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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Why-it’s-important-to-pay-a-Living-Wage
    first official Living Wage Week held at the beginning of November In it new hourly rates were announced of 8 55 in London and 7 45 in the rest of the country This compares to a national minimum wage of 6 19 But why should companies bother you might ask Surely paying that extra rate is just inviting more cost at a time when many organisations can ill afford it On the contrary I believe that there are many clear benefits to a company in paying the Living Wage Firstly it is surely the right thing to do The concept of the Living Wage first grew out of a recognition that it is simply not possible for an individual to support themselves and their family to a socially acceptable level on the minimum wage It often leads to an individual working very long hours across more than one job at unsociable hours which of course will lead to a deterioration in performance Working in a fragmented pattern for more than one organisation such employees often feel little loyalty or engagement with their employers either So from a moral and as it were humanistic standpoint it makes sense But there is a compelling business case too If there weren t more than 100 organisations would not have signed up to become accredited Living Wage employers At KPMG we have found that paying the higher rate leads to greater motivation better performance lower absenteeism and lower staff churn For example turnover among our cleaning staff has fallen by around 40 since we began paying the Living Wage in 2006 These benefits can actually lead to cost neutrality or even savings for businesses Recruitment costs go down and where such staff are employed through a contractor better rates can be negotiated as a

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/sponsors/living-wage (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Are middle managers left behind by UK business?
    them are given time to learn there is a real business issue here Middle managers are the heartland for many of our programmes at Ashridge Business School therefore it is important that we improve our understanding of how middle managers learn both on the job informal development and within the physical or virtual classroom formal development and how we might better support these development experiences and needs Research results show that formal learning is being overlooked with time poor middle managers learning as they go with respondents citing experiences such as stretch assignments giving and receiving feedback and managing difficult conversations as key self development experiences As people progress through their careers formal learning becomes more important with respondents saying external short courses and peer discussion and support are seen as being more helpful At early stages of career development the top three most effective learning experiences are perceived as being on the job development shadowing an experienced person and external short courses Important self development experiences for the managers surveyed were anchored in people management rather than core professional skills The top five self development experiences were Stretch assignments or working under pressure Giving receiving feedback Leading managing people Short courses in company programmes professional training formal qualifications Taking on a new project role stepping up Scott added All too often the focus is on senior leaders and future leaders when it comes to development The research showed that middle managers value formal learning as it provides personal insight as well as building confidence and developing skills such as people management academic technical and business skills but in reality these needs are not being met We need to get the middle moving inspired and fulfilled this means investing in people development to equip them with the skills to do

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/are-middle-managers-left-behind-by-uk-business (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Culture shock in the workplace – research into generation Y
    expectations of work being cited as the top cause of leaving This constant job hopping not only costs organisations dearly but is also giving rise to concerns about the judgement and decision making capabilities of future leaders Managers are concerned that people who never stay to see the end of a project don t learn from their mistakes and are unable to build on their successes This disconnect between managers and their Generation Y employees leads to puzzlement and sometimes frustration on both sides Both parties are simply looking at the world of work through different lenses and are struggling to work together effectively as a result There is a tendency to place the blame for this lack of understanding on Gen Y who are often regarded negatively as disenfranchised technophiles with short attention spans and poor communication skills The reality however is that as the Baby Boomer and Generation X managers of today make way for the leaders of the future both parties need to review their differences and find new ways of working together So what can organisations do to try to close the gap and get Gen Y and their managers working together in greater harmony 1 Set the boundaries from day one Managers need to establish the boundaries for behaviour and expectations early on in graduates careers Gen Y often need help with issues such as office etiquette face to face behaviour respect teamwork and political nous They often want promotion before they are ready and fail to understand why their performance is not considered up to scratch Ideally this kind of workplace education should take place as part of their induction although managers also have a responsibility to deal individually with members of their teams 2 Develop missing skills early The research also revealed a real mismatch between the areas where graduates and their managers felt development was needed Graduates think they lack technical skills while their managers think they lack people skills It is important to tackle these soft skills gaps at an early stage so that young employees don t get off on the wrong foot with their colleagues or become disenfranchised because they are not seen as capable of handling the challenging interesting work they crave Some organisations are experimenting with in at the deep end programmes which give graduates a high level of responsibility early on but with appropriate support to fall back on when required 3 Provide two way coaching and mentoring Gen Y employees want and need coaching and mentoring to help them improve their people skills and develop a better understanding of how things are done in the world of work A large percentage of graduates 40 70 depending on location actively want their own manager to provide this kind of support Managers also have much to learn from the next generation of employees coming through In particular they could learn from Gen Y s abilities to exploit social media and build strong external peer networks Two way

