Tuesday, 17 May 2011

National Learning at Work Day

National Learning at Work Day takes place on Thursday 19th May 2011. National Learning at Work Day is the biggest celebration of learning and development in and through the workplace. Why not join the thousands of organisations that take part each year and make a public commitment to learning and skills by putting on special events and activities.

Learning at Work (LAW) Day is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning (CfL) since 1999 as part of Adult Learners' Week. LAW Day promotes and supports workplace learning events across the country. It aims to draw attention to the importance of workplace learning and skills. It encourages people to offer learning to all employees especially to those that may not participate in current learning opportunities.

A competition to encourage innovative working practices has been launched by British Airways to celebrate National Learning at Work Day.

The YouTube-based 'Winning Ways in the Workplace' contest, organised in collaboration with e-learning specialist Brightwave and video production partner Nice Media, is open to all BA employees. They are invited to create a short (maximum two minute) smart phone or camcorder video which demonstrates a technique, shortcut or attitude that helps them do their job more effectively.

BA is hosting an event at their Waterside HQ on May 19th to mark National Learning at Work Day. For those who are a little unsure of their video-making capabilities help will be on hand from the Brightwave team on the ground. This cutting-edge use of video sharing to capture soft skills and knowledge dovetails nicely with this year's National Learning at Work Day overarching theme of 'Future Matters'.

Wendy Stubbs, BA's Learning Innovations Consultant said: "This is the first time British Airways has taken part in the National Learning at Work Day. We are very excited about being able to celebrate adult learning and have some fantastic activities taking place throughout the day, including challenging peoples' creativity in a fun way using technology."

Charles Gould, Brightwave's Managing Director, said of the contest: "User-generated learning content is a perfect complement to more formal workplace training. The effective use of new technology allows all employees to capture and share knowledge, contributing to a positive learning culture and improved performance."

Source: Brightwave and Campaign for Learning

The Modern Workplaces Consultation

Government proposes radical reforms for parental leave and flexible working - Creating a modern workplace

UK Government Home Secretary Minister Theresa May launched the "Consultation on Modern Workplaces" on the 16th May 2011. The Consultation, which runs until the 8th August 2011, intends to meet the Government’s stated aim of creating "a society where work and family complement each other” and where "employees no longer have to choose between a rewarding career and fulfilling family life”.

This is to introduce a new system of flexible parental leave from 2015 as part of its plans to create a modern workplace for the modern economy.

Under the proposals, once the early weeks of maternity and paternity leave have ended, parents will be able to share the overall leave allowance between them.

Unlike the current system this leave could be taken in a number of different blocks and both parents could take leave at the same time.

The three key proposed changes are: Flexible parental leave, Flexible working, Working time regulations and Equal pay

What is being proposed?

Flexible Parental Leave
18 weeks maternity leave and pay – in one continuous block around birth.
Four weeks of parental leave and pay exclusive to each parent to be taken in the first year.
30 weeks of additional parental leave available to either parent - of which 17 weeks would be paid and can be broken in blocks between parents.

Flexible Working
Extending the right to request for all workers who have been with their employer for 26 weeks.
The Government will consider publishing a statutory Code of Practice for businesses. It will propose that employers should be allowed to take into account employees individual circumstances when considering conflicting requests.
There are no plans to alter the current 8 business reasons for a business to turn down a request.
The Government recognises that legislation is not the only answer to promoting flexible working practices. Non-legislative measures are being developed to promote flexible working opportunities both for those with a job and for those looking for one.

Equal Pay
Employment Tribunals that have found an employer to have discriminated on gender in relation to pay, will order the employer to conduct a pay audit and publish their results (except in some circumstances, such as where an audit has already been conducted).

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Our proposals will encourage greater choice by giving employees and their employers the flexibility to find arrangements to suit them both.

"New parents should be able to choose their childcare arrangements for themselves, rather than being dictated to by rigid Government regulation as is currently the case. And employers should be encouraged to come to agreement with employees on how work and family responsibilities can be met simultaneously.

“These measures are fairer for fathers and maintain the existing entitlements for mothers – but crucially give parents much greater choice over how to balance their work and family commitments.

“Of course I’m mindful of the need to minimise the costs, bureaucracy and complexities on businesses. This has been at the forefront of my mind throughout the development of our proposals. So we will ensure that businesses will still be able to take into account their needs when agreeing how leave can be taken. But I’m also confident that we have a good case to make on the wider benefits to business - not least from a motivated and flexible workforce and we will be making this case to employers over the next few years before these changes are introduced.”

The Consultation Document can be downloaded HERE More Information at BIS Website HERE

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has just issue a Press Release yesterday afternoon saying:

CIPD welcomes direction of travel on shared parental leave, and commits to working with Government to improve the proposals

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) today gave a broad welcome to the principles and ambitions behind the Government's Modern Workplaces consultation, and committed to continuing to work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through the consultation process to ensure the final proposals are workable and deliver the intended benefits for both employers and employees.

