Euro rule on takeover talks may spell red tape

first_img Comments are closed. A European directive on employee consultation duringtakeovers could result in more red tape for UK employers.Companies would have to consult staff or theirrepresentatives as soon as a takeover bid is made public under the newregulations and provide them with copies of the offer document.The takeover directive is currently being agreed by theEuropean Parliament and, if it becomes law, will affect all listed companieswithin two to four years.The companies involved in mergers must also inform allemployees whether the takeover will alter their terms and conditions ofemployment. Governments will have to draw up new regulations to ensurecompanies obey the information and consultation guidelines.Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum onStatute and Practice, said, “This will be a fresh round of red tape foremployers and is much closer to becoming law than the information directive.”Gilbert said that few employers knew about the directivebecause it was introduced in a sub-section of the EU Company Law Directive. Paul Pagliari, HR director of Scottish Power, said,“Companies should be allowed to consult their workers in the manner appropriateto them. “Enforcing laws across international companies is verydifficult.” Euro rule on takeover talks may spell red tapeOn 20 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Comment: Managers have direct sway on staff output

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Areyou able to do what you do best every day? I suspect that footballer DavidBeckham could answer “yes” to the above. But how many people in businessgenuinely can say they are able to give of their best every day? It is animportant question because productivity, customer service, safety, staffturnover and profit are a direct consequence of getting it right. ThePentland Group, which went private late last year, is a complex set of branded businessesoperating in the sports, outdoor and fashion industry. Brands include Speedo,Ellesse, Kickers and Berghaus. Late last year we surveyed our 2,100 staff fromaround the world, asking just 12 questions based on work undertaken by theGallup organisation. We achieved an 82 per cent response rate – a clear mandatefor us to act on the results.Thestatements put to staff to agree with included, “I know what is expected of meat work”, “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day”, “Inthe last seven days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work”and “My manager, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person”. It isimportant to check whether managers know what the people element of their rolereally is because research suggests they massively influence how productivepeople are. Havinggrown mainly by acquisition, each brand in Pentland has a slightly differentculture and a separate profit and loss account. A thread that runs through thewhole group, however, is one based on family values and simplicity. We have nograding scheme and we try to treat people like individuals. Thusactions resulting from the statement, “I know what is expected of me” whilebeing critical to productivity does not need to look the same everywhere. Weare not hung up on this being written on an identical performance managementsheet – but are interested in making sure line managers have sensibleconversations about it that are recorded. Thegroup learnt a great deal about its businesses around the world from thefeedback process. We now have hard data on where there is excellent practiceand we know where we have to focus attention on people management issues. Wealso have hard data on what we all knew – that soft skills are hugely relevantto productive outcomes and to making more money. Thesurvey results give us real ammunition to get across the fact that resources atwork are actually human beings – all of whom have unique needs and differences.Thegroup can now give direct and realistic feedback to managers on what theirpeople say they need from them, with shared actions, and can put much moreemphasis on what people are good at, rather than trying to fix thebehaviourally unfixable. www.pentland.com www.henleymc.ac.uk www.gallup.com ByChris Matchan, group HR director for the Pentland Group and steering committeemember of the Henley Forum on HR Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Comment: Managers have direct sway on staff outputOn 20 Mar 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Best practice: Continuing professional development

first_imgBest practice: Continuing professional developmentOn 4 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. PersonnelToday’s monthly series reveals how managers deal with business problems and enhanceperformance. In this issue, Brendan O’Keefe, staff relations manager atRegisters of Scotland, explains how implementing an IT strategy has thepotential to open new doors for business – and for employeesRegistersof Scotland (RoS) is the executive agency responsible for framing andmaintaining records and registers relating to property and other legalproceedings in Scotland. It currently employs about 1,400 staff. With manyprocesses largely unchanged since the turn of the 20th century, the creationand maintenance of records had remained a manual job. The checking of deeds,archiving of information and search of records has traditionally involvedplenty of book work and cutting out and glueing extracts into bound volumes.The Land Registration(Scotland) Act 1979 heralded the introduction of the Land Register,fundamentally altering the process of property registration. Since then, RoShas been undergoing significant change and development, including the introductionof a complete IT infrastructure to replace the old- fashioned manual systems. The transformation ofbusiness in this way can be an unsettling time for employees. With atraditionally low turnover of loyal staff, RoS was keen to introduce the ITinfrastructure without alienating those with few or no IT skills. There werealso fears among employees