Thursday, January 27, 2005

UK - Skills shortages and pay

Skills Shortages Push Up Wages
Pay increased generally in 2004 but the survey indicates a growing gap
between bottom and top end rates.

Canada (Ontario) - Province Wide Smoking Ban

On December 15, 2004, the Ontario government tabled Bill 164, An Act to rename and amend the Tobacco Control Act, 1994, which will repeal the Smoking in the Workplace Act and make complementary amendments to other Acts. This new legislation introduces a province wide smoking ban in all enclosed public places including workplaces in Ontario. This Bill will reduce an individual’s exposure to the harm caused by second hand smoke (which is sometimes called environmental tobacco smoke or ETS) and will eliminate the need for municipal non-smoking by-laws. The proposed legislation, if enacted, will come into force by May 31, 2006.

Full details at
Province Wide Smoking Ban for 2005

What test should I use today? Pros and cons for recruiting managers

Managers involved in recruiting have more possibilities for assessment available now than ever before. These include psychometrics, assessment centres and competency based interviews. Many have their own favourite procedures, whilst being strongly disinclined to use others. With information from publishers, consultants and one's own HR department the choice can be bewildering and may not always be made systematically, with all matters considered. This article discusses some of the issues involved in making such choices.

Full article by Robert Edenborough of KPMG at What test should I use today? Pros and cons for recruiting managers

Australia - Howard Government Skills Crisis Continues

An Australian Labor Party statement criticises the Howard Government's handling of the skills crisis.

More at Howard Government Skills Crisis Continues

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

UK - Employment Law Updates

Latest employment law e-news from steeles

* Burden of Proof in Discrimination Cases
* Increase in Compensation Limits
* Landmark Case for Discrimination on Religious Grounds
* E-Disclosure.So What Do We Do Now?

Full details at January 25 2005 E-News

Monday, January 24, 2005

USA - Best Companies for Executive Development

General Electric has been ranked as the best company for developing executive talent in a survey by Executive Development Associates.

Full article at: Best Companies for Executive Development

HR Metrics

Using HR metrics

A report by The Conference Board suggests that while few (12%) surveyed organizations make significant use of HR measures to meet strategic targets, 84% of 104 HR executives interviewed in the survey say that they will increase their use of people metrics over the next three years.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The value of lectures

The lecture is probably the most common and yet the most heavily criticised of all learning methods (Bligh, 1998). Learners often favour this method because it is almost entirely passive and demands little from them except the appearance of being awake. Trainers (and budget holders) appreciate that information can be thrown at large numbers of people comparatively cheaply. It is also a wonderful opportunity for those with a streak of extraversion to take the stage and expound on their favourite ideas without the intellectual challenge of debate. But is it an effective method of learning? The didactic nature of the lecture has attracted criticism. For example, in a university context, Barnett (2000: 159) describes the lecture as a:

'... refuge for the faint-hearted ... it keeps channels of communication closed, freezes hierarchy between lecturer and students and removes any responsibility on the student to respond ... the students remain as voyeurs; the lecture remains a comfort zone ... the student watches a performance and is not obliged to engage with it'

Nevertheless, the lecture can be a useful medium through which to convey broad ideas about a particular subject. But the lack of interaction means that misunderstanding may result and clarity on certain issues may not be sought. Success is dependent on a number of factors such as:

Full article at: The Value of Lectures

Saturday, January 22, 2005

One Adult in Eleven is an Entrepreneur

73 million people across the globe are either nascent entrepreneurs, or own or manage a young business, according to the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Directed by London Business School and Babson College and released today, the report is the largest annual measure of entrepreneurial activity worldwide, spanning 34 countries and a total labour force of 784 million people.

More at: One Adult in Eleven is an Entrepreneur

Friday, January 21, 2005

The miracle of learning

Learning is the foundation of human success, as a species and as individuals. We learn from our mothers and our mistakes and our ability to learn allows us to deal with both the familiar and the unexpected. We learn from the moment we are born and continue learning until our very last lesson - death. Without learning we would not be human beings. When we cease to learn, we are humans no more.

More at: The miracle of learning

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Canada - Savings are possible without job losses, says CUPE leader

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan told the standing committee on finance and economic affairs today that it is time for the McGuinty government to take a fresh approach to meeting its budget challenges by looking at options that do not require cutting services, selling assets or privatizing.

More at:
Savings are possible without job losses, says CUPE leader

Canada - Regulations Changes

With the implementation of federal and provincial privacy legislation such as the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), regulatory clarification is required to ensure the ongoing functions of two verification programs administered by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) within the Employment Insurance (EI) program: the Automated Earnings Reporting System (AERS) and the Report on Hirings (ROH) Program.

Details at:
Regulations Changes for Verification Programs Administered by the Employment Insurance (EI) Program

UK - Recruitment difficulties to continue

The CIPD's quarterly survey of HR trends and indicators shows that employers believe that recruitment difficulties will continue into the first quarter of 2005, but pay restraint will also continue.

