IT skills do not always match personability

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Employers are struggling to filltechnical vacancies due to a shortage of IT and engineering graduates with theright interpersonal skills, according to research by the Institute forEmployment Studies.The number ofgraduates from disciplines including IT, engineering, maths and the physicalsciences is falling, according to the study published last week. The number ofmaths graduates fell by 1 per cent in the five years to 1999, against a 10 percent rise in the total number of graduates.Those graduates withtechnical degrees lack the important personal skills which employers arelooking for in the modern workplace, the IES report claims. IES director RichardPearson said, “Employers want graduates who are primed for work, able tocommunicate, share their skills and appreciate their place in a widerorganisation.”David Yeandle, deputydirector of employment policy at the Engineering Employers’ Federation, saiddemand among employers for these “softer skills” is more noticeabletoday.He said, “Theimportance of people skills has gone up. But I am not sure the supply of thoseskills is any less than in the past.” The research alsoreveals that many graduates take three or four years to settle into stableemployment, preferring to spend time in temporary jobs or further study first.One in four is in a temporary job nine months after graduation. www.employment-studies.co.uk IT skills do not always match personabilityOn 18 Apr 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


Counsel of perfection?

first_imgAs consultancies increasingly link up with IT firms, a new model isemerging. Alliances bring together strategy, technology and HR to form aflexible resource, offering clients a more rounded solutionThe global market for consultancy services has dramatically fallen off thisyear, amid upheavals that could transform the face of the whole industry. In the US, growth in 2001 is down to 3 per cent from an average 20 per centannually over the past eight years, according to Consulting InformationServices. That is largely due to the recession in IT, and following the Y2Kscare and the scramble for e-commerce, major technology projects are less of apriority. Unable to find room even for graduates they have offered places to, some bigfirms have shed jobs and offered sabbaticals to employees. In the UK, the downturn is less fierce, but still discernible – theManagement Consultancies Association estimates that growth has slowed this yearfrom 21 per cent to around 10 to 15 per cent. But beyond the immediate difficulties are wider concerns. One is theperceived need to separate accounting firms from the consulting services theyso successfully spawned. Accenture, KPMG and Ernst & Young have all split,and PricewaterhouseCoopers is expected to follow suit. For the moment, ArthurAndersen and Deloitte Consulting remain connected, though some observers thinkthat they too may change in future. The reason is a potential conflict of interest that prompted aninvestigation last year by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. A companythat simultaneously provides a client with a £1m audit and a £20m consultancyproject is at least notionally vulnerable to pressure to quietly massage thefigures. But perhaps the biggest force for change has been the powerful shift towardstechnology in clients’ consultancy needs. In order to be equipped fore-commerce, consultants have had to behave like IT companies, marshalling notjust intellectual skills, but costly hardware and software that in many casesrequires substantial investment. To satisfy the need for capital, companies such as KPMG and Accenture havesold shares in an initial public offering. This means partners do not have todig into their own pockets for cash, as well as attracting talent with thepromise of share options. “As technology and strategy continue to converge, you’ll see moreconsultancies consider the public markets,” predicts Tom Rodenhauser, headof Consulting Information Services. But he adds, “Traditional consulting is a cyclical business and thatdoesn’t bode well for investment purposes, where predictable or repeatablerevenue is preferred.” Nor is it necessarily ideal for the client organisation. Those that havechosen not to take this route, notably Deloitte, point out that going publicshifts attention to shareholders, investors and analysts, an equation in whichthe customer no longer comes first. The alternative for consulting firms is to merge with the technology giantswith which they have become so closely involved in recent years. That providesthem with ready access to the funds and skills they need to implement ITprojects, while manufacturers benefit by shifting from the production ofcommodities to high-value advisory services. The “big five” have already developed alliances with major firms.Accenture has been collaborating with Microsoft, and KPMG with Cisco Systems,while PricewaterhouseCoopers has linked up with Hewlett-Packard to develop andsell products to the aviation industry. Last year, Ernst & Young wentfurther in selling its consultancy arm to Cap Gemini. More recently, Hewlett-Packard failed in its pitch forPricewaterhouseCoopers, but both parties are thought likely to continue to seeka partner, especially since the former’s acquisition of Compaq. Collaboration of this kind could point the way forward, some observersthink. But here too there are concerns, since ownership by a technology companycasts doubt on the ability of consultants to give impartial advice on ITsystems. That might seem to give an advantage to the larger number of middle-sizedfirms that remain independent. However, in