Letters of the week: loyalty works as a two-way thing

So staff loyalty is "practically zero", according to Malpas (24 October). People of my generation (left school in late 1970s) have been through two recessions, been told that we cannot expect "jobs for life" and must "get on our bikes" to find work.

Employers demand a "flexible" workforce that is multi-skilled, experienced and prepared to do what it takes to make the company successful. Training is patchy, and the first thing to go in troubled times. Flat structures mean opportunities for promotion are limited, and progression means taking on more work, rather than improving the quality of the work. The comment that employees "want it all" could equally be levelled at employers.

When companies shed staff it is "business conditions", but when employees leave they "lack loyalty". Loyalty is a two way thing, and employee loyalty reflects the level of loyalty they perceive they will receive from the company should business conditions change.

Once business in general starts to look longer term at issues such as staff retention, career development and managing through difficult times, maybe staff "loyalty" will reflect a more positive approach from employers.


Jim Johnston Staff training and development manager Wimpey


Breaks should be an option for all


I am in favour of fair treatment for all which is why I am disappointed in the letters in the 24 October edition. Wherever I have worked there has been an option for staff to take a 10 minute break from their desks in the morning and in the afternoon. Those who smoke, smoke. Non-smokers need not preclude themselves from taking a break simply because they lack the imagination to think of something else to do.


Rebecca Blease PA to the directors of business systems and support services United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting


Smokers pay tax for non-smokers


It astounds me that someone so full of the rectitude of their own views is able to hold a "principal personnel officer" position (Letters, 3 October).

There is no question that the points he raises in support of a complete workplace ban, and against restriction policies, are valid. My perception however, is that Bob feels that as his position is arrived at via a rational and logical flow of thought, it must therefore be correct, unarguable and impervious to any rejoinder. Unfortunately, issues involving people and their feelings can rarely be satisfactorily resolved by resorting to logic alone. Bob’s autocratic position is one that fits uncomfortably within the workplace environment that HR professionals are supposedly striving to develop.

To ban smoking at work can have an effect on the lives of users outside working hours, a point at which Bob’s authority is somewhat diminished. His position is also at odds with the fact that we do live in a democracy of sorts, in which the views of all are to be considered. In an authoritarian world, I can well do without the treachery of those who consider individual rights and personal freedoms to have a lower priority than other issues. Once we start chipping away at any personal freedom, we’re on the increasingly steeper downward slope to a situation in which people in general become servants of the state and business, instead of, the reverse.

To smoke is illogical, but approximately one-third of the working population does it. Some of us (yes, I am one) enjoy the habit. Also, the use of tobacco, moreover, is a lucrative source of revenue for HM Government. The logical position for any government, armed with the knowledge we have, would be to outlaw tobacco use. It won’t, due to the cost to the treasury. If it did, the £28 per week that each smoker contributes to the treasury would have to be shared out.

So, Bob, at least, try to find ways we can work together or stop being hypocritical, campaign for the total outlawing of tobacco, and be prepared for the financial consequences.


Kevin Twining Eastern Territory Management Trainer Royal Mail

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