As the end of the year approaches and HR practitioners turn their minds away from their companies and consider the far more complex issue of not discriminating between family members when it comes to Christmas presents, Guru does some presenting of his own. Being the one definitive voice of HR, Guru looks back on 2003 – or as the Romans called it: Annus HRbillis.
The winter months started hot as Ann Summers was rampantly rabbiting on at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who wouldn’t allow them to advertise in job centres. Thankfully, good vibrations prevailed and the DWP backed down. Also, people began calling for a simplification of pensions. Almost a year later they have got their wish – many have been shut down.
Call centres report they are having recruit-ment difficulties. Once again, people take things too far and soon call centres up and down the country lie empty. Guru berates the chronic mismanagement that leads to Indians being employed instead. How on earth are they supposed to commute to Newcastle? Bob Crow tells Personnel Today (PT) that HR lacks the skills to negotiate because they ‘have gone to university, yet not been told how things actually happen’. BSkyB HR director, Craig McCoy, takes Crow’s advice and gets involved with staff. He sends them a letter warning that joining a union will put their jobs in jeopardy. He is fired. You just can’t please some people.
Richard Branson was voted the Greatest Briton in management and leadership by PT readers. Guru is horrified it is not him and is sure he hears a cock crow three times. Guru sulked for the rest of the month and paid no attention to other events. So there.
The Employment Act brings in more rights for employees in flexible working, maternity and paternity. Guru is in trouble for running around the office shouting: “Who’s the Daddy now?” A survey says that 75 per cent of London City workers want to leave the City in five years. Guru lobbies the Government to request they all be forced to stay there and not harass the rest of us with talk of how unfair it is that this year’s bonus was only £200k.
Health club chain Fitness First gets in trouble after saying no one can order a uniform over size 16 as it’s bad for the club’s image. Guru is sure it will all work out. Firemen start their industrial action. PT likes to think its coverage of the industrial action is unbiased and fair. This doesn’t convince the union, which later tells PT that it ‘would rather talk to the Sun than Personnel Today’.
After his poll failure in March, Guru comes in at number 39 in PT’s top 40 HR Power Players. Guru’s success is overshadowed by the story of the Accident Group sacking its employees by text message. At least the insurers appear to be fulfilling flexible working rights by ensuring staff can be fired at the office or at home.
The BBC launches a multi-million pound leadership programme to boost management and creativity. The Government soon finds that reporter Andrew Gillighan has made maximum use of the creativity training on offer.
The British Ophthalmology Council announces that wearing a tie can damage your eyesight. Apparently, wearing your Windsor knot too tightly puts pressure on the eyes and damages them. Guru is overcome by the sheer amount of potential innuendo in one story.
HR consultant Jess Eagers-Hardy has her photo taken with a copy of PT. This would be normal had Jess not been celebrating her wedding day. An argument breaks out in the PT office: can we use the headline: ‘Guru takes bride up the aisle’? The international community is shocked when the French go on strike, demanding to be allowed to work longer hours. Bosses are accused of egalité, fraternité and taking libertés.
The RMT union makes a racquet after a London Underground driver is caught playing squash while off work with an injured ankle. They say bosses’ attempts to track him down are backhanded and didn’t give the chap a sporting chance. The whole affair is just not cricket as far as Guru is concerned.
Doctors report a large increase in impotence, drug addiction and eating disorders due to stress. Guru wonders if one can take time away from family due to stress. If not, as stress rockets, the Christmas period could see a spate of spontaneous human combustion.
Almost 70 per cent of employers have stopped funding Christmas parties. Photocopiers and stationery cupboards breathe a sigh of relief.
Merry Christmas from Guru.