Category: HR Advice (page 3 of 10)

Pros And Cons Of Zero Hour Contracts

Pros And Cons Of Zero Hour Contracts

HRwisdom looks at workforce-related issues around the world.

Today, HRwisdom contributor Joe Errington looks at the pros and cons of zero hour contracts in the UK.

Don’t forget to access all the latest free HRwisdom resources and special gifts – just click here.

Over to Joe . . .

Zero Hour Contracts Examined

New research claims that one million British workers are employed on zero hours contracts. Under these, they are not guaranteed hours and are only paid for the work they put in. Is this a fair system though? What are the benefits and drawbacks? Is there a better solution for businesses?

A zero hour contract is essentially a formal agreement of casual employment. As the name suggests, employees are given a proper contract but with no set hours. In difficult times, it is useful for employers to have this kind of flexibility, but it can be open to abuse.

Retailer Sports Direct has found itself thrown into the stoplight again following the revelations that 90% of its staff are employed this way. With many workers at Sports Direct’s beck and call, not knowing from one day to the next whether they will be working, many have been quick to point the finger and accuse them of exploitation.

So are workers being exploited, or is this an essential means of fighting unemployment? Here are the main arguments for and against the zero hour contract.

Flexibility

Zero hours contracts allow small and mediums sized companies to cope with varying demand. In consumer facing industries, you cannot know for sure how busy you will be tomorrow, and zero hour contracts are a way of reducing overheads and minimising risk.

It is this kind of flexibility that kept many people in jobs during the worst of the recession. Where full time contracts would have required redundancies, zero hours allows employers to shave a little time off everyone’s workload, reducing the wage bill without any drastic measures.

Motivation

Both employers and employees will relay their frustrations at lazy or unmotivated colleagues. In the same way that a zero hour is open to abuse from employers, full-time contracts can be abused by employees.

Unproductive workers cost companies thousands, and heap more pressure on their colleagues. As a result, many employers are reluctant to offer staff a full-time contract unless they are 100% sure they are right for the job. Another way which zero hour contracts help to minimise risk.

Better Than Casual

Most UK companies will need to employ casual labour at some point; whilst technically illegal, this is necessary and should be tolerated to a point.

The casual labour market costs the government millions in unpaid tax though. Zero hour contracts are a way of bringing this back above ground, recouping money for the government and helping to protect worker’s rights.

Exploitative

In times of economic hardship, more people are willing to take any job available to them. Many unscrupulous employers know this and use zero hours contracts as a way of reducing costs at the expense of their employees.

By employing people this way, they can get around many employee’s benefits which we now take for granted. Sick pay, holidays and pensions are all avoided, affecting the financial security of many workers.

Damages Economy

Workers who do not feel financially secure are less likely to spend money. The decision to buy a home for example, will be put back for a few more years, hindering our economic growth.

With the lack of quality, secure jobs available, there is little incentive for people to get back to work. Although living off benefits is not ideal, it is much more stable than a job with no guaranteed hours.

The Solution

Employers, unions and the government need to come together to reach an agreement that is in everyone’s best interests. There are ways in which a company can stay flexible, without compromising job security.

Flexible hours contracts allow employers tailor their rotas to meet varying demand, while at the same time offering their staff a guaranteed income. For smaller businesses, or those affected by seasonal changes, this can be an ideal way of reducing risk for both their employees and themselves.

For larger organisations, outsourcing peripheral parts of their business may be the answer. Specialist facilities management services can take care of tasks such as cleaning, catering and security, allowing companies to offload the risk and focus on their core functions.

HRwisdom

Joe Errington is a marketing executive for MITIE, a strategic outsourcing company who specialise in facilities management.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

With the world economy struggling and companies continuing to layoff staff, questions arise over the respective advantages and disadvantages of voluntary redundancy vs forced redundancy.

It is an emotionally-charged topic for all involved, including for the people making the decisions about who goes and who stays.

 

 

Get $30 and a free transfer when you use CurrencyFair to send money overseas via this special HRwisdom offer code: https://www.currencyfair.com/?channel=RCFL11

Get $30 and a free transfer when you use CurrencyFair to send money overseas via this special HRwisdom offer link.

 

Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

You may have already read the HRwisdom Blog post on how to fire someone.

You may have read about how to build a resilient workforce.

You may have seen our recommended employment document software programs to create customised termination letters and other HR documents.

