This week’s guru

Council sheds light on quick decision-making

It is obviously important to provide
a good working environment for staff in order to maximise productivity but
Burgess Hill Town Council appears to have got a bit carried away.

Concerns over how to stop sunlight falling on computer screens
and bothering staff at its tourism office have already led to three meetings,
six months’ discussion and a six-page report on the subject.

The council’s property committee is to vote on five possible

Remedies cost up to £7,000 and include fitting
computer-controlled screens to the building and treating the glass with solar
reflective film.

But those clever council boffins are also considering moving
the affected desk into the shade – brilliant!

Acas gets taste of own medicine

Guru was glad he wasn’t in John Taylor’s brogues last week.
Taylor is chief executive of conciliation service Acas, which hit the headlines
over a huge compensation pay out to staff (News 12 March).  

The organisation, which attempts to get equal pay and sex
discrimination disputes settled – among others – before they get to tribunal,
is to fork out £5.5m for paying its female staff less than men.  

Almost 900 staff will receive payments of £6,500 each. No
wonder all government departments will have to carry out equal pay audits by
2003. Recent research shows that the UK’s 250,000 female civil servants are
earning 28 per cent less than male colleagues.

Some reputations could be in for a bruising –  just imagine the potential scandal in the
Women’s Unit.

Survival of fittest risks

Guru was fascinated to read Nationwide’s claim in last week’s
Personnel Today to have taken the evolution of HR one step forward with the
creation of its Genome project, proving the link between people management
policies and sales.

If Darwin’s theory applies to HR as well, other HR teams will
have to follow suit or risk being unable to compete in the battle to prove
their value to the business bottom line. These HR teams could face extinction
as back office HR functions are outsourced and line managers are given more
responsibility through e-HR.

But there is also a possibility that the Nationwide’s Genome
could be the HR equivalent of a dinosaur – hugely impressive at first but
cold-blooded and slow to react to a fast-changing business environment.

Lusty lovers can make it all go wong

In a bid to try to improve its workforce’s performance a Chinese firm is
threatening to sack any member of staff found to have a mistress.

Pauline Ngan has ruled that adulterous male staff won’t even get their
month’s wages in lieu if they fall foul of the rules.

Mrs Ngan, managing director of Hong Kong-listed Mainland Headwear Holdings,
said she has taken the draconian step because mistress-keeping has grown
rampant and is damaging to both the company and the welfare of her workers’

"As a boss I demand full commitment at work. A man who has a mistress
will certainly be distracted and underperform on his job."

Guru is confused – surely it will be the wives who will stray if the man is
underperforming on the job.

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