Hell has been relocated!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

No baby seals were hurt in the making of this post

***ring, ring, ring, ring***

HRD: Yo bitch!
CEO: I'm sorry?!?
HRD: (shit!).....ummmm.....witch.....NO!.....I meant, "Hi...How are you your holiness?"
CEO: Do you have a holiday booked HRD?
HRD:.......err yes.....next week
CEO: Thank God. You're sounding somewhat off centre. Anyway...
HRD: Off centre?
CEO: Shush. Just shush.......This flu thingy.
HRD: "Flu thingy"? Not sure what you're talking about...is there an issue....a problem?
CEO: HRD.....now, do we need to talk to Occupational Health?
HRD: About the flu?
CEO:........about YOU!
HRD: Ok, ok. Flu. Yes. What about it?
CEO: Has anyone got it?
HRD: Ummmm, yes. We have a few cases.
CEO: Who?
HRD: Why?
CEO: I just don't want them coming near.....I mean I don't want to touch....I mean OBVIOUSLY they need to be kept away...............from me
CEO: Well...you get the message? Comprende? Anyway what else do we have in place?
HRD: We are cleaning the meeting rooms on a more regular basis, we have signage and advice for all staff and we have alcohol hand gel in all toilet and kitchen areas.
CEO: Do we?
HRD: Yes
CEO: There is none in my bathroom
HRD.....oh dear.....
HRD: .............yes?


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The one to make you feel all warm inside

Two posts today on two differing topics……

In the UK, it has rained throughout July, the Met Office have revised their forecast for August from “hot and sunny” to “variable”. Swine flu is on the increase, the recession is still biting hard, Whitney Houston has a new album coming out and the Government is hanging by a thread. But…..BUT there are reasons to be cheerful! Ohh yes there are.....

A copy of the book “You are really rich, you just don’t know it” fell into my sweaty palms this week. And my initial reaction was similar to being told that your best friend is actually a closet Celine Dion fan. But I had a train journey and I had managed to leave my iPod somewhere (please email if you find it, its recognisable by the blend of quality music from throughout the 90’s!).

The book is the result of research into a replacement to the traditional financial value system. In a nutshell they asked 1000 people to rate 50 life events and 5 items of monetary value on a happiness scale. They then did some mathematical jiggery pokery and came up with a cash value for the life events. And the results really cheered me up.

Topping the charts was “having good health” which is worth £180,589 closely followed by my favourite “being told ‘I love you’” which weighed in at £164,921. And of course laughing (£108,021) is worth more than sex (£105,210). But imagine if you could combine the two……

Take a look at www.reallyrichlist.com. Since reading it I have felt a warm glow….and no I haven’t spilt my coffee on my lap again…..

The one to make you angry

The second of two

This is a disgrace.

Today the Danish company Vestas is going to the courts to remove workers from its Isle of Wight factory who have occupied it in protest at the decision to close the factory.

The company make wind turbines. Yes wind turbines, the things that are supposed to help us prevent the earth from heating up to the point that we will all need to grow fins and gills. It is the only factory in the UK that makes wind turbines. We will then be importing from abroad……again.

The Isle of Wight is a small community. It doesn’t have a huge amount of employment that is not seasonal. Unemployment is above the national average and there are around 60 jobseekers for each job centre vacancy.

Plus if renewable energy is the future then what the hell are we doing reducing the capacity to produce turbines in the UK? Its madness, pure madness.

Congratulations to the protestors their friends, families and supporters.

Contempt to the managers who delivered notices of dismissal along with pizza.

