Website of the week: www.venuefinder.com

first_imgHowabout Hotel Esja in Reykjavik for a different take on the department’s strategyday this year? Or maybe Agia Napa for the sales conference instead ofBournemouth – again. The average HR manager has better things to do than spendhours looking for new venues for company events, however, which is why mostwill be grateful for Venuefinder.com. The site has a huge database of venuesfrom hotels and management centres to museums and zoos, which can be quicklysearched via broad or precise requirements, such as number of delegates, shapeof room and presentation aids. And if you really want to get a feel for whereyou’re going, there are even virtual reality tours of some UK venues, althoughaccessing these may be a slow, jumpy process on lower-powered systems. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Website of the week: www.venuefinder.comOn 3 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Best Value to help councils’ HR see stars

first_imgBest Value to help councils’ HR see starsOn 18 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Three local government HR teamsaudited through Best Value have welcomed the process, despite some criticalfindings.The HR department atYork City Council received only one star from the audit in a three-star system.But Mandy Coalter,education and leisure HR manager at the council, said under-performance was thereason it was nominated.She said, “BestValue will significantly improve services, as long as it is used in the rightway – as an improvement tool and not just a box-ticking exercise. We chose HRas we knew that there were some problems and saw this as the way to iron themout.”The council was toldit has to improve its information on training, sickness and equal opportunitiesand lower turnover rates.Durham City Council’sHR department was praised for supporting the organisation’s recentrestructuring and 10 per cent staff reduction, but was criticised for having apoor performance management strategy. The Best Valueinspectors awarded Northumberland County Council’s personnel service threestars and praised its professional competence. It said it is highly valued bycustomers and likely to improve in the future.The councils have fiveyears to implement change. www.audit-commission.gov.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Stockholm Summit: its effect on employment policies

first_imgThe next 12 months will see a concentrated effort at EU level to increasethe total number and quality of jobs, and the acceleration of economic reforms.The improvement and modernisation of the European Social model and theharnessing of new technologies will be key to this process. The council reaffirmed its commitment to making the union the most”competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by2010″. It agreed targets of an average 67 per cent employment rate (57 percent for women) by 2005. Other areas of action include: – A report on how to increase worker participation – The development of indicators on the provision of care facilities forchildren and other dependants – The endorsement of the High Level Skills and Mobility Task Force – whichfocuses on ICT skills Education systems, the validation and comparability of qualifications areall impacting on employment that are recognised as being of strategicsignificance. Concentration on the European Social model in particular welfaresystems and the demographic challenge facing them, is planned in the comingyear. Sustained public finance, a pensions review, healthcare and care of theelderly will be reviewed at EU and national level. Quality of Work an objective At the next European summit, at Laeken, Belgium, further workforce issueswill be addressed, including gender equality, lifelong learning, health andsafety, employee involvement and diversity. Findings will be included in theEmployment Guidelines for 2002. Look out for: Green Paper on Social Responsibility to be published in June. Telework guidelines reach the second phase The guidelines drawn up by the Commission as a framework for discussion onemployment conditions for teleworkers has been submitted to the SocialPartners. It is now up to both sides of industry to indicate their intention onformal negotiations on the proposal. Already fundamental differences of opinion have emerged with Unice invitingthe ETUC to negotiate a non-binding agreement. The trade union wants a bindingagreement. Framework guidelines include: – Telework should be voluntary, with a right to return to the office – Guaranteed employee status – Equal rights with office workers – The right to all necessary information – Employer should bear costs – Suitable training guaranteed – Health and safety protection – Respect of legal working hour limits – Protection of private life and personal data – Maintenance of contact with company – Collective rights of teleworkers – Access to teleworking Date to note: 17 May 2001 – Brussels The European Human Resources Network meets with European Commission DGV todiscuss the European Competition Policy and Employment. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Stockholm Summit: its effect on employment policiesOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Team leader awards cut costs