that the automation of previously labour-intensivetasks might result in job losses.RoS needed to find away to address these issues without restricting the implementation of the ITinfrastructure. Radical change was necessary, but employee confidence andloyalty had to be maintained.How we implemented thechangeWith technology nowsuch a key driver for business and the economy, it is easy to forget that thereare companies that still rely on a more manual, methodical approach. It is easyto assume that most of the UK’s workforce is computer literate, or at leastunderstands the benefits such technology can bring. However, businesses thatrely on the manual, accurate and careful archiving of records also rely onmeticulous employees. The assumption that a computer can more effectivelyundertake their detailed work is not only undermining, but also not always true.The phased nature ofthe introduction of the new Land Register to the whole of Scotland led to RoSembarking on a plan to transform business over a reasonably lengthy period.This enabled RoS to ensure that employees could benefit from a full trainingprogramme, as well as roll out the technology in a controlled environment. There had to be alevel of understanding for those employees that would find the transition fromglue to “cut and paste” a difficult and intimidating one. Even so,with one of the largest scanning operations ever to be undertaken, thetransformation from dusty files to high-speed computers required the hardestwork of all. At RoS, the transformation benefited from the input of employeeexperience in finding the best ways to input and utilise records.One of the key driversfor the development programme was formulating new ways to align the agency withcustomers’ needs. RoS could see the benefits that the new technology couldprovide in terms of better communication, not just internally but with customers,new clients and other land registry organisations. In implementing the change,there was a focus on finding ways to improve the service rather than simplybring it up to date.This focus on theimprovement of service and communication meant that the training anddevelopment of employees involved more than just learning a few computerskills. The technology could open the door for employees to gain confidence andto develop skills in related areas such as customer management and projectwork. This had the potential to develop employees who excelled in one key areaof work but had little experience of other job opportunities. Far from makingemployees feel redundant in this new high-tech environment, the idea was toopen new doors, not close them.Positive outcomes forthe businessWorries abouttechnology replacing individuals have been proved to be unfounded. Theintroduction of the Land Register has meant that the registration process isinitially more time-consuming, with efficiencies realised in all subsequentproperty transactions. With the introductionof computers and the development of new services, there is still plenty of workto be done and, although a redundancy plan was formulated in advance of theprocess, this has not been needed.The technology hasopened doors for employees. Although there are still routine tasks to be done,there is greater flexibility and potential for job variety. The customerservice side of the business has grown dramatically. New customer servicecentres have opened in Glasgow and Edinburgh and RoS is at the forefront ofinnovation in providing comprehensive on-line public access.As well as providinggreater public access, internal communication has improved with theintroduction of e-mail and a company intranet. Now considered one ofthe leaders in its field, RoS is in regular contact with similar agenciesworldwide, improving not just the reputation of the agency but helping staff tobe more outward-looking and to gain confidence in the new systems. The transformation ofRoS is well on the way to completion. The ongoing development programme foremployees will ensure that the IT infrastructure continues to createopportunities and drive the business forward.Although the workingenvironment has changed at RoS, employees know that they are still the mostimportant asset to the organisation. The computers are doing a good job at RoS,but without the support of staff, Registers of Scotland could not have becomethe respected agency it is today.Top Tips: EstablishingIT without fears and tears–Involve people – try to understand the fears of employees and address thembefore the technology arrives.– Investment incomprehensive training, delivered at the right time, is essential.– Ensure that one ofthe benefits of new technology is the improvement of the working environment.– IT is not an obviousdomain for HR involvement, but its role in gaining employee confidence andencouraging development cannot be underestimated.ContactsRegistersof Scotland is hosting a Best Practice Club case study day on 27 September,where participants can learn more about the impact of IT on company culture. For details, call TheBest Practice Club on 0800 435399, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.bpclub.com Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Brown’s tax credit plans aim to boost productivity