But still the warm glow remains.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Entitlement culture

You are entitled to,

1) An hourly rate of £5.73 (for +22 year olds) or £4.77 (for 18 to 21 year olds)
2) 28 days holiday inclusive of public holidays
3) A years worth of maternity leave 39 weeks of it paid at £123.06 per week
4) Two weeks worth of paternity leave paid at £123.06 per week
5) Be a member of a Trade Union
6) Statutory redundancy pay of up to £350 per week
7) A safe working environment

You are not entitled to,

1) A subsidised canteen and restaurant
2) Choose you’re the hours and days that you attend work
3) A Christmas party
4) Healthcare
5) A car
6) Choose your manager or your colleagues
7) A say in everything that might ever impact you in anyway whatsoever

You are certainly not entitled to,

1) My understanding
2) My being nice to you
3) My time patience and consideration
4) The shirt off my back
5) Touch any part of my body unless proffered
6) My weekends
7) My freedom

Friday, 24 July 2009

A weighty issue

Having posted a bit of a diatribe (make that two diatribes – is that a gaggle?) at http://www.punkrockhr.com/ about obesity, I checked with my conscience.

She told me I didn’t understand all the issues. So I tried to explain.

She told me to blog about it. And as I always listen to my conscience………

My beef is this: obesity is a societal issue.

The way we structure and organise our society has led to the issues with increasing obesity. The way that people explain this away is dangerous. Sure it might make you feel better as an individual to say that you have a “genetic predisposition”. But the statistical probability of that is slim (no pun intended).

The chances are that it is a lifestyle problem. Most obesity is caused by taking more in than you expend. That is the long hard truth of the matter.

And worse. By taking the “genetic predisposition” line we also risk giving the green light to children that there is an answer and that it’s ok to be overweight. We are not focussing on the real problems, the real issues.

Fast and unhealthy food is too cheap.
We have lost our cooking skills and the ability to make nutritious affordable meals.
Organised exercise is inaccessible or prohibitively expensive.
Nutritional information is poor and inconsistent.

These are societal issues. And this is where I come in as an HR professional. My organisation is part of society. We are a living and working organism. And we have employees. People who come to work every day for us. People who make us who we are. People who we care about.

I believe we have a role in providing information and opportunities for our people. We provide free healthcare for all. Information on and ways in which people can assess their health and wellbeing confidentially. Biannual confidential medicals. Subsidised Gym membership. Plus a canteen that provides subsidised nutritious and balanced meals.

None of these are forced on people. We don’t make people stay and eat - they can go across the road and buy what the hell they want. We don’t make them join the gym or go to the Doctors. We create an environment which is conducive to healthy living and where it is ok to tackle issues of wellbeing.

Being obese has long term health complications. Sure you may argue that an obese person is as “healthy” as a slim person. But then there are examples of professional sportspeople who smoke. But we wouldn’t argue that a smoker was “healthy”?

These long term health issues will result in medical and societal problems in time and in turn, unless we act, these will impact on my organisation.

This is not Big Brother. This is a ticking time bomb.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


This morning I stopped to get a bottle of Lucozade at the shop next to the office (think Gatorade for Brits). Coffee wasn't going to do it on its own today. Cofffee was out of its league.

It was 7.30am.

The guy behind me was buying a can of Guinness.

For a moment, I thought maybe he had it right and I had it wrong.

Just for a moment.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A class act

We have a class issue here in the UK.

We have serious issues with class and with movement. People will tell me that it doesn’t matter what family you were born into, that you can progress and change.

That is just not true.

I’ll repeat it for the hard of reading. We have a class issue.

Let me put it another way,

75% of Judges have been privately educated
70% of Barristers have been privately educated
70% of Finance Directors of major companies have been privately educated

That’s against a UK average of less than 10%

We have a class issue.

People will point at the odd one who made it (Richard Branson is normally the quoted example or Sir Alan Sugar….Baron Sugar?).

One swallow does not make a summer.

This is not about the rich versus the poor, or the “haves” versus the “have nots”. This is about the ruling elite, a clique, an exclusive club, versus the rest of us.

This is about recruiting and promoting people who are like you and only people who are like you. Sometimes its out of ignorance, sometimes its out of fear of difference, often it’s out of a sense of duty to friends and family. Trust me, I see it every day.

There is a glimmer of hope. Alan Milburn has today published his report on “Fair Access to the Professions”. I’ve read it (oh yes I have) and it makes a world of sense.

Its not law, it’s just a report. But the more of us who jump up and down, who make a noise about this. The more of us who tackle this issue head on in our own places of work. The more there is a likelihood that something is going to change.