Now is probably a good time to listen to our very popular interview which looks at the different aspects of the difficult process of managing redundancies in the workplace. voluntary redundancy vs forced redundancy

The interview on how to manage redundancies is divided into small, bite-sized pieces.

In the first part of the interview, we take a look at:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering voluntary redundancies vs conducting forced redundancies/involuntary redundancies?

In the other sections, there is good advice on how to manage the redundancy process. This includes:

  • What are the steps involved in the staff redundancy process?
  • How to select employees for involuntary redundancy?
  • How to communicate during the redundancy process?
  • Should you walk someone out immediately when making them redundant?
  • How can you manage redundancies without destroying all employee goodwill?
  • A case study.

To access this excellent interview (it’s free, of course), just log-in using the form over on the right hand side.

Then click on the link called:

How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Employee Goodwill

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Australian 457 Temporary Work Visa Controversy [Watch The 30 Second Video]

Australian 457 Temporary Work Visa Controversy [Watch The 30 Second Video]

Skilled migration to Australia and employer-sponsored work visas is an area that can become a political battleground when politics gets involved.

With the federal election campaign in full swing, the Australian 457 temporary work visa debate continues to rage. Australian 457 Temporary Work Visa

The powerful construction union, the CFMEU, is continuing its million dollar anti-457 employer-sponsored work visa campaign.

HRwisdom previously shared an entertaining video produced by the union movement for a previous election campaign.

This CFMEU campaign features the anti-457 work visa video shown below.

Need answers to any of your questions about individual or employment-related Australian visas?

You can get them for free from a migration expert thanks to HRwisdom.

For free migration visa advice, click here: Australian visa advice.

Australian 457 Temporary Work Visa Video

The CFMEU’s anti-temporary work visa video in Australia:

Remember, to get free migration visa advice for individuals and employers, click here: Australian visa advice.

The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) allows skilled workers to come to Australia and work for an approved business for up to four years. The employee must be sponsored by an approved business. A business can sponsor someone for this visa if they cannot find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the skilled work. The person can be in or outside Australia when the application gets lodged.

According to the Australian Government, the person must meet several criteria:

  • Be nominated  to work in an approved occupation on the Skilled Occupation Lists (Formerly Known as Form 1121i)
  • Meet the skill requirements for the nominated occupation
  • Meet registration and licensing obligations
  • Speak vocational English
  • Have been nominated by an approved business.

 

Free Australian 457 Temporary Work Visa Advice

Have your questions answered regarding all Australian visa types.

For free workplace visa advice, click here: Australian visa advice.

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Employee Involvement In Quality Control

Employee Involvement In Quality Control

It is a fairly safe assumption that employee involvement in quality control is important factor in a business’ success.

Click for handy employer resources here.

However, every day we see examples of poor quality service and products and it makes us wonder what level of employee involvement was in place.

In a slightly surreal sequence recently here at HRwisdom, a water cooler conversation about large scale vehicle recalls due to part defects somehow led to a discussion about the lack of quality control processes that allowed the creation of an outstandingly awful movie called: Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus. 

Now, full disclosure, we’re haven’t seen the film, we’ve only seen the trailer. Employee Involvement In Quality Control

However, in case you are secretly harbouring any doubts that a film called Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus could really be all that bad, consider the plot: an enormous shark leaps 30,000 feet into the air and attacks a passing jetplane. 

If you really want to see it (why, oh why?) you can watch a brief clip on YouTube here (it contains a swear word).

So yes, it is that bad and it got us wondering – what were they thinking? Was there any employee involvement in quality control? And if so, would it have saved the film?

Which leads us to the point (yes, there is one).

Employee Involvement In Quality Control

Is it time that all organisations (especially B Grade movie producers) revisited the 14 famous quality improvement principles developed by management guru, W. Edwards Deming?

We’ve listed them here:

Deming’s 14 Key Principles

  • 1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, stay in business and to provide jobs.
  • 2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  • 3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place.
  • 4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of a price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  • 5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  • 6. Institute training on the job.
  • 7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  • 8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. 
  • 9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, in order to foresee problems of production and usage that may be encountered with the product or service.
  • 10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  • 11a. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute with leadership.
  • 11b. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals. Instead substitute with leadership.
  • 12a. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
  • 12b. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objectives.
  • 13 Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  • 14 Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Perhaps if every organisation considered Deming’s wisdom, there would be fewer films about airplane-chomping mega sharks.

