There is a whole world of HR information buried on the internet, but how
much of it is really worth searching for? Scott Beagrie unearths the more
You only have to go back a short way
to see how far the profession has advanced in terms of getting to grips with
In January 2000, Personnel Today ran a special issue devoted to
breaking into e-commerce as part of the rush to catch the wave that was the
dotcom boom; online recruitment was in its infancy, the award-winning
Personneltoday.com had yet to be launched, and the e-biz page (now e-HR) was
merely a glint in the editor’s eye. Three years on, the profession is entirely
e-enabled and the internet has become a key resource. With this in mind, we
have steered clear of some of the more conventional sites for review.
While the list we bring you is by no means definitive, nor are
all the sites reviewed to be found at the remotest corners of the web, we are
sure they will prove interesting, informative and useful.
Tiger (Tailored Interactive Guidance on Employment Rights)
This user-friendly Department of Trade and Industry site is designed to
offer essential information on UK employment law to both employers and
employees. Topics covered range from adoption and paternity rights through to
flexible working and the National Minimum Wage.
Really useful for: A decision tree that helps employers
decide whether the National Minimum Wage applies to their employees, along with
ready-reckoners to calculate the true rate.
Great Place to Work Institute UK
Great Place to Work is behind the annual50 Best Places to Work survey
published by the Financial Times. While you could argue that there are too many
surveys conducted around this theme, the institute’s pedigree is impressive: it
manages the survey of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in the US. Crucially, employee opinion is a
key determinant in selecting companies for the list. As well as the best
workplaces lists for several countries, it includes sections on business
benefits and case studies of the cultural practices of best workplaces.
Really useful for: An extensive database of best people
practices, as well as the ‘Great Place to Work’ model.
Where you can plug into the vision, mission and inspiration behind
Genderquake, the consultancy launched by Helen Wilkinson (ex-Demos, author of
The Dot Bombshell and the force behind the Elancentric e-lancer’s website), who
has been tracking gender and workplace trends for 10 years. It aims to help
organisations develop strategic investment plans that involve and leverage the
talent and knowledge base of women entrepreneurs in new economy sectors, where
women remain under-represented. Articles featured include a contribution from
Patricia Hewitt: ‘Gender and the knowledge economy: work, family and
Really useful for: Cutting-edge features on the
feminisation of the new economy.
European Study Group
If European legislation is getting you down, it may be worth joining the
European Study Group, a not-for-profit association set up by eight HR directors
in 1990. As well as keeping up to date with legislation and access to expert
advice, members can use the groupto put forward their views to the UK
Governmentand the European Commission. It also provides useful links to the
relevant sections on the European Commission website.
Really useful for: Source of support, benchmarking and
This lively site discusses all the main issues surrounding flexible working,
especially how information and comm-unications technologies are impacting on
the concept. It has been put together by HOP Associates, a Cambridge-based
company that works with organisations to intro-duce new ways of working, and
content is based on know-ledge gained through its work. Lots of free
information under the ‘Cases’ and ‘Issues’ menus, plus a techie glossary.
Really useful for: Helping to plan a flexible strategy.
A global ranking of business thinkers shaping workplace practices. Find out
who’s in, what they’re saying and how it might influence the world of work. Currently
holding firm at number one is Peter Drucker, with Michael Porter and Tom
Peters, second and third respectively. The creator of Thinkers50 is Suntop
Media, founded by business writers Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, who are
promising an articles section will be on the site soon.
Really useful for: Keeping up with the gurus; predicting
who’ll next turn up on the Harrogate conference circuit.
HR networks and communities
European Human Resource Forum
No medium can network on your behalf like the internet, and the EHRF’s site
attempts to exploit this. Set up in 1992 by the HR directors of 12
multinationals, it aims to highlight trends and developments in HR. Members can
use the ‘Network Requests’ menu to forward a request for information, or
contacts to everyone in the network – 800 individuals in more than 150
companies. You can view the latest 10 requests, along with the archive.
Really useful for: Informal benchmarking with HR thought
leaders in some of the best companies in Europe.
HR Directors Club
Launched by Personnel Today, the club, of which the website forms the
cornerstone, is a forum that provides networking opportunities and quality
information to senior HR executives. Membership is free, although restricted to
HR directors or the equivalent, in organisations with more than 1,000 employees.
Really useful for: Senior HR leaders to communicate with
Whether you’re a stressed HR professional or dealing with workplace stress
within your organisation, this is definitely worth a bookmark. Lots of
substantial articles on issues such as presenteeism and the cost of stress at
work, along with plenty of curative ideas, including the theory that torrid
sexual fantasies are a good stress reliever, as are dogs in the office
(apparently called the Pooch at Work or PAW theory). You can sit a stress test
on the site. It only takes five minutes out of your busy day and you can see
how you fare.
Really useful for: Appreciating that there are people
more stressed than you out there (see Forums).
Online presence of the world’s biggest membership club for international HR
professionals (4,000 members in 35 countries). The company runs conferences and
sells online data and software solutions connected with international
assignments. You can view its offerings here – everything from annual leave
policy surveys to tax calculation reports. There is a mass of invaluable data,
especially if expatriation and global HR issues weigh heavily. The MemberNet
section gives extra info, demos and support.
Really useful for: Searching for world news by country
and by keyword.
