This week's letters
Avoiding the opt-out issue
I was involved in the 'hurried panic' of organising an opt-out process for a large international aerospace company when the Working Time Directive (WTD) was launched in 1998 (News, 26 November).
The company did, and still does, rely on heavy amounts of overtime being worked to achieve its output targets. The opt-out was, in HR circles within that company, referred to as the 'get out' clause.
Instead of trying to change its old-fashioned attitudes towards work-life balance issues and basic employee welfare, the company continues to avoid the issue and is at the forefront of trying to maintain the opt-out.
My present company gave the option to employees to sign an opt-out form without any pressure at all. A small number did sign, but the company altered shift patterns and generally tried (and still tries) to man the business with working hours at the forefront of its planning.
This is what all UK companies should be striving to do instead of trying to take the easy way out and resisting change.
I find it hypocritical of many HR managers who on the one hand decry and resist the WTD, and on the other advocate the relocation of their businesses abroad because of the UK's reluctance to join the euro. This could only happen in HR.
Senior HR officer, Legrand Electric
Talented are bitter and disillusioned
The roundtable discussion titled 'Talent Magnet' (Features, 12 November) seems to have missed the crux of the talent management problem.
Working in career consultancy, many of my clients are precisely those talented people who large companies fail to retain. Most of them are totally disillusioned, and some are bitter.
The underlying reason, almost inevitably, is that something has gone awry with the psychological contract they thought they had with their employer. If organisations wish to retain talent, they need to recognise that as the people with talent grow and develop, their motivational needs change. Those changes need to be factored into the psychological contract between employer and employee.
Tying that need into business requirements is one of the biggest challenges facing those concerned with the development of people.
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