in sodoing we are in danger of forgetting some simple home truths. Put the rightperson in the right job – and by this I simply mean into a role that plays to apre-existing strength – and foster an environment that lets them get on with itand the shareholders get more value out of the human assets tied up in thebusinesses they own. By trying to implement convoluted, complex management development,succession and performance management processes that largely concentrate onwhat people get wrong, companies have destroyed people and have destroyed valueat the same time. By Chris Matchan, Vice-president, consumer practice at Korn/FerryInternationallast_img read more

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Well, I declare

first_imgWhat is the best way of dealing with a job applicant’s health declarationform and who should be privy to the sensitive information it may contain?Q Last month we asked whatreaders would do when faced with the following problem: One of our departmentshas been upgrading its recruitment processes in recent years. It providesinformation about the risk profile for jobs, for example. But it also asksshort-listed candidates to complete a health declaration form prior tointerview. The reason I came to hear of this was that I fielded oneenquiry from an unsuccessful candidate about whether an item in the medicalhistory might have influenced the decision. The department is clear that therewere professional reasons for the decision but I have suggested to thedepartment that this practice could be regarded as against the spirit of the DDA.The response is that the department has worked hard on its procedures andbelieves they are fair and non-discriminatory. It seems to me that a health declaration should be limited tothe candidate who is offered the job. An alternative might be to ask theshort-listed candidates to complete the form and place it in a sealed envelope.When a job offer is made the sealed envelope for that candidate is sent to theOHS, the envelopes of any candidates on a reserve list being retained pending adecision, and the envelopes of unsuccessful candidates are shredded, ideally bythe OHS. Winning answer A The pre-employment health screening is an important and integralpart of the employee recruitment and selection service. The purpose of thisscreening is to ensure that applicants are assessed prior to and for employmentto ensure that they are fit for the position they are applying for and areplaced in appropriate work. A pre-employment health questionnaire or a health declaration form is animportant tool for the occupational health nurse and/or the occupational healthteam. This tool helps to assess the applicant’s fitness from the answers givenin the form in determining the physical and psychological suitability toperform the job applied for. The OHN, in determining the fitness of the applicant, must take intoconsideration that the final decision rests within the spirit of the legalaspects of employment: – Equal opportunities policy – Health and Safety at Work Act – The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations – Disability Discrimination Act – Working Time Regulations The OHN must operate within the guidelines and professional code of ethicsset out by the UKCC and the GMC and be consistent with the guidance publishedfrom time to time by the Department of Health and the HSE. The pre-employment health screening process must be strictly confidentialbetween the assessing occupational health nurse or medical practitioner and theapplicant. The sharing of health information must be limited to the health careprofessionals and the applicant. The appointing person is informed of theoutcome of health screening. Systems should be in place for safe storage of health records such as healthdeclaration forms and for employees to access health records as laid down inthe Access to Health Records Act and Regulations under the Data Protection Act.Therefore the best and most acceptable practice is following the interviewto ask the successful candidate to complete the health declaration form incomplete confidence and enclose it in a sealed envelope addressed to theoccupational health nurse. The sealed health declaration form must only be scrutinised by theoccupational health nurse and a decision is given to the appointing person inwriting in the strictest confidence. In a health declaration form resulting ina negative decision, the decision must only be to state that the named personis considered unfit for the position applied for. The appointing person shouldnot be given any reasons for the decision. In line with the DDA, if reasonable suitable adjustments could be made tothe job in order to accommodate the applicant’s disability then the OHN shouldmake such recommendations. The final decision to appoint a person rests with the appointing manager. I do not wish to subscribe to the idea of holding a reserve list ofcandidates and completed health declaration forms as individuals’ healthconditions may change in a space of time. It is imperative to assess theapplicant’s fitness at the time of employment. R Pathmanathan Occupational health and safety adviser, Quantum Care A When I worked for an NHS trust in the locality, it occurred to meduring screening that they were interviewing candidates and sending a number ofshort-listed individuals for screening, as part of the selection process. We explained that this wasn’t acceptable, and that it wasn’t cost-effective.We advised that they provisionally book a time on the day of interview for theselected candidate to be screened. If the chosen candidate wasn’t”medically” suitable, they then had time to ask the second choice toattend for screening without wasting too much time, prior to sending out theregrettal letters. This also saved time if the first choice declined the joboffer, which happened occasionally. In addition, we had to work quite hard to impress on them that it was notacceptable to inform the candidate that the job was theirs, as long as theypassed the medical. I haven’t had this experience with any other employer. Another “dilemma” I’ve encountered during pre-employment screeningis that of an individual who has applied for a post, been selected, attendedfor screening and then informed me she is pregnant. The job she applied for wasa crucial post, which had taken a lot of time and effort to fill. In thesecircumstances, I passed the individual fit for employment, as there was been nomedical reason not to do so. In this situation I would advise/persuade theindividual to inform the proposed manager of her pregnancy, but if she declinedto do this, I would be unable to breach the confidentiality issue. What wouldothers do in these circumstances? Ann Roberts Senior occupational health adviser/ business development manager, CorporateMedical Management A I read with interest your dilemma in this month’s magazine. As acompany we provide pre-employment assessments to certain companies via a paperscrutiny method from our remote HUB centres in Scotland and Manchester. When we enter into this type of contract with the clients we specificallyoutline the procedure that should be followed, this includes putting the healthdeclaration or pre-employment health assessment form in the job offer pack forsuccessful applicants. We include a printed stamped addressed envelope and theforms are sent directly to our department with no risk of breach ofconfidentiality from the client companies. This allows us to give a fair andimpartial response on the individual’s fitness for work and because we outlinethe confidential nature of the process on the form which they can be sure comesdirectly to us, we have found that the respondents are more open and honest.Acceptability for the job is then judged on the references and the “fit forwork” certificate produced by the OH staff. As an OH nurse in an inhouse department, surely this type of suggestioncould be made to management using stamped addressed envelopes to reduce costs.This would prevent having unnecessary paperwork from candidates who do not makeit through the recruitment process. This could be presented as an effort toraise the quality and cost-effectiveness of a pre-placement programme whileprotecting them from the ever-increasing threats of litigation, a fact thatnone of them can afford to ignore. Margaret Murray RGN RM BA SPOHN Regional occupational health manager (Scotland), Bupa Wellness Previous Article Next Article Well, I declareOn 1 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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UK backs policy words with action

