HR ignorance blocking mental health policies

first_img Comments are closed. HR ignorance blocking mental health policiesOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article HR managers have a lack of understanding about mental health issues,according to research commissioned by the Department of Health. Attitudes to Mental Health at Work – Interim Report claims that HR policiesdo not take into account mental health issues as effectively as they should. It also states there is a lack of training in companies’ responsibilitiesunder the Disability Discrimination Act when it comes to dealing with theproblem. The report finds that HR managers have a lack of understanding and sympathytowards mental illness and that this attitude is silencing managers andblocking the development of policies. Patrick Burns, policy director at The Industrial Society, which carried outthe research, said HR could improve the way it tackles mental health issues. He said, “HR needs to improve the awareness of mental health withinorganisations. HR have the tools to do this as they do it in other areas ofdiscrimination.” Burns said the approach to training on mental health issues must beimproved. “HR needs to specialise in mental health by encouraging the use ofinternal or external counsellors so they can tell employees what to do,”he said. The report was based on responses from 14 HR managers split into two focusgroups. www.indsoc.co.uk Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Asda staff work up to a ‘frenzy’ on prize course

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Thewinners of Personnel Today’s overall HR Excellence Award for 2000 completed ateambuilding event called Madhouse Frenzy as part of their prize last month. Asda’s 28-strong people development team was split into groups and had to completea number of tasks to earn “money” which then went towards buyingprops for a final presentation. The team, which was also named Personnel Today’s Training Excellence Awardwinners at the ceremony in November, travelled to Pontefract to take part inthe event, run by Impact Development Training Group. Sam Carey, marketing manager of Impact Development Training Group, said,”A challenging team development event enables people to get to know eachother in a less formal situation, which will help to develop trust andcommitment at a deeper level. “Basically, if people understand each other, they are more inclined tolike each other, and people who like each other tend to work better as ateam.” Although most “tasks” put to the teams were fun, they did containa serious element, and involved team members working together, using differentstrengths and skills to their best advantage. Projects included putting up a tent blindfold and earning cash by singingBohemian Rhapsody. Impact Development Training Group’s Carey explained, “The tasksthemselves have been designed to highlight all qualities of both the team andthe individuals, from mental agility to downright exhibitionism. It reallyhelps individuals discover characteristics about themselves and bonds the teamtogether as a whole.” Team member Alex Sissons, , said, “I loved it – I got to work withpeople I don’t usually get tog- ether with. It was certainly inspiring.” New staff have joined Asda’s people development team since winning theawards, and its head, Paul McKinlay, wanted the opportunity to furtherintegrate them into the team and get to know them personally. Sarah Lowey, who started as development manager the following week, said,”I wanted to go on the day so I didn’t feel as if I was missing out. Ifelt part of the team immediately.” The HR team spent two hours in the blazing sun completing a range ofpractical tasks, including lowering a cane to the floor using all members ofthe team, defusing a bomb aided only by minimal household items, and gettingthe team from A to B across a highly dangerous electricity field. They thenmade final presentations themed around Asda’s values. Nicki Seignot, who has been with the company for 15 years and is now peopledevelopment manager of Talent Store, was impressed. “Because of the numberof new team members this is an ideal time to experiment with new ideas. Ourstructure is such that we have a number of smaller teams within a large team,so with this we have got the whole team mixing in which is great.” www.personneltoday.com/awardswww.impact-dtg.com  Asda staff work up to a ‘frenzy’ on prize courseOn 12 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


Stakeholder deadline sees last minute rush to sign up

first_imgStakeholder deadline sees last minute rush to sign upOn 16 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A third of employers have not met the stakeholder pension deadline accordingto estimates by the Association of British Insurers. All employers with more than five employees were required to have introduceda stakeholder scheme by 8 October if they had no pension provision, or facefines of up to £50,000. More than 100,000 employers have missed the deadline, despite a last minuterush by firms. Stephen Sklaroff, the ABI’s deputy director-general, said, “Manyproviders are reporting a rush of employers signing up for stakeholders. “No-one knows precisely what the figure is but best estimates put it assomewhere between 300,000 and 350,000. “It is unlikely that all of them signed up by the deadline but thefigures so far look promising. We hope the rest will follow as soon aspossible.” The latest figures from the ABI reveal that during August alone more than25,000 employers designated a stakeholder pension scheme and 64,000 newpensions were set up. Sklaroff said the introduction of the stakeholder pension has also led to anincrease in the sales of individual and group personal pensions. He added,”The introduction of the stakeholder pension together with the widerstakeholder effect is good news. “Recent research for the ABI calculates that the savings gap now totals£27bn a year. Stakeholder makes a good start in encouraging people to save butmore must be done.” Nick Edmans, a spokesman for pensions watchdog, the Occupational PensionsRegulatory Authority, said initially employers only have to choose a registeredstakeholder scheme and inform their staff, to comply with the regulations. www.abi.org.ukBy Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Star service