HRwisdom

Challenges In Managing Change | Unusual Insight From A Retired Rock Star

Challenges In Managing Change | Unusual Insight From A Retired Rock Star

There are many challenges in managing change for supervisors and middle managers when it comes to managing staff.

There are well-known problems faced by frontline leaders and middle managers:

  • Dealing with difficult employees and workplace law issues.
  • Managing within constrained budgets
  • Excessive numbers of meetings
  • The need to constantly reduce costs
  • Balancing requirements of the role with managing each individual team member

There are many more such challenges in managing change.

However, there is another challenge facing supervisors and middle managers that doesn’t get much airplay . . .

An Under-Acknowledged Challenge When Managing Change

Consider the ‘under-acknowledged’ challenge: Line managers being required to communicate and support unpopular decisions into which they had no input.

We were reminded by this problem in an unusual way – by a retired rock and roll star. challenges in managing change

Peter Garrett was formerly the lead singer of the successful Australian rock band, Midnight Oil. He then went on to become a politician, being signed as a star recruit to ultimately become a minister in the Labor government.

Recently, with the switch back to Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, Garrett announced his resignation from the ministry and from politics.

In a post-resignation interview with Alex Malley, Garrett was free to open up about a key challenge he faced during his time as a government minister.  

challenges in managing change |1Strangely enough, he described the under-acknowledged problem that faces supervisors and middle managers when it comes to communicating difficult news.

The interview article introduced the issue: “Politicians often argue in favour of policies they personally, secretly oppose. It’s an essential part of the political game. Just ask Peter Garrett.

[quote]”I always understood entirely what I think are the very necessary disciplines of being a team player in a political party,” Mr Garrett told TV series The Bottom Line…” I took the view, painful as it was, that if you are a cabinet minister in a government and you accept the fact that government policy won’t always reflect your specific personal viewpoint then you’ve got one of two choices.” “You can either leave or you can be a responsible member of the cabinet,” he said. “I chose the latter course of action. But it was by no means easy.”[/quote]

According to the interview, ‘Mr Garrett had told the interviewer Alex Malley that he had always compensated for that inability to speak his mind publicly by arguing passionately with his fellow ministers.’

[quote]”I do reflect my views very strongly where I need to with my colleagues,” he said. But when the argument in cabinet is over, it’s every minister’s duty to express support for the final policy in public.”[/quote]

Challenges In Managing Change – What Can We Learn From A Retired Rock Star?

When it comes to helping our supervisory staff and middle managers, what can businesses learn from a retired rock star?

Key Learning: When making business decisions that may be controversial or difficult to accept, business leaders must look beyond the usual communications plans that tend to only focus on the ‘end users’ of the decision.

Time must be taken to consider whether involvement and buy-in by supervisors and middle managers is possible.

If it is possible, leaders should maximise the chance of the proposed change succeeding by getting the crucial commitment of the people who will receive the most questions and feedback when the change is announced – line managers.

If the involvement of line managers is not possible, business leaders must plan for extra briefings and support for this key group before the message is widely communicated.

Feel free to share this article with your friends and colleagues.

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How To Measure HR And Display Business Metrics [Plus A Brain Teaser For You]

At HRwisdom, we talk a lot about how to measure HR and how to get the best out of your workforce using effective business targets and measures

In one of our many free employer briefings (’15 Ways To Manage Your Employees During Uncertain Times’) we suggest the following:

  1. Clearly identify the most important business measures (KPIs = Key Performance Indicators) that will keep your business afloat during challenging times. The critical measure of ‘Break-Even’ is a good start and you could then add other measures such as ‘Widgets Sold Per Month’ or ‘Cost Per Unit’ as appropriate. Publish these three or four measures everywhere in the form of very basic charts that any passerby can understand at a glance. These charts should, at a minimum, be above every water cooler or in every lunchroom and they should be updated daily to emphasise their importance. Discuss the results at every opportunity.
  2. Apply performance-based pay, incentives, or bonuses to every job. Note that these can be non-financial incentives. Ideally, all incentives should be results of pre-determined outcomes linked to the business’s key performance indicators. Celebrate small and big wins and use these celebrations to focus staff on doing the things that have the biggest impact on your key measures.