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/culture-shock-in-the-workplace--research-into-generation-y (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Embedding sustainability – it’s a people thing
    to an individual s objectives are a well known and effective method for shifting individual behaviour Objectives may start to include simple quantitative measures around managing carbon or material reduction encouraging socially purposeful innovation designing less energy intensive production systems These are all valuable in themselves But when it comes to embedding sustainability individual objectives don t go far enough Most of the problems that need to be solved require complex interactions between a number of agents functions businesses Below senior management level it s increasingly hard to set personal objectives when responsibility for delivery is diffused Designing more sophisticated performance management systems that reward team innovation and experimentation encourage horizontal alignment across functions promote the sharing of learning and positive social values will contribute significantly to fostering sustainability appropriate behaviours and action What does your performance management and reward systems promote at the moment Are they aligned with the messages your business is communicated externally regarding its intentions for sustainability Employee Value Proposition There is increasing evidence for the positive effect on employee engagement that sustainability brings insert ref Working for an ethical and socially conscious business is a powerful attractor particularly to Gen Y according to Ashridge s research And it works both ways building a reputation for sustainability attracts creative and thoughtful talent to your door such talent develop more strategic and sustainable solutions for your business a feedback loop that strengthens organisational resilience InterfaceFlor a global carpet tile manufacturer by their own admission not the most sexy industry recently hired a new designer who joined them from Louis Vuitton who was attracted by their reputation for leading the transformation of business towards sustainability through innovative and experimental approaches That they can attract fashion designers from leading luxury brands is testament to a culture that values originality and risk taking What does your EVP say about your values and culture at the moment How might you start attracting talent with more future focus and contextual awareness Organisational learning As a business school we are increasingly asked to integrate sessions on sustainability into our leadership and development programmes or to design stand alone programmes on the subject Given the comprehensive nature of the agenda requirements can look quite different but certain critical skills are needed everywhere These include heightened sensitivity to external context and the ability to make sense of it appreciating interconnections in systems and the effects they have building relationships with internal and external partners awareness of the consequences of our choices what we can tightening the feedback loops developing an enhanced sense of personal purpose and values co designing innovative strategies doing well by doing good Learning that builds these capacities can be embedded into existing development programmes But it also offers the opportunity to reflect on the development needs of your people How are your current learning and development programmes building in resilience to future shocks to your organisation How well prepared are your leaders to manage the increasing complexity of the new context

