Letters: business knowledge; training;unused talent

Business knowledge does not come overnight

Your news story about junior HR staff leaving over lack of opportunities (Personnel Today, 21 March) and the Rant that one of your readers contributed (Personnel Today, 18 April) does not take into account the fact that HR assistants may have only been in the HR department for a short time.

If they come into the function thinking they are on the fast track to being a manager and it does not happen, perhaps they should move on.
An HR manager needs to be aware of and understand all business issues, and that cannot be learned in two or three years.

Hazel Domakin
HR manager, Minky Homecare

Companies need to take responsibility for training
I read your article ‘British Airways information chief calls for IT training to be integral part of all university courses’ (PersonnelToday.com, 28 March) with interest.

Unfortunately, technology is a moving target. When you think you know all there is to know, some bright spark creates its nemesis. Now that’s not to say that universities shouldn’t play a role in keeping future generations aware and indeed involved in technology. But I wonder if they will succeed.

Undergraduate numbers are falling, we have an ageing population and, to cap it all, as a nation we can’t spell or do maths. With this in mind, I applaud Paul Coby for allowing eight days of training for his staff. This is far longer than in most large companies. It would be vulgar to ask the budget set aside per person, but I am willing to bet that it might just buy a good lunch for the teams of 15 that will benefit from this.

Universities are not there to give business-critical training; they help individuals to think, to process and to adequately socialise. In my opinion, companies have the major responsibility for developing and training employees. Sadly, this responsibility is often too much to bear, and as such we have a nation of employees who desperately want training, but have to go and find it for themselves.

Michael Graham
Managing director, Pitman Training

Unused talent exposes lie that people are top asset

Investing in the workforce is the key to progress, and I’m glad that attention has finally been brought to this easily dismissed area (‘Employers spout empty rhetoric about investing in their workers’, Personnel Today, 11 April). But the actual situation is worse than it appears.

According to our recent research, more than half the employees in large organisations do not feel that they are the most important asset, despite companies constantly telling them they are.

Improving skills is, as you say, important in expanding a business and dealing with the problem of scarce talent. But what you fail to make clear is the amount of unused talent within the workforce. If used appropriately, the problems of poor productivity that plague the UK could be solved.

Organisations must dispel the idea of a ‘lip gloss and white teeth’ HR department, and realise that the function is integral to business strategy.

Ashley Wheaton
Director and chief executive, InfoBasis

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