This week’s guru

Enjoy some lilac prose

Pale blue, aqua and lilac are the new black. These are the colours that are
going to motivate your staff, according to one of the stars of BBC1’s Changing
Rooms. Consultants Mitel Networks asked designer Linda Barker to come up with
some tips for employers as part of a competition to find the most attractive
call centre.

She advises employers to use blocks of these colours to define different
work zones, and introduce plinths, sculptures and tropical trees. Employers
must also ensure that communal space is tactile and friendly, and
light-diffusing fabrics are used at the windows. And if the friendly fur
upholstery and Roman blinds receive mixed responses, you can always pass on the
complaints to Carol Smillie c/o the BBC.

Job hopes gone in 60 seconds

Getting your CV right can take tortuous hours, so pity the graduates who
spend ages applying for jobs online, only to receive a rejection e-mail in

There are many advantages to having an automated first line of graduate
assessment, but Deutsche Bank warned delegates at the Association of Graduate
Recruiters annual conference that it can be too efficient. The bank still
rejects graduates by e-mail but leaves a more polite amount of time.

Big Brother may not like it

On a recent long-haul flight across the US, Guru picked up a copy of a
women’s magazine in the hope that it would also make the time fly by.

Far from containing the usual survey on your partner’s performance in bed,
it included a questionnaire on privacy in the US workplace.

Several Q&As scared Guru, but try this one for size: Cheryl’s boss says
she can no longer smoke at home or ride her motorbike. He explains that he
wants to reduce insurance costs and employee absences. Can he dictate Cheryl’s
personal lifestyle?

Apparently the answer is "yes". The magazine explained,
"Thousands of employers are attempting to curb the costs of employee
health insurance by regulating off-the-job lifestyles. No federal law prohibits
employers from trying to regulate employees’ personal activities."

Needless to say, Guru didn’t score very highly – hopefully he does better in
the more traditional women’s magazine questionnaires.

Training expert with no training

Glad to know training and development experts are so honest about their own
work-based training experiences. Charles Leadbeater, journalist, author,
consultant and senior research associate with think-tank Demos, admitted at a
CIPD seminar that he had completed only one management course in his entire
working life on newspapers such as The Independent.

"The most useful bit I learnt on a management course at the Financial
Times was how to sack someone," he said. But he said he had been glad to
learn this skill. "If you are going to get rid of someone, you want to do
it well."

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