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/embedding-sustainability--its-a-people-thing (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Emotional intelligence and improving business performance
    In 1995 Daniel Goleman described EI as knowing how one is feeling and being able to handle those feelings without becoming swamped being able to motivate oneself to get jobs done being creative and performing at one s peak sensing what others are feeling and handling relationships effectively Sounds great but how can we develop emotional intelligence Are you born with it or can you learn some strategies to develop it The reality is that some people are better than others at reading their own and other s emotions Like everything once you know what to look for you can practise and start to pay close attention to some key signals and cues which are all around you Here are some ideas to help you develop your emotional intelligence Listen to your own emotions they are offering you some very important data about your instinctive feelings about people and situations and will give you some real clues as to whether the person or situation is making you feel a certain way This information will allow you to assess whether this person or situation is possibly in conflict with your values or beliefs This process of naming the feeling may reduce an impulse reaction against them or the situation You can also experiment with creating a visual representation of the emotion if naming it is difficult This underlies some of the practices of art therapy and is an alternative means of describing the emotion Pay attention to how others are feeling sometimes when handling a task we are focused on how we are feeling but we may be causing some uncomfortable stirrings of emotions within the person we are communicating with There are many clues that we should be alert to The first is body language which includes facial expression stance gestures and tone For example a simple physical movement may indicate that someone is withdrawing from a conversation This may be because the subject no longer has any relevance for them or you may have said something that they don t agree with Do not to plough on regardless but stop and ask some open questions as to what they think or how they feel about what you have just said This will give you some time to assess if you are on the right track and whether you are still engaging them or not Notice moods notice how some people make you feel more energised than others Think about why that is the case Do you share similar values or beliefs If so you can leverage this good mood and bring it to your next meeting or encounter which will allow you to further create a positive mood in others around you Good moods are contagious most of the time as are bad moods Don t underestimate the power of your mood in your work as it is contagious and can be the deciding factor as to whether people actively want to work with you or not What is

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/emotional-intelligence-improving-business-performance (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Engage - the secret to strategy success
    collaborative process there is a greater likelihood that a wider number will understand the overall objectives and logic of the strategy and be motivated and able to adapt its implementation as conditions evolve Collaborative engagement also provides a powerful mechanism for learning together developing the overall strategic capacity of the organisation and growing the capability of the next generation of leaders By moving strategy beyond an annual ritual and into a vibrant part of organisational life people are more alert to how it relates to their jobs Perhaps the most important benefit of collaborative engagement is that it increases the likelihood of the organisation being able to respond to unexpected and unpredicted changes as the strategy is implemented The more you engage people throughout the process the more able they can play this responsive and responsible role at all times Irrespective of whether your strategy is created by just one or two people or by a wider group the strategic concepts and tools used to analyse and develop strategic options are the same What changes is the number of people involved in the conversations around the analysis This can range from small senior or cross functional teams of fewer than 10 people to comprehensive organisational conversations involving many After the long tenure of a MD it was the HRD of a UK cosmetics company who played a catalytic role with his new MD and fellow Board members to completely alter the way in which strategy was undertaken He believed there were significant limitations to the previous approach and was convinced that engaging more widely would not only deliver a better strategy for the organisation but would also help to develop talent across the business If it has been decided to include a large number of people in the option creation process then it is best to create a number of different teams and allocate a different question or questions to each for further investigation based on themes that have usually been defined by the board or executive team It s good to include the mavericks in your process In deciding the composition of strategic enquiry groups during such a process in an international engineering consultancy the MD said We must make sure H is in one of the groups he s always asking really tricky questions In our own research one recipient described his role in strategy specifically as being an agent provocateur to the board asking the questions that the CEO wished he hadn t It may be difficult to handle the questions that result yet these dissident voices often provide vital insight into opportunities and risks in both the internal and external environments Practical considerations include thinking about how much time and budget you have If the group is very large this may not permit a face to face encounter but there are many virtual ways of gathering input such as online meeting platforms It is possible to involve large groups of people in quite a short timeframe

