Branson is right to show unhappy workers the door

Sir Richard Branson’s words may appear harsh, but are laudable and warrant serious consideration by discontented employees.

“For some of you, more pay than Virgin Atlantic can afford may be critical to your lifestyle and if that is the case you should consider working elsewhere,” Branson said.

If any aspect of my work or working environment has not been to my liking, I have resigned on amicable terms and found more suitable work elsewhere.

I have taken the same course when I felt I should be commanding a higher wage. And changing employers often yields a much bigger pay increase than remaining with the current employer, so this is perfectly prudent advice.

Some may argue that such statements by employers adversely affect employee retention. But high retention is not necessarily healthy.

Often, employees performing below par or those who do not have the skills to meet changing or future needs are better off outside the organisation.

Retaining employees for the sake of key performance indicator statistics is contrary to good business practice. And the presence of those who are so unhappy that they will engage in industrial action cannot be conducive to the good of the organisation.

Industrial action is a wantonly ineffective, inconsiderate and thoughtless way to try and coerce paltry rises of 1% or 2% when more sizeable gains can be achieved by changing employers.

As we spend a good proportion of our time at work, it is imperative that we feel content and fulfilled in our working environments. If that environment is not right, there is always the door.

Shoz Rahman, HR consultant

It is wrong to force lone parents to return to work

Forcing mothers to return to work as part of the government’s welfare reform plans is just plain wrong (Personnel Today, 2 January).

If we regard moving someone from care of a child to pushing pencils as a move to ‘work’, we are ignoring the entire role of care-giving – nurturing, feeding, clothing, listening to, teaching a child. The role being left behind is vital ‘work’ – not just for a child or for the household, but for the nation.

The move to force parents away from children is cruel and denies women basic rights about career or lifestyle decisions, based entirely on the crime they committed of being single or poor.

Governments should realise that unpaid care‑giving is a vital part of an economy. It is ridiculous to force women to go out of the home and earn a pittance while the state pays much more for their children to be cared for by a stranger. It’s not even good economics.

Beverley Smith, posted on

Value of HCMI can only be measured by results

I was interested to read the letter from Nicholas J Higgins, dean of the International School of Human Capital Management (Personnel Today, 8 January). Why would the International School of Human Capital Management be mentioned as a leading provider?

To the best of my knowledge, it isn’t.

Yes I have seen all the marketing publicity and looked at the website, and it all looks very impressive. But what is the value?

This appears to be a new and laudable venture, yet I have seen no evidence of the value and recognition of the qualifications. Who validates the qualifications? Will a doctorate from the institute be recognised in the same way as one from a leading university or well-known institution?

The answer in the long-term may well be yes, but when I constantly get e‑mails from the school telling me there are still bursaries available, I begin to think that the take-up is probably low.

The organisation has not yet established itself and the value of the qualification is an unknown quantity. It also comes at quite a cost and a personal and financial commitment to ongoing professional development.

So, “do we have a systemic case of denial”, as Higgins asked? My answer is an unequivocal “No”. It’s a case of establishing your credibility and demonstrating the value and acceptability of your qualifications against those who have already done so. Only then will this institute be considered a “leading provider”.

Ian Cawthra, recruitment and training manager, Stevenage Borough Council

New Year is the time to concentrate on retention

Businesses are right to worry about the effect of the holiday season on people’s decisions to reconsider their career options (‘Half of all UK employees will spend today job hunting’,, 7 January).

Joining the gym, giving up chocolate and learning a language are all high on the list of New Year’s resolutions. But January is also the month to start looking for a new job, so it is a crucial time for employers to concentrate on staff retention.

Employers shouldn’t prepare for a January exodus, but shift their strategies to ensure staff stick around.

Help employees develop their careers through the first part of the year by defining career paths and using performance measurement tools to help them reach their potential. Encourage initiatives that will boost morale, such as social events or parties. Offer workers the option of ‘starting afresh’ without having to leave. It’s an early investment that will pay dividends through the year.

Dina Knight, group HR director, Northgate Information Solutions

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