in brief

first_imgin briefOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. news in brief n There were 169 of them at the last count so a free, independent guide toLearning Management Systems sounds like a sensible idea. It’s been published bythe Department for Education and Skills and a copy can be obtained by e-mailingyour name and address to [email protected] n OnLine Learning Europe Conference and Expo will be taking place on 5-6March at the new ExCel conference centre in London’s Docklands. Full-dayworkshops will be held on 4 and 7 March. For information, go to The Institute of Professional Sales has partnered with training serviceprovider KnowledgePool to create the UK’s first online professional salestraining, which leads to the Certificate in Professional Sales. The courseswill be available at n A new learning package has been developed for the European ComputerDriving Licence through a collaboration between Pearson Education, theEducational Multimedia Corporation, Enl!ght Teststation and the BritishComputer Society. The ECDL Complete Solution marks the first time that studentshave had everything that they need to gain the qualification in one package,and costs £ Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

On appeal

first_imgOn appealOn 26 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Continuing our regular series on the implications of recent significantcases. Gareth Brahams, senior solicitor at Lewis Silkin, looks at the issuesCancellation of share options “irrational” Mallone v BPB Industries – Court of Appeal, 19 February 2002, unreportedMallone was dismissed from his position as managing director of BPB’sItalian subsidiary in November 1995. At that time, he held a substantial numberof share options in BPB that had been awarded each year from 1990 to 1994 underthe terms of BPB’s senior execution share option scheme. Under the rules of the scheme, options held by an executive who ceased to beemployed by BPB could be exercised during the six months after the thirdanniversary of them being granted. This was subject to an ‘absolute discretion’on the part of BPB directors to allow only a fraction of those options to beexercised. The fraction consisted of a denominator of 36 and a numerator to bechosen by the directors. On the day of Mallone’s dismissal, the directors purported to cancel hisshare options in full by determining the numerator of the fraction to beapplied to any exercise by him of the options, as zero. This decision was notnotified to Mallone. He only became aware of it when his request in September1997 to exercise his options was refused. The High Court upheld Mallone’s claim for breach of contract, ruling thatalthough the contract purported to give the directors an absolute discretion inrelation to the options, they still had to exercise that discretion rationally.In cancelling the options, they had failed to do so. Dismissing BPB’s appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’sconclusion that the directors’ exercise of discretion was irrational. Inconsidering the fraction to be applied to the options, the directors wereobliged to bear in mind that they were dealing with vested property rights thathad been awarded because of Mallone’s good service. The court said there wasnothing in the circumstances of his dismissal that warranted him being divestedof those accrued rights. This ruling is significant for two reasons. First, it is the first time theCourt of Appeal has confirmed that there is no such thing as an ‘absolute’discretion. An employer exercising a discretion will be in breach of contractif no reasonable employer would have exercised the discretion in that way.Second, this is the first case in which the principle of ‘irrationality’ hasbeen applied to share options as opposed to discretionary contractual bonuses(for example, Clark v Nomura International [2000] IRLR 766). Withdrawn complaint could be resurrected Rothschild Asset Management v Ako – Court of Appeal, 1 March 2002,unreported Ako brought an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and racediscrimination against Rothschild, which she subsequently withdrew. Thetribunal issued a standard order dismissing the claim on withdrawal by theapplicant. Ako withdrew the claim because she realised she should have claimed not onlyagainst Rothschild but also against another company that was a possibletransferee of the relevant part of the business under Tupe. Within a week, shehad issued a fresh claim naming both companies as respondents. The issue was whether the legal doctrine of res judicata prevented Ako frompursuing the second claim. Res judicata prevents people from re-litigatingcases (or issues in cases) on which there has already been a decision by acourt or tribunal. A previous case suggested that once a tribunal claim is dismissed onwithdrawal by the applicant, it cannot be raised again (Barber v StaffordshireCounty Council [1996] ICR 379). In Ako’s case, however, the Court of Appeal held that she should bepermitted to proceed with her second claim. The key point was that she had notintended to abandon her claim altogether by withdrawing the first application.Rather, she wanted to discontinue the proceedings so she could reframe herapplication correctly. The court said that the position