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Proposals outlined by the Chancellor in his pre-budget statement to helpemployers become more productive and develop their staff have been welcomed bythe CIPD and the CBI. Gordon Brown announced plans to provide financial support for employerswhose staff take time off for learning as well as free learning provision foremployees. The Government is also to give research and development tax credits forlarge companies to encourage innovation. It is hoped that the workforce development measures will replace theIndividual Learning Accounts initiative closed down last month because of abuseby some training providers. They will be tested through a number of pilotschemes from September 2002. These include the provision of tax credits to compensate employers for thetime employees spend on training and giving low-skilled employees between 35and 70 hours of time off each year on full pay to devote to training. The proposals also incorporate incentives for successful completion ofcourses and levels of subsidy up to 100 per cent for courses and accreditationcosts. John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD, backed the Government’s plans togive employers incentives to encourage workforce development. He said, “Given the disappointing performance of Individual LearningAccounts, we are delighted that the training tax credit proposals are to beconsulted on with employers. “However, the institute believes that these should initially beintroduced as a temporary rather than a permanent measure so that their netimpact can be evaluated.” Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, said employers will be pleased theChancellor is pressing ahead with plans to introduce R&D and training taxcredits. “Companies are crying out for tax credits for R&D which will beparticularly important to recession-hit manufacturers,” he said. “We must take action to sort out the basic skills problem, which is anational disgrace that is harming our economy,” he said. By Ben Willmott Brown’s tax credit plans aim to boost productivityOn 4 Dec 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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A whale of a time

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article A whale of a timeOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today One-Minute Manager Ken Blanchard explains to DeeDee Doke why his ideas havetransformed people and their workplaces all over the world.  Photos by Phil HillWaiters at the airy, greenery-filled café at a big hotel in Birmingham, UK,probably don’t realise how close they came to receiving a One-Minute Reprimandin person from the original One-Minute Manager himself, Ken Blanchard. Three attempts in 20 minutes at ordering drinks for himself and his partyfail as one waiter after another takes the order and promptly disappears. Afrown crosses Blanchard’s normally jovial features as he firmly hails yetanother waiter. “Is there any way to get a Diet Coke here?” Blanchardgrowls. “Is there some secret?” Despite an obviously tenuous grasp of English, the latest waiter soon reappearswith the drinks. Instead of a One-Minute Reprimand, Blanchard offers the waitera warm, truncated version of a One-Minute Praising that ends in smiles on bothsides. Blanchard then explains the personal philosophy that has led to hisbeing a best-selling author and co-author of 20 or so management and parentingbooks such as The One-Minute Manager, Gung Ho!, Raving Fans, and his latest,Whale Done. “I really feel that if you treat people well, they will respond well. Ithink there’s nothing more important than positive relationships,” saysBlanchard. “The other big thing that keeps showing up in most of mywriting now is the human ego and getting out of [doing things] our own way. Ijust love a concept I heard recently from an old Texan about how real joy comesfrom getting to the act of forgetfulness about yourself.” Based in San Diego, California, Blanchard – who still occasionally teaches aclass at Cornell University – is a global industry in himself, built on themulti-layered foundation of his management books, speaking engagements and hiscompany, Blanchard Training and Development. To talk with Blanchard is to hear any number of homespun stories thatillustrate a specific point in simple language aimed at touching the heart aswell as triggering a mental catalyst – a trait his conversation shares with thebooks he writes. And there is usually a moral to the tale, or at least a strongpunch line. There’s the story about the little girl who shares all of herbirthday sweets and doesn’t get any for herself, the one about the friend whoworked for former US President Bill Clinton, and a telling anecdote about howAlfred Nobel created the Nobel peace prize in an epiphany after his own deathwas mistakenly reported. The books Whale Done spins the yarn of an unhappy manager who discovers happiness atwork and at home by learning to adapt to humans the positive reinforcementtraining given to killer whales at a marine park. Gung Ho! sets a three-rule philosophy of mutual support and team-buildingagainst a backdrop of Native American wisdom and knowledge of nature,infiltrated by just a hint of romance. According to Blanchard and co-authorSheldon Bowles, profits, productivity and individual prosperity can all beincreased by adhering to the Spirit of the Squirrel, the Way of the Beaver andthe Gift of the Goose – memorable slogans that stick in the mind. Storytelling,Blanchard concedes, is crucial to his method of spreading the message of themoment. “After we know what we want to teach, we sit around and say, ‘What kindof story could we put together?’ I have found that people really love stories,little stories,” he says. “When I was young, I just loved Antoine St.Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Then when I got older, I loved the parables in theBible, Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Og Mandino’s The GreatestSalesman of Them All. “What’s good about writing stories is,” he continues, “peoplelower their defences. You write a book with all this research and people say,‘You’ve got to be joking.’ You tell them a story about an angel and a fairygodmother and so on, people get into the story, and suddenly, they’re learningsomething. You’ve caught ’em.” Simple or simplistic? “So many people want to write off this kind of stuff as airy-fairy,soft stuff,” Blanchard concedes. “But it’s not. It’s good businesssense. We wouldn’t be giving money-back guarantees if we didn’t think it workedin terms of performance.” To date, that guarantee hasn’t lost Blanchard and company much money inseminars or training and development that expand on the messages in his books.”It’s really interesting. You know why I think they don’t want to take itup? I don’t think people want to be held accountable. Because part of the deal is,we put full-time people in their organisation to make sure they do what theysaid they were going to do,” he says. “It’s really interesting howpeople want to do what they want to do but don’t want to be heldaccountable.” When Blanchard sets out to develop a new book, however, he is adamant aboutconducting considerable research, however little the resulting product lookslike a scholarly tome. Once the first draft is written, Blanchard shares itwith an inner circle, asks for their opinions, “then we rewrite it, giveit to a wider circle, then a wider circle”. One tier in the circle comes from a cross-section of a small community inNew York state where Blanchard and his wife have a summer cottage. When one ofhis books is in the pipeline, he invites local people to read a copy of thebook, fill out a questionnaire on it and then attend a buffet dinner for whichBlanchard picks up the tab. “Last summer, I sent out Whale Done but the title was From KillerWhales to Kids – the Power of Positive Relationships. I tell guests that theirhomework while they’re eating is to agree on three things they like best aboutthe book, three things they would change to make it better and their favouritetitle aside from the one on the book. I go around with a microphone, and get areport from each table,” he says. At one table, a group suggested that he change the title to Whale Done, apun drawing both on the phrase ‘well done’ and the whale training, and the newtitle was set. “It wasn’t even anywhere in the book,” Blanchard says.”But Whale Done is a lot better.” Servant leadership One of his latest projects is the Center for Faith Walk Leadership, anon-profit organisation that aims to help “people of faith walk theirfaith in the marketplace”, Blanchard says. “Right now, we’reconcentrating on Christians, but we’ve had people of other faiths come. That’swhere we started Egos Anonymous. Now we’re starting to use it with some of ourregular clients. I mean, it’s pretty powerful when a company permits an EgosAnonymous meeting in their top management group, and people get up and say,‘I’m an ego maniac. The last time my ego got in the way was’ whenever’.” “We’ve got it into a 12-step programme, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Youtake an inventory of people you might have hurt in the past.” Both efforts tie in to the ‘servant leadership’ concept in business thatBlanchard is quick to explain does not mean “trying to please everybody orletting the inmates run the prison. Servant leadership starts with a clearvision, and what you serve is the vision. What happens in most companies isthat the companies are serving the managers, particularly the top managers, andthat’s where you get self-serving organisations.” His next book, The One Minute Apology, comes out this winter. He jokes thatit is dedicated to Bill Clinton, but joking aside, it is clear from Blanchard’scomments that top executives and leaders in a world rocked by high-levelcorporate and political scandals are a key target audience for his latest opus.”The whole question about an Enron, or anything, is that human beings makemistakes. The longer you take to admit a wrongdoing, the quicker a weakness isperceived as a wickedness. Almost anything can be perceived as a weakness – ‘Itook my eye off the ball’, ‘I wasn’t paying attention and it was on my watch’,‘Sex is a problem for me’ – whatever,” Blanchard says. “I think one of the most powerful things that managers and leaders canhave in their arsenal is the capacity to admit when they’ve made a mistake,because we’ve all done stupid things,” he continues. “You get caughtup in the moment. You’re vulnerable.” The key, he says, is to “give up being right. That doesn’t mean you’regiving up what you stand for”. But it does mean getting the old ego out ofthe way. To Blanchard’s thinking, and exploring a more thoughtful, reflectiveself that “allows us to recalibrate who we want to be”. Alarm clocks,for example, symbolise to him the jarring pace of the modern rat race(“The problem with being in a rat race is, even if you win, you’re still arat,” he quips), which forces people to lose sight of who they are and whothey want to be. Cue the story of Alfred Nobel, who was involved in the invention ofdynamite. When a Swedish newspaper confused Alfred Nobel with his brother andreported that he had died, the living brother unhappily observed that hisobituary focused on dynamite and its destructive qualities. He then vowed torefocus on the opposite of destruction and redesigned his life so he wouldultimately be remembered more for peace. To the discomfort of Blanchard’s wife, the man who would like to beremembered as a “185-pound flexible golfing machine” has made a taperecording for his own funeral. “It starts off, ‘This is the toughest groupI’ve ever worked with.’ “I want people to have a good time when I go.But,” he adds, “I’m going to redo it. I made it a few years ago, andI’ve got some better stories now.” Companies seek to gain knowledgeGung Ho! is more than a buzz phraseto workers at many of the global locations of Hilti, the company that makesproducts and systems for construction and demolition. Rolled out in the UK andIreland from the beginning of 2001, the programme has also been put into effectin Australia, the Middle East and the US and is being considered for worldwideimplementation.Taking that particular Blanchard philosophy to the workforceand building it into the corporate culture is a full-time job for PeterThompson, the official Gung Ho! champion for the UK and Ireland’s Hilti branches.”There was some scepticism to start with,” says Thompson, whose workshirt sports an embroidered Gung Ho! slogan. “There was a mixed reactionfrom the executive team, and you have to have the CEO on board to ultimatelydrive the thing.”The initial hesitation stemmed in part from the enthusiasticAmericanism so evident in the programme’s teachings. Once tried out, however,approving noises circulating throughout the company’s internal grapevinehastened its acceptance  – so much sothat Thompson was asked to bring forward the training dates for some companyoperations. “It generates its own momentum,” he says.Thompson also introduced the programme’s first phase in Hilti’sMiddle East operations, where a number of different nationalities wererepresented. There, a key concern had been to help Filipino employees be betterintegrated in the corporate culture, a common issue in the Middle East whereFilipinos often fill the least prestigious workplace roles. “It was veryinteresting,” Thompson says. “It transported much easier acrosscultures than I would have imagined.”The programme’s initial impact was to break down culturalbarriers between nationalities and help build an improved work environment.”Now we have to do the hard work of focusing on values.”  