first_imgStar serviceOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Eurostar’s OH department uses a proactive approach to innovate ideas andprovide a comprehensive range of services covering all aspects of the health ofits staff, by Elizabeth Harvey and Julia Wason After many decades of deliberation, construction for a Channel tunnel beganin 1987. In 1994, Eurostar services started, initially with high speed, passenger-onlytrains between London and Paris and Brussels. Within a short time Eurostarfirmly established its position as leader on the London to Paris and London toBrussels air/rail markets – a position it has maintained and strengthened. In 1999 Eurostar Group was formed to provide a centralised management todetermine commercial strategy and development of the product and service. The service was, and continues to be operated by railways from the threecountries it serves – in the UK, by the private company Eurostar (UK), and inFrance and Belgium by their national railways SNCF and SNCB respectively.Together they provide around 60 services daily. These run from London andAshford in Kent to the European capitals with Lille and Calais Frethun en route.Services also operate direct to Disneyland Paris and to the ski resorts of theFrench Alps. The British operating arm, Eurostar (UK), employs 1,500 people of variousnationalities who work at the international terminals at Waterloo and Ashford,North Pole International Depot, Ashford Call Centre and offices in London. Staff requirements A high percentage of customer service and safety critical staff are requiredto speak more than one language. Train drivers require a minimum of five yearsdriving experience on national railways before joining Eurostar. They then have an extensive training programme including French languagetuition to enable them to drive trains on international routes. A highpercentage of staff work shift systems and travel regularly between Paris andBrussels. There are mandatory medical standards for particular categories ofoccupations both for those employed and for potential employees. Thesecategories include drivers, train managers, engineering staff, and all otheremployees who work in safety critical positions. Background of the OH service The occupational health service is managed as a job share between theauthors who both have 15 years experience in occupational health, and both ofwhom have worked within commercial, educational, and railway environments. Theyare used to working with a high degree of autonomy within a safety criticalbusiness and have found sharing the job to be beneficial in many ways, such aslearning from each other’s strengths and solving problems by encouraging eachother to think laterally. As Savage puts it, “Good communication skillsare fundamental to successful job sharing”1. Other key elements are to plan and organise time and workload effectivelythrough handover procedures, to be flexible and to agree and present a unitedview on issues. They provide peer supervision to each other on a day-to-day basis andacknowledge the need to obtain independent supervision to enhance theirprofessional development and practice. To this end they attend clinicalsupervision on a monthly basis. Within the framework of Eurostar (UK) human resources the aim is to providean occupational health service for all employees that attains the highestprofessional standards possible and where there is a commitment to bestpractice in occupational health nursing. In order to achieve this aim acomprehensive range of OH services has been developed covering all issuesrelating to the health of the employee. Objectives The Eurostar (UK) business objectives are to maintain and improve safetystandards and the service it delivers to customers; to increase passengerrevenue and reduce operating costs, and to help employees achieve improvedperformance. With clear business objectives the role of occupational health can betailored to the business needs. As Artus and colleagues state, “Theobjective of occupational health nursing practitioners is to contribute to thebottom line financial performance of the companyÉ through the protection andpromotion of the most costly elements in an organisation – theemployees”2. The railway environment Railways are a high hazard environment. Employees may witness fatalitiesfrom suicides, and assaults, both verbal and physical, are a feature of theindustry. Public transport workers are therefore in a high risk group3. Employees may be involved in a distressing incident and the company aims toensure that if they are exposed to a traumatic incident they are offered theopportunity to talk to the occupational health manager for a critical incidentdebriefing. Employees are offered an appointment 24-72 hours after an incident.A company leaflet designed by the occupational health managers onpost-traumatic stress is given to employees who have experienced a traumaticevent to inform them of how they may feel and where to seek further support ifnecessary. Employees may also be referred to GPs or counsellors trained intraumatic stress when necessary. Eurostar employees were closely involved in the rescue following thePaddington/Ladbrooke Grove disaster on 5 October 1999 