Arguing that the objectives of the Government's proposals - to reform parental leave to encourage greater sharing of caring responsibilities between parents - are achievable, but could be undermined by poor implementation, Jackie Orme, CIPD Chief Executive, said:

"We welcome the principles and ambitions behind these proposals. The phrase 'work/life balance' assumes that there is a clear and impermeable divide between work and life. In reality, working lives and home lives overlap in today's world to a greater degree than ever before.

"At the same time, traditional gender roles in relation to parenting are changing. That fact has been recognised, but not resolved, by policymakers and business leaders alike. And it is important in the context of this consultation. It is simply not possible for influential voices in the business lobby to be, at once, firmly in favour of getting more women on to boards and closing the gender pay gap, as I am; against crude instruments such as quotas and compulsory pay audits, as I also am; but simultaneously against light-touch measures to support change to cultural norms that force able women to make choices between careers that fully utilise their talents and their roles as parents. These are choices that men are not traditionally required to make in the same way. Although that fact is beginning to change, the inflexibility of existing maternity regulations and the way they support cultural norms acts as a brake on progress.

"Successive reviews of the impact of male dominated, monocultural boards on business performance and the intractable gender pay gap have concluded the problems are multiple and complex, and that long-term cultural change is required. Done right, these proposals offer the prospect of removing state-sponsored obstacles to those already noticeable long-term cultural changes, in a way that levels the playing field for talented, ambitious, successful women who also choose, with their partners, to become parents.

"Growing numbers of employers recognise these facts, and they tell us they're seeing significant shifts in attitudes to flexible working and the sharing of parental responsibilities. These proposals seek to remove regulatory obstacles that can prevent employers and employees from developing truly flexible, mutually beneficial solutions. They are a welcome contrast to the kind of prescriptive legislation that often militates against real cultural change. Instead, they are designed to give parents maximum flexibility to choose how and when to take parental leave, in the firm context of the need to protect the employers' ability to run their business.

"We retain some concerns about the workability of some of the details of the proposals in the consultation document as they currently stand. We believe that parents should be required to take leave in reasonable blocks of time - no shorter than two weeks - if the employer is not to be subjected to unreasonable burdens. And we'll be looking for reassurance about the adequacy of HMRC IT systems to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy that might be associated with the administration of these proposals.

It will also be important that, however parental leave is organised, the employer should have adequate notice of parents' intentions so that they have the opportunity to make alternative arrangements. We will continue to work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through the consultation process, closely involving our members, to ensure that the final proposals are clear, simple and workable, and achieve their objectives.

"It is crucial that the Government takes time to get this right. A failure to establish a regime that both employers and employees are happy with could fatally undermine the Government's objective of giving effective support to parents, and of changing a culture that presumes women always hold the primary responsibility for childcare."

Extending flexible working to all:-

Jackie Orme added: "We welcome also the Government's intention to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees. This move is overdue and will help to break down the perception of a growing workplace divide between those with caring responsibilities and others. Many of our members' employers already offer the right to request flexible working to all, in recognition of the high value many employees, regardless of their family situations, place on flexible working. Our evidence suggests that flexible working supports employee engagement and this has a positive effect on performance, benefitting both the employer and the employee."

Source: BIS & CIPD

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Saturday, 14 May 2011

Developing organisational and individual resilience

A combination of individual and organisational resilience is needed in today's tough economic environment if employees and the organisations they work for are to compete and prosper. This is the key message from a new guide, Developing Resilience, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The guide has been developed in recognition that both private and public sector organisations are continuing to operate in challenging environments following the financial crisis of 2008, with pressure to reduce and manage costs or restructure to improve competiveness and efficiency. Employees are also under increasing pressure in the workplace as a result of downsizing, pay freezes, job insecurity and rising inflation eroding wellbeing and standards of living.

The guide, which is based on a literature review of the evidence, sets out the interventions that support individual and organisational resilience:

Individual resilience can be supported by:
• Cognitive behavioural therapy which enables individuals to see life and problems from a more positive perspective
• Coping skills underpinned by social support, relaxation, nutrition and exercise
• Adapting job demands for the individual, for example, by adjustments to reward, level
of decision-making control and working hours
Organisational resilience can be enhanced by:
• Developing organisational cultures that are underpinned by ethical behaviour which engenders trust
• A focus on developing leaders that support employee engagement and wellbeing
• Adapting job design to support employee resilience
• Risk assessment using employee surveys to identify satisfaction or dissatisfaction with job demands, roles, relationships, level of support, level of autonomy or involvement in change

Ben Willmott, Senior Public Policy Adviser, CIPD, says: "Organisations face ongoing pressure to reduce or manage costs and in many cases to restructure to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Against this background, organisations need to remain agile which will depend on their ability to bring their people with them and support their wellbeing. This guide highlights what leaders need to focus on to build the organisational and individual resilience to compete and grow in tough times."