Hilti, Thompson acknowledges, had been ‘under performing’ forsome time when Gung Ho! was introduced. But in January, February and March ofthis year, Thompson says, “we as an organisation met our targets, and wehadn’t done that since June 2000”. One of the factors involved had to beGung Ho!, Thompson believes. “We see the change: targeting, belief in ourcompany and a changed environment with Gung Ho!” Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Am I too qualified for first HR role?

first_imgAm I too qualified for first HR role?On 18 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. I have an MSc in occupational psychology and I am desperate for a career inHR. I believe my post-graduate degree should help me to find a suitable role,but so far I am having no luck. How do I get my foot on the bottom rung of theHR ladder? I have been rejected from many HR administrator applications despitemy qualifications in HR-related issues and computer literacy and experience inadministration. Advice please! Do HR professionals see my MSc as valuable? Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento The answer to your last question is that HR professionals do not perceiveyour MSc qualification as valuable for the roles you’ve been applying for. Inretrospect, you may have been better studying for a CIPD qualification, whichis the key qualification in demand for entry-level HR roles. Employers recruiting for HR administrators probably view your MScqualification as a barrier, not an asset. It indicates you are likely to beseeking challenging work assignments and rapid career progression, which are nottypical features of such roles. Try applying to large organisations and consultancies that are more likelyto have specialist roles that could benefit from your qualification. John Baker, head of practice, Macmillan Davies Hodes I am not surprised that you have been continually rejected from so many HRadministrator roles. Your psychology qualification would be more relevant to anorganisational development or organisational design role. By entering anorganisation through this route you would be far better placed to move acrossinto a generalist position if this was a route you wanted to take in thefuture. If you wanted to pursue the generalist route once you have secured arole in an organisation, I would advise you to undertake the CIPD qualifications,as this would give you both the professional knowledge and credibility to applyfor such a position. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS consultancy I am sure you are not getting considered for HR administration roles becauseyou are seen to be over-qualified. You need to look carefully at the type ofrole you are applying for. Job titles such as assistant personnel officer,human resources advisor and personnel assistant may offer you more chance ofsuccess. Look at jobs in the public sector – there is a lot of HR recruitmentactivity there at present. Another option is to send your CV cold to employerswith a covering letter stating how you feel you could add value to their humanresources function. Statistics show that networking is the most successfulmethod of achieving that next move. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Unfair dismissal cases increase

first_imgUnfair dismissal cases increaseOn 3 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Four out of 10 managers report that the number of unfair dismissal cases hasgrown over the past year, according to a survey of 2,000 employers. The Future of Work Programme report also finds that more than half theorganisations surveyed report that the amount of time managers spend onemployment-related issues has risen in the past 12 months. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the study finds that onein six firms have reported an increased wage bill for legal advice aboutemployment-related issues. Stephen Hill, one of the report’s co-authors, believes one of the reasonsfor the increase in the number of unfair dismissal cases is the growingcompensation culture in the UK. “There is an increase today of people in all areas of life who aretaking legal recourse,” he said. He also highlighted the increasing complexity of employment legislationaffecting the workplace as a reason why managers are spending more of theirtime tackling issues in this area. The research reveals that most organisations are doing no more than thelegal minimum required to meet the family needs of women employees. www.regard.ac.uklast_img read more

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Take part in our pay forecast research