when two trains collided.This occurred on the main line track adjacent to Eurostar’s engineering depotwhere 200 people were working. Eurostar employees were some of the first at thescene and worked alongside the emergency services to free passengers from thetrains. At the time almost all employees were affected in some way. Theoccupational health department conducted a series of debriefings for staffduring this period and also on the first anniversary of the crash. The development of the OH service The Paddington/Ladbroke Grove incident raised the profile of the role ofoccupational health and the contribution it can make to a company, andhighlighted mental health as an important factor which could form the basis forfurther research. It is not anticipated that Eurostar (UK) Ltd will employ anabove average number of people with mental health problems, but it isacknowledged that mental health is becoming one of the main contributory causesof sickness absence in industry4. It has been recognised that within the functions of the company, employeesare exposed to different potential health risks, such as the effects of shiftworking, location, working away from home and working directly with the generalpublic, who can be verbally and physically aggressive3. Also, as previouslyillustrated, employees may witness a critical incident resulting in fatalities.Stress management programmes including workshops had been offered to managersand employees for several years and although these had always been wellreceived they were not necessarily addressing any fundamental organisationalstress factors. To be able to introduce a proactive programme, an assessment of the actualsituation was necessary and independent occupational psychologists werecommissioned to carry out an occupational health well being audit. Well-being audit The aim of the audit was to identify the extent of stress and causes ofstress within the company. Initially only the safety critical sections of thebusiness were to take part. But if a clear assessment was to be achieved theaudit needed to be wider and include such areas as the call centre in Ashfordwhere exposure to stress was becoming more recognised. The OH managers and the occupational psychologist agreed a methodology andthe researchers designed a questionnaire specific to Eurostar (UK) and met withfocus groups. A summary of the findings together with the researchers’ recommendationswere presented within 12 weeks and from this a structured action plan wasformulated for the company. This included company objectives together withaction points for the occupational health department. This audit provided the opportunity to develop the OH service and introducehealth programmes designed specifically to meet the needs and tasks of people’sjobs, location and shifts. Action points The key areas which were developed as a consequence of this audit haveincluded relaunching the occupational health service, developing andimplementing a back care programme, introducing lifestyle assessments andoffering eye tests for customer service employees. The fundamental areas of work, which include managing medical and EAP(employee assistance programme) contracts, health referrals, critical incidentstress debriefing and DSE awareness training, remain a core part of the OHmanager’s function. With the implementation of specific health programmes theOH service now provides employees with readily available specialist support andinformation. Conclusion Occupational health managers have found that working within a proactiveenvironment allows innovative ideas to develop. However, it is necessary tocollect and collate data of all activities to an agreed time scale and presentthese in a format familiar to the organisation. To provide a cost-effective occupational health service it is necessary – To identify the need, justify the reason and reference this to businessneed – Focus specifically on key functions of the business but not forgettingother employees – Confirm clear objectives and time scales – Carry out regular occupational health service audits both of a qualitativeand quantitative nature including clinical audits – Work to set OH protocols to provided the tool for audit References 1. Savage S (2001) Flexible Working, Personnel Today. 2. Artus K, et al (undated) A Professional Perspective of OccupationalHealth Nursing. SOHN and the Association of UK OH Nurse Practioners. 3. HSE (1999) British Crime Survey. 4. CBI (2000) Focus on Absence. 5. ENB, DOH (1988) Occupational Health Nursing Contributing to HealthierWork Places. Elizabeth Harvey and Julia Wason are occupational health managers atEurostar (UK) Ltd, London Eurostar’s occupational health objectives– To ensure that all safety criticalstaff (such as drivers and maintenance staff) are medically fit – To reduce costs by reducing sickness absence levels– To prevent costly litigation against the company by providingoccupational health advice on matters such as the DDA– To encourage better individual performance by a programme ofhealth promotionThe cost to industry of sicknessabsence is significant in all businesses and affects not just those people whoare ill but also their families and colleagues5last_img read more


