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Who to turn to for a new point of view

You know some external support would really help your business reach the next level. That’s pretty common - most entrepreneurs go through this phase. But what you’re less sure about is which path to follow. There’s a wealth of choice, and your networking meetings are packed full of people telling you they’re the best fit for your company.
 

The ins and outs of career breaks

The emergence in the 1960s of the GAP year as a rather wacky, pioneering approach to learning more about oneself as a young adult has now become the norm rather than the exception. These days it’s clear that many adults are also reflecting on what they really want from life and work on a deeper level than ever before, with generational differences and expectations about the nature of a lifetime career also exerting an influence.
 

Ethics and the HR department – a happy marriage?

When embedding ethical values into organisational culture, the roles of a company’s Ethics and HR functions frequently overlap, and can create challenges and tensions – so it’s important that they work together effectively.
 

Tax-free childcare: a better option for employers?

To most observers, the 2014 Budget announcement contained only one employee benefit topic of note – the freedom of access to pension savings. Yet the retirement-savings announcements actually prevented another major initiative, tax-free childcare (which had been trailed only the previous day) from getting much attention. Which is a shame given that the government response to the Delivering Tax-Free Childcare consultation remains a really important topic for organisations of all sizes, and is due to take effect in a little more than a year from now.
 

Do the benefits of BYOD technology outweigh the risks for businesses?

The significant rise of smartphone sales has led to a similar increase in employers allowing staff to choose their own smartphones for work and home use and this has opened up a new area of risk. Some employers may not be aware that formal policies and guidance on mobile phone usage are necessary, and that these may need to be reviewed in the light of such schemes. 
 

Whistleblowing – keep calm and carry on

Whistleblowing is always a hot and emotive topic. It’s also an important one for any organisation (whatever you think of it) and requires treating carefully. And it’s becoming more and more of a valuable tool in corporate governance and ethics. So what practical steps can an organisation take to reduce the heat? 
 

Social media in HR – it should be about so much more than recruitment

In a recent blog (‘HR analytics – past, present and future’) I talked about how, with three-quarters of companies either using or planning to use social media sites for recruiting, sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are becoming increasingly important in job searching. Building on this, social media is now creating an even wider and louder debate for HR and a wide audience are considering how social media creates a platform for greater organisational success. 
 

What great storytelling can teach us about engagement

When Zhi Jin, CEO of the Chinese brewery, Tsing-Tao, revealed his strategy for the newly-privatised company, he told a story based on the recipe and method for making dumplings and pancakes: classic, local food that was served at lunchtime from the fast-food stalls located outside the company and enjoyed by hundreds of employees.
 

A three-step plan for implementing gamification

Gamification is looking like it could be a great way for organisations to engage with workers, particularly the ‘Facebook generation’, to boost productivity and customer service. However, with analysts predicting that 80% of gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives by 2014, the thought of understanding the concept of gamification, let alone implementing it, might sound like an uphill battle. 
 

The madness of forced ranking

They had come together to break a record - and they almost achieved it. The John O’Groats to Land’s End non-stop tandem challenge was something they were doing in their own time – voluntarily, they had sacrificed holiday, incurred some costs, and along the way suffered sleep deprivation. Every single person involved had given it their all and their discretionary effort was simply huge. Imagine then turning round to this highly motivated group of people and telling them they were about to be ranked in terms of their contribution, and that some would be ranked as better than others, and ultimately someone would be defined as the worst performer. 
 

Talent management – are you asking the right questions?

‘Talent management’ has been a hot topic for over a decade, with many HR leaders and business executives rating it as their top people issue. Over the years it has been widely debated by HR practitioners and academics alike. Yet rather than achieving a common understanding we have gained layers of complexity, leaving many organisations struggling with where to begin their journey.
 

HR analytics – past, present and future

Twelve months ago there were a great deal of topics and predictions made for HR in 2013. Many predicted that recruiting tools including social media, assessment and Big Data particularly with mobile applications would develop considerably throughout the year. Big Data was a major topic throughout 2013, as it continued to represent both an opportunity and a challenge to HR. Combining structured and unstructured data offered HR ‘big analytics’ and ‘big insights’. The Big Data debate took centre stage and it shows no signs of slowing down throughout the year ahead. 
 

Is web addiction making your hardest-working staff ill?

We, that is myself and Dr Cristina Quiñones-García at Open University, define CIU as a person’s over reliance on the Internet as a means to balance both their work and personal life. As researchers we’ve been challenged with identifying a list of early-warning indicators which show who is most vulnerable to developing this very real 21st century condition.
 

Can you identify a bully before you recruit one?

As a former branch manager for a recruitment agency I had mixed feelings about using the online social networks of candidates to find out more about their true personalities, but the temptation was just too great. I often found myself surfing the web looking for signs within candidates’ online social profiles that would somehow confirm their appropriateness for my client’s role, or was I trying to find some negative content that would put me off presenting the candidate to my client? 
 

Maximising the value of talent

Retaining and developing an organisation’s workforce is critical for sustained success; even more relevant now as the market picks up and employees feel more confident about taking the next steps to further their careers. One of the main challenges associated with doing this effectively is having a clear definition of talent and understanding what needs to be done with different pockets of employees to truly maximise their value.
 

Goodwill hunting - 10 tips for a more engaged workforce

An engaged workforce is important insofar as it leads to business improvement. Assuming the purpose is clear, it’s my belief that low engagement scores arise from the actions of well meaning but misguided managers. What managers do in the interests of engagement does in fact get in the way of allowing people to be engaged. That doesn’t mean managers shouldn’t do anything. To the contrary, set out below are 10 things that should guide your thinking as to the right course of action to engage people more.
 

EQ - defining a new blueprint for leadership?

According to quarter-on-quarter figures for growth from the Office of National Statistics, we are finally pulling out of the recession. As we emerge into a new economic phase, we face a dramatically different business climate from the one that triggered the downturn. Most businesses have changed considerably since the crash of 2008: profits, budgets, people, processes and assets have all been affected, often leaving a business feeling and looking different (hopefully better) than before. 
 

The business case for gamification – increased productivity

Gamification sounds like the latest fad, maybe even a lot of hype with not much substance behind it. However, with the so called ‘Facebook generation’ joining the workforce, gamified processes could be an important element of reward and recognition initiatives in the office. 
 

Five common meeting mistakes

The list of mistakes made when organising and running team meetings or events is long. I should know; I’ve made most of them over the years. The five I’ve selected here are those that, as a facilitator, I most often have to manage. Avoid them and I guarantee you a better outcome. 
 

Big data – operational quick fix or strategic value?

Big data is all the rage. Indeed, according to research firm Gartner, 2013 is the year of big data. Suddenly managing vast quantities of unstructured data is box office. But just how can a business turn big data into usable insight that can support both operational and strategic requirements?
 
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