Other Posts You Might Be Interested In:

Good Advice On Workforce Productivity

Free IT Security Training

Bizarre – Why Did They Fire This Punctual, Top Performing Employee?

How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Staff Goodwill [Audio Interview]

How To Measure HR Performance and Business Performance?

In the extracts above, we described some of the ways you can measure the performance of your human resources and of your business overall. How To Measure HR

However, we often get asked about how best to display this information?

After all, some business measures can be quite tricky to communicate to the workforce so how can we display this on paper so everyone can understand easier?

In today’s HRwisdom blog post on how to measure HR, we’re sharing some valuable information from an industry expert on how to display these business and HR metrics in the most effective and convincing manner.

This time, however, the resource is a little different and, hopefully, a little fun for you.

The resource comes courtesy of Stephen Few. Stephen consults to industry and teaches in the MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley.

How To Measure HR With Metric Displays

Stephen is a regular visitor to Australia to  run his leading-edge training and share his Graph Design IQ Test.

An HR Brain Teaser For You 

Think you know the best way to share performance results with your staff?

To test your HR metrics and business performance display knowledge, click here.

We’d love it if you shared this with your friends and colleagues (you can use the social media buttons below).

Enjoy!

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Training And Development Of Staff

Training and development of staff – this is one of the key issues addressed in the free HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide available for download here now.

In HRwisdom Community Employee Attraction & Retention Guide, sixteen expert employee management practitioners from all areas of the human resources field offer their best employee attraction & retention advice.

Other Resources You Might Like:

Financial Awareness Staff Training Module (Free Use For 1 Week)

Good Advice On Workforce Productivity

Recommended HR Consulting Firms in Australia

Free Workplace Bullying Training

Training and Development of Staff

Much of the information in the comprehensive free guide goes towards answering questions around Training and development of staff.

In the wider context, the free guide has been developed to help business owners and Human Resources professionals who want to fast-track their staff management success.

Expert Advice On Training and Developing Employees

One such expert contributor is Alan Hargreaves.

Training and Development of Staff

Alan Hargreaves has spent 35 years in financial services and business consulting.

Alan’s approach to management is highly effective, yet inspiringly simple. It focuses on real issues rather than strategic principles. His innovative mix of personal and collaborative action brings immediate traction. He is author of the management book, Recharge, published by John Wiley and Sons.

Alan is a director and partner of Hargreaves Revis Wills, which provides bespoke mentoring services to senior executives. He is regularly engaged as a speaker, consultant and mentor.

In his article, Alan puts a unique service perspective on the issue of staff development. This perspective provides a powerful way to build trust and loyalty with your staff. By adopting some of Alan’s ideas, you may well be pleasantly surprised by the result.

Download The Free Employee Attraction & Retention Guide

For instant download of the comprehensive free “HRwisdom Community Employee Attraction & Retention Guide,” click on Employee Attraction & Retention Guide now.

Training and Development of Employees

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Good Advice On Workforce Productivity

Major new research and advice on workforce productivity by global consulting firm Ernst & Young has added weight to the seven step high performance process outlined in a recent HRwisdom workforce productivity presentation. Advice on Workforce Productivity

The free presentation (click here to see the: high performance team presentation) was conducted by the lead consultant from an award-winning human resources consulting firm in Brisbane.

The Ernst & Young data was recently published as the ‘Australian Productivity Pulse’ (we’ve put the link to the report in our Free Resources area – just log in now for free using the login form over on the right hand side).

Workforce Productivity Report

The Australian Productivity Pulse suggested that around $109 billion in wages is wasted every year due to poor productivity issues. 

The report found that, at an individual employee level, work done that adds ‘real value’ equals 58% of the working day whilst activities such as personal development & networking account for 24%.

Eighteen per cent of the average working day is spent doing work that ‘wastes time and effort’ – an astonishing figure.

Other Resources You Might Like:

Financial Awareness Staff Training Module (Free Use For 1 Week)

How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Employee Goodwill

Recommended HR Consulting Firms in Australia

Areas Of Workplace Productivity To Improve

The Australian Productivity Pulse identifies four main areas to improve:

  • People management issues: developing and utilising the full talents and capabilities of human capital.
  • Organisation structure, design and operating model: removing all wasteful, bureaucratic, and non-value work and outputs.
  • Innovation: being deliberate and audacious with an innovation agenda.
  • Technology: being more ambitious and effective in process automation and technological change.