was similar to that in another recent case,Sajid v Sussex Muslim Society [2002] IRLR 113, in which res judicata was heldnot to apply. In that case, the applicant had withdrawn an employment tribunalcomplaint for breach of contract but expressly reserved the right to reissuethe claim in the High Court. The main point to come from these cases is that the reason applicantswithdraw complaints is the critical factor in determining whether they areblocked from issuing fresh proceedings. Employer not liable for racist comment Haringey Council (Haringey Design Partnership Directorate of Technical& Environmental Services) v Al-Azzawi – EAT, IDS Brief 703, p7 Al-Azzawi was an architect of Iraqi Arabic origin employed by HaringeyCouncil. He complained that, at a discussion about an upcoming quiz evening, acolleague had referred to ‘bloody Arabs’ whom he claimed had disrupted theevent the previous year. Having investigated the matter, the council gave thecolleague a written warning for misconduct that stood for two months, and madehim write an apology to Al-Azzawi. Al-Azzawi subsequently brought a complaint of race discrimination alleging,among other things, that the council was liable for the racist remark. Thetribunal upheld this part of the claim and awarded £8,000 compensation. On the council’s appeal, the EAT said the issue was whether the council hadtaken such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the discriminatorycomment. The tribunal had wrongly focused on events after the incident – thatis, the disciplinary process and what was thought to be a lenient penalty.According to the EAT, these matters were irrelevant to the question of thecouncil’s liability. The tribunal had in fact found that the council had a comprehensive equalopportunities policy in place and had provided training courses on racial awarenessfor its employees (including the wrongdoer in question). Moreover, the tribunal had expressly stated that the council had done morethan pay lip service to the issue of racial equality. The EAT concluded thatthe council had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the racist remark and socould not be held liable for it. This decision provides a useful reminder of the practical measures thatemployers need to have in place to avoid ‘vicarious’ liability fordiscriminatory acts by their employees under the Race Relations Act 1976. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgThismonth’s newsWork-lifebalanceLengthyand frequent travel away from home, and changes in travel dates affectingfamily plans, can negatively affect workers’ spouses and children, puttingextra strain on families and contributing to extra worker stress, research hasfound. The study of staff at Washington DC’s World Bank Group suggestedpractices that take into consideration family activities and give greaterleeway to staff may help.  Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2002; 59: 309-322Workersunhappy with long hoursWorkersare becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their long hours, according to asurvey by the Economic and Social Research Council. Out of 2,500 people, only16 per cent of male professionals and managers said they were completelysatisfied with their hours, compared with 36 per cent in 1992. NHSworkers’ healthBetterpublic health among NHS workers will be at the centre of debate in September ata conference being run by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Theconference, at the Harrogate International Centre between 10 and 13 September,will be on the theme of “empowering public health”. Details areavailable from the website angina link is spuriousMakinga link between higher stress levels and angina in cases of people admitted tohospital may not be valid. A study of 27 workplaces in Scotland found therelation between higher stress, angina, and some categories of hospitaladmissions probably resulted from the tendency of participants reporting higherstress, to also report more symptoms.  “The data suggest that associations between psychosocialmeasures and disease outcomes reported from some other studies may bespurious,” it added. BMJ 2002; 324: 1247  Dockyardcompany finedAdockyard company has been fined £10,000 after failing to ensure the health andsafety of two casual employees who were overcome by paint fumes while workingin the hull of a hopper barge. The company, A&P Falmouth, also had to paycosts of £6,627.40.CorrectionApologiesare due to Greta Thornbory for a mistake that crept into her article onterrorism in the June issue of Occupational Health. Mention is made of howquickly toxins can spread. However, it is of course micro-organisms thatspread, not toxins. We are happy to put the record straight.RefrigerantsafetyAfree leaflet designed to prevent injuries and ill-health from refrigerantchemicals used in air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles has been publishedby the Health and Safety Executive. Safe working with vehicle air-conditioningsystems can be used as a poster for display in motor vehicle repair garages andother associated places.  