Conference news

News from the CIPD annual conference

TUC
Monks called to fire dispute talks

TUC general secretary John Monks had to call off his speech to the CIPD
annual conference at the last minute to take part in negotiations aimed at
solving the firefighters’ pay dispute.

The first in a series of strikes was due to start today (Tuesday) as
firefighters demand a 40 per cent pay increase.

TUC employment rights expert Sarah Veale, filling in for Monks at the
conference, said despite the dispute, the UK is not heading for a winter of
discontent.

She told delegates that many newspapers are overstating the problem. Acas
figures show that in the 12 months to July, 1.1 million days were lost through
strike action. In 1979, 29.1 million days were lost.

Acas chair Rita Donaghy, also speaking at the conference, said:
"[Industrial disputes] are being massively over-reported. We need to keep
a calm head on these things and not take notice of newspaper headlines."

Motorola
Talent for finding global high-fliers

An e-based talent management system has helped Motorola build profiles of
its top managers and move staff around the global organisation.

The talentweb system allowed the firm to rank its top 600 managers and build
a full picture of the available talent within the organisation.

Michael Staunton, the former head of the Motorola University, said the
system also allowed the organisation to plan future learning and identify
shortcomings in management skills.

The organisation used the findings to match skills with different roles
around the globe, and more than 100 under-performing staff were relocated
within the business, creating vacancies for rising stars.

"We wanted to generate a steady supply of leaders for our global
operation. We analysed the data and started to treat it as a supply and demand
problem," he said.

After being marked for a variety of competencies, staff were e-mailed
feedback which told them where the skills gaps were and suggested ways of
improving performance.

Staunton said the system had improved diversity because promotions were now
based on the data, removing any subjectivity or prejudice.

Motorola launched the scheme after losing several top managers to the dotcom
sector and identifying the need to retain and develop more leaders.

Key conference quotes

"If you have six million sperm trying to find an egg and one succeeds,
you don’t worry too much about the 5.99 million which don’t make it." –
Professor Gary Hamel

"It’s becoming harder and harder to sustain success. Every organisation
today is on shaky ground. We’re all standing on an earthquake zone." –
Professor Gary Hamel

"When I joined the council, it took the HR department five weeks to
record my bank details for payment. The top three in HR are no longer
there." – David Henshaw, chief executive, Liverpool City Council

"At Honda, we don’t believe in career development, we believe in
personal development." – Pauline Wiseman, head of HR, Honda

"Leadership really is top of the agenda; you can only do so much with
technology or new products because what really matters is the people in the
business." – Michael Staunton – former director of Motorola University –
now at Interbrew

On forming union partnerships: "There are many barriers to cross and
many sacred cows to slaughter." – Sue Marsh, service delivery, head of
leadership, Royal Mail

"We are heading for a crisis in confidence for the capitalist system.
The balance of power is shifting back to the worker." – Sarah Veale,
employment rights expert, TUC

"Our managers were saying that these people were skilled staff and
replacing them would be very difficult. There’s no need to get rid of someone
just because they’ve reached a certain age." – Denise Keating, head of
people and proposition, Marks & Spencer

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