Global newsround

Mike Broad and Ben Willmott report on what’s happening in HR around the

Hopes for upturn as Japan’s manufacturers work overtime

The overtime worked by Japanese manufacturing staff has significantly
increased, stimulating hopes of an upturn in the economy.

The latest Government figures reveal employees averaged 13.4 hours of
overtime in August – up more than 10 per cent on this time last year.

Overtime work in the manufacturing sector is seen as a key indicator of
economic activity. An official from Japan’s ministry of health, labour and
welfare said: "These are bright signs for the economy as production
activity is gaining momentum."

However, average staff pay, including bonuses and other special payments,
has fallen by nearly 4 per cent.

Strong people management plans deliver double shareholder value

Companies with the best people management practices deliver nearly twice as
much value to their shareholders as their average competitors, according to a
study of 600 employers in Europe.

The research, by Watson Wyatt, reveals that employers with good HR practices
have increased shareholder value by more than 70 per cent since 1997, compared with
less than 35 per cent of firms with average or poor HR.

The Human Capital Index finds that companies with top rated HR functions –
that align people with business aims – can add to shareholder value by as much
as 21 per cent.

Staff miss the strongest link

Many employees are confused by recent shifts in corporate strategy and it is
hindering the economic recovery, according to a study by Watson Wyatt.

WorkUSA 2002 Survey, which polled 13,000 staff, shows that only 49 per cent
understand steps their companies are taking to reach new business goals – a 20
per cent drop on the year 2000 survey. It reveals that employees are unclear
about the connection between job performance and pay, with only 35 per cent
seeing a clear link.

Ilene Gochman, national practice leader for organisational effectiveness of
Watson Wyatt, said: "Confusion about corporate goals and uncertainty about
the pay and performance link will complicate economic recovery for many

Companies struggle to measure human capital

HR is struggling to measure the contribution made by staff to companies’
bottom-line performance, according to research.

A survey of 420 HR professionals by Personnel Today and Deloitte &
Touche reveals that while 76 per cent of firms try to measure human capital,
only a few believe their methods are effective.

The most popular approaches are HR benchmarking, HR metrics and the balanced
scorecard model, but more than four out of 10 users do not think they are

Brett Walsh, head of human capital at Deloitte & Touche, said:
"Measuring human capital has the potential to leverage significant
bottom-line improvements in performance."

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