This week’s Letters

E-mails should be monitored

An organisation should have the right to protect its reputation and itself
from litigation through staff monitoring (News, 16 July).

In the future, will the courts accept that libellous remarks, or other
e-abuse, cannot be attributed to the company the mail has been sent from, as
the monitoring code has removed their right to avoid this happening?

And there are other issues that are not being discussed, such as resources
and security threats.

Must organisations not monitor for executable files (often virus carriers),
software (could be unlicensed), MP3 files (often infringing copyright), and
large picture files? All of these could present threats to a network, cause
extreme congestion and use vital bandwidth affecting the normal running of a
business network.

Anyone who deals with e-mail systems will be aware of the growth of large
file transfers via e-mail and that these are all too often either virus
infected, music files or audible/video ‘jokes’.

Companies must be allowed to protect their networks and computer resources.
I work in the front line of the e-mail world and I’ve had all these issues to
deal with – if the guidelines remain as they are, companies will pay dearly as
many people cannot be trusted to adhere to the rules.

Rob Jinman
IT manager, Via e-mail

Board must be actively involved

I was interested in your articles on boardroom HR (News, 23 July),
especially in the light of my recent appointment to the board of 24seven

In my experience, the key to boardroom status lies in being actively
involved in every part of the business, from the factory floor to the
boardroom. This includes taking on other areas of responsibility not strictly
within the traditional realm of HR.

I think a recent comment by our chairman on the monthly HR board paper shows
how HR can gain influence. "I always look forward to reading your report –
it tells me what’s actually going on in the business and links what we know we
are trying to achieve to meet customer needs to what people are thinking and
doing in the business to help us achieve our goals," he said.

Over the past two or three years, my company has gone through periods of
rapid growth, followed by consolidation. We could not have done this without
the board being aware of how these changes affect the people in our business,
especially in such a labour intensive market.

Ann Burton
HR director, 24seven Vending

Defending the HR profession

It is not often that an article disturbs my breakfast; however,
‘Would the real HR staff please stand up’ (Comment, 23 July) had me on my feet,
toast flying.

There has been a trail of writers ready to have a condemnatory
stab at a function that has battled to change its image and role within

Are we making an impact? Should we be called HR or personnel?
Are we sufficiently qualified to breathe the same air as those elevated to the
board? The debate goes on, while HR and personnel managers alike do their best
to deliver a service that supports the business needs of their organisation.

This is often not fully supported by either senior or line
management, and now seemingly not by their colleagues in the profession either.

Paul Kearns’ experience of HR and personnel people clearly
differs from mine. I believe the majority of those practising share a desire to
do the best for their organisation, and will rise to the challenge, with
support. Real HR people seek to develop, stretch and motivate those around
them, not damn them for their current status.

So, if his views are symptomatic of the ‘real’ HR populace,
count me out.  In fact, count me out
anyway, because I just left my group HR manager position of seven years feeling
pretty confident, strategically involved and making no excuses for choosing to
move into coaching.  

Dorothy Smith, MA, MCIPD,

How do you measure up?

With reference to Paul Kearns’ comment pieces for Personnel
Today. I would be interested to know how he measures the impact of what he
does, and how is he performing against these measures?

Joanne Miles

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