Work intensity to blame for Europe’s health problems

first_img Previous Article Next Article Exposure to high levels of noise and increased back pain are highlighted ina working conditions studyMore and more workers are being exposed to physical hazards in theworkplace, musculo-skeletal disorders and fatigue because of the intensity oftheir work, according to a study of European working conditions. The European Foundation For the Improvement of Living and Working Conditionspolled a total of 21,703 workers. It follows similar studies in 1990 and 1995. While fewer workers are being exposed to cold or vapours and fumes, exposureto high-level noise has increased and more workers are carrying heavy loads orworking in painful positions. Blue-collar workers are exposed to the largest number of risk factors, withpeople in sales and service jobs suffering most from painful working positions.Plant operators, craft workers and technicians were carrying more heavy loadsand working in noisier environments. More than half (56 per cent) of respondents in the survey claim to beworking at very high speed for at least a quarter of their time, with 24 percent saying they do so for all or almost all of the time. A total of 27 per cent of those polled believe their health and safety is atrisk because of their working conditions. Workers in the construction sector feel most at risk, followed byagriculture and transport. When it comes to backache, 34 per cent say they are affected, with thebiggest increases among professionals (up from 18 per cent to 24 per cent) andtechnicians. A quarter report neck and shoulder pains, with blue collar and agriculturalworkers being most susceptible. A total of 6 per cent of respondents say they have been absent due tooccupational accidents while 9 per cent report absences because of OH problems.The report covers the 12 months up to March 2000. www.eurofound.ie Work intensity to blame for Europe’s health problemsOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


HR must prepare for the upturn by forward planning

first_img Previous Article Next Article HR must prepare for the upturn by forward planningOn 24 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today There is a need to woo talented staff now, ready for the economy’s recoveryThe duration of the current economic downturn has even surpassed theexpectations of some of the best economists. While redundancies and restructuring are commonplace, HR managers failing tofocus on recruitment are risking the long-term future of their companies. As HR professionals, we know that recruitment is dynamic. We know it cannotsimply be turned on or off according to the economic conditions. We also knowthat companies that choose to ignore recruitment risk never recovering from aneconomic downturn. HR will need to convince the board of this strategy – it is certain therewill be screams for a headcount cut when the bottom line begins to falter. Andas the economy limps on, HR managers face a crisis that could make or break thecompanies they are working for. They need to prove to the board that a stagnant recruitment function is partof a shortsighted strategy, and usually the result of over-reaction toquarterly results. The double impact of a global slowdown and the events of September 11, forexample, meant a scythe was swung through hundreds of thousands of jobs acrossall sectors. I am not saying the majority of these redundancies were notneeded, but the rashness with which they were executed bore the hallmark of aknee-jerk reaction. During this rather ambiguous downturn, some companies are downsizing,restructuring and recruiting all at the same time. However, even when a companyis not looking to recruit, to ignore the recruitment function during hard timesis to risk the stability and reputation of the company in better times. It is essential to plan ahead for the upturn, rather than simply manage thehere and now. Specialist recruiters are often the first to be axed, but how canan HR department hope to secure the best candidates without the very employeeswho can recruit the right people for the job once that recovery begins? More importantly, HR also needs a fundamental shift in its thinking. Wecould learn a great deal from our counterparts in the sales and marketingprofessions. We must adopt a more business-like attitude to recruitment, wherepotential candidates are regarded as customers who we need to aggressivelymarket our company to. It sounds so simple and, quite frankly, it can be. HR needs to acknowledgethat the downturn won’t last forever, and that we shall soon need to recruit tofill the gaps. To enable efficient recruitment, it is vital that the HRdepartment manages its community of candidates during the downturn. Take graduate recruitment, for example. Something as simple as sending acongratulations card to a graduate who has just received their results can bean invaluable gesture from an employer to a potential employee. Experiencetells us that candidates need to be kept ‘warm’ during the recruitment process,and companies should never be complacent enough to assume that candidates arenot in touch with your competitors. HR will always need to retain its essential soft skills, but new words canenter the HR vocabulary. Think customer relationship management; thinkmarketing; think technology; think speed and accuracy. A downturn can be used as a fallow recruitment period in which the HRdepartment could be responsible for promoting the company’s profile andreputation among potential candidates and competitors. When the economyeventually picks up, therefore, the company will already be half way toattracting and recruiting the best candidates. Now is the time for HR to raise its game to ensure that it acts as theguardian of the future, rather than the bastion of the past. Mark Tennant, vice-president of resourcing at Accenture HR Services(formerly e-peopleserve). Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


eUniversities team goes corporate

first_imgThe Government-backed distance e-learning initiative, UK eUniversitiesWorldwide (UKeU), has appointed a new corporate business development team whichaims to create and deliver degree content courses for companies in the publicand private sector. UKeU’s first course will be launched in January, and the team is indiscussions with a number of organisations to create content specificallymatched to their needs. “Much e-learning to date has been supply-led, poorly delivered andtouted as a universal solution,” says Michael Smith, who leads the UKeUteam. “What sets UKeU apart is its flexible approach to working withcorporations to facilitate the integration with other training methods, whiledelivering high-quality, postgraduate degree-level training.” Based on its own research, UKeU says it will be developing programmes inbusiness management, finance, e-commerce, nursing, bio-sciences, media and ITmanagement. www.ukeu.com Related posts:No related photos. eUniversities team goes corporateOn 3 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more