reality these are likely to sufferas their big rivals, newly beefed up with capital and resources, put thesqueeze on the mid-section of the market. Rodenhauser argues that many firms will cease to exist. “In a lot ofways, this is the demise of consulting as we know it,” he declares. So what is likely to emerge in its place? Gilbert Toppin, chief operatingofficer in Europe for Deloitte Consulting, sees those companies that havedeveloped a global reach prospering at the expense of those that still operatenationally. He also believes the market will diverge between relatively low costtechnology implementers on the one hand, and on the other those such asDeloitte and McKinsey that combine an element of IT capability with high-valuestrategic advice. “Fee rates have diverged, since technology firms arebased on programmers costing less than highly qualified industry experts withMBAs,” he says. Toppin argues that companies are returning to a deeper appreciation ofbusiness benefit, after a period when they were forced into costly ITdevelopment by the “Millennium Bug” problem and the need to wire upfor e-commerce. That will mean a bigger market for traditional businessconsulting, he predicts. If companies further down the pecking order are quaking in their boots, thatdoes not apply to Hewett Associates, currently ranked at number two in themarket for HR consultancy, and number 13 overall. Like Deloitte, Hewett Associates believes its global presence makes it wellplaced to compete with the big players, no matter how well resourced. But incommon with them it has been moving towards a collaborationist model. Tom Eddington, head of client development group for Europe, notes aconvergence between strategy, technology and people. “It used to be if youhad access to capital you could dominate the market. Now you need accessequally to talent and ideas,” he says. Companies that have historically offered technology consultancy are seekingalliances or acquisitions with strategy or HR, Eddington continues. Conversely,HR consultancy organisations such as Hewett are entering into strategicalliances to provide IT solutions, and, in some cases, host the systemsthemselves. Earlier this year, Hewett teamed up with PeopleSoft, one of the majorproviders of HR and payroll technology. Among others, it also has relationshipswith Compaq and Dell, and, until it lost its funding, Skillset, a provider ofrecruitment solutions. The effect of such alliances is to extend the consultancy’s capability. Whenadvising on services such as employee portals, Hewett can help the client purchasethe necessary equipment through its relationship with manufacturers. It can gofurther, for instance by providing a flexible benefits scheme that offers taxadvantages to employees buying their own computers. Partnerships can also be a way to find new markets. When Hewett developed anHR delivery platform for Royal Bank of Scotland three years ago, client andconsultancy entered into a joint-venture, seeking ways to market it to otherorgan- isations. The fact that the bank already used PeopleSoft, an existingalliance partner of Hewett’s, meant that the two shared a commoninfrastructure. As well as collaboration, Eddington refers to a process of”co-opetition” with rivals such as Accenture. “They are our auditors,and we provide HR outsourcing services to them, yet we frequently findourselves competing against each other directly,” he explains. Partnership between technology companies and consultants makes sense at atime when clients are increasingly seeking business benefit from their costlyinstallations. A driver is the growing recognition that technology works bestin conjunction with an understanding of how organisations work. For instance Accenture has teamed up with BT offering HR services online (seepersonneltoday.com). It also has a year-old joint venture with Microsoft calledAvanade , which draws on expertise from both camps to build business-criticalsolutions. Avanade benefits from Accenture’s consulting resources, industryknowledge and business solutions delivery expertise. Microsoft providesspecific product expertise and access to its intellectual capital. One telling change over the past few years has been the growing level oftrust in the consultancy market. Research by the Management ConsultanciesAssociation (MCA) reveals a high degree of satisfaction, with 88 clients out of100 questioned saying they would use the same service again, and 79 expectingto benefit from the advice they were given within one year. More than halfexpected the measurable benefit to be many times cost of investment. The survey also noted the increasing willingness of companies to getinvolved with clients. In a similar survey six years ago, a third of companiessaid they preferred to keep the consultant at arm’s length. That has dwindledto 4 per cent. “There has been a real change in attitude,” comments Sarah Taylor,deputy director of the MCA. “Clients see consultants much more as partnersnow than outsiders and there has been a maturing in the relationship. They areincreasingly sophisticated and know how to evaluate projects, which means thatalthough they are more demanding, levels of satisfaction are higher.” Taylor agrees that middle-ranking consultancy firms are likely to besqueezed as consolidation takes place at the top. But she predicts that nicheplayers offering specialist skills will continue to flourish, often developingrelationships of their own. These could be large or small, but focused on asingle area, such as customer care, supply chains, or integration. Both trends are illustrated by Ashridge Consulting, a specialist businessconsultancy which offers a technology element through