Ones to watch for 2004

Although
they didn’t quite make it this year, the following five power players –
spanning the business and policy-making function – show that people policies
can and do make a difference

1.
Chey Garland, Chief executive, Garland Call Centres
New entry
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Entrepreneur
Chey (that’s pronounced ‘Shy’, and don’t you forget it!) Garland earns her
place in this year’s Top 40 because as the owner and chief of Garland Call
Centres, she has driven some pretty progressive employment initiatives. You
could argue it’s easy to score Brownie points in what many sniffily refer to as
the sweatshop sector. Nevertheless, you have got to hand out plaudits where
they are due.

Garland’s
business now turns over £12m- plus a year, with 1,300 full and part-timers
fielding two million calls a month. It mushroomed out of an attic-bound credit
control businesses with 20 people in 1997. Earlier this year, Garland nailed
her third site in Middlesborough.

She
believes in nurturing her staff so they are offered mentoring, motivation and
social skills programmes, aromatherapy and beauty sessions, and their very own
in-house Radio Ga Ga. The staff development programme, ‘Touch’, gives the
workforce the chance to work in the community. Meanwhile, absenteeism has been
cut by Garland’s provision of counselling on domestic violence, marriage
difficulties, and drug and alcohol abuse.

2.
Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education & Skills

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Education
is in crisis and a chronic skills shortage has existed for at least two decades
but Clarke, ex-president of the National Union of Students, can at least take
some comfort that there is plenty of room for improvement in his job.

The
Government has consistently thrown considerable investment and weight behind
initiatives to solve the skills shortage, via the work of groups such as the
Learning & Skills Councils and the Learning and Skills Development Agency,
but Clarke needs to keep this momentum up over a long period if he is to treat
root causes of the problem.

He
places a big emphasis on the importance of IT skills and earlier this year
presented Sector Skills Licences to e-Skills UK, the employers’ body for IT and
telelcoms and the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance.
He’s gone one better than his predecessor Estelle Morris in charting in the Top
40 at all, but needs to build his profile with a profession that is core to his
activities.

3.
Professor Anne Sigismund Huff, Director, Economic and Social Research Council

New entry
Mentions in www.personneltoday.com: 5

If
it wasn’t for Michael Porter’s groundbreaking study into UK productivity, the
vast majority of UK businesses would be unaware of Anne Huff. But she enters
the list for two reasons: the Advanced Institute for Management (AIM) research
initiative she heads up is the first of its kind, and in recognition of her
central role in boosting the future competitiveness of the UK.

Based
at London Business School, Huff is charged with dissecting Porter’s study and
identifying which of his findings shall be summarised into practical guidance
for employers. “We need to answer the question of how you can be a continually
innovative company that also meets the other pressures of competition,” she says.

4.
Sly Bailey, Chief executive, Trinity Mirror Group

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Sly
Bailey’s meteoric rise from shop assistant to CEO of the Trinity Mirror Group
was recognised in April, when she was voted Motivator of the Year, ahead of
Rebekah Wade, Ellen McArthur and Digby Jones.

The
south Londoner left her Catholic grammar school in Tower Hamlets with little
idea what to do. She subsequently worked as a shop assistant for a few years
before securing a job selling advertising for The Guardian. She never looked
back and after being promoted to management, she joined The Independent just
after its launch.

IPC
took her on in 1989 and by 1994, aged only 31, she was appointed to the board
of the publishing company as it youngest ever member.

Her
journey to the top was completed after she was named as Trinity Mirror’s chief
executive in December 2002. Her confidence and influence was illustrated when
she recently announced that she is to become directly involved in the editorial
direction of the Daily Mirror and the group’s other national newspaper.

5.
Greg Dyke, Director general, BBC

New entry
Mentions in www.personneltoday.com: 3

When
most companies invest heavily in training, improving the working environment
and nurturing creativity, they are hailed as great employers; when the BBC does
the same, every tabloid is on the corporation’s back, implying it’s a waste of
licence payers’ fees.

When
he took over the role from John Birt, Greg Dyke made a point of moving away
from the previous DG’s perceived reliance on management consultants and
over-management within the corporation.

He
claims his Making it Happen initiative has cut BBC overheads from 24 per cent
of income to 14 per cent, and to enable the BBC to achieve more with less, he
has embarked on a flurry of development and flexible working initiatives,
including a leadership programme at Ashridge, a career development programme,
childcare vouchers and the option to buy and sell holidays.

In
an organisation perceived as public property, he is on a hiding to nothing as
far as press coverage goes, but any top boss who is committed enough to
diversity that he is prepared to brand his own organisation as "hideously
white" is OK in our books.

What
do you think?  Have we got it
wrong?  Give us your views and you could
win a Fortnum & Mason hamper

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