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/engage--the-secret-to-strategy-success (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Ensuring learning transfers to the workplace: where does the buck stop?
    The programme design including how relevant the content is to the learner and how helpful the methods are in assisting them to apply learning The work environment such as the level of support learners get from their manager to apply learning or whether their schedules allow them the time to try out new ways of working These components constitute the transfer system Whilst all these areas have an impact on whether a learner will use what they have learned what appears from our research to be most influential is the learner s characteristics whether they were keen to be on the programme motivated to use their learning believed they could improve their performance and anticipated benefits from using that learning So how therefore should we set about improving transfer of learning Does the responsibility for ensuring learning transfer rest primarily on the shoulders of the learner Whilst this might be a prudent conclusion the transfer of learning is a complex business What happens in the classroom and what happens back in the office will both bear influence on transfer directly as well as through their impact on the characteristics of the learner For example a learner who when returning to the office receives little support from their peers when trying new things is unlikely to feel motivated to use what they have learned Similarly a learner who is not given opportunities to practice new skills in the classroom is likely to have doubts about their ability to use these skills in the workplace which will again affect their motivation to use what they have learned Given the complex nature of the transfer system and the countless ways in which the different factors can influence each other it would seem that all stakeholders in the learning process have a part to play in ensuring that what is learned in the classroom is used in the workplace The learner needs to ensure they understand how the programme they are to attend will benefit their role and career to encourage their engagement in learning from the outset Taking responsibility for transferring learning and identifying and creating ways in which they can use the learning will help ensure learning is not lost Seeking feedback from peers direct reports and managers will also help to build confidence in the development of their skills Programme designers need to ensure that content is relevant to those who will attend A learner who can recognise the relevance of a programme to their role will not only have opportunities to use the learning but is likely to be motivated to learn and to transfer It is also important that programmes provide opportunities to practice new skills and make clear links to the workplace to help learners identify ways to apply learning and develop the confidence to use these skills back at work Providing opportunities for coaching feedback and reflection during programmes also helps build confidence by identifying strengths areas for development and ways to apply learning and overcome obstacles

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/ensuring-learning-transfers-to-the-workplace-where-does-the-buck-stop (2016-02-14)
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  • HR Most Influential 2011 | People Updates | Gender diversity is given a higher profile, but the number of women reaching the top is still very small
    in place to support women organisational attitudes are still hampering career progress However there is plenty that HR can do on a practical and cultural level so that women get their seat at the top table More recently we myself and Viki Holton Research Fellow at Ashridge surveyed over 1 400 female senior managers and directors and the results form the basis our new book Women in Business Navigating Career Success Nearly half 48 believe it is harder for a woman to succeed in an organisation compared with male colleagues while 49 think men and women are treated differently in terms of leadership and behaviour Having children remains one of the biggest hurdles to career development A culture of long hours and extensive international travel can affect some women s ability to fill certain roles Creating a culture that is women or even family friendly makes a real difference but the approach to this in many organisations is informal or ad hoc one example is where part time or flexi working options are left to individual managers A strategic approach would be much better Also a focus on early career development opportunities would help many women Such opportunities work as career multipliers and help individuals stand out at the early stages of their careers More of a focus on improving career development structures systems and support for women would help boost the number of female senior managers and directors Appointing a board level champion for diversity makes progress more likely as it demonstrates to the business how important these issues are It also means that sufficient staff and resources are allocated The leadership programmes for women at Johnson Johnson and at Novo Nordisk are good examples of a formal process to help women senior managers learn those key skills needed to propel their career to director level A number of assumptions continue to be made about women for example managers often assume that women with children don t want international assignments or that women who choose to work part time are not interested in career progression Organisations need to ask women what they want from their career rather than guessing Providing networks for women or encouraging women to join relevant networks can also fuel career progression To make a real difference to the number of women chairs and chief executives and improve gender diversity HR departments need to think about ways their organisation can become a diversity champion HR directors need to identify issues that can make a difference before there is a level playing field Here are some of our tips for organisations and individuals Organisations should work to Ensure women have the opportunity to identify their career goals ambitions and aspirations Create an environment that supports and develops women and of course the same is true for men Be aware of the issues and organisational blockages to women s progression and find ways to resolve these problems Advice for women tips to get to the top Be explicit

    Original URL path: http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/gender-diversity-is-given-a-higher-profile-but-the-number-of-women-reaching-the-top-is-still-very-small (2016-02-14)
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