Letters

This
week’s letters

Letter
of the Week
Remember older can mean wiser

I
read your feature on the new breed in HR (13 March) with a sense of wonderment,
that Personnel Today could appear to champion the cause of ageism. By implication,
your article writes off an old breed of HR as Luddites, incapable of harnessing
the benefits of technology. 

I
find it mildly insulting to our profession that teamworking and exercising
autonomy appear to be put forward as the province of youth, as is being
Web-savvy, mobile and unconcerned for the mores of dress. Or am I overreacting
and feeling my age?

Oh,
and incidentally, unlike Eileen Wood, I don’t mind receiving a fountain pen for
Letter of the Week (Letters, 13 March), but I’d as soon have a new stylus for
my Palm.

Roger
Buxton
HR manager, Claverham

Speaking
up for the written word

Despite
the letter in your 13 March issue, I think a fountain pen is quite apt. A
fountain can go with the flow yet still come to a useful point. Wordprocessing
packages cannot always convey the same message – the pen is mightier than the
word.

Reading
Personnel Today on paper seems acceptable and I hope my birthday cards do not
arrive by e-mail. Of course technology is useful, but it is not the answer to
everything.

Paul
Holland
Training manager, Royal West Sussex NHS Trust

Corus
staff left to worry about future

I
wholeheartedly support the CIPD’s demand for the Government to consider the
views of HR specialists when reviewing redundancy consultation.

However,
maybe companies about to embark on a downsizing operation would benefit from
consulting with those experienced in the process, in particular methods used to
support staff through the trauma of redundancy.

I
read with interest the article on Corus (News profile, 20 February) when Allan
Johnston said that “he would like to see consultation take place where it has
the most effect – which is generally in the workplace. If you are someone in
Port Talbot or Scunthorpe, what you really want to know is, ‘What the hell is
going on in my plant?”

He
also said they wished to deal with “people consequences” through a combination
of counselling and retraining.

I
have to tell Mr Johnston that the employees in Llanwern are saying, “What the
hell’s going on at my plant?” Most have so far received just one piece of paper
asking if they would like to be considered for “cross-matching” (redeployment),
and if they would like counselling. This was received some weeks ago and since
then they have received little information from management or unions.

There
appears to be no support, no information regarding government funding for
retraining, and calls to HR have been met with a complete lack of response.

An
employee’s view is that the plant is operating almost to full capacity, no 2
blast furnace has been taken out of mothballs, and it is once again producing
the finest quality steel in the world. The employees are perplexed at receiving
little or no information and feel unsupported and stressed.

Would
Mr Johnston and his team like to share best practice?

Sue
Ford
Job search centre adviser, Rolls-Royce
See News pages for Allan Johnston’s response

Net
access more vital than details

Ray
Wild’s article on Internet recruitment raised some interesting points, but
missed some key issues (Opinion, 27 February).

Earlier
this year we ran a major research project into Internet use among 5,500
jobseekers in Europe. We found the greatest barriers to usage are the cost and
slow connectivity – each cited by two-thirds of the sample. Fast ISDN lines and
access at work mean many were searching for new jobs from the office.

Quality
of content was a lesser issue with 35 per cent saying they would access job
sites more often if it was easier to find information.

The
message is clear. Until infrastructure providers deliver better services and
telecoms providers slash access costs, employers will be denied access to a
vast audience of potential recruits.

Andy
Parsley
Bernard Hodes Group

Leave
for fathers is a positive start

I
am pleased that the Government is going to introduce two weeks’ paid paternity
leave (News, 27 February). This is definitely a step in the right direction and
long overdue, as current arrangements are pretty poor.

Fathers
should be allowed a decent amount of time off when their child is born. It is a
great help to know there is someone to take the kids to school, do a bit of
shopping and so on, especially when mums have to spend a short time
recuperating and looking after the new arrival – this might be an old-fashioned
thing to say, but it’s true.

Not
everyone is lucky enough to have other family members to help out, so a couple
of weeks’ paid leave for a partner is a good start to family-friendly policies.

Helen
Beacher
Part-time administrator, Plumstead   

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