Posts Tagged ‘HR’

Supporting HR across the globe

12 Nov

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      I’ve recently returned from a family trip to Australia to see relatives (including a first introduction to my lovely new niece, Miss Ivy MacKay). But during the trip I had the pleasure of visiting our Australian operation in Sydney. The opportunity to travel has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my time with William Grant & Sons, having been to Mexico, Singapore, US, Portugal, Colombia and now Australia for the second time.

      My own view of Australia is that it’s a fantastic place to live and work, and not just because of its very temperate climate. It has a population still in robust possession of a ‘can do’ attitude whose willing to be direct and challenge issues of fairness, bureaucracy etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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      Is doing more with less starting to wane in organisations? Recent figures from the Bank of England showed that productivity levels have fallen by 0.5%, lower than countries such as Spain and Italy who are still struggling with significant economic challenges and waves of public protest about austerity and unemployment.

      For UK managers in the workplace, 76% say the economic climate remains their biggest challenge according to our Management Agenda survey. There’s no doubt that managers are between a rock and a hard place – motivating their teams to achieve their goals while at the same time pairing back the resources with which they have to do it. And then of course, there’s the HR function, which historically has been seen as out of touch with operational reality. In our survey, priorities for HR professionals continue to be change management, managing workloads, staff morale, reduced revenues and budgets. But are these priorities what managers need? Read the rest of this entry »

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      They’re over. Done! Kaput! Finito! The London 2012 Olympics are history, sadly. For they were: “happy and glorious games,” according to IOC President Jacques Rogge. And for generations to come, we will all remember where we were in the summer of ‘12. The summer our little island welcomed 200 countries, 14,700 athletes, 21,000 media and over 100 heads of government and heads of state from across the world.

      And we delivered.

      What will the Olympic legacy be?

      Now, our attention turns to the future, and legacy-making. Already there is one noticeable legacy. The number of organisations piggy backing on the Games: “Use us, and you too can enjoy that gold medal feeling,” is the message. Have you seen them too? Read the rest of this entry »

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      Why do your employees suddenly lose trust when you’re going through organisational changes? They’ve watched time and time again as you go through the same old redundancy process, following the letter of the law, accommodating personal circumstances when possible, and treating people well in difficult times.

      But when their time comes, there are inevitable feelings of cynicism, doubt and suspicion. Suddenly they want detailed explanations of every minor point in writing, and they want to know the comparison of what you said and what the law says.

      Accommodating an employee’s changing priorities

      I’ve been on both sides of the table. As a manager, I’ve been frustrated  when people suddenly lose faith in me.  But I’ve also been through it – I became that suspicious cynic, and going through it gave me some insight. It enabled me to figure out what I would want to do differently as a manager or HR support. Read the rest of this entry »

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      For too long, we have been mesmerised by the talent of the individual. This singular focus has perpetuated the myth of superstar leaders, heroic top performers and up-and-coming talent. Most organisations have the recruitment philosophy of seeking only the brightest and the best, but are these principles enough to deliver the long-term value needed for today’s organisations?

      Successful leaders = successful relationships

      How is it that a star performer in one organisation fails to deliver equal value in another? By focusing only on the talents of an individual, we underestimate the influence of personal/professional networks, and the alignment between the culture and purpose of the organisation and individual. In his article Being the change you want to see: developing the leadership culture at Ernst & Young, Peter Hawkins highlights that successful leadership resides in the relationships leaders create, not within the leaders themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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      I recently read an article in The Times called The City needs a dose of financial Darwinism that compared the financial services sector to the natural world. It discussed Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection – the idea that characteristics of the ‘fittest’ offspring survive and are passed down – and it was argued that this is just as relevant for banking as it is for animals.

      This makes a lot of sense, and it’s not just applicable to financial services, but businesses in general. In our current economic climate, organisations are faced with unfamiliar difficulties, just as individual species would have come across problems during past climatic changes.

      This creates a struggle for existence, and some animals and businesses are unable to survive in the new conditions. Extinction is a natural process, but clearly this is no conciliation if it’s your company that is dying out.

      It isn’t all doom and gloom though. The fact that a wide diversity of species still exist on Earth shows us that there is the ability to survive huge disruptions, and the global economy will also be able to get through these difficult times. Read the rest of this entry »

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      Learning how to speak the local language is always a good thing to do when you move to a new country. Personally, I’d recommend learning the basics first. Learn how to greet people and say please and thank you, and really work on your pronunciation, especially when learning people’s names.

      Many languages have sounds which are unfamiliar to English speakers and learning how to pronounce your colleague’s name correctly will show that you respect them as a person and a colleague. Have fun with it and encourage everyone to take part in your learning!

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      It was a small story. Not even a full column. Hidden away. But there it was: a story about the death of a British soldier in Afghanistan. While there is tragically nothing new about the death of corporal Alex Guy, the words of his wife, Emma, should be read by every CEO and HR director, printed out and posted on the wall of every boardroom, every office across UK plc.

      Why?

      Because the serviceman from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, was described by his wife quite simply as ‘kind’. “[Alex was] a happy, full-of-life and kind-hearted man,” she said.

      Kind? In today’s US-centric world of ‘awesome’, ‘wow’ and ‘mega’, kind sounds a little weak, limp even. But that aside what is the relevance of ‘kind’ Corporal Guy to modern business and to HR? Read the rest of this entry »

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      Customer, customer, customer. No, this isn’t a retail blog – the customer is what HR is all about. Yet how many practitioners, hand on heart, can say this is what they focus on every day? In retail it’s simple – the customer comes into your store, or buys from your website. If they like the product and the service, they’ll hopefully come back and shop again. If they don’t like the product and they don’t like the service, you’re out of business. I know the sharp end. My parents and in-laws have built up successful small retail businesses, and I’ve seen their competitors go under because the customer preferred my family’s business.

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