first_imgRelated posts: 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… Pay award levels recorded by XpertHR have been low for the best part of seven years now, but is this about to change?In early 2009 employees felt the full force of recession when the value of their annual pay rises plummeted – from around 3% to 3.5% in the years preceding the recession, to more than half of organisations freezing pay rates in the middle of 2009.Pay awards: tools and resourcesLatest pay awardsBenchmarking pay and benefitsSalary surveysThose conducting pay reviews at this time were struggling to manage increases of more than 1%.Fast forward seven years and pay awards have yet to fully recover.The latest data from XpertHR, based on the three months to the end of July 2015, reveals that pay awards across all organisations are now typically worth 2%.Further analysis reveals that the private sector mirrors the whole economy figure of 2%, while public-sector employers have made pay awards at the 1.6% mark over the past year (a figure boosted by higher increases for the lowest paid; and a 10.3% increase for MPs).Given the stability in pay setting at present – the XpertHR median has been at, or close to 2%, for much of the past five years – can we expect more of the same over the coming year?XpertHR is investigating employer’s pay plans for the year ahead, including at what level they expect to increase pay for employees.Take part in our pay forecast research here and you will receive a free copy of the findings. Comments are closed. center_img Previous Article Next Article Take part in our pay forecast researchBy Sheila Attwood on 21 Aug 2015 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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How new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing could change the workplace health landscape

first_img Reply Related posts: Ralph Laing 7 Aug 2019 at 4:58 am # i think this is quite important How new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing could change the workplace health landscapeBy Nic Paton on 2 Nov 2018 in Clinical governance, Manufacturing, OH service delivery, Research, Occupational Health, Personnel Today Occupational health education facing a challenging future post pandemicThere were serious concerns about the future of occupational health training even before the pandemic threw our education system up… One Response to How new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing could change the workplace health landscapecenter_img Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Previous Article Next Article October saw the launch of the new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing. What exactly is it, how will it work and what will it cost to join? Equally importantly, how will – can it, even – change the workplace health landscape? Nic Paton looks for answers.Back in the autumn of 2016, a respondent to a nationwide survey of occupational health nurses undertaken by the then-nascent Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing’s Development Group articulated the intense frustration felt by many OH nurses at their perceived lack of a voice, representation and even recognition within the profession.“The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) does not support OH practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is a toothless lion and there is nothing for me to tap into to support my practice,” the OH nurse said.That survey of 1,429 nurses, carried out with the publishing group The At Work Partnership, concluded that barely a fifth – 17% – of nurses felt “represented” by an occupational health body. Fewer than half (44%) felt “professionally supported” at work, despite most (93%) being members of the RCN. Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) felt a faculty for OH nurses would be beneficial, and nearly three out of four (74%) said they would be happy to join such an organisation.What this highlighted, as this publication reported at the time, was that – on paper at least – there was “genuine enthusiasm” for the notion of new faculty specifically for OH nurses.Who represents FOHN?Eventually, of course, the new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing will be all about its membership. But the process of setting up and establishing the faculty has been led by the FOHN Development Group, which has been made up of qualified occupational health nurses. The group has comprised:Christina Butterworth (chair). Christina Butterworth, also chief operating officer of the faculty, is now semi-retired, but a director of Optimal Health Consulting. Her notable roles have included health and safety specialist at Crossrail and head of health at BG Group. She represents OH nursing on the Council for Work and Health and National School of Occupational Health. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine in 2015 for leadership in OH nursing.Fiona King (deputy chair and treasurer). Fiona is senior OH manager at HS2, where she is pioneering health strategies in the construction sector to improve health outcomes for the individuals working there.Susanna Everton (governance). Susanna Everton is a freelance OH nurse and safety consultant with a special interest and expertise in OH and safety management systems and health surveillance, particularly hearing and noise. She is a member of the BSI Committee HS/001 OH and Safety Management and is a CMIOSH.Joanna Elliot (business development). Joanna Elliot is chief nursing adviser, lead practitioner and OH manager, working within health and social care, justice and the communications industry in England, Scotland and Northern IrelandAllison Caine (communication and marketing). Allison Caine is founder of Occupational Health Business Management Ltd, working in industries as diverse as manufacturing, education, care providers, food manufacturers, engineering and construction.Elisabeth Eades (education). A Bart’s Nurse, Liz Eades was an A&E sister before moving into occupational health to work as the “store sister” at Debenhams in Oxford Street. Until recently, she was a member of the HR senior management team at Surrey Police.Lyndsey Marchant (membership services). Lyndsey Marchant completed her initial nurse education in the Royal Navy, worked in the prison service and set up her own company Phoenix Occupational Health Ltd in 2011, working across education, manufacturing and engineering. She was also an auditor for the Fit for Work service during its pilot scheme and has been a director for the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners.Scroll forward two years, and last month (October) saw the formal launch of the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing (FOHN). What this means, of course, is we now come to the moment of truth as to whether that