first_imgTeam leader awards cut costsOn 1 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Training can save you money. This is the conclusion of pharmaceutical giantGlaxoSmithKline, which has saved more than £500,000 after developing leadershipskills at its Maidenhead plant. GSK has implemented the NEBS Management Team Leader Award to 47 extendedteam leaders and as a result has saved money through a stronger focus andbetter use of all team members and enhanced operational efficiency. An emphasis on practical learning is part of the award so that trainees canimmediately apply their new knowledge to the workplace. GSK spent £50,000 onthe initiative. “The work-based course assignments alone have covered the cost of thetraining programme from the savings identified,” said GSK site directorOle Rasmussen. “We will continue to be more cost-effective and morecustomer-focused as a result.” Topics covered in the modular course include team briefing and usinginformation for action. A mixture of developmental experiences and assessmentmethods are used, including individual and group activities. NEBS Management says that the award gives team leaders a sense of ownership,goals and vision; increased value and the skills to align themselves to thegrowth of the business. The course was delivered to GSK by AMT International. In-depth coverage of the initiative will be included in the Octoberedition of Training Magazine. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

I want to use my language skills

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. I want to use my language skillsOn 2 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article I have recently completed a French language course and would like to gainsome international HR experience. I have five years generalist experience in anITrole and am CIPD qualified. Any suggestions? Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy You don’t say whether you want to work for an international company in theUK or you are looking for work overseas. As a CIPD member it might be worth youapproaching its international department for information and advice. It couldalso point you in the direction of relevant networks. Another strategy is to target large international companies. As you haveexperience in the IT sector this could be the most profitable area to startwith. It might be an interesting exercise to identify some French companies andsend them your CV with a covering letter in French. Suzanne Taylor, HR consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes Your depth of experience in a generalist HR role will give you a solidbackground from which to embark on a UK-focused role with international remit.You should ensure your language skills remain well-practiced. If your Frenchlanguage skills are now at business level, this will be a skill in demand. Undoubtedly, the easiest way for you to make this transition would be withinyour current organisation if possible. Otherwise, your best option would be inapplying to French companies or multi-national blue chips that are likely tohave bigger HR departments and more opportunity for employees to takesecondments. In applying for such roles, ensure you concentrate as much on yourtalents and experience as your aspirations for the future. Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento You could move to a UK-based company which has scope for international work.However, most international assignments tend to go to people with a proventrack record in their field and in cross-cultural working. An idealintermediary position to gain these skills would be a roving role gainingexposure to a range of subsidiary companies. If you have few commitments then you could move to France. You will findthat routes into local employment are structured in a similar way to the UK,though there are differences (for example CVs with photograph). Temporary work(maybe using your IT skills), while waiting for the right opportunity, wouldenable you to build up a network of contacts, enhance your language skills andgain experience in cross-cultural working. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Letters

