This week’s letters

Bullying must be tackled at the outset, not just ignored

I read your article ‘Target the bullies to beat stress epidemic’ (News, 10
February) with particular interest, as at the time I was on my way to coach
someone who had been bullying others.

In coaching ‘difficult people’, I have come across many situations where
individuals have been bullied. I have tried to help them to successfully deal
with the situation. I have also coached many bullies and helped them to change
their ways.

However, often a company only wants the victim to be helped and does not
want to tackle the bully. This means the bullying itself can often continue.
You might think that few organisations would allow bullying to continue once
they know it is happening. But you’d be mistaken.

My experience, in both large and small organisations, is that people who use
bullying behaviour often get promoted to more senior positions, and no one
tackles the problem.

As the bullies move on to more senior roles, fewer people are in a position
to take effective action. Sometimes senior managers have no idea about the
behaviour. Other times, they just don’t know what to do and don’t realise the
impact of this behaviour on those who live with it.

The costs include time lost due to stress, increased turnover, lost output,
lost sales, severely reduced creativity and, very importantly, poor
performance, which is actively increased by bullying.

What can we do about the problem? In the short-term, those who bully need
help as well as their victims. Most bullies don’t realise what they are doing
and don’t do it deliberately. They have not been given the help and guidance
they need.

In the long term, company policies on bullying need to be clearer and more
effective. People need to learn how to negotiate with others instead of
bullying them. They need to learn these skills early on in their careers.
Lastly, any signs of bullying need to be nipped in the bud instead of being

Nancy Slessenger
Managing director, VineHouse Essential

Lack of recognition will cause HR exodus

I read with interest your article about Ruth Pankhurst changing her career
to be a plumber (News, 30 March). I am leaving the HR profession to start my
own mobile car valeting business.

Having been disillusioned with HR for about a year, I decided to take stock
and evaluate where I wanted to be. I felt that I was unappreciated, and the
lack of recognition I received certainly backed up that feeling.

Having implemented many quality initiatives in the three companies I had worked
for over the past 15 years, I felt it was time to really look at my own needs
and goals.

I have, like everyone else, a need for job satisfaction. The best job is to
do something that you have an interest in, so I asked myself what my interests
were. The answer was wine, holidays, good company and the usual things that
hard-working professionals value and work towards achieving in the little
relaxation time they have.

I looked a little deeper, and my solution was cars. I have spent many a
Sunday morning cleaning and polishing my own car, enjoying the time alone and
gaining the huge satisfaction of seeing it gleam.

I set about finding out how I would establish a business around cleaning
other people’s cars. The solution is a franchise. I start my training on 10
May. Two weeks later, I will be in business. I can’t wait to get going, to be
my own boss, to get real job satisfaction and to reap the rewards of my return
on investment.

Sure, I am taking a temporary drop in salary and have downsized my property,
but it’s got to be worth it.

I feel more and more HR professionals will leave the profession because of a
lack of reward and recognition. I may not make a million, but at least I will
have a life, not a way of living.

Tim Anderson
HR manager, Details supplied

Flexible employers will stay competitive

The survey by the Parents’ and Carers’ Coalition (News, 30 March) highlights
a need to widen access to flexible working.

The Government’s introduction a year ago of flexible working legislation – benefiting
parents with children under six or disabled children under 18 – has taken a
positive first step by showing that flexible working is compatible with and
beneficial to business efficiency.

But employers who fail to extend flexible working options to all their
employees risk alienating those who feel they have an equally valid case for
working in this way. In fact, the legislation drives this inequity.

Flexible working policies should be ‘reason neutral’, with all employees
having equal access to them. This is not about giving employees the right to
flexible working, but giving them the right to request flexible working via an
adult conversation about meeting both their needs and the needs of the

In today’s business environment, organisations need to engage all their
employees, to attract talent and influence the bottom line through a
productive, efficient and high-achieving workforce.

Employees increasingly need a certain amount of flexibility to cope with the
pressures associated with the 21st century world of work, as do businesses.
Those organisations that recognise this need are the ones that will maintain
their competitive advantage.

Penny de Valk
Managing director, Ceridian HR Consultancy

Qualified doesn’t always mean ‘better’

I write with reference to a recent letter, ‘CIPD qualification is simply a
must have’, from HR manager Adrian Fisher (Letters, 23 March).

I completely disagree with his comments. I began working in HR 10 years ago
as an HR administrator and I have progressed to HR manager with a reputable
engineering consultancy in the North East.

My progression through HR was selectively chosen by identifying companies
and roles within HR that would give me valuable experience to get me to the
level that I am today.

My progression has not been because I have spent four years learning about
theories that were made up years ago and which bear no resemblance to
operational reality. Instead my progression has been through pure hard work,
understanding business needs at operational and strategic level, and, most of
all, using common sense and initiative.

I do not have a degree nor do I hold a qualification from the Chartered
Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Fisher’s comment "how can a person claim to be a credible
professional" without a CIPD qualification, is very narrow-minded. I am
sure that there are a lot of other HR professionals who do not have the CIPD
qualification who are just as credible and viewed as professional within the HR

Just because you have the qualification does not necessarily mean that you
are a good HR manager or professional. Experience has shown me that it takes a
lot more than CIPD after your name to show that you are a true professional in
the field of HR.

It would be interesting to see a survey of how many HR professionals are not
CIPD qualified.

Details supplied

Langford needs to explain comments

Following John Langford’s recent comments about age discrimination on these
pages, could he enlighten us to what Virgin Atlantic regards as supportable
reasons for an unprofessional, and soon to be illegal, policy?

Ryan Thomas
Recruitment manager, Details supplied

HR influence is key to implementing CSR

It is essential that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is led by HR, or
at the very least that HR has a major influence on the CSR agenda (News, 30

CSR is very much about the relationship of the organisation with its
stakeholders and the community(ies) in which it is based.

Its approaches to diversity, reward and the way it treats its people all
demonstrate internally whether it behaves responsibly, while its relationship
with the community (such as its attitude to environmental issues, sustainable
development, engagement with the community through volunteering) influences the
public perception, as well as the attitude of potential employees

Ian Wilder DGCP
HR strategy, Ministry of Defence

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