It can be ordered by calling 01787 881165 or online at safety reporting increasesReportingon health and safety among FTSE-100 companies increased from 47 per cent in1995 to 60 per cent last year, the Health and Safety Commission says. But thequality of reporting varies greatly, with some firms simply confirming theircommitment to comply with the law. HSC chairman Bill Callaghan has called forcompanies to be more transparent in their reporting processes.OH records During the morning forum discussion, an interesting question was raised onthe feasibility of passing employees’ OH records to their next employer, in thesame way a doctor can pass on a patient’s medical notes to a new GP. Onedelegate recommended handing employees a copy of their own OH notes when theyleft. Jane Lewis commented that this is sensible advice, because givingindividuals the responsibility to hold their own records falls within therequirements of the Data Protection Act. Sickness absence Employers generally underestimate the true cost of sickness absence,according to a recent report by income protection insurance companyUnumProvident. Presenting the results, Dr Peter Dewis, director of medicalservices for the company, said that while long-term absence accounts for only aminority of spells of absence, it may account for 75 per cent of the totalcost. Faulds Wood The association’s patron Lynn Faulds Wood chaired the Symposium. She lefther award-winning television presenting career to run the charity Beating BowelCancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 1991. Comments are closed. NewsOn 1 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Eastjet’s HR director flies to pastures new

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Eastjet’s HR director flies to pastures newOn 18 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. EasyJet’s HR director Graham Abbey is leaving the company and will bereplaced by an interim HR director, following the airline’s merger with formerrival Go. Abbey will leave imminently to set up his own HR consultancy business. He said: “We have substantially completed the integration of Go andwhat is required now is to set up new pieces of work and projects. This isactually a very sensible time for me to go.” Abbey has been replaced by interim HR director Stephen Connock, who willhold the position for six months while a permanent replacement is found. During the next six months, business development director Mike Cooper andoperations director Vilhelm Hahn-Petersen will also leave the airline, once theintegration is fully complete. Abbey’s consultancy will be called March Friday and will focus on developingthe HR function. It aims to redress what he sees as a shortage of strategic andchange-orientated HR professionals. “The technical development of HR has come a long way in the last 10years, but what isn’t as strong is the development of commercial people –people that can make change happen,” he said. Abbey’s second management book is to be published later this month. last_img read more

What are HR directors worth?

first_img Comments are closed. Whileother company directors seem to be paid vast sums regardless of theirperformance, HR directors do not. Scott Beagrie finds out what HR needs to doto boost its image as well as its pay packetExecutive remuneration has been a big headline issue of late. The businessworld is reeling from the recent bout of executive payouts that have seen thelikes of Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive of pharmaceuticals companyGlaxoSmithkline, rewarded with £7m in earnings plus the prospect of a £22mpayout if the company is taken over. The list of large bonuses to executives that have overseen falling profitsand share prices is long, and has been greeted by a chorus of disapproval bydisgruntled shareholders. Even the Department of Trade and Industry hasresponded by publishing Rewards for Failure – a consultation paper on curbingso called ‘fat cat’ pay. Executive pay awards in the UK HR arena, however, don’t tend to hit nationalheadlines in quite the same way. So it was a big day for the profession when itwas announced 18 months ago that Jim McKenna, then group HR director of Logica,was ranked as the fourth-highest paid director in the country with a £7.2maward. It made a big statement about the perceived value of the profession, butsadly the case of McKenna – now chief executive of the UK operation ofLogicaCMG – doesn’t reflect the full story of HR remuneration in the UK. Richard Cockman, partner in the human capital group at Watson Wyatt, saysthe consultancy’s research shows that an HR director on the executive committee(where most are found) will typically earn 10 to 20 per cent less than otherfunction heads. And even those on the main board are still earning 10 to 20 percent less than other directors reporting to the chief executive. Is HR really perceived as a lesser function in the UK, and are many HRdirectors being sold short when it comes to pay and rewards? And what is themarket price for HR? The answers, it seems, are yes, yes and a rather greyarea. “HR is in the second division at least in terms of function,” saysMark Thompson, head of reward at pay specialist the Hay Group. For the secondyear running, a study from Croner Rewards shows the median salary for an HRdirector as falling below comparable posts in other functions. The latest findings from the Personnel Rewards 2003 survey, conducted byCroner Rewards in association with the