its partnership withAmaze, a provider of knowledge management systems. The relationship grew out ofthe recognition from both parties that clients needed something more than aninert piece of hardware and software. “There was an understanding that technology cannot provide betterprocesses within an organisation on its own and that there needs to be culturalchange to bring value,” explains senior consultant Bill Critchley.”Partnership enables us to unlock the power of IT by attending to theculture of organisation. Otherwise it just sits on the desktop.” Where Ashridge believes it differs from much of its competition is infavouring a participative approach to the client. Instead of telling thecompany what it should do, it prefers to provide ideas and methods to help itthink the problem through for itself. “There is a sense of frustration in marketplace with conventionalmethods,” Critchley comments. “Consultants have a tendency to offerstandard solutions that are tailored to fit.” “But these are inflexible, and advisers’ unwillingness to vary themtends to deny the unique context of a particular organisation. Nor does itengage its members in the development of solutions. As a result they feel theyare being imposed on and driven by an external methodology.” Not only do clients resent being talked down to, Critchley says, they mayalso suspect that in their perpetual search for work consultants are alwayslooking out for potential new projects within the organisation whether or notthey are really needed. Another development is the trend for niche firms to form relationships witheach other. For instance Burch Taylor, a firm of organisational psychologists,provides consultancy to blue-chip clients who know what they want and prefer towork with teams of specialists rather than go to a single large supplier. “Some companies have been asking us to collaborate closely with ahand-picked group of niche providers like ourselves,” says partner JillFlint Taylor. “It is to everyone’s benefit to do that as an alternative tobringing in a large consultancy.” For example Burch Taylor works with management development consultantsspecialising in executive search. Once likely candidates have been sourced andinterviewed, the next step is to get the psychologists to give theirrecommendations. Taylor thinks that the changes at the top end of the market could mean that thebig consultancies strengthen their specialist expertise. But far from fearingthe competition, she believes that it will draw companies’ attention to thekind of services the niche consultancies provide. That particularly applies tobusiness psychology, she says, whose benefits are only now beginning to bewidely understood. Other specialists are uncertain about what the future holds. For instanceAveva Consulting advises on IT issues in the engineering process industry, suchas the construction of offshore oil platforms. This has been largely neglected,and is just the type of niche area that smaller companies have been able tocultivate undisturbed by the big firms. “They may possibly decide that they need to start moving into this kindof specialist activity,” says Paul Wheeler, vice president of businessdevelopment. “They have a lot of inertia, and there is a lack of expertisein their organisations, so we haven’t seen any signs of it so far. On the otherhand it doesn’t take long for these guys to realise they might be missing anopportunity.” Whatever happens to the consultancy providers themselves, clients can besure that it is their own needs that are shaping the market. And just asconsultancies themselves are teaming up with each other, it makes sense fortheir customers to develop closer ties with their advisors. “At the end of the day, consultancy provides a flexible resource,”says the MCA’s Sarah Taylor. “Being able to pick and choose what kind ofskills it brings to the business, and where it gets them from, is a hugeadvantage for the client, and it is always better for that to be part of a longterm strategic relationship.” Case study: Ashridge Consulting/AmazeAlliance offers tailored IT approach A particular failing of knowledgemanagement systems is that they are vulnerable to an excessive focus ontechnology at the expense of organisational change. Ashridge Consulting hasbegun working in partnership with Amaze, a systems supplier, to enable clientstake full account of both.The consultancy started by setting up a pilot service sixmonths ago for its own employees, and this is currently in the implementationstage.”We try our methodologies before selling them on,”says Nicolas Worms, senior consultant at Ashridge. “The way we usuallywork is innovative and quite intangible, which makes it difficult to explainunless we have experienced it ourselves.””Where we add value with Amaze is understanding what itcan do strategically for a given organisation in its current context,” hecontinues. “The aim is to support knowledge sharing and development, whichhas particular relevance within our own organisation.”Because Amaze approaches the concept of knowledge sharing froman IT perspective it tended to look only for the right kind of interface.Ashridge builds on that by supplying an understanding of organisationaldynamics. By identifying the social issues in a client company it can determinewhat system is needed.”Most clients have good IT and strategic people, but theywill often have a rather mechanical approach, whereas we start with anunderstanding of the organisation,” says Worms.”Organisations are complex entities, and for thetechnology to work it needs to be merged with the social fabric.” Previous Article Next Article Counsel of perfection?On 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