first_imgLettersOn 28 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. This week’s letters.Earlier this month (Personnel Today, 7 May), we asked readers to givetheir views on this year’s Top 40 Power Players league table. Here is aselection of some of the responses we received.If you are courting controversy then you have hit the nail on the head.Doubtless all these fine individuals have made contributions in their own wayand some have been rewarded handsomely for it too. I would, however, take issue over the view that they merit inclusion in sucha survey for efforts mostly restricted to their own organisations. To be a true power player you need to be able to exert your influence beyondthe boundaries of just one organisation. I argue you should be listing peoplewhose power stretches beyond their immediate areas of work and instead touchesthe lives of most people in the workplace. Being the most senior HR employee in a high profile or blue-chip company issurely not enough. Some might argue that because they are working so hard forthat organisation their influence is rather insular and therefore automaticallyrules them out of being included in such a list. I think a little more effort and thought would be appropriate to set downsome more wide-reaching criteria, and get away from the usual suspects. HR is, and always should be, a little more creative in its thinking. So comeon, let’s be a little more daring and think outside of the box. Chris Mills(Chris Mills wins a Harrods hamper for producing the most convincingargument for how the Power Players List could be improved.)Someone who was unfairly left out of the list is Hilary Campbell, HRdirector at Vertex, the business process outsourcer. Hilary joined Vertex’s parent company, United Utilities, in 1993 and threeyears later she was part of the team that helped to set up Vertex. She now has overall responsibility for more than 8,500 employees across some26 UK sites. She has extensive experience in employee transition programmes and changemanagement techniques. She has overseen some 15 transition programmes and thesuccessful transfer into Vertex of hundreds of employees from a number of majorblue-chip and public-sector organisations. Working in an industry where people are the singularly most important asset,Hilary Campbell is worthy of inclusion in any list of the HR profession’s mostinfluential performers. Deborah Sadler Vertex I have no disagreement with your top four choices, but am dismayed that morethan half of your choices represent ‘guru’s and politicians’. It is a sadindictment of our profession that so much power lies outside the professionalsin the field. For Patricia Hewitt (5th) and Bob Crow (28th) to wield such power withlittle if any ‘real’ experience of HR does not bode well. Can we have a Top 40 for HR’s unsung heroes who enthuse the rest of usday-in day-out into dealing with our ever-changing and increasing workload? David York HR Director, Coors Brewers I am not usually into personal promotion which may be why I did not appearin your list. I have been chair of the executive board of the CIPD frominception to achievement of Royal Charter – that is, Geoff Armstong’s boss;global HRD director of an organisation working in 70 countries with £100mturnover; professor of HRD at London’s largest Business School; author of 11books and president of IFTDO. But my main concern is that nowhere is the ‘not for profit’ sector evenmentioned among the 40. The sector blindness is significant and, having workedin all UK sectors, is where some of the most imaginative and strategic work isbeing undertaken. It is a £1bn sector with 185,000 organisations within it in the UK. I knowyour list isn’t meant to be representative, but quality is not only to be foundin the usual private-sector high street names. Derek Miles Training/development director, Save the Children Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Demotivated by recruitment role

first_imgI am a regional recruitment manager and this is my first HR role. Havingtried to get into recruitment for a year, I jumped at the chance of thisposition last Sept-ember, thinking that a company of this size would give meall the training, support and development I require. Sadly, this has not beenthe case, and I am becoming increasingly disillusioned and de-motivated. I amreally keen to move on, but am reluctant as I have less than a year’sexperience, with no chance of a pay rise until October, and no mention of awell-overdue appraisal. Every time I book a meeting with my manager, he cancelsas something more important crops up. Help! Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento Start off with challenging yourself. Are you being unrealistic in terms of yourexpectations from your employer? Could this perhaps be the reason why yourmanager keeps postponing your meeting? Is there any more you should be doing tosupport your own personal and professional development? Having considered the above points your first approach should be to try toresolve your current situation. Explain to your boss that your need for ameeting has become very important. Propose an agenda with your own ideas on theway forward. If this approach does not work, and your disillusionment andde-motivation continue to grow, then you need to start looking for analternative role. At interviews make sure you clarify the practices of yourprospective employer towards your training and development. This will reducethe chances of you experiencing current difficulties again. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy It seems from your letter that you feel this has been a poor career move andI get a sense of a great deal of frustration. You are correct in making thepoint that with less than a year’s experience, prospective employers mayquestion your staying power. Only you can make the decision on whether to stayor go. If you decide to stay, then the issues need confronting. Yourorganisation seems to trust you to work on your own initiative so it seems tohave faith in your ability. If your performance was not up to expectations youwould have had your review by now. The fact both you and your boss are busy hasnot helped your situation. You need to tell your boss that his spending timewith you is important. Caroline Battson, HR consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes As this is your first role in HR and you have only been with thisorganisation since last September, try to overcome some of the hurdles beforeyou decide to leave. The most important focus is to gain as much experience aspossible. The problems you have mentioned are the cause of many employees’frustrations, but there is no guarantee that if you were to leave you would notface the same problems again. You must explain these problems to your managerand you could make a list of the things that would help you in your role. It isimportant to make your manager aware of your concerns and ask his advice. Ifyou are having problems getting commitment from him for a formal appraisal, trysuggesting a coffee and a chat. Use this more informal opportunity to discussyour concerns and your suggestions to resolve these issues and then gain hiscommitment to develop your ideas in a more formal setting. Demotivated by recruitment roleOn 11 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Trade union recognition

