Solving The Minority Problem

One of the potential leaders of the opposition in the UK has discussed the possibility of introducing women-only carriages on trains. Though only mentioned as one of the many possible options considered, he has irked women’s groups, members of his own party, and trade unionists. They have criticised the ideas as being “an admission of defeat” and a “step backward” for women’s rights. The reporting of this case is similar to the minefield HR professionals face when trying to support disadvantaged group. How do you create empowerment and strength rather than paint the disadvantaged group as ‘passive recipients’? Here are four useful tips to ensure you get it right: from consulting widely to ensuring flexibility and continuous improvement.

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Why your small business is failing

Most government policy involving SME growth has focussed on methods to remove barriers to entry and to encourage expansion. What is often ignored is that SME growth is also hugely dependent on the individuals leading the enterprises. Little attention is given to changing the leaders’ characteristics as a means of encouraging SME success. A recent study by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), titled “Sociology of Business”, has sought to address this oversight. The paper looks at the mindset and dispositions of business owners to help ascertain why those growth inclined businesses do so well as a result of their owners’ mindset. Below are the key characteristics of the growth inclined business owners which you too may adopt.

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The Fit Note: Failing Miserably

The Fit Note: Failing Miserably

The Fit Note was introduced on 6th April 2010 as a replacement to the Sick Note. It was hoped that by focussing on the ill person’s capabilities and readiness to work, sickness-related absences from work would fall. They were introduced as a response to Dame Carol Black’s 2008 report ‘Working for a Healthier Tomorrow’. It was intended to “expand [the] role of occupational health” (OH) making the service “available to all, whether they are entering work, seeking to stay in work, or trying to return to work”. The report adopted positive psychology to support the aim of a healthy workforce. However, this purpose was and remains misguided. Instead of improving workplace wellbeing it has brought forward a series of problems and allowed GPs to fall prey to manipulative patients.

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New Ideas: Teamless Executives

Paraphrasing the sentiment, it is said people don’t leave organisations – they leave bad bosses. And there are many bad bosses out there. We often think, especially when working under such incompetence “How did you get promoted?” Not all these promotions were gained fraudulently or through nepotism, some of these bosses were once good junior and team members.

There are several reasons why bad bosses exist (the ‘Peter Principle’ is my favourite), but one reason might be simply because our current means of rewarding good employees is to give them team responsibility – removing them from their specialist area. Taking them further away from why they wanted to work in that particular field. It is time we rectify this current failure by creating a new role in firms, especially those in fast-moving and innovative industries; introducing the: Teamless Executives (TE).

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Mental Health & FinTech

From 2011, mental health became the biggest single cause of staff absence in the UK, over-taking musculoskeletal injuries. However, according to Jabbar Sardar (HR Magazine), HR is still not doing enough to promote and develop a culture of honesty about this area. For FinTech firms, many of whom are still too small for a dedicated HR department, this might be something nurtured or dealt with by Operational teams. As the FinTech sector continues to expand, this will be its single largest cause of sickness absence. Though there has been focus on greater gender diversity, the sector must not forget that it needs to protect the mental health and well-being of its staff too.

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The Self-Affirmations Don’t Work!

A favourite of self-help gurus and new-ageism, positive self-affirmations have been gargled, spat out and regurgitated so frequently, that they have become a truism. You are told that you need to focus on what you want, say it out loud and make it manifest in your life. Though part of the spiritualism, self-affirmation is also linked to liberalism and to an extent neo-liberalism – putting the self and the creation a life’s narration in the hands of the individual. It is a powerful concept believing that you can ultimately change your life, that your words can be brought into being, but it… is… not… true. You cannot develop your life through self-affirmation, in fact, they can prove very dangerous.

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TU Reforms: Racial& Gendered Attack!

When you are not part of a Trade Union (TU) it is difficult to understand what purpose they still have. In London, the only real senses of TUs are with the endless number of strikes held by Underground staff: ‘greedy’ workers simply wanting more and unashamedly inconveniencing ‘hardworking’ small businesses. However, TUs are a collective force for good, further balancing out the employer-employee relationship. Far from the ‘male and pale’ image we might have of TU membership, the majority of TU members – since 2002 – have been female, not male (27.7 to 22.3 per cent of the total working population).

Moreover, the largest racially identified group are ‘Black or Black British’ with 29.5 per cent. Most members come from the public as opposed to the private sector – 54.3 to 14.2 per cent of the total working populations in either sector. Lest we forget, nearly double the number of women find employment via the public sector than men (22 to 12 per cent). By conclusion, all actions by this current government to limit the powers of TUs have disproportionally weakened the employee bargaining positions of black, public sector employed women. Or broadly still, women in general.

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