Letters

This
week’s letters…

Development
is in your interest too

HR
professionals are taught and aim to achieve best practice, which can be
difficult when the agendas are long and daily activity is demanding.

However,
all the demands often mean that employees in HR are lacking career development
plans ñ ironic, really. I am not alone in my quest to obtain development in
certain areas, several of my colleagues feel the same. There is often a
reasonable gap between an HR support role and that of HR manager. I actively
seek opportunities to develop my skills, however more senior staff do not have
the time to accommodate my needs.

It
would appear we are all in a Catch-22 situation, managers without time to
assist in staff development and support staff being unable to gain the
much-needed opportunities to develop.

The
situation is slightly ridiculous when you consider that if time was set aside
support staff could aid managers to a higher degree, so reducing workloads.

How
many more people are in the same type of situation?

Time
set aside to develop staff will pay rewards, they will feel recognised and
motivated and can reduce those workloads. Remember that without the
development, people will look for other opportunities and leave. How much time
will then have to be put aside to recruit and train a new employee ñ and so the
workloads increase further?

So
the answer is develop or recruit.

Pam
Moore, Solihull

Data
code authors are out of touch

It
is absolutely vital in a democracy that the rights and privacy of individuals
are properly protected, but once again the people charged with dealing with
these issues have got the balance wrong.

Rights
will only truly be protected if obligations are accepted in equal measure. A generous
sick pay scheme, for instance, cannot be sustained if it is abused. Keeping
records helps us to remind people about their obligations.

This
draft code of practice has done the whole process of Data Protection a serious
disservice as it portrays its authors to be academic and out of touch with the
real world.

What
do you do if someone withholds their permission for the records to be kept? Do
you hold records for some employees and not others?

We
introduced random testing for drugs and alcohol 18 months ago with tremendous
benefits for everyone in the company (including potential abusers). Now the
Data Protection Commissioner tells us testing is likely to breach regulations.

Perhaps
she is able to tell us who will benefit if we stop the testing ñ certainly not
the potential accident victims or those inclined towards alcoholism.

Allan
Price, via e-mail

Aren’t
records an employers’ right?

My
personal view on the data protection code (News, 16 January) is that it will
not be in the best interest of the employer if they have to get employees’
consent to record absence. Surely it is an employer’s right to do so.

Roland
Stainton-Williamson, via e-mail

Feature
built on our false image

Construction
is often a backdrop for anecdotal accounts of conflict management, such as that
espoused by the pluralist perspective.

I
was therefore encouraged to happen upon a copy of your 5 December 2000 issue,
anticipating a balanced view of current management practices.

Whilst
I welcome any feature highlighting moves to tackle poor people management
within the construction industry, I was disappointed that the opportunity was
taken to churn out gross generalisations of site culture.

Your
portrayal of an all male, poorly educated, sexist, racist, slovenly and loutish
workforce only reinforces the stereotypical image. Does the chief executive of
a multinational company fit your description of a typical construction worker
or are the parameters of "Construction Neanderthal Man" only confined
to those who get their hands dirty?

Construction
does still have its problems, but what you fail to identify are the plethora of
initiatives both local and national that are designed to improve the image of
construction to enable it to attract a more cross-representative group from
society.

In
Merseyside we have a construction event attended by 3,500 youngsters each year,
specifically aimed at raising the profile and image of construction, and
nationally there is Construction Week, Combating Cowboys, considerate
contractors schemes, etc.

Your
article, while having merits as a basis for stimulating debate, will do nothing
to shatter the outdated image of construction as an industry for low achievers
in hard hats.

Steve
Rotheram, chairman, Merseyside Construction Event

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