EAT refuses to interfere with tribunals injury award

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. EAT refuses to interfere with tribunals injury awardOn 1 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A £10,000 award for sexual harassment has been upheld on appeal even thoughthe appeals tribunal described the level of compensation as ‘generous’£10,000 award for injury to feelings not excessive Bennett t/a Foxbar Hotel v Reid IDS Brief 699, EAT Ms Reid brought a successful claim for sex discrimination after experiencing12 months of sexual harassment which culminated in her dismissal. The tribunalawarded her £10,000 for injury to feelings after finding the treatment shesuffered was distasteful and unpleasant, especially as Mr Bennett had attemptedto take advantage of his economic power over Reid. The tribunal was satisfiedthat Reid was seriously distressed, angered and hurt by Bennett’s conduct, thather distress and misery lasted for a long period and intensified after herdismissal. On appeal, Bennett argued that the award was punitive and grosslydisproportionate taking into account the evidence given by Reid. Moreover, theaward was excessive when compared to a personal injury award for a comparablepsychiatric injury. Although the EAT was of the view the award of £10,000 was”generous”, it considered the nature of the conduct proved againstBennett and its effect on Reid and held the award was not out of proportion towhat might reasonably have been awarded. The appeal was dismissed. Key points – The latest available figure for the average injury to feelings awards insexual harassment cases is £6,423. – Tribunals award sums for injury to feelings on a subjective basis.However, in the case of ICTS (UK) Ltd v Tchoula [2000] IRLR 643, the EATestablished that there are two categories of possible awards, a higher and alower one depending on whether there was a persistent and sustained campaign ofdiscrimination. In that case the tribunal reduced the injury to feelings awardfrom £22,000 to £7,500 on the grounds the initial award was excessive. – The appeal courts will only interfere with the tribunal’s award if itfinds the lower court has erred in principle or reached a figure “totallydisproportionate” to what it believes the appropriate level would be. – Employers should take complaints of harassment seriously and deal withthem as soon as possible to avoid the likelihood of a higher injury to feelingssum being awarded against them. Confidential references to be disclosed University of Glasgow v Jindal Digest No 49, autumn 2001, EAT, EOR Jindal failed to obtain the position of chairman at the university becauseof adverse references provided in confidence by third parties. Jindal claimedrace discrimination, and successfully sought disclosure of the references. Thetribunal held that as the references included details of the circumstances uponwhich the university had reached its decision, fairness dictated that Jindalshould have sight of them and be aware of who wrote them. The universityunsuccessfully appealed to the EAT. While the disclosure of confidentialinformation, particularly in relation to third-party references, is highlysensitive, the EAT ruled the tribunal had applied the correct test inconsidering both the relevance of the documents and the necessity of disclosurein order to deal fairly with the proceedings. Other than removing the names itwas not possible to make the documents anonymous and, in any event, the EATheld Jindal should know not only who the authors were but also theirprofessional and racial background. Key points – The subject’s right to know the content of a reference is a grey area.Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibits access to a confidentialreference which has been given by an employer for the purposes of education,training or employment. – Case law and the Human Rights Act (which enshrines the right to a fairhearing) suggests that individuals may have a right to know if a reference isderogatory. Where respondents rely on particular documents to arrive at aparticular decision, it will sometimes be necessary for a full and fair hearingthat the applicant should know not only the content of references but who wrotethem. – HR should encourage managers to think about the possible effect of suchdocuments before writing them and ensure they would withstand scrutiny in atribunal. – For further advice in relation to references, turn to our policy clinic onpage 21. Reasonableness of dismissal Meakin v Liverpool CC Leisure Services Directorate Unreported, September 2001, EAT Meakin was a caretaker with 28 years’ service. On 15 July 1998 a fight tookplace at the council’s premises between Meakin and Forde. Following aninvestigation, both employees were dismissed. Meakin’s internal appeal failed.Meakin’s unfair dismissal claim failed. He argued that dismissal was too severeas no mitigating factors had been considered, namely his length of service,clean record, the employer’s rejection of Forde’s racist behaviour towardsMeakin, unwarranted suggestions made by Forde about Meakin’s sister and thatduring the fight, Forde had had his hands around Meakin’s neck. Meakin’s appeal to the EAT also failed. Both the council and tribunal hadconsidered all points of mitigation that could have been made on behalf ofMeakin. Even if there were differences between Meakin and Forde such as lengthof service, Meakin’s misconduct could still merit dismissal. If this was thecase, even taking into account long service and past good conduct, the factthat the other employee involved had a less good record was irrelevant. Key points – The test for the reasonableness of a dismissal is that outlined in BritishHome Stores Ltd v Burchell [1978] IRLR 379: (1) Did the employer believemisconduct had occurred? (2) Was that a reasonable belief in the light of whatit knew at the time? (3) Was it a belief based on reasonable investigation? (4)Was it reasonable to dismiss having regard to the gravity of that misconduct? – The tribunal must not decide the matter on what it would have done in theemployer’s position, as long as the dismissal is within the range of reasonableresponses available. – In dismissal cases involving more than one employee, the position of eachshould, in principle, be considered separately. But just because one has moremitigating factors than another does not mean dismissal is unreasonable forboth. Dismissal for asserting statutory right automatically unfair Silva & anr v Albion Hotel (Freshwater) Unreported, November 2001, EAT Silva was contractually entitled