We have a class issue in the UK. There I said it. And the sky didn’t fall in.

I just hope I don’t get a speeding ticket, because the chances of getting off now are slim……….

Monday, 20 July 2009

Litigation, litigation, litigation

Last week was “one of those weeks”. In fact its feeling like it has been “one of those years”. In the words of Lizzie, its shaping up to have been my “annus horribilis” in many ways.

My organisation has always had somewhat of a soft underbelly when it comes to claims relating from employment. Actually that’s wrong. Soft underbelly suggests some sort of resistance. We’re talking pushing on a non-existing door in a blank cheque kind of a way.

A collective “make it go away” mentality.

I do not share this view.

In any shape or form or substance.

I believe that legislation is there to protect people. Not for the use of lawyers to try and make a buck or two through launching nebulous claims that they know a company will look at and think “stuff it, its going to cost us xxxx to defend, let’s just give it to them and make it go away”.

If I have done wrong, if we have done wrong…then we should hold our hands up and admit it, be adult, compensate and learn. That’s how adults behave.

But if we haven’t done wrong? If we have behaved with the best interests of our customers our colleagues and our community at heart? Why should we compensate?

The problem is that behaviour breeds behaviour. And because we have always gone down the road of least resistance, the folklore says “make a claim and the company giveth away”.

So I have piles of litigation mounting up. Including a Sexual Discrimination claim made against your truly.

But my shoulders are broad and we won’t be easy pickings. Not on my watch.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Its the delivery stupid......

How often is poor communication the cause for confusion, anger, upset?

How often do we send a text message, speak on the phone, type an email (or all three for the superbly talented) whilst we are doing something else?

How much importance do we really place on ensuring we are communicating effectively?

These are the questions I’m mulling over having miscommunicated badly. Really badly.

As in nearly end of the world, meteor storm showering the earth badly.

As in poke every square inch of my body with a red hot needle badly.

As in…..well you get the picture….

I knew the message I wanted to communicate, I knew the message I wanted to get across. But I was really busy and I got it wrong.

Under challenge I was defensive. I mean if you look at the words that were communicated then sure they could have been taken the wrong way. But that wasn’t my sentiment that wasn’t what I was trying to get across. That wasn’t the message I wanted to convey, I mean can’t they understand that?

The cold light of day shows me that it was my error. It didn’t matter that I was busy. It didn’t matter that I had a million other things vying for my attention. I was more concerned with task than with the message.

How many times does that happen each day?

4/10 HRD. Must try harder.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Teachers and learnings

The UK media is awash with this news story.

Interestingly, normally a case of an adult assaulting a minor would result in headlines about demonic behaviour and much hand wringing. Not so on this occasion, there seems to be a degree of sympathy and understanding.

Now I’m not normally in favour of teachers hitting kids (if indeed that is what happened) BUT this highlights a number of areas that really need to be addressed.

- Teachers no longer have the power to deal with unruly pupils. This is to the detriment of the education system as a whole. In each class there will be kids that want to learn. I’m not talking about the bright ones, they will succeed anyway. I’m talking about the middle tiers, the ones that might make it or might not the ones that could be making a really productive contribution to society in years to come.

- The behaviour of some children is becoming beyond a joke. When a child thinks they can stand up in a classroom and swear at a teacher, or swear at an adult in the street, things have gone too far. This is unacceptable behaviour. Where are the repercussions, where are the punishments, where are the rules?

- Where are the parents in this? It used to be that adults believed other adults over the children. If a teacher said that little Joey had been badly behaved at school, little Joey was in deep doggy doo-doo with the parents. These days, too often the response is, “Not my little Joey, he’s not a naughty boy. He’s just lively”

- The pressure on teachers dealing with these sorts of situations day in and day out is incredibly stressful. Think about being abused, insulted, disobeyed, and contradicted and in some cases physically threatened day in and day out. The end of term is 6 school days away and it seems for this chap it became too much.

Our economies, our prosperity, our futures are being determined here. This is the generation that will be running the world when we are in our twilight years. And I tell you what, I for one am terrified by that thought.

