This week’s guru

Climb every large mountain with us

Climbing the stairs to the boardroom has been a big issue for HR and
Personnel Today in recent times. Six out of 10 HR directors believe they have no
influence – or only a limited amount – on board-level decisions (News, 23

Guru has always been an advocate of professionals striving to achieve the
pinnacle of HR, but something has obviously been lost in translation. Caroline
and Nicola (see below) thought it involved HR professionals climbing the
nearest pinnacle, literally.

Inspector Caroline Briggs of the Metropolitan police’s HR department is
pictured in Peru on the trail of an Inca. She caught up with him at the top of
Dead Woman’s Pass and issued the highest on-the-spot fine at 4,200 metres.

Twenty-four hours is a long time in HR, particularly when you are doing the
three-peak challenge. Personnel assistant Nicola Jeffery climbed Scafell Pike,
Ben Nevis and Snowdon with four minutes to spare, and raised a lot of money for
the RNIB (but she doesn’t like to talk about it).

Keep the pictures of Personnel Today in extreme locations coming…

What’s in a name badge

Police officers have always had to put up with being called different names
in the line of duty. But ‘the fuzz’ have finally flipped over a proposal that
they should wear name badges.

Some fear being a laughing stock due to ridiculous surnames. A quick perusal
by Guru of the London phone directory shows there are 146 Pratts, 65 Dicks, 49
Constables, 25 Willeys, 24 Sergeants, 10 Coppers and just one Bogie, and one
Pigg. Guru is unable to tell you how many work for the police.

But there is a more serious side, with the Metropolitan Police Federation
expressing concern that it would make officers more identifiable, and thus
vulnerable to revenge by criminals. A comedy name might be useful then – like
Major Major in Catch-22. Which arch-criminal is going to believe your name is
PC Constable or Sgt Sergeant (both of whom work for the Met)?

Rows brew up over getting the tea round

Guru has been accused of many things during his working life, but one area
where he is beyond reproach is his willingness to muck in with the office tea
and coffee round.

There is nothing that annoys Guru more than those colleagues (you know who
you are and will suffer during the time of the final judgement) who are quite
happy to accept hot beverages during the day, but never seem to find time to
return the favour.

So he was delighted to learn that a computer programme has been written to
prove whose turn it is to buy coffee.

The programme, by coffee company Douwe Egberts, keeps tabs on who has bought
a round and exactly how everyone likes their brews. It alerts users at set
coffee times with a tune, and then states whose turn it is to get them in.

Guru thinks that anyone found wanting should be forced to partake in a
hilarious re-enactment of a chimpanzee’s tea party, `a la PG Tips (see Laurent
Weinberger v Tullett & Tokyo Liberty plc for likely outcome of following
Guru’s advice).

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