This week’s letters

Having women in IT benefits all

I am heartened to see the Government is finally encouraging women into IT
with the newly formed Champions Group (News, 22 January).

The IT industry has been male dominated for too long. The number of women in
IT is very low and, to my knowledge, the situation is not improving. Even when
women do join, they tend to take on traditional female roles, such as marketing
or HR. The IT skills shortage is prevalent across many sectors, so there is
plenty of opportunity for women to develop an exciting career.

To help attract women, employers need to offer flexible working
arrangements. The IT industry is ideal for family life as departments can allow
for flexi-time or working from home. We also need to educate schoolgirls on the
benefits of the IT industry, as most view it as boring. This is an outdated
stereotype, with the IT sector having plenty to offer.

Furthermore, many IT departments are missing out on skills that research has
shown that women are more likely to possess, such as communication skills and

Carl Kemp
Head of marketing, MSB International

Atmosphere for happy workers

The article ‘State of workplace hits staff productivity’ (News, 22 January)
was a welcome investigation into the impact of work environments on staff

Office designs proved that cosmetically enhancing work environments was a
useful weapon in the war for talent, but now the focus has shifted to
delivering competitive advantage through the dynamics of the workplace.

Productivity is impaired if employees don’t feel happy in their office. But
equally important for improved productivity is ease of communication between
teams and departments.

Staff need to be involved in work space development. Their knowledge and
experience will be imperative when developing the ideal environment. It should
be achieved through a carefully implemented consultation pro-cess that
encourages staff buy-in and fosters a sense of value.

The way to exploit the correlation between productivity and environment is
to ensure all aspects of the workspace are considered and aligned with the
business objectives.

Richard Taylor
Director, Corpra

It’s people who live the brands

The suggestion that City analysts should take human collateral into
consideration when evaluating a company’s worth in ‘More than just a number’ is
an interesting idea (Feature, 8 January).

It is only recently that the City has accepted that brands have real value
for an organisation and can contribute to the bottom line. It accepts that a
company is more than just bricks and mortar and that a strong, well-established
brand has value that should be factored into its valuations.

If analysts accept brands contribute value to companies, they must accept
that staff play a vital role in success. They make the brand proposition come
to life. Brands cannot thrive without staff who understand and buy into the
brand’s positioning, promote and nurture its identity and values.

Andrew Johnson
Sales and marketing director, Virgin Incentives

Outsourcing is all about quality

I take issue with the Editor’s opinion (8 January) that outsourcing is
entirely driven by needs to cut costs. There are many other benefits – the most
important being an improved level of service for customers and staff.

In these trying times where the challenge for organisations is to retain
their best talent and keep workforces motivated, anything that allows HR to
concentrate on the softer aspects of their role – such as the development of
key staff – is worthwhile.

Also, by linking up with a reputable service provider the company gains
access to a wealth of expert knowledge and advice. This can result in improved
customer satisfaction levels and can help prevent costly mistakes.

It does not mean loss of control. Systems can be implemented that allow
clients to monitor and track procedures, maintain control and easily identify

David Kneeshaw
Chief executive, Propeller

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