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article In this series, we delve into the XpertHR reference manual to find essentialinformation relating to one of our features. This month’s topic…Compulsory recognitionTo invoke the compulsory recognition procedure the following certainconditions must be satisfied: – The union is ‘independent’ – The employer has at least 21 workers – There is no collective agreement already in force under which a union isrecognised to conduct collective bargaining – The Central Arbitration Committee is satisfied that at least 10 per centof the workers in the relevant bargaining unit are members of the union andthat the majority of the workers in that unit would be ‘likely’ to favourrecognition – There are no competing applications for recognition by other union(s),unless the unions can show that they will co-operate and act together on behalfof all the workers if granted recognition, and – No application for recognition has been made to the CAC within theprevious three years in respect of the same bargaining unit. The recognition processAn independent union makes a formal request for recognition which must be inwriting, and which must define the part of the business (the bargaining unit)which the request is being made for. One of the key issues in this process is the definition and scope of the‘bargaining unit’. This comprises the group of workers who are to be covered byany agreement and for which recognition is to be agreed (or if necessarydetermined by the CAC) in accordance with specified criteria – the mostimportant being effective management. In essence, groups of workers who are managed separately are likely toconstitute separate bargaining units. As the likelihood of an independent unionsecuring recognition depends upon it gaining the support of a majority of theworkers within a bargaining unit, the scope of that bargaining unit will beimportant in determining its chances of success. If the employer agrees within 10 days that the union will be recognised toconduct collective bargaining on behalf of the bargaining unit, then no furtheraction is required provided that a method of collective bargaining is alsoagreed. If the employer does not accept the request but is willing to negotiate thenthe parties have a further period in which to agree the scope of the bargainingunit and the extent of any collective bargaining. Again, if agreement isreached within this period no further action is required. Either party may askAcas to help conduct negotiations. The CAC will become involved only if: – The employer fails to respond to the original request for recognition, or – The employer refuses the request without indicating a willingness tonegotiate, or – The negotiations fail. In such cases the union may apply to the CAC. Its intervention can be stayedif the employer first proposes that Acas be involved in the negotiations. TheCAC will refuse to intervene unless the union’s application is both valid andadmissible. To be valid the union must show: – It has made a written request to the employer for recognition identifyingitself and the proposed bargaining unit, and stating that it is made under theTrade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 – It is independent, and – The employer has at least 21 workers To be admissible the union must show: – At least 10 per cent of the workers in the bargaining unit are members ofthe union – The majority of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit would belikely to favour recognition of the union to conduct collective bargaining – The application is made in the proper form with supporting documents – The employer is given notice of the application – No existing recognition agreement applies to the bargaining unit – If another union is making a competing application, that they willco-operate if both are recognised, and – The union had not within three years made an application for recognitionin respect of the same bargaining unit. If the CAC is satisfied that the application is valid and admissible, itwill accept the application to become involved and will try to help the partiesreach agreement on the scope of the bargaining unit within 20 days. Duringnegotiations it will refuse applications from other unions. If no agreement can be reached on the appropriate bargaining unit by theexpiry of this period the CAC must, within a further 10-day period, decideitself what should comprise the bargaining unit. In deciding this issue the CAC must take into account specified criteriaincluding: – The need for the bargaining unit to be compatible with effectivemanagement, and the matters set out below so far as they do not conflict withthat need – The views of the employer and union – Existing national and local bargaining arrangements – The desirability of avoiding small fragmented bargaining units within thebusiness – The characteristics of workers falling within the proposed bargaining unitand other relevant employees, and – The location of workers. In R v Central Arbitration Committee and another ex parte Kwik Fit (GB) Ltd,2002, IRLR 395 CA the Court of Appeal held that when the CAC determines thebargaining unit it must first consider the proposal put forward by the unionand, if it finds this to be the appropriate bargaining unit, the CAC should gono further. It follows that the CAC is not under a duty to treat equally theemployer’s proposed bargaining unit alongside the union’s proposed