The guide's author, Emma Donaldson-Feilder of the wellbeing consultancy, Affinity Health at Work, comments: "Resilience is now recognised as an important factor in the workplace. In the increasingly and endlessly turbulent context of today's working world, the resilience of both individuals and organisations becomes paramount in order to survive and thrive."

Louise Aston, Workwell Director, BITC, comments: "Taking a proactive, holistic and strategic approach to building organisational resilience, by creating the right conditions for the whole person to flourish in the workplace, is mission critical for driving sustained performance."

Dr Luise Vassie, Executive Director of Policy for IOSH, comments: "This guide recognises that ensuring health and safety at work increasingly requires employers to focus on supporting the psychological wellbeing of their staff. This will give employees the resilience to perform under increasing pressure and against a background of constant change."

Business in the Community stands for responsible business. They are a business-led charity with a growing membership of 850 companies, from large multinational household names to small local businesses and public sector organisations. They advise, support and challenge our members to create a sustainable future for people and the planet and to improve business performance. Their members work with us to define what responsibility looks like in the workplace, marketplace, community and the environment - and we share what we learn about driving performance through responsible business practice.

IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. With more than 39,000 members in 85 countries, they are the world's biggest professional health and safety organisation. They set standards, and support, develop and connect their members with resources, guidance, events and training. We're the voice of the profession, and campaign on issues that affect millions of working people. IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registered charity with international NGO status.

Source: CIPD

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Government launches fund to create new private sector jobs

A series of road shows have been launched by Lord Heseltine on the 12th May in a bid to promote the second round of the Regional Growth Fund.
Companies and organisations are being encouraged to compete for a share of £950m.

The fund has been designed to support projects which drive sustainable economic growth, create new jobs and help communities which are currently heavily dependent on the public sector.

The first road show takes place in Margate, Kent, where Lord Heseltine will speak about the importance of economic growth and the role of the Regional Growth Fund. He will then take questions about the process of submitting high-quality bids that offer the potential to create new jobs.

More than 150 businesses and organisations are expected to attend the event at Margate’s Winter Garden and more than 1,000 are expected to attend the series of road shows over the next few weeks.

The Regional Growth Fund has been designed to:
• provide support for projects that can drive sustainable economic growth and create new private sector jobs; and
• particularly help communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to private sector-led growth and prosperity.
Lord Heseltine is Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, which will consider all bids for funding and make recommendations to Ministers, led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, about which should be supported. He is supported by Deputy Chair, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth and a team of academics, business and civic leaders.

Lord Heseltine said: “The Regional Growth Fund was exceptionally popular in the first round, and we received many bids that demonstrated strategic thinking on how to create jobs and contribute to local economies.
“I hope businesses and public-private partnerships are inspired to think about innovative and creative ways of making a difference to growth and shaping their economic future, and that we will see results of this thinking when we are assessing bids.
“The road shows are an excellent opportunity for potential bidders to find out more information about ensuring bids meet the objectives and criteria. I urge all those interested to ask questions, and get as much out of these events as possible.”
The second round of the Regional Growth Fund opened to bids on April 12 and will close at midday on July 1. The second round will aim to allocate around £950m – the bulk of the £1.4bn fund.

Ministers announced in April that there were 50 successful bidders from the first round of the Regional Growth Fund. These bidders will share £450m if they pass a process of due diligence

Source: NDS

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Employee Engagement

A new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report published on the 11th May 2011 delves deep into the issue of employee engagement. It acknowledges that employee engagement is an important driver of sustainable organisation performance, but goes further by exploring 'what' employees engage with and 'where' in the organisation their focus of engagement is located, or what is their 'locus of engagement'.

Locus of engagement: Understanding what employees connect with at work, produced for the CIPD by the Kingston Engagement Consortium, finds that despite the plethora of research around the issue of employee engagement, very little attention has as yet been paid to what exactly it is employees engage with. An analysis of their research data provides evidence not only that employees engage with a variety of different aspects of their work, but that these vary both in depth and intensity over time and can impact on organisational performance.

Engagement was identified as a major driver of performance in the CIPD Shaping the Future research programme, but evidence was also suggesting that over-engagement with particular facets of the job could impact negatively on organisational agility and flexibility. And data collected from the organisations taking part in the Kingston Engagement Consortium reveals interesting variations in the locus of engagement, defined as that particular location in which engagement exists for a person while at work:

• Highest engagement - with the job: variety, autonomy and meaningfulness are important
• Engagement with line manager and colleagues - high: ability to voice concerns and working with good colleagues are critical factors
• Engagement with the organisation - moderate: being well treated and company reputation were positives, but for some the motivation was financial
• Lowest engagement - with individuals outside the organisation: highly dependent on specific jobs

The data reveals that higher engagement with any locus correlates positively with higher task performance and citizenship behaviour, although there is a significant degree of variation.