Article at: Recruitment difficulties to continue

USA - Smoking by Nurses Creates Workplace Issues

Nurses who smoke can create workplace problems that health care systems should address in order to promote better interactions between nurses and their patients and reduce dissension among staff, according to a novel study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center.

Read the article at: Smoking by Nurses Creates Workplace Issues

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Canada - Quebec Legislation Against Psychological Harassment

On June 1, 2004, Quebec became the first North American jurisdiction to include protection against psychological harassment of employees in its Act respecting Labour Standards.

Psychological harassment is defined as:

"Any vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures, that affect an employee's dignity or psychological integrity and that results in a harmful work environment for the employee. A single serious incidence of such behaviour that has a lasting harmful effect on an employee may also constitute psychological harassment."

More at:
Quebec Legislation Against Psychological Harassment has Nation-Wide Implications

UK - T&G claims first religious discrimination victory

A Leeds tribunal has ruled in favour of T&G member Mohammed Sajwal Khan, who was sacked after he took extended leave to make a once-in-a-lifetime religious pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca.

Mr. Khan had worked for NIC Hygiene as a bus cleaner for more than seven years when he decided to make the pilgrimage, and applied to use all his annual leave allowance. When he did not get a response his union, the T&G, advised him to submit a written request. As Mr. Khan still did not receive a response, his manager said he could assume the leave had been granted. However on his return to the UK from the six-week trip, Mr. Khan was suspended without pay and later sacked.

More at: T&G claims first religious discrimination victory

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

HRD in small and medium-sized enterprises

Westhead and Storey (1997) consider that training provision varies considerably in small businesses with size being a significant factor. The British small business sector has a long-standing reputation for poor training levels but Westhead and Storey found considerable variations between the smallest (micro-enterprises) and larger SMEs. Smaller firms conducted their training internally with a focus on informal skills learning. Larger SMEs tended to obtain more external, formal training with a goal of obtaining recognised qualifications.

More at: HRD in small and medium-sized enterprises

New Zealand - Employment Confidence

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index (a quarterly sample of 1500 representative New Zealand Households) indicates increased Employment Confidence.

With an index rating of over 100 indicating positive feelings, and an index rating of under 100 indicating a negative mood, the actual index for the 4th Quarter of 2004 increased from 130.6 (Q3) to 133.8. The Employment Confidence Index is based on the following questions:

1. Whether people feel that jobs are plentiful or hard to get right now.
2. What job opportunities will be like in a year's time
3. Whether they are earning more or less now compared to a year ago
4. What their earnings will be like in a year's time
5. How secure they feel in their present job

Questions 1 and 3 also provide data for the Current Employment Conditions Index and questions 2, 4 and 5 form the basis for an Employment Expectations Index. There was a sharp increase in the former as employees rated current employment conditions as favourable. 66% said jobs were plentiful in the December quarter compared with 59% in June, while people claiming jobs were hard to get fell to 13% (16% in June). Similarly, 40.2% said they earned more this year than last, compared with 35.5% in June.

However, the Employment Expectations Index is not quite so favourable as fewer (41%, compared to 44.8% in September) expect their incomes to improve in the coming year.

On HRM Guide at: New Zealand - Employment Confidence

Australia - Qantas overseas

Following a number of media articles about relocation of Qantas jobs overseas, the company confirmed that it was reviewing opportunities to source some jobs, products and services overseas. The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said that Qantas had made no secret of its need to compete effectively and that moving to more overseas-based services was always under consideration.

More at: Qantas overseas

Sunday, January 16, 2005

USA - Wal-Mart Hits Back

Wal-Mart has launched a nationwide campaign to 'set the record straight'.

Full article at Wal-Mart Hits Back

Ireland - New Employment Law Service

John Dunne, Chief Executive of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland (CCI) believes that the top management worry for Irish owner managers is keeping up with employment legislation and ensuring they are fully compliant.

Speaking at the launch of CCI’s new Chamber HR service, Dunne said:

"Feedback from our members strongly indicates that businesses, especially SMEs, struggle to understand and keep abreast of changes in employment legislation. Yet they are responsible for compliance and implementation. Poor HR practice is not a defence in court."

The Chamber HR service will offer, for the first time in Ireland:

- employers interpretation of the law
- expert advice on human resources management, and
- indemnification against the legal and award costs associated with pursuing a claim in the Labour Relations Commission or Employment Appeals Tribunal.

More at New Employment Law Service for Ireland

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Canada - New Apprenticeship Advisory Committee

Joe Volpe, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, has announced the establishment of a five-member apprenticeship advisory committee to consult with business, labour, and provincial and territorial governments.

More at: New Apprenticeship Advisory Committee

Work/life: Concern for Family Issues May Boost Performance

Employee support programs are vulnerable to elimination in times of economic downturn due to bottom-line-only decisions according to Susan Lambert, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

In a new book, Work and Life Integration: Organizational, Cultural and Individual Perspectives, co-edited by Susan Lambert and Ellen Ernst Kossek, Lambert argues that the business case for providing workers with supports for their personal lives is currently outdated and needs to be changed. "The field's quest to make a business case may have come at a cost," Lambert said. "Many early, formal employee supports largely operate as employer supports. They were designed to help workers keep their personal responsibilities from interfering with their job involvement and performance. The more time you spend with your children, the less time you're likely to have for your work."