to a bonus and when this was not paid hecomplained to Albion. In March 1999, he was dismissed for poor management andreceived no bonus. As Silva did not have one year’s service, he could not claim unfairdismissal. Instead, he claimed his dismissal was automatically unfair becausethe principal reason for it was his allegation that Albion had infringed astatutory right, namely his right not to suffer unlawful deductions from”wages”, which included non-payment of the bonus. This claim was notsubject to a qualifying period and provided Silva acted in good faith whenmaking it (which was a question of fact) it was immaterial whether Silvaactually had that statutory right or indeed whether Albion had breached it. Thetribunal held Silva had brought the claim in good faith and he was entitled tothe bonus. His dismissal was automatically unfair. The EAT upheld this part ofthe tribunal decision. Key points – Section 104 of the Employment Rights Act treats a dismissal asautomatically unfair if the principle reason for the dismissal is that theemployee alleged that the employer had infringed a relevant statutory right,such as unlawfully deducting wages. There is no qualifying period for bringinga claim. – Employees making allegations of infringements do not have to spell outprecisely the section of the Act that has been infringed but must make itreasonably clear to the employer what right they believe has been infringed. – Even if the employer is certain no statutory right has been infringed, itshould still think carefully before dismissing – as long as the tribunal findsthe employee made the allegation in good faith, it can still rule the dismissalautomatically unfair. Incorporation of collective agreement terms Radford v LTI Limited IDS Brief 698, EAT LTI recognised three trade unions. The most recent collective agreementstated that it would remain in force until 31 July 1998. In October 1998 LTI informed the workforce of impending redundancies. Theunions said the redundancy procedure described in the collective agreementshould be applied, but LTI’s position was that the agreement had expired and analternative selection procedure was used. Radford’s score placed him in theredundancy pool, and he was dismissed. He successfully claimed unfair dismissal.Although the collective agreement was not incorporated into Radford’scontract, because it was not of day-to-day significance to the relationshipbetween him and LTI, the consultation and selection criteria used had beeninadequate. Both parties appealed to the EAT, which confirmed that the tribunalhad been entitled to find the selection procedures in the collective agreementwere not incorporated because they were not of day-to-day significance. The tribunal found Radford had not been adequately consulted on anindividual basis. However, the tribunal had erred in not asking whether theconsultation was so inadequate as to render the dismissal unfair. Likewise, inrelation to the selection criteria, the tribunal had erred in substituting itsown decision instead of considering what a reasonable employer would have done.Accordingly, Radford’s dismissal was found to be fair. Key points – Redundancy selection procedures laid out in collective agreements areunlikely to be incorporated into the employment contract unless there isexpress provision, because they do not have day-to-day significance in theemployment relationship. – A tribunal may decide some aspects of an agreement are part of thecontract and others not. Provisions for enhanced payments over and aboveredundancy pay, for instance, might well be incorporated. – Where no consultation about redundancy has taken place with either thetrade union or employee the dismissal will normally be unfair unless thetribunal finds a reasonable employer would have concluded consultation wouldhave been utterly futile. – Collective consultation over selection criteria does not release theemployer from its obligation to consult individually with selected employees. – Whether consultation in any particular case was so inadequate as to renderthe dismissal unfair is a question of fact and degree for the tribunal. Disability discrimination – who’s the correct comparator? Cosgrove v Caesar & Howie IDS Brief 698, EAT Cosgrove was employed as a secretary. She became depressed and, after beingabsent for 12 months, was dismissed. Cosgrove presented claims for unfairdismissal and disability discrimination. The tribunal found no evidence that Cosgrove had been treated anydifferently from the way her employer would have treated anyone else who hadbeen absent for a year. It also noted that neither Cosgrove nor her doctorcould suggest any reasonable changes to her work arrangements. Thediscrimination claim was dismissed. Cosgrove appealed. The EAT decided thetribunal’s approach was incorrect. The EAT found the material reason forCosgrove’s dismissal was her absence and uncertainty as to whether she wouldreturn. It then asked whether the reason for her dismissal related todisability and found that it did. Lastly, the EAT asked if the employer wouldhave dismissed another employee to whom the material reason did not apply. Itsaid the proper comparison was with an employee who had not been absent anddecided there would not have been a reason to dismiss such a person unlessother potentially fair grounds for dismissal existed. Cosgrove had been treatedless favourably than someone to whom the material reason did not apply. The EAT then looked at whether the apparent discrimination was justified andsaid that it cannot be justified where the employer has made no considerationof reasonable adjustments. Cosgrove’s employer had not believed she wasdisabled so had not considered adjustments such as shorter working hours or amove to another office. The EAT found there was discrimination and remitted thecase for a remedies hearing. Key points – This case follows the Court of Appeal decision in Clark v Novacold Ltd[1998] IRLR 420, which held that if a person is dismissed for a disabilityrelated absence, the correct comparator for deciding on less favourabletreatment is a person who is able to attend work, rather than a non-disabledperson who has also been absent. – Employers will not be able to justify dismissal in these circumstancesunless they have considered reasonable adjustments under section 6 of the DDA.The onus is on the employer: simply accepting the opinion of the employee orthe employee’s doctor will not discharge this obligation. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Hospital security beefed up to stop the violence