Chartered Institute of PersonnelDevelopment (CIPD), shows the average pay for HR directors is £57,449 – 4.3 percent below the average for other functions. This is a marginal improvement onlast year’s figure, but a significant reversal from 2000, when average pay forHR directors was 3.2 per cent higher than other functions. Senior HR managers also lose out this year with an average annual pay of£46,207 compared with £47,277 for all other functions – a differential of 2.3per cent. A major factor in this discrepancy seems to be how the role and its variousresponsibilities are perceived within organisations. The chief executive, chieffinancial officer and operations director positions carry enormousresponsibilities. This is particularly true in FTSE 100 companies, ranging fromcorporate governance and managing investor relations through to strategicplanning. Sadly, people management strategies still aren’t given the sameprominence, and indicative of this is the fact there are only around 15 HRdirectors on the main board of companies in the FTSE 100. People management practices Ironically though, the operations director is likely to be responsible for implementingsome of the people management practices devised by HR. “Often there is awoefully inadequate approach to people issues by the CEO and financial andoperations directors on the board unless you have a ‘John Harvey Jones’-typefigure, who is obviously hugely engaged and involved with people,” saysThompson. “Most organisations aren’t lucky enough to have a CEO in thatposition.” Thompson’s sentiments are echoed by Richard Lamptey, a partner in theexecutive compensation division of Mercer Human Resource Consulting. “There is a perception that the HR director is not a strategicmanagement role as compared with finance, marketing or operations. They arethere mainly to implement what the board – and, in particular, the CEO – hasdecided on the people strategy, rather than actually formulate it and presentit in their own right to the board,” he says. “That is [one of thereasons] why we tend to see HR directors as somewhat lower paid.” Yet in the not too distant past, when HR (or personnel as it was then) washeavily involved in tackling industrial relations head on, it was perceived asfar more influential than it is now. Sir Pat Lowry, who was director of industrial relations and later directorof personnel at car manufacturer British Leyland during the strike-torn 1970s,was chief executive Sir Michael Edwardes’ right-hand man. “Nobody wouldhave said that he wasn’t a major pillar of company strategy,” saysCockman. Former director of HR at oil giant BP, Nick Starrit, now a consultant on HRstrategy and a non-executive director at RebusHR and Capital ResourceConsulting (who refuses to discuss his remuneration while at BP), contends payshould come down to job evaluation which recognises the size and contributionof a job in relation to the success of the enterprise. “Base pay still reflects the size of the portfolio you’ve got tomanage. It may be that the HR portfolio is perceived under a company’s jobevaluation system to be as large, for example, as sales and marketing,” hesays. “It’s not been my experience, but my view is that big ticket jobswith responsibility for the predominant profit and loss of a company willcommand higher base pay.” By far the area that attracts the most flack from fellow directors and linemanagers – and the one that affords most opportunity for HR to increase itspersonal profitability – is its lack of alignment to real business issues. Theonly way to combat this is to heed the clarion call of the likes of DaveUlrich, John Sullivan, Tom Peters et al for HR to reinvent itself as astrategic business partner that can influence the board and the direction ofthe business. These are the kind of HR individuals Aine Hurley, partner at executivesearch company Odgers, Ray and Berndtson, has conducted major searches for onbehalf of Royal Mail and BT in the past nine months. In both cases, she says,the company’s chairmen wanted to recruit individuals with ‘very commercialoutlooks’ and general management experience who also happen to be HRprofessionals. “I know [the potential to be a change agent] directly impacts onremuneration because organisations are looking for a new breed of HRdirector,” Hurley says. “It is moving the HR role into something thathas a much wider contribution to make to the business: a change agent, afacilitator, an enabler or culture changer. Therefore the person needs to bevery credible with line managers and to be able to talk a good business story,not just a functional one.” She adds: “There is an upward pressure for these commercial changeagent-types of HR director and an upward pressure on the remuneration. They areat a premium because these are very big jobs.” Degree of risk There are, of course, downsides to HR being recognised as a ‘big job’ –principally that if you fail to deliver, you won’t be duly recognised orrewarded, and at worst, your number could be up. “If you want to get paid the same as your peers, you need to share thesame degree of risk,” says Ralph Tribe, vice-president of HR at GettyImages. “The concept of risk is fundamental to how much you getpaid.” Tribe says his pay is exactly in the middle of what other VPs get paid atthe