enthusiasm from 2016 is still there, and if it will translate into OH nurses backing, supporting and, crucially, being prepared to join this new body.Chief operating officer Christina Butterworth tells Occupational Health & Wellbeing: “Obviously, building the membership base is going to take time, whether we end up with 100 or 1,000. I’d hope that at the very least we’d be able to achieve perhaps 500 members as a starting point.”What, then, is this new faculty all about? What is it going to do or focus on? What will be the benefit for OH nurses in joining? And what is it all going to cost?Butterworth outlines that the faculty will have three core workstreams: creating and disseminating standards on best practice; developing education standards and OH nurse career frameworks; and acting as an advocate for the OH nursing profession.As she explains: “On professional standards, we will continue to engage with the NMC to ensure they meet the requirement for registration and revalidation but also ensure that they meet the quality expectations for OH nursing.“Then, on education, we will focus on career development for OHNs and set an educational curriculum for specialist training, working with the National School of Occupational Health to make sure there is also a quality educational process.“We want to be ensuring OH nurses are better supported in their career development, both those who are new to the specialty and those who are already working in practice. It is about not seeing OH as just a job, but a worthwhile career,” she adds.Guide on OH nurses for employersIndeed, one of the faculty’s first publications is due to be a guide for employers about what an OH nurse should look like and what qualifications should be expected, building on Public Health England’s 2016 document Educating Occupational Health Nurses: an approach to align education with a service vision for occupational health nurses.“Finally, on representation, we intend very much to act as a voice for OH nurses. We want to ensure OHNs are represented at both national and regional levels, within practice-specific networks and forums,” says Butterworth.“We want to ensure OHNs or nurses working in occupational health are proud of their achievements and to showcase good practice. We want to ensure that all stakeholders are coming to us for comment and insight, and we are already working with bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive and we will be continuing to work with the Council for Work and Health,” she adds.One key element of this networking and representation activity is the intention to hold an annual “hearts and minds” networking and professional practice conference for members. While it is still early days, the aim at the moment is this will probably take place around June next year.“Another important element is ensuring our members and others interested in occupational health are kept well-informed, whether through our website or e-newsletter. We will start sending out social media alerts from the middle of October,” explains Butterworth.FOHN will be setting up two committees: professional development and quality and practice, and the intention is that there will be a number of CPD workshops held on key projects. We will also use the power of social media to engage with our members and others with both a Facebook and LinkedIn group.“It [the faculty] is also about connecting people with their peers; helping OHNs to realise that, even if they are working single-handed or in isolation, they are not alone in their practice. It is very much about trying to create a one-stop-shop for OH nurses, within which the website is likely to be very important,” Butterworth adds.Relationship to NMCIs there likely to be a risk – or an opportunity, depending on your point of view – that FOHN will start to step on the toes of the NMC in terms of regulation and standards? After all, Part 3 of the register may be part of the review that is underway at the NMC and, as we reported in October’s edition of Occupational Health & Wellbeing, there are growing question-marks over the future of NMC-approved Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) occupational health courses.Butterworth emphasises that the faculty is very much not about invading the NMC’s turf. “The NMC has no objections in us setting out voluntary standards. They may not necessarily be NMC-approved, but the NMC is not averse in principle to us setting standards, especially if it all helps to raise and maintain standards of professional practice and public safety,” she points out. But she adds: “The NMC’s standards by their nature have to be quite generalist, because they have to serve all nurses. So we can work to create a much more specific range of standards for OH nurses.“It is very much about recognising all people who do good work within occupational health, and not just those who are on Part 3 of the register. There are many, many nurses out there who are not on Part 3 but do very good work. Their knowledge and experience just does not happen to be recognised fully by the NMC as they did not complete an approved course.“We’ll be looking at areas such as’ quality of training, how to put theory into practice and how OH nurses impact practice through their behaviour. We will also be also be looking hard at determining how we assess all that in order to give due recognition,” explains Butterworth.In terms of funding, the intention is that the faculty will become self-sustaining through income from membership, CPD and other services. Up to now, its development costs have been covered through a partnership with Kays Medical, with whom the faculty will continue to work on a number of projects.Predominantly virtual organisationTo keep costs down, the faculty will primarily be a virtual organisation (hence the focus on webinars, the e-newsletter, the website and the LinkedIn group). But it will also have a physical address at the Faculty of Occupational Medicine’s new offices in Greenwich, south east London, including access to the Education Centre for Occupational Health, which is also located there.In terms of the specifics of membership, the original plan had been for FOHN to merge with the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners and offer joint membership. But this fell through in the summer (see below ) and so membership of the faculty will be £120 for a year for individuals and £80 for affiliates.