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Hospital security beefed up to stop the violenceOn 15 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Hospitals in Bristol are issuing security staff with handcuffs and slashresistant uniforms as part of a major safety review to prevent violence againststaff. As well as the additional equipment, security staff are also undergoing atraining programme to help them deal with the threat of aggression and to learnconflict-management techniques. The training includes regular updates every three months and was introducedafter 66 violent episodes at the city’s hospitals earlier this year. Anne Couts, HR director at United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, said themove was part of a £200,000 programme to improve safety and reassure hospitalstaff. “Staff have raised a lot of concerns about security and we hope thesemeasures will deal with that,” she explained. The trust, which runs nine hospitals, has also opened a police liaison unit,upgraded CCTV, improved lighting and issued staff with personal alarms. Couts dismissed claims that the new uniforms, which include hard hats andbody armour, would create a daunting atmosphere in hospitals and said othertrusts suffering violence should introduce similar schemes. “The handcuffs are just a small part of the package and we’ve talked tostaff and the unions about why we’re doing this. We’ve had very good feedbackabout this response to violence. “Patients and staff at the hospitals will see that security has visiblyimproved. Security in the NHS has traditionally been low key but I’m sure othertrusts will follow us,” she said. last_img read more


Share options

first_img Comments are closed. Margaret Kubicek looks at how organisations can encourage their people topool ideas and informationOrganisations are good at assessing the training needs of their employees,but too often neglect the skills people already possess that could be sharedwith colleagues. This belief prompted people management consultancy learnpurple to incorporatea knowledge-sharing element into talent toolbox, its online review andappraisal service, says learnpurple’s managing director, Jane Sunley. “It’s not as though they’re asked, then made to share, they are askedwhat they would like to share,” says Sunley. “People actually like toteach others on the whole, but don”t like to be made to do it.” Contract catering business BaxterSmith introduced talent toolbox about ayear ago. It employs 600 people across 36 sites and each now has a trainingplan that fits in with the company”s overall training plan, says managingdirector Mike Smith. “It’s an opportunity for those being appraised to sayhow they could assist with the development and training of others in theorganisation,” he said. Central to BaxterSmith’s training plan is a “who-can-develop-whom”ethos, exemplified in an initiative that sprang from talent toolbox: the chefs’forum. The company’s 16 senior chefs hold meetings every other month where theyshare everything from purchasing and supply information to the latest menu andrecipe ideas. “No managers or directors sit in on that forum,” saysSmith. “The chefs feel they have a voice in our company.” This bottom-up approach engenders a sense of empowerment among employees,and keeps regional managers from getting ‘bogged down’ in T&D needs acrossmultiple sites, says Smith. The forum has now gained its own momentum, withchefs coming up with their own development ideas. While knowledge-sharing initiatives have obvious benefits, training managersoften face big challenges in keeping them active. Bayer Pharmaceuticals ran an online discussion forum last year followingimplementation of a global targeting process in sales. It aimed to identify andshare any common learning taking place across five countries to support the newprocess. Bayer is now putting together a best practice guide for targeting – apositive result despite a huge amount of effort, says training manager ClaireHutchins. “The process is quite hard in an organisation unused to any kind ofchatrooms or forums,” says Hutchins. “I think it can be hard to sellthe benefits of participating in a forum over and above e-mail.” Shepitched the project as an opportunity to learn new technology and learn frompeers. “We made sure their bosses knew they were participating,” sheadds, noting the importance of even small rewards for participation. Upfront preparation The forum was active for three weeks, a new question being posted each weekwith set deadlines for people to respond. Participants all knew each other, butthey still weren’t always forthcoming in posting their responses. “Becauseof its asynchronous nature, people tend to hold back and think someone elsewill go first.” An online discussion forum requires about the same amount of upfrontpreparation time as a face-to-face session, says Hutchins, but managers need toallow more time for clarification throughout, as well as simply phoning ande-mailing participants to remind them to take part. “It’s completely new and some people probably struggle to see its addedvalue. That’s not to say people aren’t willing and happy to take part, but oncethey’re into it, they may feel shy about asking or clarifying what you want ofthem,” says Hutchins. “Either they don’t respond at all, or don’trespond to their full potential. Or they may hold back because they don’t wantto respond first, then mirror their response to whoever went first.” For any kind of online learning initiatives to succeed, their managersshould be prepared to “drip feed them all the time,” says AndrewEttinger, director of learning resources at business school Ashridge.”There’s an inherent tension between wanting it to be completely free andmaking it very tight and focused and almost editing the flow because people canget turned off by a hundred different ideas flying all over the place.” Another factor concerns the culture of the organisation. Some take totechnology like ducks to water, but it can be much harder for others, says Ettinger,who believes many senior managers still struggle with anything beyond basice-mail. Top tips on sharing knowledge An online discussion forum can foster knowledge sharing amongcolleagues who work remotely. Bayer training manager Claire Hutchins shares hertop tips for success:– Identify a small, manageable group of up to six people, whopreferably have met face to face and worked or are currently working on acommon objective– Have a telephone discussion with participants to gain theirinterest and commitment to take part before discussions begin – Plan questions that will encourage the responses you arelooking for. Ambiguous questions can mislead participants and in an onlinesituation – unlike face to face –  thereis a time delay before you may realise this, and are able to refocus thediscussion– Dedicate time to encouraging participation, considering andreplying to each response– Summarise responses to show where the connections are betweenthe responses and to highlight the learning points– Recognise and reward employee participation Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Share optionsOn 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