bargainingunit. However, the Court of Appeal did make clear that in determining thisissue the CAC should have regard to the points raised by the employer. If the CAC is not satisfied that a majority of the workers in the bargainingunit are members of the union then it must arrange for a secret ballot to beheld to determine whether the workers want the union to bargain on theirbehalf. If the CAC is satisfied that the majority of the workers in the bargainingunit are members of the union then it must issue a declaration that the unionis recognised as entitled to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of theworkers in the bargaining unit unless: – The CAC is satisfied that a ballot should be held in the interests of goodindustrial relations – A significant number of the union members inform the CAC that they do notwant the union to conduct collective bargaining on their behalf, or – Evidence exists which led the CAC to conclude that there are doubts as towhether a significant number of the union members want the union to conductcollective bargaining on their behalf. In this case a secret ballot will be held unless either the union or theunion and employer request that no ballot be held, in which case theapplication proceeds no further. If the employer obstructs the conduct of the ballot the CAC may declare thatthe union is recognised to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of thebargaining unit. The union will win the ballot if it is supported by a majority of theworkers who voted and at least 40 per cent of the workers constituting thebargaining unit. Consequently, if the bargaining unit comprises 100 workers, 40must vote in favour of recognition with fewer than 40 voting against. Having received evidence that a majority of workers in the bargaining unitare members of the union (or have voted in favour of recognition in a ballot),the employer and the union will have 30 days (or longer by agreement) in whichto agree a method for conducting collective bargaining. If no agreement isreached they can refer the question to the CAC, which will allow a further20-day period of negotiations with its help to secure agreement. If agreementproves impossible the CAC will impose a method for conducting collectivebargaining. As soon as a union has applied to the CAC for recognition any subsequent‘voluntary’ recognition agreement negotiated with the employer cannot beterminated by the employer for at least three years. Recognition agreements imposed by the CAC, which may also contain a legally enforceablemethod of collective bargaining, cannot likewise be abandoned at will. This is an extract from the Industrial Relations and Collective Rightschapter of the XpertHR employment law reference manual (chapter author MarcMeryon, Kennedys). Action point checklist– Listen carefully to what youremployees want – Address their concerns in a positive way to avoid frustratingtheir desire to be informed and consulted – Do not victimise any employee seeking union recognition – Ensure that your business is structured in a way whichproduces compatible bargaining units – Consider doing deals with friendly unions to forestallcompulsory recognition of hostile unions – Consider holding a ballot to ascertain employees’ views – Remember that if you fail to do a deal voluntarily and unionrecognition is imposed, it cannot be abandoned at will – Beware the possibility of industrial action even if you avoidcompulsory recognition Questions and answersWhat is the significance of anemployer recognising a trade union?If an employer recognises the union, the union gains importantrights, including the right for its members and officials to take time offwork; to information from the employer to enable the union to conductcollective bargaining; to be consulted on proposed redundancies; and to beinformed and consulted in connection with the transfer of an undertaking.What happens if an independent union makes a formal writtenrequest for recognition?If the employer agrees within 10 days that the union will berecognised to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the bargaining unit,then no further action is required provided a method of collective bargainingis also agreed.If the employer does not accept the request but is willing tonegotiate, the parties have a further period in which to agree. Either partymay ask Acas to help conduct negotiations. If no agreement is reached, theunion may apply to the CAC for compulsory recognition.At what point would the CAC become involved in the tradeunion recognition process?It becomes involved if the employer fails to respond to theoriginal request for recognition or refuses the request without indicating awillingness to negotiate, or if negotiations fail. The CAC’s intervention canbe postponed if the employer first proposes that Acas be involved in thenegotiations. The CAC will intervene only if the union’s application is validand admissible.Can an employer derecognise an independent union?If the employer voluntarily recognises a union, it canderecognise it at any time. A compulsory recognition agreement set up followingapplication to the CAC cannot, however, be terminated by the employer for atleast three years. In the event that circumstances change during the three-yearperiod, the employer can apply to the CAC to end the collective bargainingarrangements. Related posts:No related photos. Trade union recognitionOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

