This week’s letters

Letter of the week
Make motivation your top priority

The issues surrounding internal reward schemes highlighted by Duncan Brown
(Opinion, 11 September) correctly identify many of the key problems UK industry
faces when addressing communication and the motivation of personnel, but fails
to address the fundamental solution.

Delivering praise and reward is the single most important function in
ensuring organisations perform at optimum levels. The systems must include all
employees – production line workers and delivery drivers, for example, are just
as important as sales employees and IT specialists. Some roles may impact more
heavily on performance than others, but ultimately all functions must work
together. Weak links reduce the performance of the corporate entity.

Furthermore, it is now more important than ever to build internal marketing
into every aspect of activity. Companies are adapting to market trends at an
ever increasing rate, and individual roles have never been more fluid. To
enfranchise personnel and keep them in this situation requires wholesale policy
shifts in most companies.

It is not enough for senior management to embrace communication and
motivation programmes, it must be a core function. Those companies which have
adopted such practices stand out head and shoulders above their competitors.

Stephen Humphreys
Managing director, Projectlink

Valuable skills are under-used

I agree with Andrew Cowan’s response to the article on staff shortages
(Letters, 24 July). The reasons for the UK’s skills gaps are complex. They
include a one-size-fits-all education system and a lack of flexibility in
recruitment processes.

Mr Cowan is quite right to state that many skilled workers feel undervalued
and that there is a problem with what he describes as a "culture of
jealously". As a careers consultant I see a constant stream of people who
are extremely unhappy in their work. Invariably, they are highly able,
undervalued and under-used.

Often they have problems with managers who seem to have no idea of how to
manage people. Those managers react to anyone who is talented by perceiving
them as a threat.

In my position it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that people
management in this country is fairly rudimentary and sometimes downright
brutal. Until we can overcome this we will continue to have people who are
frustrated and disillusioned and, at the same time, critical skills shortages.

Dorothy Wilson
Careers consultant

Temp-to-perm law a strain on sector

The Department of Trade & Industry claims that more than 500,000
temporary workers would enjoy greater protection from exploitation and be able
to move from temporary to permanent work more easily under new regulations.

While this sounds like good news, for the recruitment sector the greatest
issue is not the temp-to-perm but temp-to-third party and temp-to-temp
quarantine period. The quarantine period is set at four weeks under the DTI’s
proposed initiative.

The temp-to-third party and temp-to-temp four-week quarantine period is
simply not long enough and could leave the agency-client relationship strained.

If a contractor was to take a four-week holiday, under the legislation there
would be nothing stopping them returning to work for the same company as a
permanent member of staff.

There would be no payment to the recruitment agency and the time they would have
spent advertising, interviewing and placing the candidate will have been

David Rabone
Director, Midas IT Services Staffing Solutions

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