Comment on Discrimination in recruitment. Not only good – essential! by Pavel

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Thanks for sharing, James. I agree that these are more gneeric stats and also stats that I would expect, as most text messages (as of now) come from personal contacts. On the other hand, e-mails flood the inbox, making it less likely overall that your message will be opened.If targeted properly, I would hope that the read rate would be higher for those recruitment e-mails, but I believe there are going to be several other factors that contribute to that number (active vs. passive job seeker, number of e-mails received overall, etc ). If recruiters/recruitment marketers do jump on the SMS train, I hope they would be cautious as to frequency and type of message so as not to turn users off from the channel completely.All-in-all, I think the message is that there are new options out there for reaching candidates. However, as with any channel, you must use it wisely.ARead full article Comment on Discrimination in recruitment. Not only good – essential! by PavelShared from missc on 9 Dec 2015 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


Condo at 111 West 57th Street tops Manhattan luxury contracts

first_imgFull Name* Message* Email Address* Tagscondo marketdonna olshanNYC luxury real estate The contract for the 53rd-floor unit was one of 16 signed last week for Manhattan properties asking above $4 million. (111w57) A deal for a 53rd-floor unit at JDS Development’s 111 West 57th Street condo topped last week’s list of Manhattan luxury contracts.The Billionaires’ Row buyers are a married pair of real estate developers who already own a pied-à-terre in New York City and wanted to upgrade, according to the latest market report from Olshan Realty.The couple flew into New York from Aspen and toured properties for two days, said Sotheby’s International Realty broker Benjamin Pofcher, who represented the couple with Nikki Field. The 4,183-square-foot condo, last asking $26.5 million, has three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and views of Central Park.“They sensed the timing was right to get a deal and they got one,” Pofcher told Olshan.The contract was one of 16 signed last week for Manhattan properties asking above $4 million, a drop from 27 the week prior.“I just feel that this is going to be a spotty market,” Olshan said. “You’re going to have some good weeks, you’re going to have some bad weeks, you’re going to have some mediocre weeks — and we will not have a trend line until we can get past this [pandemic].”Of the 16 deals last week, seven were for properties asking more than $10 million, the report said — the most in that price bracket since the first week of March.“I think that is underscoring the fact that the very rich have gotten much richer during this pandemic period,” Olshan said. “All the economic data bears that point out.”The second-priciest deal last week was unit 27 at 50 Central Park South, which was asking $24.5 million — down from $39.5 million when it was listed about two years ago.The 6,829-square-foot, full-floor unit is owned by film producer Sidney Kimmel, who made his fortune in apparel. It features two bedrooms and three terraces.“Most people felt they would gut the entire apartment,” said Douglas Elliman broker Steve Cohen, who represented the seller. “I think we had the right buyer and I communicated with enough brokers to know there was a deal to be had here.”Kimmel, a 93-year-old billionaire whose movies include “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Moneyball,” and his wife Caroline, bought the home for about $29 million in 2001, she told the Wall Street Journal two years ago.Contact Sylvia Varnham O’Regan Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlinklast_img read more