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. UK backs policy words with actionOn 8 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today UK employers are more likely to have written HR strategies than most oftheir European counterparts, research shows. Current UK levels of formal strategy development compare favourably withEuropean counterparts, according to a survey by Cranet. The leaders in developing formal HR strategies include Sweden, theNetherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, and the UK (see chart). Well below average are Germany and Austria, with only three out of every 10workplaces having written HR strategies. HR strategy development involves a combination of developing a written HRstrategy in line with the corporate strategy, as well as developing specific HRpolicies. Looking back over the last decade, UK organisations have seen the level ofwritten mission statements steadily rise to 83 per cent. However, using these figures as a benchmark, it is evident with only 61 percent of UK organisations having a written HR strategy that they have notembraced this element of formal strategy development to the same extent. A further formalisation of HR strategy is the development of specificpolicy, which in turn acts as formal guidelines for practice. In the UK, the areas most commonly addressed with policy are equalopportunity/diversity at 88 per cent and training and development at 83 percent, followed by recruitment and selection reaching 77 per cent. This should be particularly encouraging to those organisations working tofurther the management of diversity in UK workplaces, which have generallyargued that formalisation is the first step towards progress. In comparison to the UK, organisations in other European countries aregenerally less likely to develop written policies for HR. However, specific leaders in policy writing include the Netherlands, withthe highest proportion of organisations with written HR policies for pay andrecruitment, and Sweden for equal opportunities. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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How can I avoid being IT typecast?