company, and believes his remuneration reflects both the level of risk heaccepts as part of his job, and HR’s constant alignment with the organisation’sbusiness issues. At Getty Images, HR was the architect of a project that wouldsee a switch to a new business model and the headcount reduced by 50 per centas a result of integration, acquisition, and overlap. “You normally need a stimulus to generate quite aggressive changes, andthe way we did this was by setting a target around headcount reduction based onwhat we believed the optimum size of the business should be in a fully digital,fully integrated state,” says Tribe. “A lot of the reason we havebeen so successful is due to a very rapid integration strategy. If that hadbeen wrong, we could all have been fired.” If HR wants a lesson in successful reinvention, it could take a leaf out ofthe finance department’s modus operandi, says Hay Group’s Mark Thompson. Hereckons the function has managed to transform operational financial roles suchas the chief accountant who ran “the amazing drudgery of paying invoicesand managing credit control” into a strategic leadership role of financedirector. “HR doesn’t seem to have succeeded in doing this, but that’s the modelit should focus on,” says Thompson. “There should be a head of HR orpeople services that is quite separate from [the position of] HR director whowill focus on issues such as ‘what kind of organisation do we want to be’, and‘what kind of culture do we need to support the business strategy?’ It meansbeing heavily engaged with strategy and planning, but linking the big peopleissues to that business strategy and making it happen.” One of the ways in which HR can tangibly demonstrate its worth to the boardis by providing people management data on which to base business strategies. Developments such as Watson Wyatt’s Human Capital Index and Dave Ulrich andMark Huselid’s HR Balanced Scorecard are all attempts to measure theeffectiveness of HR. While they have their critics, they do represent the bestchance for HR to deliver on this front. “HR directors have got to start positioning themselves and the workthey do as being absolutely crucial to the forward strategic thinking of thebusiness,” says Mark Lamptey. “They have to start thinking about howthey demonstrate to the rest of the board the value of the functions, how theymeasure the performance and work of their functions and of the contributionthey make to the business.” Probably the only other area deemed to have an impact on the overall rate ofreward for HR, is the vexed subject of qualifications, although much has beendone to improve the status of HR’s professional qualifications – not leastgaining chartered status. Refreshingly, at director level, fellows of the CIPDcan expect to earn around £12,500 per annum more than non-members, while seniormanagers who are CIPD members could add up to another £1,600 to their basesalaries. There is a view in some quarters, however, that people managementqualifications don’t carry the weight that other chartered or businessmanagement qualifications do such as accountancy, management and marketing. Allied to this is the notion that individuals can (and frequently do) enterthe profession from other disciplines without relevant qualifications becausethe sector offers a freedom of entry that others don’t. There are alsoinstances where the HR position has been combined with other roles such asfinance director or company secretary, which can also diminish the function’simportance. It wasn’t so long ago that Shell’s HR and finance director were oneand the same person, for instance, while the HR director of Allied Domecq’salso wears a finance hat. “There are lots of people who feel they can come into HR managementhaving come from other backgrounds. They have been practical engineers, they’vedone other things, and they think: ‘I’m able to manage people and look afteradmin and stuff’,” says Lamptey. “Compare that to the top people infinance, who are likely to have chartered accounting or another businessqualification.” Mega salaries Although HR director salaries rose more than expected this year, it islikely to be some time, if at all, before their rewards routinely hit theheadlines as they do in the US. A report at the end of last year carried outfor Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) by Mercer, detailed thatDennis Donovan, executive-vice president of HR at Home Depot Inc, earned$21.2m, making him the company’s second highest paid executive for 2001. Thismega-bucks reward is significant not only because of the amount, but alsobecause it showed how HR chiefs are gaining financial parity. Mercer’s findings also showed that by achieving business results,”senior HR executives have earned a seat at the executive table equal totheir colleagues in finance, operations, marketing and other corporatefunctions” states the SHRM HR Magazine. There has been a great deal more clarity about executive earnings over thepast five years which can only benefit the profession, but there is still someway to go. In line with what the SHRM report demonstrates in the US, Starritpoints out that HR directors, whether they sit on the board or not, have noautomatic right to equal rewards. He says: “What is more important is that the HR director, or head