So beating up a pupil can never be right, but if it makes a few kids think, a few parents consider and brings this subject into mainstream debate, then there is something to positive to come out of this sad, sad affair.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The urn, the pig and the predictions

Forget Michael Jackson, that was yesterday’s news (or in fact ceased to be newsworthy post 1979 and Off the Wall).

Today sees the start of the Ashes….now that’s a real event.

Yep we’re talking cricket. For those of you from less cultured countries, this is a game played over 5 days involving 11 people on each team, throwing and hitting a ball, whilst dressed in white. Sure it’s a little unusual, but it is also the greatest sport on earth.

I’m not going to try and explain the lure of cricket, you’re either born with it or you’re not (although think “5 days sitting in the sun with friends drinking” and you get somewhere close).

But the Ashes, well that’s extra special because it’s against the Aussies. And we know that the non-indigenous Australians are descendents of ex-criminals transported there by the English. And that makes it extra spicy. They don’t like us, we don’t like them.

Don’t believe me? Imagine a solid wooden ball covered in leather coming at chest height at around 150kph…duck? hit? ambulance?

But why all this talk of cricket? What on earth does that have to do with the world of HR…..?

Because I have two predictions.

Anyone that tried to access the BBC website last Friday afternoon whilst Andy Murray was playing will have experienced significant difficulties. Everyone was sat at work watching the furry little Scotsman on his inevitable charge towards second class sporting prowess. Sky Sports will be streaming the five five-day tests live. Expect IT systems in businesses around the UK to crash and burn on those days and productivity to fall.

We also have a creeping increase in the cases of Swine Flu going on here too. Advice is that if you are experiencing flu like symptoms to stay at home until you feel better. Reported cases peaked over the last few weeks (the hottest of the year….coincidence or not?) If the Ashes series is tight and goes into a clinching test don’t be surprised if it coincides with a new high in the number of reported cases of swine flu.

You have been warned....

Monday, 6 July 2009

R U 4 Real?

Now I've heard everything.

160 characters to apply for a job by text....for guess what? A marketing role. (I refer you to my previous comments.....)

But in the sake of experimentation and participation I proffer the following,

"Grumpy HRD. House trained. Fully flexible. Neither long in the tooth nor green. Laughs in the face of misfortune. Comes with own teeth and hair. Discount on bulk orders"

And did UC there was no text speak involved? Although I can't help feeling it sounds more like a dodgy lonely hearts entry.....

Do I get the gig? Can you better it?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Welcome to the asylum

Today I’m striking out. I’m fed up. I’m fed up hearing how pathetic and pointless HR is.

Sure there are a lot of crap people in the profession. There are a lot of weak pointless individuals who are in HR because they “like people”. Really? Well go audition for Miss. World then and you can travel the world and meet lots of people….and if you are really good you might get to help the children too.

What’s that? You can’t? I forgot…..too ugly. Ugly, stupid and ineffective. That sums up about 90% of the profession.

But let’s be honest, look around you, the rest of them ain’t that good either…..

Finance – You count. That’s what you do. You count. It’s taught in school. My children can do it. Its not that fucking impressive is it? And particularly as you have computers the size of Peru to help you do it these days. You are as strategic as a lump of four week old cheddar found down the back of the fridge. And you count. Congratulations.

Marketing – Yep you know these guys. They were the ones at University always off their tits on something. Why do so many students want to work in Marketing? Because it’s easy. And because it’s about pretty pictures. Deep down you all want to be the writer or creator of the next big thing don’t you? But you’re not…..because you didn’t make it. You are as creative as a door knob. So go market. Promote stuff you didn’t make to people you don’t know. Sounds enriching.

Sales – Where to start, where to start…... Imagine a litter of Labrador puppies on amphetamines. Excitable, directionless, cute but ultimately ineffective. 99% of the time the person has already made a decision whether to buy or not. That makes about three days a year in which you actually achieve something. The rest of the time? You are as beneficial as fluff in the wind. Do you want a doggie treat?

Just a personal opinion, I mean….don’t take it seriously…..I’m only HR.