Letters

This
week’s letters

Letter
of the Week: Parental rights can only hurt business

I
have been torturing myself by reading about the Parents at Work Green Paper on
balancing the needs of business and employees who are parents.

Apparently
the Government believes competitiveness and productivity (presumably on the
employers’ side) can be improved by giving rights to working parents and
virtually no options to employers.

It
is not just industry that is suffering. In an increasingly competitive
environment, where local authorities are being encouraged to externalise
services in the quest for Best Value, it is difficult to see a future for any
employer, be they public or private sector.

In
proposing a right for both mothers and fathers to work reduced hours during and
after maternity leave, the Government clearly believes that this will aid
competitiveness, raise productivity and enable us to serve our customers
better.

The
reality is that we won’t be able to compete with less scrupulous companies and
the only productivity measure will be how fast we can make people redundant.

Exactly
how this will benefit the employee or the customer, who may well be out of work
as a result, is difficult to imagine.

Presumably
the proposed guidance on what would constitute harm to the business will be
backed up by sanctions that will produce yet more work for tribunals and the
legal profession. What was it someone once said about killing the golden goose?

Eric
Lucas
Via e-mail

A
blend of old and new is the answer

I
read your "Industry shuns online training" piece with interest (News,
3 April).

I
appreciate that a significant number of HR professionals feel more comfortable
employing traditional training methods rather than embracing technology as a
delivery method.

However,
as a player in the industry our experience of online learning take-up has been
positive. In addition, analysts have an opposing view to that expressed in the
CIPD report: IDC found a threefold increase in the use of e-learning in Europe
from 2000 to 2001, with predictions that the market will grow fivefold by 2004.

What’s
more, the rapid emergence of new online training suppliers is testament to the
surge in demand for online learning.

Many
more individuals and enterprises now understand the benefits of online training.

However,
it is clear that some courses demand a classroom element and those companies
that continue to succeed in the training marketplace will be those who provide
a blended approach to learning.

David
Wimpress
Executive chairman, KnowledgePool

No
shake-up? You must be joking

So
Paul Turner, the CIPD’s new vice-president of training and development, says
that side of the institute "doesn’t need shaking up" (Feature, 3
April).

Personally,
I think it needs to be completely demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.

Maybe
Paul Turner and I operate in parallel universes, but we can’t both be right. So
if he isn’t there to shake it up, what is he there for? I’m not sure – in two
pages of interview I haven’t managed to find anything of substance.

Is
this a role model and is Lloyds TSB an exemplar, or is this just another
classic case of senior HR people just talking a "good job"?

Paul
Kearns
Senior partner, Personnel Works

Slogan
certainly sticks in the mind

Reading
the article in Guru on the use of the initial letters K, C, U and F (not
necessarily in that order) I’m reminded of the time at school when our art
teacher asked the class to design safety posters for entry in a competition.

Imagine
the hilarity caused by Eddie’s poster, which stressed the need to be careful
around agricultural premises with the slogan "Farm utensils can kill"
(naturally the initial letters were large and in a different colour).

I
don’t know whether it was entered in the competition, but, as I still remember
the slogan, perhaps it should have been.

Richard
Green
Employee development officer, Bath & North East Somerset Council

Graduates
cannot access vacancies

In
the study, Graduates lack job satisfaction (News, 5 December 2000) Professor
Andrew Oswald indicated that graduate employees register the lowest level of
job satisfaction. He believes this stems from a lack of graduate-level jobs and
a tendency for them to idealise the jobs market.

But
demand for good graduates exceeds suitable candidates, as revealed by the large
number of employers attending immediate vacancy careers fairs in London and
Manchester last summer.

Recent
graduates face an uphill battle accessing objective information about vacancies
and the criteria that determines job satisfaction. The lure of big bonuses and
high starting salaries often overshadows criteria fundamental to future
happiness – company culture, what a job involves and the skills required.

Better-informed
jobseekers make more content employees.

Karen
Neale
GTI Specialist Publisher

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