ofthe function, is seen to be contributing to the commercial success of the enterprise– albeit through the people dimension – and they are doing that in a tangibleway that will make people say ‘wow!’” rewards 2003: How HR ranks in the pecking orderWhen it comes to pay, a variety offactors naturally come into play, including geography and company size. An HRprofessional in London, not unexpectedly, comes out on top with a median salaryof £28,625, which is nearly a fifth above the national average. Practitionersin the West Midlands fare worst with £21,078, which is 12 per cent below thenational average. When it comes to size, average earnings for an HR director atthe helm of a company with a turnover in excess of £500m can earn £67,000,which is 16 per cent above the average.The Personnel Rewards 2003 survey shows the gender gap hasalmost closed, with female HR directors now earning just 1.3 per cent less thantheir male colleagues, compared with 5.6 per cent last year.Changing jobs is also a good thing as HR directors who havemoved in the past 12 months have gained a 7 per cent premium on the surveyaverage of £57,449. The communications sector is where practitioners can earn themost money, recording 47 per cent above the all-sector average, while travel isthe lowest paid at nearly a fifth (18per cent) below the average. Related posts:No related photos. What are HR directors worth?On 17 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Costain goes online to attract top talent

first_imgCostain goes online to attract top talentOn 17 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Construction company Costain is using a bespoke online recruitment system ina bid to attract the world’s best talent. The company hopes to recruit 400 newstaff by the year 2006. Stephen Hall, group HR director at the firm, said Costain wants to recruitfrom both the UK and global labour markets. “Online recruitment is an essential tool for Costain Group due to itsstrategy for growth over the long term, and the need to attract a large numberof key players,” he said. “The message from the website and interlinked recruitment site is‘Costain is an international group looking for candidates who can ‘add value’and have a will and commitment to succeed in an exciting and demanding environment’,”added Hall. The site will offer a one-stop shop for job applicants using MicrosoftBusiness Solutions software linked to the Costain website. Job applicants willbe able to view current vacancies, access job profiles, apply online and track theirapplication. Hall said some of the best candidates for jobs are already being sourcedonline as many are now fully attuned to using technology for applications. The company believes the system will reduce its dependence on recruitmentcompanies and save about 50 days a year in data entry. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_imgInflationOn 29 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. TheOffice of National Statistics said slower growth in clothing and footwearprices, and reduced costs for recreation and culture, helped to reduce CPIinflation – the Governments target measure – to 1.3 per cent in November, downfrom 1.4 per cent in the previous month. Clothing and footwear prices were the main reason why RPI inflation fellto 2.5 per cent in November, from 2.6 per cent in October. graphic  requiresflash enabled browserlast_img

Taking responsibility

first_imgAsDr David Kelly’s employer, should the MoD have done more to help him deal withthe stress he was experiencing, and what measures could OH have taken tohelp?  By Nic Paton Amid the clamour surrounding the conclusions of the Hutton In- quiry intothe death of Government scientist Dr David Kelly, the criticisms of histreatment by his employer, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), have garneredrelatively little publicity. Yet there are lessons for occupational health in how the MoD handled Kellyin the run-up to his death. Management attitudes towards OH best practice insupporting a stressed employee, how to manage a whistleblower and dealing withan employee who may not naturally ask for help or assistance are all issuesthat were relevant to the inquiry. In his summary, Lord Hutton was clear that the MoD did fail Kelly. Once thedecision to give his name to the press had been taken, “the MoD was atfault and is to be criticised for not informing Dr Kelly”, he said. “It must have been a great shock and very upsetting for him to havebeen told in a brief telephone call from his line manager, Dr Wells, on theevening of 9 July, that the press office of his own department had confirmedhis name to the press, and [this] must have given rise to a feeling that he hadbeen badly let down by his employer,” he concluded. “I further consider that the MoD was at fault in not having set up aprocedure whereby Dr Kelly would be informed immediately his name had beenconfirmed to the press and in permitting a period of one-and-a-half hours toelapse between the confirmation of his name to the press and information beinggiven to Dr Kelly that his name had been confirmed to the press,” headded. In mitigation, Hutton argued that the issuing of Kelly’s name to the presswas simply one factor placing him under stress, that MoD officials did try tohelp