More at: Concern for Family Issues May Boost Performance

Canada - BC employment projects funded

Federal Government press release: Canada Government of Canada announces funding for 138 employment projects in British Columbia

VANCOUVER, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced funding for 138 employment projects targeted to help unemployed Canadians across the province. The funding, totaling more than $64 million, is intended to help participants to make a successful transition to the workplace.

"It's not always easy for unemployed individuals to get back to work," said David L. Emerson. "The Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects that provide support and services to help Canadians respond to the challenges of today's labour market."

The Government of Canada is providing financial assistance for these projects through the following programs: Job Creation Partnerships, Self-Employment benefit, Community Coordinator-Self-Employment benefit, Community Coordinator-Skills Development, Community Coordinator-Targeted Wage Subsidy and Employment Assistance Services. These programs work towards enhancing Canadians' employability, social inclusion and skills and learning.

Today's announcement is linked to Canada's Workplace Skills Strategy, aimed at helping Canadians acquire the skills they need to find and keep meaningful and productive jobs. The Government of Canada recognizes that Canada's future competitiveness depends on a highly skilled work force and on high-performance workplaces that focus on skills development. It will work with business, unions, other levels of government, sector councils and workers to ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to develop their skills and succeed, and employers' needs are met.

Funding for these projects was provided for in the 2004 federal Budget.

Friday, January 14, 2005

USA - New Communications Training Book

ASTD announces a new book on communication. 'Clear, concise, and effective communication promotes openness, enables projects or processes to move forward, and enhances relationships. Thus, communication skills are key to professional and personal success. Communication Skills Training, a new publication by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and written by Maureen Orey and Jenni Prisk, offers resources and tools to design effective communication skills training.

'In chapter two, authors Orey and Prisk discuss understanding the impact of diversity on an organization, how communication can affect organizational dynamics, workplace relationships, and the importance of surveying participants and assessing needs before designing a communication skills workshop. Later in chapter 10, the authors offer twenty learning activities for use during communication skills training sessions.

“Through our work with leading organizations, we recognize that the key element frequently absent in leaders and managers is the ability to communicate effectively on all levels,” state authors Orey and Prisk. “This book offers the resources to improve this vital skill.”

'Communication Skills Training includes handouts, exercises, assessments, and tools to help readers:

* Train individuals, teams, or work groups to communicate more effectively

* Quickly develop presentation, listening, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills

* Become a more effective and efficient facilitator

* Ensure training is on target and gets results

'Like all books in the ASTD Trainer’s WorkShop Series, Communication Skills Training comes with a CD-ROM featuring ready-to-use presentations. These materials allow for quick application from the text to the job. Books in the ASTD Trainer’s WorkShop Series are designed to be practical, hands-on road maps to help readers quickly develop training in key business areas. '

If you are not an ASTD member this is obtainable from


UK - TUC attacks Tory Quango proposals

The TUC attacks proposals by the Tories to do away with 'inefficient Quangos'. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'Tory plans to cull the Union Learning Fund (ULF) would deny a generation of British workers access to education and a chance to improve their lives. In the last year alone the fund has trained over 60,000 British workers who had no or few qualifications. The majority of these people were let down at school thanks to the failed education policies of the last Tory administration.

'Union learning is going from strength to strength and improving the lives of the thousands of people who are on courses across the country. By improving their skills these workers are able to seek promotion and are prepared for the high-skill demands of the modern economy, especially in sectors such as manufacturing.'

Your Resume Should Have Character

Linda Matias' latest article on, Your Resume Should Have Character discusses: 'The notion that employers are only interested in where you have been and where you are heading is pure nonsense. Experienced hiring managers take into account both your experience and your character. After all, in the end, they are hiring a human being, not a robot. Still, many believe that personal attributes just take up space and make the resume "fluffy."

'After reading countless job descriptions that make it a point to mention personal characteristics and speaking directly with hiring managers on this specific topic, I've come to realize that it's not the inclusion of personal attributes that make resumes superficial. It's how the characteristics are presented that is the cause of concern. In this article, I will focus on the top three characteristics employers seek (good communication skills, honesty, and a strong work ethic) and discuss how you can seamlessly integrate them into your resume. Now let's get started. '

More at: Your Resume Should Have Character

Thursday, January 13, 2005

January updates

Welcome to the new HRM Guide blog. This is intended to provide a regular stream of updates on the various HRM Guide websites.

The last week's updates include:

* Latest employment situation information for the USA at Employment Situation, Canada at Unemployment rate falls from 7.3% to 7.0% in December and Australia at Australian Employment Figures.

* Latest UK employment law 'e-news' from steeles in London. steeles have been providing employment law updates to HRM Guide for several years.