Guru

This week’s guru

Sweet smell of success for tall tales

Guru had a great night at the Personnel Today Awards 2002. There was
fabulous food, drink, dancing – oh yes – and some excellent examples of best
practice HR.

There was just one problem: everyone seemed to find Ricky Gervais, aka The
Office’s David Brent, hilarious for his off-the-wall comments on management
speak.

Guru didn’t find anything unusual about his comments ("It is useful
that cats have nine lives – it makes them ideal for experimentation"). He
has heard a lot worse from former managers.

Disciples clearly agree. We are being peppered with spicy, real-life
‘Brentisms’ in our competition to win copies of the TV show’s script. Tact and
diplomacy are clearly absent from many managers’ repertoires.

Regular reader Lucy informs Guru that a previous manager had to tell an
employee they were smelly. After getting the team together the manager asked:
"If you do not smell put your hand up." Everyone raised their hands,
but the manager pointed at the culprit, and said: "I am afraid that you
have answered incorrectly."

HR manager Jeremy tells us that when he was visiting a regional manager, he
made a couple of astute operational observations and offered a solution to the
problem. The regional manager leaned over, knocked on his head three times and
said: "You’ve got quite a good little mind in there, and you could add
value – if only you would let people in more."

But Guru’s current favourite is from Liz, who overheard her boss talking to
a customer on the phone. He said, in all seriousness: "Look, let’s not get
into an argument – you’ll disagree with my point of view, and I know I’m
right."

Headache bill will be tough Act to swallow

How many
headaches has the Data Protection Act caused for HR?

The answer is a lot. The Lord Chancellor’s department (LCD) is
currently reviewing the Information Commission’s implementation and asking
employers for their experiences – such as charging staff to access personal
information, and appropriate response times. Many will be hoping the review
will lead to change and help make it easier for employers to implement.

The LCD may also look at the Information Commission’s decision,
in its code of practice, to make employers separate the reason for absence from
the amount of time off taken.

Guru was intrigued to find out more about the remit of the
review so he put in a call to the Lord Chancellor, but the person steering the
project was off work… ill. Guru trusts his records will be managed perfectly.

Real
Go getters must get on board for jobs

Guru has
always been a terrible at board games. Chess, bridge, Pokemon – he’s lost to
his children at all of them.

So, getting a job in Thailand looks out of the question.
Supermarket chain 7-Eleven is using a 4,000-year-old Chinese board game to
decide whether job applicants make the grade. Go is a game of strategy in which
players have to win territory. Played on a square board with 361 black and
white stones, chief executive Korsak Chairasmisak is convinced it shows who the
best team players are.

The company has even set up a Go club where staff can sharpen
their skills and recruit and coach other employees. So far, about 1,000 of the
company’s 20,000 workers have learned the game.

Having road-tested a long list of online recruitment systems
recently, Guru thinks it might be easier to learn an ancient board game to get
a job. But, surely a quick round or two of fizz-buzz down the local would
separate the wheat from the chaff?

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