Letters

This
week’s letters

Fixed
attitude is way out of touch

I
was surprised to learn of the CIPD’s attitude to fixed legislation dates in
your front page article (8 April).

We
took part in the consultation that the DTI undertook on this issue and are
broadly in favour of the certainty and structure that these proposals will
bring.

These
proposals are welcome, as at the very least it will encourage the Government to
work to a timetable and allow companies to plan their HR strategy without too
many last minute surprises.

Throughout
the past seven years, we have had too many pieces of employment legislation to
implement, often at short notice, and occasionally two or three things at once.
It is to be hoped that someone in government will take a step back and plan a
phased implementation scheme around these dates to enable businesses and
employees to absorb and integrate these new measures into their practices.

I
believe the DTI received 60 responses to its consultation document, and all but
four were in favour of bringing legislation in on fixed days. It appears the
CIPD may not be as in touch as it seems.

Keith
Luxon MCIPD
HR Policy & Reward, The Laurel Pub Company

High
cost to pay for backward thinking

What
struck me in your article, ‘HR must fight hard to keep training budgets’ (8
April 2003), was the skewed perspective that many businesses still have towards
employee development.

The
fact that many companies are cutting training budgets and not treating learning
as a key business priority is frankly very worrying.

In
recent months, we have seen endless accounts detailing the shortage of skills
in UK plc (especially when compared to their European counterparts) and the
need for motivated and highly skilled staff. Yet, it seems companies still
haven’t learned lessons and HR staff are still having to ‘fight’ for employee
development to be a priority in today’s business environment.

What
is even worse is that in sidelining training during difficult times, these
businesses will potentially face a real skills gaps when the economy does pick
up. As a result, productivity will suffer and many will not be able to compete
on an equal footing with competitors.

At
the end of the day, companies need to realise that investment in learning
cannot be measured in pounds and pence. A real commitment to employee
development is about advancing departmental and company goals. It is about
adding real value to a business in both the short- and the long-term. It is
about investing in the future. The need for companies to understand this and
continue implementing sustainable long-term learning strategies in the
workplace has never been more important than at the present time. And I for one
hope that businesses will not be counting the ‘real cost’ of training cuts in
the foreseeable future.

Daniella
Hawkins
Consultant, Spark Marketing Communications

Saving
HR is a sure route to nowhere

The
article on outsourcing (25 March) creates a real paradox for HR professionals,
based on the constant theme that HR should be represented in the boardroom.

To
outsource the whole, or at least parts, of the HR function makes good business
sense.  My company takes on the role of
the training department/manager, creating more value from the function which,
to be honest, in most cases is not difficult to achieve.

Where
the paradox lies is whether a senior HR director or manager should view
outsourcing from their own power base perspective, or more from the big picture
board level one.

It
must be very hard for any person in authority to give up an area of
responsibility for the greater good of the organisation and this is,
undoubtedly where we as the outsourcing industry, meet the most resistance even
though the business case is easy to establish.

Senior
HR professionals must therefore be seen to be looking at the areas that will
affect the organisation’s overall profitability, not just guarding their own
department.  Until they start doing
this, I really believe they will continue to be perceived as just another departmental
manager.

Tony
Willson
Managing director, Partners for Training

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