him, particularly over his appearances before the Commons’ foreign affairscommittee, and that Kelly was not an easy man to help or to give advice. Most of the issues arising out of the care of Kelly boil down to poormanagement, argued Greta Thornbory, consulting editor of Occupational Healthand a former senior occupational health adviser with the Cabinet Office. “Occupational health can be instrumental in advising managers and beinginvolved with managers in the development of policy. But it is all about beingproactive and preventative. Once an event such as Dr Kelly’s death hashappened, it is too late,” she said. How Kelly was treated was also, of course, an HR issue. As Hutton madeclear, the right level of support was not given and managers did not react inthe right way. It is also evident that whatever protocols were in place fordealing with such an eventuality, they were either inadequate, not followedthrough or not communicated properly. “Even if there was support there, even if there was something in placelike an employee assistance programme, the employees may not have known it wasthere or might not have wanted to use it,” added Thornbory. By all accounts, Kelly was an intensely private, self-sufficient man. Whenan employee is going through a traumatic or stressful incident, however muchhelp there may be on tap, there still has to be an element of willingness onthe part of the employee to accept help. Stress consultant Carole Spiers said: “The OH professional can giveencouragement to seek support but only once the person has made contact. But italso is a case of OH having a higher profile, so that managers and employeesknow to whom they can turn.” Even though Kelly was a whistleblower who had unauthorised meetings withjournalists and so was also under a disciplinary cloud, the MoD still had aduty of care. As such, his managers needed to handle the situation carefullyand – even if there were no outward signs that he was not coping – withconsideration for his mental state. No doubt the MoD will learn lessons, but Thornbory said that too often thetalk is still about how much initiatives are going to cost, rather than what isthe cost going to be if we don’t do it. “It is about management and HR.Too many employers gamble on the fact their employees will be all right,”she said. Key questions for OH–  Had there been a risk assessment of the workplace and employeeroles in relation to the mental health risks?– Was the employee known to OH, and if so, had their progressbeen monitored/followed-up? – What were the relevant sources of support (employeeassistance line, health information, intranet, etc)?– Were these easily accessible, how were they marketed, and howfrequently?– What was the level of backing of well-being issues from keystakeholders?– Was there a pressure management policy in place, was itseffectiveness reviewed regularly, was there any pressure management educationin place for employees and managers?– Was private healthcare insurance in place for easy and quickreferrals?– What workplace adjustments had been made to support theemployee?– What sort of relationship was there between OH, HR and linemanagers to ensure effective case management?– Did line managers and colleagues feel confident they couldrecognise signs/symptoms of stress, did they know of sources of supportavailable to them?– Were managers’ interpersonal skills assessed as part of theirappraisals? Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Taking responsibilityOn 1 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Watching the Watchers | People Stuff

first_img “I’m going to confess, right up front.  This blog post is a shameless plug for my new ebook on social media, written with that very nice Tim Scott, better known on Twitter as”Read full article Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Watching the Watchers | People StuffShared from missc on 30 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.last_img

How to Spot the Signs of Three Major Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

first_imgHow to Spot the Signs of Three Major Mental Health Issues in the WorkplaceBy kooth on 25 Nov 2020 in PROMOTED CONTENT, Anxiety, Stress, Mental health conditions, Latest News, Mental health, Personnel Today No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Together alone: staying well as OH practitioners in challenging timesDr Nerina Ramlakhan explains how occupational health professionals can balance supporting the health needs of employers and employees while, at… Creating a different kind of workplaceMental Health Awareness Week encourages employers to focus on ‘kindness’ at a time when workers throughout the world are beset by feelings of uncertainty. COVID-19 has had a major impact on the UK’s mental health, something that will have devastating repercussions for years to come. Kooth Plc, the UK’s leading digital mental health services, has seen an increase in demand for services as people struggle to cope with anxiety, stress and job insecurity. Our data from the start of the pandemic period (March 2020-June 2020) revealed noticeable increases in several key presenting issues – family relationships, self worth and suicidal thoughts. As a result of the stigma still surrounding mental illness, some employees may