“There will be a range of member benefits that people can sign up for – discounts on things such as indemnity insurance and so on. But the main benefit is simply going to be the access you get to professional standards, to educational development and peer and social networks,” explains Butterworth.“You cannot wrap indemnity insurance into the membership for ‘free’ because then you run the risk of it being viewed like PPI and will potentially get us into all sorts of issues. There will in time I think be a specialty register, which will be an additional cost for members to sign up to. So it may be that, by the second year, there will be that additional benefit,” she adds.What, then, about the view from outside, from within the profession itself? While, naturally, there is still a long way to go, the faculty does appear to have the goodwill of many working within occupational health behind it.As one OH nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, tells Occupational Health & Wellbeing: “I don’t think you’ll find anyone in OH who doesn’t feel the advent of the FOHN is a good thing.”Another, Jo Clayton – a member of the UK Occupational Health Practitioners Facebook Group – says: “I’m hoping it’s going to support and direct with clear guidelines and standards etc. I really hope this is the case. I often feel misled…. lost…. confused and I’m hoping to stop feeling like this.”However, cost will be an important issue, she concedes, given the multiple and competing membership demands (such as the RCN and NMC) there are already on OH practitioner budgets. Having said that, the attraction of FOHN as a fresh alternative could be compelling, as Clayton highlights. “I am fed up with forking out for NMC and RCN and being rewarded for my hard-earned cash with nothing but a handbag diary!”“It is going to be really interesting to hear what people say about the faculty,” agrees FOHN development group member Liz Eades. “I think the faculty is about giving a voice to OH nurses, which is something we have not had before. If I think back over the years, I have had the occasional conversation with Dame Carol Black, who has often said that we – OH nurses – need to come forward more.“OH nurses are not good at that, nor are we good at shouting about what we do and can do; we are not good at promoting ourselves and helping others to understand what it is we can offer. Because we tend to be so busy running around doing our jobs, we do not have the time or space to promote ourselves and push ourselves forward.“So I see the faculty as giving OH nurses a certain extra gravitas. It is not a union, it is a professional body, and I think we as a profession need a professional body, a professional voice. It is going to be the professional body that underpins nursing practice, as well as a networking body and advocate. It will also be about sponsoring research and academic work as well as offering members some benefits, such as subsidised indemnity insurance,” she adds.The failed mergerIn June, it emerged that the faculty and the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (AOHNP) had called off the merger (including joint membership) that had been set to go ahead when the faculty formally launched last month.In a statement at the time, FOHN said: “With less than five months before the launch of the FOHN on 1 October 2018 and with no formal agreement made or transition committee in place, the FOHN Development Group has decided to focus on the launch and establishment of the new standard setting organisation and progressing its strategic objectives.“Both organisations will continue to work as separate entities until any future merger arrangements have been agreed. Irrespective of this decision, there is clearly a need for the FOHN and AOHNP to work together to avoid unnecessary duplication of services, save costs and provide a unified voice to the external world,” it added.FOHN emphasised that it would have its own fee structure from October but would also “honour our promise of a discounted membership for present AOHNP members for the first year.”The failure of this merger has raised eyebrows on both sides. One AOHNP member, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted Occupational Health & Wellbeing to express concern that there had been no clear explanation as to why the merger had failed to go forward, especially since it had received strong backing from AOHNP members the previous summer.“Regardless of any issues FOHN might be thinking of tackling for OH nursing, it may also have to do some bridge-building if it wants the unqualified support of the AOHNP,” the member said.“Personally, I’ve let my AOHNP membership lapse and am throwing my hat in with the FOHN, which I feel is better for the good of OH nursing in general going forward,” they added.Nevertheless, FOHN development group member Liz Eades suggests that, even though things have not worked out between the two organisations this time round, it may be a case of “never say never”.“It was very unfortunate. I really cannot understand quite why it failed because I think it is potentially going to weaken both bodies rather than making them stronger. But I do think it may come back on to the agenda at some point,” she says. Five ways OH can make itself indispensable during Covid-19Much as it is causing intense day-to-day challenges, Covid-19 is also offering OH practitioners – nurses and physicians – a… Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: December 2020Fatigue and workplace exercise programmesWork-related fatigue is related to a range of negative consequences, including poor productivity. This study…last_img read more

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