Since my last report, he has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

I would not allow this member of staff to breed.

Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there.

He would be out of his depth in a puddle.

This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

This employee should go far – and the sooner he starts the better.

This associate is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

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Jamie, a young HR officer  had just landed a job which took him up the pecking order He was given a beautiful office the walls of which he covered with all his qualifications and certificates. Sitting there, he saw a man approaching his open door. Wishing to appear the hot shot, Jamie picked up the phone and started to pretend he was in the middle of a big negotiation with the union

He threw huge figures around, made giant commitments and equally grandiose threats. Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, “Can I help you?”

The man said, “Yeah, I’ve come to activate your phone line.”

Employees rights surveys

October 28, 2009

If you’ve come to this through our website you may have read the news item about 1 in 5 employees not knowing their rights. As often occurs I got the information from another source and decided in this instance to follow the same line that they had taken, ie highlighting those who don’t know what their rights are at work.

However what the report seemed to miss out on was the fact that if 22% don’t know their rights that leaves 78% who are very aware of what they have coming to them by right. There certainly is a lot of information out there to help them. While researching for a series of talks I had been asked to give about redundancy, I typed  “>redundnacy into google. It came back with over 1 million hits, the first four pages were almost exclusively about employee rights when being made redundant.

 I wonder if a similar survey was carried out amongst owners and managers, such a high proportion would be able to confidently assert that they know what their rights as employers were?

Many business people we talk to are aware in general terms of the rights of their employees. Their understanding of the responsibilities of their staff and their own rights as an employer can be more of a gray area. 

If they generously allow, for example, a few weeks of paid sick leave per year, they know they must pay this to employees. However if an employee takes the full amount year after year, treating it almost as part of their holiday allowance, and this an a negative effect on the business, many managers and owners do not know how to manage the situation and reduce sickness.

This is not a negative comment on the skills and experience of these business people. Their knowledge, experience and specialisms are in other areas. They may never have had to deal with such an incident in the past.

There are two ways to resolve this situation, either through training or by talking to HR specialists who have a lot of experience in overcoming issues like these

Q: What’s the difference between unlawful and illegal?

A: One means against the law and the other is a sick bird!

Hollywood blocks twitter

October 21, 2009

Hollywood studios are inserting clauses into actors’ contracts to stop them leaking film information on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

A recent talent contract from Disney includes a new clause forbidding confidentiality breaches via “interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog.”

A growing number of businesses have internet and e-mail policies in place to prevent inappropriate or illegal use. However most of these won’t include social networking sites, especially ones with the immediacy of twitter which do not even require a computer to post messages. It may be a good time to look at what policy you have in place to see if it will prevent staff inadvertently or purposefully passing on confidential information.

If you are worried at what staff members might be posting about your company, it would probably be best not to follow the example of Waterstones, where, after some problems with a new distribution system for books, staff were stopped from accessing and leaving messages on the site thebookseller.com. Their response was to wait till they got home, where they fired up their own PC’s and left over 200 comments on an article criticising the Waterstones new system!

Interestingly one comment was “If they were being straight with staff and keeping us informed then maybe we would have no need to go onto this site”.  Having a well thought out and worded policy is important, but managing and communicating effectively is so much more so.

Thanks to the peerless Private Eye from where the waterstone story was swiped!

A truck driver is stood at a red traffic light. There’s a knock on his window.
“Hi I’m Sara, I’m an HR officer. You’re losing your load behind you and it’s against the law!”

The driver moves on and is stopped at the next red traffic light. There’s another knock in his window
“Hi I’m Sara, I’m an HR officer. You’re losing your load behind you and it’s against the law!”

Driver moves on and is stood at 3rd red traffic light. A third knock.

“Hi I’m Sara, I’m an HR officer. You’re losing your load behind you and it’s against the law”

Driver: Hi my name is Sam, and this is a salt gritter.

Over the summer the first charge of unlawfully killing a member of staff under the Corporate Manslaughter ACt 2007 took place. Peter Eaton, the Sole Director ofCotswold Geotechnical Holdings was charged for unlawfully killing Alexander Wright who died when a trench from which he was collecting soil samples collapsed and killed him in Stroud in September last year.

Under the corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 an organisation is guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death. It amounts to a gross breach of the duty of care to the dead person.

I fear few business owners are fully aware of the increased penalties they face under the new Health and Safety regulations. Certainly few that we talk to have been been aware of that someone has been charged.  Although there was some press coverage of the case it hasn’t seemed to make much of an impression in the board room. Company directors bare the responsibility for the safety of their workforce, a responsibility they cannot pass on to anyone else. I fear it may take the directors of a national FTSE listed companies to face a similar charge before this gets the coverage it’s importance probably needs.