feel reluctant to share their struggles and mental health problems can often go unrecognised. It’s not always easy to spot the signs of mental health illness so here are some signs to watch out for:Family Relationship BreakdownsWhy is this rising? With many couples and families now spending much of the day in close quarters juggling school runs, Zoom meetings, and meal planning, tensions can run high. This combined with mounting debt, not being able to socialise or even go to the gym to let off steam, means employees could be feeling angry, upset or frustrated – although it may not always be obvious when people have different outlooks and coping mechanisms when they feel overwhelmed.How do you spot it? If you notice that someone you work with is talking about friction with their families – perhaps an argument they have had or a change in enthusiasm towards the people they live with – they may want somebody to confide in. You may also notice that your colleague is prone to sudden outbursts or is often short tempered. Online counsellors and peer support forums are a fantastic source of support, no matter how small the issue may seem. If an employee is opening up to you and you feel you’re not able to help as much as you’d like, having somewhere to signpost them to is important.Self WorthWhy is this rising? Self worth involves a self appraisal of things such as appearance, beliefs, feelings, behaviours and performance. Whilst genetics undoubtedly play a part, our interactions with others and the world around are usually central to these appraisals. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for such interactions have been at best limited and at worst negative. From relationship breakdowns to loss of a regular exercise regime or engagement in activities that promote feelings of happiness and positivity, there are many factors at play, influencing how we feel about ourselves.How do you spot it? There are a few ways to spot a colleague displaying self worth issues. Firstly, they may seem uninterested in setting goals for the future as they are lacking confidence. You may also notice them becoming defensive or becoming withdrawn. Lastly, people with self esteem issues often talk down to themselves and/or appear self-defeating.Suicidal ThoughtsWhy is this rising? The emotional, financial and social impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented for the vast majority. Job losses aside, the costs of weekly grocery shops have increased significantly; sense of belonging and self worth have been hugely compromised and anxiety regarding what lies ahead is almost commonplace. How do you spot it? Spotting someone with suicidal thoughts is tricky as the symptoms can differ between people and their situations. There are some specific behavioural and physical changes that you might notice in others including being distracted, anger, low mood, weight loss/weight gain and disinterest in personal appearance or hygiene. Early intervention is imperative to helping to prevent presenting issues such as low mood or anxiety from escalating into suicidal thoughts or even self harm. If you think someone is in crisis, then you should try and persuade them to contact a crisis service such as Samaritans by calling 116 123.Why digital mental wellbeing toolkits are the way to goAnalysis by Annie Meharg, CCO of KoothIt is clear that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on our mental health. Since the start of the pandemic, Kooth has seen unprecedented demand for its services. Providing your employees with a safe and anonymous space to access mental health and emotional wellbeing support is crucial. Kooth users can receive synchronous or asynchronous support from qualified human practitioners via booked or drop-in sessions. We also provide clinically proven and research-backed tools such as pre moderated and safeguarded peer-to-peer community forums, thousands of advice articles through the Kooth magazine, goal setting and journaling supported by activities.Traditionally, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) have focussed on reactive solutions such as phone counselling and GP appointments. At Kooth, we take a forward thinking, proactive approach more in tune with the times we are living in. Kooth’s digital mental health toolkit is not only designed to help people when they need it most but to also support people when they just need a bit of advice. Kooth keeps anonymity at the forefront of its platform, whilst still giving you the reporting tools you need to assess your company’s mental health as a whole. Kooth uses 19 years of experience and data to constantly improve our product and clinical offerings. Our platform has one of the largest mental health data sets and is the only online mental health platform that captures real time insights on what is really affecting your workplace. Additionally, we’re the second biggest provider of mental health data to Public Health England and our data has been featured on Panorama and BBC News.If you’re interested in learning more about how digital mental health toolkits can benefit your organisation, I’d love to have a chat with you. Connect with me on linkedin or email [email protected] Related posts: Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more