Supermarket seasonal work could be a gift: this week’s guru column

Anyone fancy a spot of moonlighting before Christmas to break up the gruelling HR work schedule?

Supermarket giant Asda is looking to take on 5,000 “Christmas colleagues” as a result of its already massive sales of seasonal products.

Asda has already sold enough Christmas merchandise to create an average of 20 new places at each of its 240 stores across the country. It has sold 24 per cent more boxed biscuits, 15 per cent more seasonal sweets, 40 per cent more nuts and snacks, 84 per cent more mince pies and 40 per cent more Christmas cards and gift wrap than last year.

Those of you who are sick of recruitment and retention headaches can opt to change career, because the greeters, porters and checkout operators could possibly be taken on full-time.

Does this mean they’ll give us a shot at playing the part of Santa? Surely that’s much more rewarding than doling out disciplinaries.


NHS HR has that feelgood feeling


• As Guru prepares for another winter of waiting lists, flu and elderly people shivering in their homes, he is relieved to know that NHS HR professionals are in good shape.

At last month’s AHHRM conference, leading psychologist Professor Anthony Clare surveyed delegates and found that most were stressed but happy with their jobs.

Guru hopes the good vibes will spread to the rest of the organisation – he doubts if the nation’s nursing population would be as optimistic.


Pouring oil on troubled waters


• Thank goodness the fuel crisis is over and the Government can get back to its warm and cosy relationship with the oil industry.

Last week, the Government entrusted the future of the nation’s skills to a top executive of BP Amoco. A big Guru welcome for Bryan Sanderson, the first ever chairman of the Learning and Skills Council, successor body to the Training and Enterprise Councils and the Further Education Funding Council.

At the end of September, Sanderson stepped down from the oil company’s board where he has been group managing director of BP Amoco and chief executive of BP Amoco chemicals.

He bid goodbye to a salary package that comprised £459,000 basic, £470,000 bonus, $80,000 in other benefits plus extensive share options, and he said hello to £40,000 from the Department for Education and Employment for two days a week spending £6bn of public money on post-16 learning.

Sanderson is no stranger to government circles. He already sits on the Government’s company law review panel, run by the Department of Trade and Industry – the playpen of Lord Simon, the ex-trade minister, BP Amoco’s former chief executive.


It’s a case of art imitating real life


• Cultural change is one of the most difficult processes to manage and frequently ends in failure.

All power, then, to Islington Council for its highly novel approach to trying to get staff to buy into local government modernisation.

Rather than wasting money on management consultants, the HR department has commissioned Vital Stages Theatre Company to put on a play. All staff have been provided with free tickets to A Change of Mind, written by Michael Woodwood showing for one night only on 16 October at Sadlers Wells.

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