Angela Baron, engagement and organisational development adviser, CIPD, says: "Organisations currently face a number of challenges stemming from the ongoing economic difficulties following the recent financial crisis and subsequent squeeze on public sector expenditure. Our Shaping the Future report identified that engagement of employees will be crucial to organisations facing the economic challenges ahead while maintaining organisational functioning, but that an important aspect of engagement had been largely overlooked - the locus.

"Managers need to get behind the engagement score to really get to grips with what button to press to trigger employee engagement if they are to truly drive competitive advantage through their people. They need to understand that engagement is not static and occurs in a context that will impact on perceptions of fairness and the ability to harness engagement and translate it into sustainable organisation performance. This research is an important first step in understanding how to engage and energise employees to reap organisational benefits."

This is the third in a series of reports for the CIPD from the Kingston Engagement Consortium research programme. Formed in 2006, the consortium brings together organisations which are actively implementing engagement management programmes to raise engagement and establish a culture where engagement can flourish.

Source CIPD

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CIPD launches consultation on revised code of conduct

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published a revised code of professional conduct, which has been issued for consultation on the 11th May 2011 - CIPD consults on revised Code of Professional Conduct

They state that clear expected standards of ethics, integrity, behaviour and competence lie at the heart of a revised Code of Professional Conduct issued for consultation by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) today (11th May 2011).

The consultation process on a revised Code, designed to better reflect the world as it is today, post-financial crisis, comes at a time when there are widespread questions being raised about confidence in business as a whole. The CIPD maintains a Code of Professional Conduct to ensure members are held to account for behaviour and actions that fall below the standards it contains. The CIPD's existing Code of Conduct remains in force during the consultation on the revised draft Code. Hearings on alleged breaches of the Code are heard by a panel of experienced HR professionals, drawn from the Institute's professional conduct committee.

Launching the consultation, Jackie Orme, CIPD Chief Executive, said:
"CIPD membership is a trusted and respected benchmark of HR professionalism. We've already completed thorough reviews of professional standards and entry requirements. The time is now right to review and update our Code of Conduct, to ensure it remains relevant to the world as it is today, particularly in the context of an ongoing crisis of confidence in business as a whole, post-financial crash.

"We're clear that HR has a central role in delivering the sustainable performance organisations strive for. But to fulfil that role, we need to be confident we have a responsible HR profession, capable of safeguarding its own standards of ethics, integrity, behaviour and competence. A revised CIPD Code of Professional Conduct will give us the tools to support the profession in that task.

"We've already consulted closely with the profession in developing the new draft Code. We've drawn on detailed focus groups to incorporate extensive feedback from HR professionals. Over the coming months we'll be consulting on the current draft, ready to approve a final, revised Code in the autumn. We look forward to receiving feedback from the profession to help us complete our review."

Responses to the consultation are invited by 15 July. A revised Code of Conduct is due to be approved by the Board of the CIPD in the autumn of 2011

Source CIPD

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Monday, 9 May 2011

Local Government elections results in England means new Councillors need training

On Thursday May 5th 2011 local elections took place in England. The results mean that there are hundred of newly elected councilors up and down the country, many have no experience in Local Government and need professional training. Read the rest of this report by following the link below

Local Government elections results in England means new Councillors need training

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Employers less likely to cut jobs during the recent downturn, but curtailed wage budgets

ILM - Institute of Leadership and Management's newsroom has run a report on the 3rd May 2011 "Companies 'struggling to offer pay rises"

Employers were less likely to cut jobs during the recent downturn, but this is now having an impact on the salaries of their workers, according to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit.

Charlie Ball, deputy director of research at the organisation, said in previous recessions, companies cut staff numbers and then struggled to recover once economic conditions improved.

"They have learned their lessons from that period; when the recession ended many of them found they didn't have the talent to capitalise on improved conditions, so their own corporate recoveries were quite slow," he explained.

In contrast, during the recent downturn, companies aimed to avoid large scale redundancies, but Bell added that this has "curtailed wage budgets and training opportunities".

His comments come after research by XpertHR found that pay awards fell in the first quarter of 2011, despite increased pressure on salaries.

The number of pay freezes also rose in April and accounted for 24.7% of deals in the month, up from 9.2% in March

The Institute of Leadership and Management is the UK's premier management organisation.

Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) bring you news and information about research and development in career-related learning and career guidance in Higher Education.

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