Of interest were also the Pulse’s findings that thirty-two percent of employees are planning to leave their organisation in the next 12 months.

Advice on Workforce Productivity

A further thirty-five per cent of staff are already pursuing external opportunities.

50% of the employees surveyed felt that a lack of career direction inside their organisation was forcing them to look elsewhere to achieve their career goals.

To read the report, just log in to the free HRwisdom resources area now (use the form over on the right hand side).

Get More Good Advice On Workforce Productivity Here

Don’t forget to watch the excellent free HRwisdom presentation: The 7 Things That Set High Performing Organisations Apart.

The free staff management presentation provides excellent advice on workforce productivity.

During this free on-demand webinar presentation, you’ll get:

  • Practical insights into the important things that set high performing organisations apart.
  • The seven things that make them high performers.
  • Five simple steps to take action on this powerful information.

You can see the presentation here: Good Advice on Workforce Productivity Presentation

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Recent Job Losses In Australia [Plus Free Interview On Managing Redundancies]

It’s been a rough few weeks for redundancies and job losses in the Australian labour market. Job Losses Image

Today we’re looking at the recent announcements.

We’re also sharing another helpful free HRwisdom resource on the right way to handle redundancies.

Before we get started, you may also be interested in these other HRwisdom articles (they will open in a new window):

Bizarre – Why Did They Fire This Punctual, Top Performing Employee?

Free Information Sessions On Workplace Law For Employers

How To Really Freak Out Your Workforce

Recent Job Losses

This week, it was announced that the national cleaning company Swan Services was going into administration with the loss of nearly 2500 jobs.

Nine hundred of those job losses were in NSW and 578 were in Victoria.

A further 583 people lost their jobs in Queensland, 184 in Western Australia, 156 in South Australia and 64 in the ACT.

Job Losses Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the union was now involved:

[quote] The national president of the union United Voice, Michael Crosby, yesterday said Swan had been one of the five biggest cleaning businesses in the country, and its woes followed a string of collapses in the industry. “Swan Services could potentially owe cleaners hundreds of thousands of dollars in entitlements, including annual leave, sick leave, unpaid wages, superannuation and we want to ensure they are protected,” Mr Crosby said.[/quote]

To add to these woes, Ford Australia announced major job losses in its Victorian operations. 

The Age summarised the job losses in this media report

[quote]Ford Australia has announced it will slash jobs — and production — at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants by almost a third as slow sales of its Falcon large family car bite hard. The company today announced up to 440 workers, mainly from its factories, would be offered voluntary redundancies as part of a massive restructure of its workforce taking place over the next three months.[/quote] 

The public sector isn’t safe either, it would seem according to the Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in his recent Budget reply speech (although he says it will happen through natural attrition):

[quote]”We’ve announced that we’ll reduce by at least 12,000, through natural attrition, the size of the Commonwealth public sector that’s now 20,000 bureaucrats bigger than in 2007.” [/quote]

Difficult times indeed.

The Right Way To Handle Redundancies

For any employer seeking advice on how to handle redundancies and job losses, we recommend you listen to our excellent redundancies information interview.

The interview is free and it provides you with thoughtful insights into how to manage redundancies without destroying all employee goodwill.

HRwisdom

Australian Government Gives $20 Million To Combat Workplace Bullying [So Here’s Your Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Module]

Workplace Bullying is a major problem in all economies. Workplace Bullying E-Learning

The Australian Government estimates that workplace bullying costs the national economy over $36 million dollars per year in lost productivity.

As a result, the recent Federal Budget allocated over $20 million dollars to the Fair Work Commission so that it could do more in this troublesome area.

Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Module

HRwisdom has a special limited-time bonus: One week of free E-learning for employers.

Please Note: This special bonus is only available within Australia.

HRwisdom has arranged for you to get one free week’s use of one of Savv-e’s popular compliance training modules, including the excellent module on workplace bullying.

Obviously, this bonus will only be available for a very limited time.

We suggest you grab the workplace bullying module right now.

Get Your Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Now

Workplace Bullying E-Learning

If you would like one week’s free use of one of the online compliance modules we have chosen for HRwisdom, fill in the form below

This bonus will only be available for a very limited time so we suggest you grab it now.

Feel free to forward this message on to your friends and colleagues.

To request the free trial, please put your contact details and your preferred training module in the box below.

Request Your Special 1 Week Free E-Learning Module Now 


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