The Knowledge Management Resource Center
Useful jumping off point to a host of information on knowledge management
from a specialist US consulting firm, the IKM Corporation. The Explorer section
gives you 17 ‘departments’, including periodicals, university sites, case
studies, a bookstore, search engines and portals, where you’ll find a selection
of reviewed sites and resources, along with links. As is the nature of the web,
we found the odd link that didn’t work, but it’s a valiant effort.
Really useful for: Everything you ever wanted to know
about knowledge management.
The UK Work Organisation Network (UKWON)
Great free source of downloadable research reports, journals, working
papers, and case studies on modern workplace and organisational thinking. The
network is made up of institutions, practitioners and individuals involved in
researching and developing new ways of organising work so that it can meet
tomorrow’s challenges. Apply for access to the Learning Network section to
share experiences with peers.
Really useful for: Plugging into a wealth of modern
Our interactive website has just been named Interactive Business and
Professional Magazine of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association
Awards 2004. Praised by the judges for its interactivity and ease of use, the
site provides a vast range of resources for HR professionals. This includes
daily news, employment law information, and information about a range of HR
issues. Added to this is a searchable archive of articles from Personnel Today,
Training Magazine, Employers’ Law and Occupational Health going back to January
2000. You can also test your knowledge on a variety of subjects, ranging from
‘how strategic are you?’ to ‘Could you hack it as a home worker?’
Really useful for: Keeping up-to-date with HR news. Sign
up to its e-mail bulletin, personneltoday.com direct
Extremely well-designed HR website dedicated to improving working lives in
the UK public sector. It contains news, research and analysis, as well as
detailed case studies under category headings such as organisational
development, occupational health and HR management systems. We particularly
like the pull-down menu bars that give a page of snapshot headings on the
chosen subject, which can then be clicked for the full article.
Really useful for: An extensive index to solutions
providers listed under categories.
This is a possible contender for the ultimate business library with 2,500
five-page abstracts of books. Users buy a Knowledge Pass (£89 for six months or
£168 for 12 months) and can then download as many abstracts as required.
Business books are broken up into categories. The HR section contains 165
abstracts and leadership and management has 293. Abstracts can be downloaded in
three formats: PDF, a Palm Abstract or in MS Reader.
Really useful for: The very latest in HR thinking.
The Telework Association (TCA)
Online home of TCA, which tells us that the number of people teleworking reportedly
grew by 12 per cent last year and has doubled to 2.1 million since measurement
began in 1997. A handy place to start if you are preparing to manage
teleworkers, or indeed, considering teleworking yourself. Read about the code
of practice established last year and other relevant articles. Also order the
Teleworking Handbook, which looks good value at £16, or sign up for corporate
Really useful for: Making you realise that sooner or
later you will be in the position of managing teleworkers.
Nottingham Business School
Remarkable effort from Nottingham Business School to deliver what must be
one of the most comprehensive HR-related site lists on the web. From business
ethics to software providers and business psychology to job sites, it’s all
here, even if some of the links don’t always work (these are in the minority
though). The site gives you the option to print the entire list, but heed its
warning that it’ll take some time. We recommend adding it to favourites as an
Really useful for: Everything, really.
This is a great site for in-depth research of high-tech companies, their
products and leadership across 17 industry sectors. Nearly 52,000 companies are
profiled with key executives listed by job function, including HR, and
knowledge (well, it is technical). Although companies are predominantly
US-based, nearly 2,000 organisations listed are not. The site is
subscription-based, but options other than an annual fee include unlimited
access on a monthly basis as well as a pay-per-view on an as-needed basis.
Really useful for: Gathering competitive intelligence.
It’s a sad reflection of the times we live in that sites like this have
increasing relevance. This US portal focuses exclusively on business continuity
and disaster recovery. Too many of the sections (including ‘Surveys’ and ‘Focus
Groups’) say ‘coming soon’. But you can click to ‘Thought Leadership’ and then
to ‘Industry Articles’ for features on subjects such as data centre security,
network intelligence and terrorist risk and complacency. There arealso forums
with some useful ongoing discussion threads.
Really useful for: Getting an insight into the main issues and
finding out how others are dealing with them.
Training & Development
Online resource built around 25 ‘Knowledge Units’, covering the most important
issues in management development and training including mentoring, emotional
intelligence and talent management. Margaret Ford, who has 15 years’ experience
in international management consultancy, has put a huge effort into finding
fresh talent and thinking for the site. Units feature overviews and summaries
of leading thinking, models and strategies with examples of good practice, a
toolkit of case studies, diagnostics and handouts and weblinks. A licence to
train 10 people costs £7,500 (plus VAT).
Really useful for: Creating a structured
management-training programme from a single source.
Employers for Work-Life Balance
Cleanly designed site run by The Work Foundation that aims to help
organisations implement and sustain work-life balance strategies. Plenty of
excellent freely downloadable information, such as surveys, and you can also
buy reports and books. It tells you how you can build a business case for
work-life balance and features a handy problem solver and jargon buster.
Really useful for: Carrying out a quick work-life
balance audit using the benchmarking tool.
Essential HR websites
Employer’s Forum on Disability
Disability Rights Commission
Government Disability Information
Work Able UK
Employment Appeals Tribunal
Commission for Racial Equality
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Equal Opportunities Commission
Home Office Racial Equality Unit
Race for Opportunity
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Education end Skills
Work and Parents Taskforce
HR associations & organisations
International Association for Human Resource Information
Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
Human Resource Planning Society
Society for Human Resource Management
XPert HR Online