A little extra

first_imgA little extraOn 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Themerger of the Halifax and Bank of Scotland brought HBOS into the financialworld, and, as John Williams, head of operational training, retail, reveals, italso gave him the greatest challenge of his career. Stephanie Sparrow reports Ask English television viewers who is the promotional ‘face’ of financialgiant Halifax and they will have little hesitation in identifying thebespectacled and cheerful Howard of the Sheldon branch who has reggaed his waythrough its TV adverts for the past couple of years. However, in Scotland it is a different story. Scottish viewers are as likelyto name a cool blonde in blue tartan check who has had only an short dalliancewith Howard (remember them flying over desert islands on the back of a giant swan?).This is a valid but rather flippant way of introducing the training andcultural challenges facing HBOS since it was formed from the £ 28bn merger in2001 of the Bank of Scotland and Halifax. Namely, how to function as oneoperation while respecting the identities and traditions of two businesses withstrong regional ties. Enter John Williams, head of operational training (retail) HBOS, tacklingwhat he admits is “the biggest challenge” of his career to date as hesought to implement a new counter system in 300 Bank of Scotland branchesthroughout Scotland. This part of the change programme, which started inDecember 2002 and is scheduled to finish in summer 2003, will involve 3,500employees from major Scottish conurbations to the Highlands. Following a 17-year long career in the Halifax, which has encompassed manyaspects of the business, Williams had a four-year spell in this training role.His retail training team (which is responsible for high street activity such asagencies and estate agencies) has grown from six to 33 members with 12 fullyfocused on the changes in Scotland. Williams places this team, many of whomhave a background in the branches, at the centre of the merged company,operating as consultants and working closely with the business on trainingneeds analysis and objectives and evaluation. He prides himself on his and theteam’s product knowledge which proved essential in understanding the trainingchallenges presented by a post-merger review. “After the merger there was a review of all the systems, process andproducts we offered, to determine the best way forward. Choices have been madeon which best systems we would use across the company and which products wouldsell in England and Scotland, using those different brandings: Bank of Scotlandor Halifax.” Shared ideas The review found the Halifax had witnessed a major investment in technologyover the past couple of years, hence the more sophisticated counter techniques,and has focused on sales. “There were a lot of ideas that could be sharedacross the Bank of Scotland, whereas the bank itself is very strong on serviceand is a well-known and trusted brand name in Scotland,” he explains. It also identified a need to integrate the companies for the sake ofcustomers and called for an accelerated change programme, as HBOS wants toquickly offer both Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers the ability to useany branch in Scotland. “We wanted to bring together a series of changes to systems, productsand services and to accelerate that change over maybe seven months to ayear.  Phase one involved a bringingtogether of all elements of the counter system and processing to be followed bythe products,” said Williams. He admits it was a “massive challenge” which he could only embarkupon after spending five months actually getting to the point of knowing whatto design. “It was like having new recruits to the company. But if a newrecruit joins they come into a branch where the other colleagues areexperienced. The scenario here was that there were 3,500 new recruits who hadno-one else next to them to say ‘this is how you do it.’ ” To compress a two-year change programme into such a short time meantWilliams had to move quickly but smoothly, so opted for an evolving programme.”Early groups would learn, who would be used to teach later groups, soit’s a satellite kind of growth – an evolution. Now the last group are socomfortable because everyone has built knowledge and shared that with themexperientially.” In order to initiate the skills evolution, Williams decided to take 106people out of Scotland, train them early and develop them as ‘experts’.”They were used in the early locations, then moved across the country in asupport role but will eventually go back into the business as very highlyexperienced staff. In addition, we are putting in a series of project managerswho, in effect, are a separate driving force ensuring successful implementationand providing regular reporting on progress,” he said. “Rooms in key locations have been developed as additional trainingsites to what we call ‘training technical centres’ which simulate the newcounters. We have 18 rooms giving us 144 seats a day and need every one ofthose. Around 37 trainers are involved in delivering the training in Scotland,around 20 of those were pulled from branch work and training backgrounds in theEnglish operation and