first_imgHow can I avoid being IT typecast?On 28 May 2002 in Personnel Today I have been working in HR for 10 years. I am in a relatively senior role andwould like to move on. I’ve got a solid CV and great qualifications. However, Ireally only have experience in one specific industry sector – IT. I would liketo move into something new, but do not feel very confident about moving into acompletely new sector. On the other hand, I don’t want to be typecast bystaying in IT. How important do you think experience of more than one sector isin building a career in HR? Grant Taylor, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes Depth of experience in a particular business sector is important as it helpsyou to climb the career ladder effectively in that sector. It is more difficultto gain promotion in a new business sector. The best way to move to a new sector is in a similar role, as you offerexperience of operating at that level, even though you lack an understanding ofthe business sector. The ‘something new’ you are looking for can often be foundwith a sideways move to a new sector. You will also feel more confidentoperating at a level of seniority you are used to. It is important for your development to gain experience in a range ofbusiness sectors as they all operate differently, and the type of staff youwill work with will vary greatly. This develops your ability to adapt todifferent challenges and draw on experience from different environments, so youwill broaden the knowledge that you have in dealing with HR issues on a grandscale. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS consultancy You say that you have great qualifications, but what are they? If you arenot CIPD qualified, this should be something to consider. To my knowledge, HR professionals with experience of a number of differentindustries have more to offer than someone with experience of only one sector.Having said that, your lack of confidence needs to be overcome. Your experiencein IT probably involves you recruiting in areas where there may be a skillsshortage, developing innovative compensation packages and being reactive to aconstantly changing environment. To be successful in an IT human resources rolerequires a strong personality, business awareness and the ability to thinkbeyond traditional boundaries. If you can sell your strengths, a move out ofthe IT sector should not be a problem. Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento There is a strong body of opinion, with which I concur, that HR managementskills are transferable across sectors. In fact, the challenge of working in adifferent environment can help to keep your interest levels high and your witssharp. Unfortunately, this view is not shared by many of those making the decisionsin the recruitment market. The more senior your position and the older you are,the more difficult you will find it to change sectors. I would stronglyrecommend that you gain experience outside of the IT sector so that you do notbecome typecast and you can demonstrate your ability to operate in differentindustry sectors. In order to assist with your job search outside IT, you should considerusing a skills/competency-based CV which markets your generic HR managementskills and places less emphasis on your chronological career history. There is strong evidence to support the theory that flexible HR professionals,committed to ongoing personal development, can successfully move betweensectors. As long as you match this description, you should be confident aboutmaking the transition. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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In brief

first_img Comments are closed. This month’ news in brief Learning reps clash? Government proposals on union learning representatives are not detailedenough and will cause confusion, according to the Employers Forum on Statuteand Practice. The proposals on workplace learning initiatives, which are due tobe brought in this year under the Employment Act, could lead to clashes withemployers’ training departments, warned chief executive of the ESP RobbieGilbert in an interview with Personnel Today magazine. Motor trainers expandThe training arm of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, ReMIT, isexpanding its offering. Chairman Mike Allmond has announced the opening ofReMIT’s first wholly-owned training centre in Croydon, the creation of a newposition of quality director and a distance-learning package.  www.rmif.co.ukSchemes endorsedEmployers and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) have been praised forworking together to identify and meet the learning needs of their communities.The Adult Learning Inspectorate noted that community schemes encourage newlearners, who, in turn, find their sense of wellbeing improved.   www.ali.gov.uk/inspection/reportsLearning at work dayTraining should once again get the national thumbs up as preparations forthis year’s Learning at Work Day are underway. The 15 May has been earmarkedfor this year’s event and organiser Campaign for Learning is hoping to build onthe 4,000 organisations and 750,000 people who were involved last year.  www.campaign-for-learning.org.ukCan’t get a plumberSkilled labour in the construction trade is in even shorter supply thanever, according to evidence from chartered surveyors body the RICS. More thanhalf of those questioned for the RICS Construction Market Survey reported asharp rise in construction skills shortages in the fourth quarter. www.ricsfirms.comScheme wins award Pera Integrated Training has won a National Training Award for a programmedelivered for flat glass manufacturer, Solaglas. The programme was based aroundPera’s output-driven approach, which identifies what people need to learn andwhich areas of training best suit that need.  www.pera.com Previous Article Next Article In briefOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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HR expertise needed for senior executives’ reward packages

first_imgHR expertise needed for senior executives’ reward packagesOn 8 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. HR should ensure it has input into organisations’ most senior executivereward packages, to avoid alienating staff and shareholders, according to theCIPD. Under changes to the Companies Act 1985, which come into force thisfinancial year, quoted companies will have to publish a detailed breakdown ofdirectors’ pay as part of their annual reports and shareholders will be able tovote on decisions taken. Duncan Brown, CIPD assistant general-director, said HR needs to make sureremuneration committees know about the company’s overall reward strategies andtake these into consideration when deciding on executive pay packages. “HR expertise is needed to make sure there is a clear policy,” hesaid. “The committee also needs to know what is expected from thedirectors, and HR can establish this.” Rob Burdett, senior consultant with reward specialists New Bridge StreetConsultants, said the new rules will increase pressure on remunerationcommittees. “Committees will have to think hard because they won’t want to seetheir recommendations voted down [by shareholders].” Burdett said pay levels are going up, but are being linked to tougherperformance conditions. He said while many people question the level of raises, the recession is notthe fault of UK plc and financial results must take this into consideration. Last week, Cable and Wireless’ new chief, Francesco Caio, was awarded areward package that could be worth £6.5m. Shareholders said this wasreasonable. By Quentin Reade Comments are closed. last_img read more

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