Dylan’s Candy Bar’s Upper East Side flagship is up for grabs

first_img closingsRetailRetail Real Estate Dylan’s Candy Bar at 1011-1029 Third Avenue and Dylan Lauren (Photos via Getty, iStock, Google Maps/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)UPDATED, Feb. 9 2021, 1:00 p.m.: Life isn’t looking too sweet for Dylan’s Candy Bar.The upscale sugar emporium’s Upper East Side flagship is closing, sources familiar with the store say. The property at 1011-1029 Third Avenue, which includes Dylan’s nearly 13,000-square-foot store, is listed for lease by Ripco Real Estate.Ripco’s Richard Skulnik, who is listed as one of the brokers for the site, confirmed that the property is available but declined to comment otherwise.The apparent closure of the Third Avenue flagship, which opened in 2001, is the latest setback for the struggling retailer. One supplier told The Real Deal that it hasn’t been paid for months.A spokesperson for Dylan’s did not address the closure of its Third Avenue store, but said, “We have not missed any agreed upon payments with suppliers and continue to show leadership and loyalty to our suppliers, many of whom we have worked with and supported for nearly two decades.”Read moreDylan’s Candy Bar sued over unpaid rentLandlords increasingly turn to lawsuits against nonpaying retailersGap settles Midtown rent dispute with Axel Stawski Full Name* Message* Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Email Address* The company is also being sued by Olmstead Properties for $200,000 in unpaid rent at its corporate office at 315 East 62nd Street.Dylan’s initially signed a seven-year lease with the office landlord in 2002, and extended it three times between then and 2017. But in its complaint, Olmstead said the company vacated the space in September and has not paid rent since. It’s seeking the full amount of back rent along with other costs.The candy company was founded by Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Lauren told the New York Times she was inspired to start the business by watching her father design clothes. “I loved the colors,” she said. “I wanted to eat the color swatches.”The retailer has 21 locations in total, including in New York, East Hampton, Los Angeles and Miami Beach, according to its website. Ten of its locations, all in airports, have closed due to the pandemic.UPDATE: This story was updated to add a statement from Dylan’s Candy Bar. Contact Sasha Joneslast_img read more


Jersey City development advances with $30M construction loan

first_imgProgress Capital partner Brad Domenico and the development at 136 Summit Avenue (Photos via Progress Capital)A luxury apartment complex in Jersey City will advance after snagging a $30 million construction loan.The 99-unit residential building at 136 Summit Avenue, developed by Monticello Equities, has been in the works for several years. Progress Capital arranged the latest round of financing from Bank Leumi, which will be used to help finish construction on the project, which broke ground in 2018.Read moreApartments, hotel to be added to Moorestown MallAcore Capital raises $1B to provide rescue cash to hotelsNapa Valley Four Seasons headed for near-record sale Full Name* Tags Message* When it’s finished, the 159,861-square-foot project will have 2,240 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 75-space parking garage.The development is located on the site of the former Fairmount Hospital. When it was first proposed in 2016, some area residents pushed back, claiming it would negatively impact the neighborhood, according to Jersey Digs.Now, it’s set to become one of the largest residential projects in this particular corner of Jersey City.Contact Sasha Jones Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* Share via Shortlink Luxury Real EstateNew JerseyResidential Real Estatetristate-weeklylast_img read more


U.S. mall values fall 60% after appraisals

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Many of the lower-tier malls that will be sold will likely be redeveloped into something else. (Getty)The suburban mall that you frequented as a teenager could now be worth substantially less than the dirt underneath it.U.S. mall values declined 60 percent due to appraisals in 2020, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News. Across 118 shopping centers with commercial mortgage-backed securities loans, about $4 billion was lost after reappraisals caused by delinquencies, defaults or foreclosures.The data suggests a grim outlook for many malls across the country as some of the largest mall owners, including Brookfield Property Partners and Simon Property Group, are increasingly walking away from underperforming properties and handing them over to their lenders.In some cases, malls are being foreclosed on with almost no interest from outside investors. A recent foreclosure auction of a Simon mall outside of Atlanta yielded no bids despite a previous valuation of $322 million.ADVERTISEMENTIn Connecticut, a portion of a shopping center owned by Simon recently saw its value drop by 88 percent after an appraisal.Many of the lower-tier malls that will be sold will likely be redeveloped into something else, according to industry experts.“The orange tile and brown carpeting is just going to be torn down and plowed under and eventually trade at a price someone can build something else there,” Jim Costello of the research firm RCA told Bloomberg.But it’s not just lower-tier malls that are in trouble: The valuation of Class-A malls fell by nearly half since 2016, according to a recent report by Green Street.Mall traffic has dropped significantly across the U.S. because of Covid restrictions and consumer hesitation, which has accelerated the shift toward e-commerce that was already in place. Some retailers have also declared bankruptcy or stopped paying rent on their mall space, further squeezing operators.[Bloomberg News] — Keith Larsen Tags Share via Shortlink Brookfield Property PartnersmallsSimon Town Centerlast_img read more