Sustaining employee engagement through gamification

Video games have changed the way we play; they’re now set to change working life as well. If you don’t already know what a strong hold games have on contemporary culture, it’s time to find out. Here’s one measure: video games are now bigger than Hollywood.

Disciplinary investigations: avoiding practical pitfalls

An inadequate or unfairly conducted investigation can taint the whole disciplinary process and render a dismissal unfair. It could even encourage an employment tribunal to draw an inference of discrimination in some circumstances.

Engaging older workers

The Pensions Bill has passed its way through Parliament, resulting in the State Pension age now moving closer to beyond 65 years of age. But, despite a greater likelihood of a more experienced workforce, research has shown that older workers are often not being used to their full potential when it comes to passing on knowledge, experience and training to their younger colleagues.

Keeping salary sacrifice arrangements effective

The tax and NIC savings of salary sacrifice have grown in popularity over the last few years. The January 2012 decision of the First Tier Tribunal in Reed Employment plc v HMRC has highlighted the need for salary sacrifice arrangements to be effective in the eyes of HMRC if they are to deliver the intended tax and National Insurance (NIC) savings.

Fair and seen to be fair

When business representative organisations, such as IoD and CBI, claim there is too much bureaucracy the most often quoted example is employment legislation; their frustration, at needing to treat people fairly and take care when seeking to make them unemployed, is evident.

Maternity coaching and employee retention

Today, more than ever, companies are looking at new ways of improving employee retention levels. One area where companies lose female staff is when they take maternity leave. So how do companies ensure they support and retain women through this career crunch point?

IM’s time to shine?

For too long Instant Messaging (IM) has been relegated to the ‘lunchtime chatter’ league by industry leaders who felt it was too informal and too unproductive to be of any use in the office. For years this streamlined form of communication has been undervalued and in hindsight completely misunderstood.

‘Previous experience’ is a poor indicator of graduate quality

The implications of recent trends are clear: Britain’s rapid university expansion is producing a deluge of graduate applicants and forcing employers to expend valuable time and resources sifting ever-increasing piles of applications. This is harming business confidence in the graduate market, because many recruiters no longer see degrees as a reliable measure of candidate aptitude.

‘Hintrapreneurs’ should be seeking support not permission

Organisations, and specifically HR, need to ensure that they are always encouraging everybody to make the best possible contribution – but how can this be achieved? It can be difficult to know where to start sometimes. I’d recommend the very first steps – recognising when employees are showing the signs of innovation, or ‘intrapreneurship’. But how can HR practitioners encourage it, capitalise on it and even adopt it themselves? Where we find intrapreneurs we find innovation, engagement, high performance and most interestingly of all the catalyst is choice. It’s the choice to be engaged, to perform well and use discretionary effort and the choice to be brave, different and to stand out.

IT holds the key to human capital management

In an increasingly service-orientated economy, more and more organisations have large numbers of employees working in front-line roles on a 24/7 basis. For those organisations, the workforce accounts for a large proportion of costs. The way it is managed and deployed is a critical success factor and fundamental to profitability and growth.

ROI of interim assignments

In the first article in this Interim Management series I looked at when and why to engage an interim manager. The second article looked at how to find the right interim manager. The third article focussed on why interviewing an interim manager is different. I now look at how interim performance can be measured.

Women in management still fighting for equality

Having collated studies in over 20 countries in our new book Women in Management Worldwide (with Ronald Burke), our results are quite startling. Despite women making up half the workforce in most developed countries, occupational segregation still exists. Childcare is still an important concern for women in nearly every country and women had increased their participation rates in university education over the past decade, equalling or exceeding that of men (in all but one country women now outnumber men taking business degrees). However, women managers still have less job tenure, earn less money and remain at lower organisational levels.

Don’t miss out on disabled talent

Disability is non-discriminatory. Four fifths (78%) of all disabled people acquire their disability post the age of 16. Today almost one in five people of working-age are disabled and the numbers increase daily as demographic change reflects an ever older working population. And yet, only 48% of disabled people are employed, as opposed to 78% of non-disabled people.

A ratio in search of a rationale

A proposal made by Vincent Cable at the Liberal Democratic Party conference contained a suggestion to require firms to report the ratio between CEO compensation and the compensation of the median firm employee. At first glance, this seems like a worthy idea - the gap between the compensation of CEOs and workers has grown considerably since the 1970s. However, first impressions can be deceiving, and very hard to translate into tight, reasoned arguments based on the governance objectives, even the governance objectives of Mr Cable.

Why interviewing an interim needs to be different

In the first article in this Interim Management series I looked at when and why to engage an interim manager. The second article looked at how to find the right interim manager. I now want to turn to actually interviewing for an interim manager. Probably the best place to start is to emphasise the difference between interviewing for a permanent role and an interim assignment.

Salary sacrifice schemes and VAT

Salary sacrifice schemes are a popular way to provide tax-exempt benefits to employees. The idea behind a salary sacrifice scheme is that the employee gives up some of his or her salary in exchange for a non-cash benefit. Where the benefit taken in exchange is exempt from tax and NI, the employee saves the tax and NI on the salary given up. The employer also saves employer’s NI. Consequently, salary sacrifice schemes can be something of a win-win situation.

How to spot the psychopaths in corporate life

I’ve been working in the area of leadership development for over 25 years and have had the privilege of working with leaders from some of the world’s leading organisations. It’s fascinating to observe different styles of leadership and to see how the most effective leaders inspire and engage others. Babiak and Hare claim that psychopaths are actually attracted to business life because they are adept at looking like they’re good leaders – even when their true actions and results may tell a very different story.


Inspiring positive change - the role of HR in today’s green workplace

When it comes to environmental or sustainable policy, it seems that businesses are making the same initial mistakes that they did when the internet first became available. At that time everyone rushed to create a website and packed it full of information, but failed to develop a strategy or to appreciate that the web could fundamentally change the way they worked. Within just 10 years the internet became an integral and essential element in even the smallest business. Today we take it for granted and wonder how we ever managed without it. Are businesses now doing the same when it comes to the environment? Do they simply get someone to put together a document filled full of information, make a brief announcement and leave it on a server somewhere? ‘Job done’, boxes ticked. In many cases it appears so.

Effective strategic workforce planning – more than just a pipe dream?

Organisations of all sizes have been banging on for more than three decades about how people are their ‘greatest asset’. So why has so little been achieved in the creation of truly talent-centric workplaces? There’s certainly plenty of will in the HR community to bring them about by aligning the people agenda with the hard edge of commercial business strategy under the umbrella of strategic planning. But apart from a few honourable exceptions, such as Telefónica O2 and ArcelorMittal, successful case studies are decidedly few and far between.

The benefits of peer-to-peer reward and recognition

Whilst managerial recognition and financial rewards are powerful motivations for staff, nothing can beat the satisfaction of being recognised by ones peers for hard work or achieving results. My experience of working with businesses to deliver motivation programmes has shown that recognition has more resonance when it comes from colleagues, and is therefore more motivating - and so helps to deliver results for businesses.

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