HR’s early involvement in M&As is vital

first_imgHR must take the lead when businesses are involved in international mergersand acquisitions (M&As), according to research. A new guide by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)said the early involvement of HR expertise – particularly in the appointment ofa post-merger integration manager and team – is key to minimising the risks topost-merger business performance. The report, International Mergers and Acquisitions, said that success ininternational M&As is often hampered by a workforce that is not committedto a future with the new business, and poorly informed management decisions andbehaviour. The loss of key talent, high levels of internal conflict and an inability toattract new talent are also problems that HR can be key in solving, claims thestudy. CIPD international manager, Frances Wilson, said the active involvement ofHR throughout the process is critical, and companies should beware ofmisunderstandings brought about by local stakeholder influences and culturaland legal differences. “The result can be costly mistakes, corporate clashing and ultimatelypoor integration,” she said. “HR will bring a management focus topotential problems that arise during a merger or acquisition, includingresistance to change, poor communication and declining employee morale.” www.cipd.co.uk/infosource Previous Article Next Article HR’s early involvement in M&As is vitalOn 14 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Managers under the spotlight as survey uncovers knowledge gaps

first_imgSenior European executives and managers will be the subject of aninvestigation into the generational differences among organisational leaders. The study – Emerging Leaders: Revolution, Evolution or Status Quo – run bythe Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is the second phase of a globalresearch programme. Phase one looked at values and behaviour among three generations of managersand leaders, mainly in the US. Though some real differences emerged – older people are more likely to bemarried and higher up in organisational hierarchies – there were manysimilarities. Almost all the sample in phase one believed they were contributing to societyin their current jobs, trusted their organi- sation to keep its promises andbelieved that they would be developed as employees. However, the younger the respondent the stronger the belief that you shouldonly stay at an organisation for as long as it was personally useful. Youngerrespondents also believed that career advancement within a company was based onskill at office politics. The research also revealed that younger managers are also more likely toexpress difficulty in working with or managing people from older generations. CCL project leader Jennifer Deal said: “The findings of phase onereveal that many deeply held beliefs are based on myths. Values, such asrespect and ambition, seem to be the same across generations, but the way thosevalues are demonstrated may be very different.” Kim Lafferty, UK manager for CCL, said understanding the generationaldifferences could help companies and other organisations plan for succession,retain valued employees and provide the most effective training. For further details and to participate in the research project, visit thewebsite.  http://eleaders.ccl.orgBy Mike Berry Comments are closed. Managers under the spotlight as survey uncovers knowledge gapsOn 20 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


A career in reward: what it means in practice

first_img Previous Article Next Article A career in reward: what it means in practiceOn 5 Mar 2014 in Careers in HR, HR specialisms, Pay & benefits, Personnel Today Comments are closed. Reward has been identified as one of the high-growth HR careers areas for 2014, as organisations look at how reward strategies can be used to attract and retain staff in a more buoyant employment market.Making the most of limited reward budgets is likely to be a key theme in reward planning over the coming year, but what else can you expect to be working on in a reward department over 2014?XpertHR Salary surveysXpertHR Salary surveys enable you to benchmark the pay and benefits of your staff against market rates. Find out more…Pensions top the list of the most important reward activities for 2014, according to research released today by XpertHR. More specifically, pensions auto-enrolment is cited – both the administrative work associated with the previous introduction of auto-enrolment for those who have already passed their staging date, and preparing for auto-enrolment for those yet to reach theirs.Aside from their statutory obligations around pensions auto-enrolment, the next priority for reward departments in 2014 will be benchmarking salaries against the market.This is closely followed by conducting the annual pay review, communicating to employees about benefits, reviewing performance incentives and conducting a wide-ranging review of benefits.Research author Sheila Attwood said: “Employees working in a reward department are likely to cover a wide range of topics at any given time.“The varied nature of the work – from putting together a reward strategy to benchmarking salaries against the market – means that there is also scope to develop a specialism within the profession.”Browse reward roles on Personnel Today Jobs Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more