This week, Personnel Today is on something of a health kick. While many practising fitness freaks will be hopping on to a treadmill right now, Guru is perfectly content just to get on the bandwagon.

Pekka picks pocket for productivity

This week, Personnel Today is on something of a health kick. While many practising fitness freaks will be hopping on to a treadmill right now, Guru is perfectly content just to get on the bandwagon.

A boss in Finland is offering £115 to every employee who can do more pull-ups than him. Pekka Niska, from Helsinki, is in charge of a crane company, and is clearly not concerned about the financial implications.

“I want fit employees. Even if it costs me hundreds of thousands of pounds, it will be worth it in the end because their output will increase four-fold,” he said.

Employees should be encouraged when they learn that lean Pekka is a commendable 66 years old.

Other fitness-related benefits he is offering include an hour on full pay beside their lunch hour to go jogging, and 70p for every kilometre they run outside of work.

If you want to recreate this exercise, Guru warns you to proceed with caution. He outlined a similar scheme at work and tried to get everyone involved by running from desk to desk encouraging staff to find their inner fitness freak.

Sadly, the call of “Get your Pekka out!” failed to arouse the enthusiasm he had hoped for.

Pitch darkness to make spines tingle

It’s that delightful event this week when all the dark and brooding creatures of the HR world collect in one place to determine the fate of millions of workers across the UK. No, not Halloween – it’s the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development conference.

Those of you working the stalls in Harrogate this week will be no stranger to the slavering sales folk trying to push their wares on to you.

You might find this a little overbearing but, as always, Guru is here to make you feel a little better. Here’s a brief selection of some of the sublime and ridiculous PR pitches that have sneaked their way to the Personnel Today journos. These arrive in their hundreds, by the way…

– I hope you can use this story: it’s definitely the kind of survey that backs up what we already knew rather than uncovering some earth-shattering revelation. Would you believe that people throw sickies on Mondays and Fridays? Chris

Guru says: Stop the presses!

-I know it’s a bit naff propositioning someone as a guru and I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but ***** is an absolute force to be reckoned with. She’s a small, flame-haired pocket rocket, who is a cross between Gordon Ramsay and Super Nanny. She’s made millions, set up new business contacts with some of the biggest global brands, and she is going to be big news. I feel very passionately about her and I think it would be great for you just to have a chat with her on the phone to make your own mind up. Alex

Guru says: There can’t really be two Anne Robinsons, can there, Alex?

– Many thanks for taking my call. I have everything crossed that you will be able to use this in Personnel Today. Helen

Guru says: Everything crossed? Send a photo and then we might have something.

-I know you say you try to avoid ‘gurus’, but this is a gutsy, plain-speaking one, who therefore has the potential to make good [news stories]. This is *****’s first trip to the UK for five years (he is Boston-based), but he remains one of the most outspoken and respected commentators in the world on the management of professional services firms. Marjorie

Guru says: Some people just won’t take no for an answer. Anyway, there’s only one real Guru, so stop worshipping false idols.

Ear to the Ground

The sometime section where Guru skirts around some case studies that could get him sued…

Which insurance brokerage firm has been watching a bit too much of excruciating TV pop-fest, The X Factor?

The Essex-based company in question sent out a company-wide e-mail that detailed the unfortunate news that 10 people were going to be fired.

The bosses, who obviously fancied themselves as latter-day Simon Cowells or Sharon Osbournes, then asked 30 staff to go to a separate room with the knowledge that once they got there, 10 of them would be for the chop.

Once they had been rounded up, the delightful bosses fired the 10 staff one by one. Jack Welch eat your heart out.

More details will be forthcoming on this skullduggery.


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