had their skills brought up to speed. The practicalities and logistics of this training programme could be mindboggling, unless tackled with a well-organised approach, partly because thebranches have to maintain business as usual while training is taking place.What Williams admits was virtually a ‘scientific formula’ was brought into playas he drafted in 10 people to man a new unit, sending invitations to workshops,ensuring trainees arrived with the right material and pre-work at the righttime. Each colleague goes through a five-day interactive workshop programme spreadover a fortnight, to cover the new counter system, backed up by pre-work in thebranch. There is also work shadowing with colleagues who have gone live alreadyand in-branch practice after the programme so staff are confident by the daythey go live. Training takes six weeks, and to keep the business running, Williams has dividedthe branches into quarters and takes out one quarter of the branch at any onetime. Relief staff are co-ordinated to ensure the branch is fully manned duringthis period. Williams put a number of strategies in place within the training workshops tocheck the level of understanding and competence. These include quizzes,competence measures which are captured as management information, and materialfor discussion with branch managers. Further back-up is provided via learningmaterials and reference guides which they take with them from the workshops.Branch managers also play key roles in identifying branch champions or trainingpartners to support colleagues and create what Williams believes is”energy and excitement” around the countdown to the relaunch of thebranch. Rapid change All this builds to the ‘live’ day when the new counter system is switchedon. But Williams’ work does not stop there as three weeks after it goes live hereviews the branch’s progress with its manager and the area manager. Such a rapid change and the pressure to learn could frighten some people butWilliams has taken this into account. “That’s why we’ve put in differentsupport programmes,” says Williams. “We’ve taken out people toconstantly go branch-to-branch to reassure others. There are helplines both fortechnical issues and understanding of a process. Also we want to share successand have made a video of early colleague feedback which will be sent to allbranches.” He is mindful that some large-scale programmes across a geographical spreaduse online learning, but although there is online back-up after the workshops,Williams is happier that he chose the interactive option with lots of peoplecontact. “We want people to enjoy their jobs and lives. We are trying to makeworkshops lively and interactive and the role playing within the workshops isabout getting you as close to live as we can, which removes the fear. We wantcolleagues to feel very comfortable, confident and supported. ” At time of writing Williams believed it could take six months before heknows if the training was successful which is not overly cautious as theestimated roll-out means training goes into 15 branches a week. “We are in the early part of the training,” he says. “We’vetrained all the experts, all the trainers and we’ve done some of the earlybranches. The early feedback from project managers, who provide weekly updates,indicates that it’s positive and colleagues are enjoying the experience. “We have delivered on what we would see as the customer serviceobjectives, sales objectives and also colleague advocacy. “It has been a key objective for the company and it should start togenerate savings and sharing and best practices,” says Williams. CV: John Williams1998 Training manager, progressing to head of operationaltraining1996 Project manager, change programme1992 Personnel Officer, London Region1988 Branch manager, SE London1984 Joined the Halifax as a cashier Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

E-learning news in brief

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This month’s e-learning news in brief – SAP has introduced a mobile classroom to help companies save time andmoney on training. It contains preconfigured PCs, connected to its trainingsystems via the net.  www.sap.com– Vega is designing and implementing an eight-module series of e-learningand e-assessment materials to help the Britannia Building Society combat moneylaundering in the financial services sector.  www.vega.com– Italy will host the first international Research & Standards UnifiedLearning Technologies Summit (Results) on 12-16 May. The conference and plenarysessions, an exhibition and shootout demonstration events, take place on 12-13May with workshops running on 13, 14 and 15 May.  www.elearningresults.com– i-biouk is a new one-stop internet resource for anyone with an interest inthe biotech sector. It provides point of access to information from theGovernment, research councils and more than 200 other sources.  www.i-bio.gov.uk– Electric Paper has launched a guide to help healthcare and furthereducation facilities develop a European/International Computer Driving Licence(E/ICDL) strategy. For a free copy, call 0800 626328  www.electricpaper.ie E-learning news in briefOn 1 May 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more