If Santa didn’t have an annualised hours contract…

SantaWith an annual hours contract, an employee works a certain number of hours over the year but with flexibility about when those hours are worked. The way this works for many people is that some regular shifts are arranged with the remaining time then allocated on an ‘as needed’ basis.  These arrangements can help increase productivity and reduce overall working hours by more effectively matching supply of workers to the demands of the work.  This type of contract can greatly help organisations where there is significant seasonal variation in customer demand. Read more ›

Posted in People performance and development Tagged with:

Do PISA rankings matter for UK employers?

(c) BBC News

The recent PISA tests for global education show that the UK is lagging significantly behind 25 other nations in the subjects that our Government is saying are vital to our future domestic business success. Is this something that companies reliant on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates should be concerned about or is there cause to be a little more optimistic than the media headlines suggest? Read more ›

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CBI’s EU debate – great news for UK workers

The CBI published research today which showed that British households are £3,000 better off by the UK being a member of the EU.  Its business case for staying a member has the support of eight in ten CBI members and 77% of small businesses.

What has received surprisingly little press is the fact that staying a member of the EU is great for the rights of UK workers.  The EU’s Social Charter has raised standards and protection for the UK’s 30 million workers.  Read more ›

Posted in People performance and development

Technology – good or bad for our engagement at work?

In the latest RSA Animate video, Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology.  Access to technology theoretically makes us more mobile and offers better flexible working, yet this technology is also encroaching on our private lives. As we try to demonstrate our productivity especially when ‘working from home’, we risk inadvertently becoming less engaged, less productive and less happy at work. Read more ›

Posted in People performance and development

Winning the generation game

Winning the generation game (C) The Economist Sept 28th 2013

Winning the generation game (C) The Economist Sept 28th 2013

There is nothing new about different generations working side by side.  The younger ‘apprentice’ learns by following the older worker.  What is different nowadays is that younger workers have new key skills which are in demand from employers – social media, marketing, research, knowledge management, technology, programming etc.  These workers have developed these skills socially before they even reach the workplace.  As a result, traditional career progression models no longer apply.

As recent article by the Economist illustrates, there are two key elements to the generation diversity drama. Firstly, the skill set of a particular generation being in demand and the effect this has on other workers.  And secondly, the sustainability issues for organisations that have a workforce skewed towards one particular generation. Read more ›

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Engaging introverted workers

Just reading the brilliant well researched book Quiet by Susan Cain about introverts in the Western workforce that mostly encourages extrovert behaviours.  These workplaces are designed to support extrovert behaviours including open plan offices, team working, group away days, reward for certain behaviours.  For example, introverts are less favoured for leadership positions even though research shows they are more likely to enable employees and encourage their innovation.  Introverts are more likely to be thoughtful and contemplative leaders whilst extroverts are people of action. Organisations need both types of people. Read more ›

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Getting your engagement index right

engagement indexWe often get asked about which indicators to include in an employee engagement index when conducting an employee survey.  The indicators that should be included depend on the organisation’s HR strategy. For example, an organisation seeking growth, performance or change may differ in where it places emphasis for employee behaviour.  An organisation going through change may place less emphasis on employee retention than an organisation seeking growth.  Likewise, an organisation may place greater value on employees recommending the organisation to others when it is looking to increase talented recruits. Read more ›

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Hotels appearing as the new employers of choice

As the latest UK Best Companies league tables have just been announced, hotel groups appear to be taking many of the key positions in the Big Companies table.  An industry where engaged employees at the customer interface makes a huge difference to the customer experience, hotel groups are looking to find ways to keep employees happy in an industry where notorious low paid, unsociable hours and a lack of long term career prospects are long gone.  The guiding principle at Marriott Hotels is that “if you take care of your associates, they will take care of the customer, and the customer will keep coming back”.  So what general lessons might there be from these hotels for other service organisations? Read more ›

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Make Blue Monday a Blooming Monday…

‘Blue Monday’ is the third Monday in January. It’s the day that is allegedly the most depressing day of the year. Weather’s generally a bit rotten, overspending at Christmas or in the Sales means that we’re all desperately looking forward to the next pay packet arriving, or we’re rethinking our options after the start of the New Year.

Mental Health Research UK is aiming to raise awareness of depression and seasonal affective disorder with its annual campaign, ‘Blooming Monday’. It is calling on people to dress in colourful clothing to raise money for research into treatments.

Anyone taking part is asked to make a donation of £2 to MHRUK by texting BLOO22 to 70070. To find out more visit


Posted in Wellbeing factors Tagged with:

Team talk at Santa Ltd

ReindeerWorking as a team under pressure is naturally important at Santa Ltd.  Knowing each others strengths and preferences can really help the reindeer team.

During November 2012, the team underwent a Belbin team roles assessment to help them prepare for the pressures of Christmas Eve.  Prancer, the HR Director, picked this particular assessment tool as the merit of each of the team roles was simple and clear to understand.  “Each reindeer had to complete a short assessment questionnaire which was then analysed and a profile ‘type’ was established. We then discussed these profiles, people’s strengths and allowable weaknesses.  The exercise gave each reindeer permission to raise issues or concerns.” Read more ›

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