Tag Archives: David Cameron

Employers Charter – A step in the right direction.

Yesterday saw David Cameron announce The Employers Charter, measures announced to give businesses added confidence to grow and create jobs.

Something had to be done to stem the flood of applications to Employment Tribunals witnessed in 2010, which increased 56% on 2009 to 236,000.  The average cost to employers to defend themselves was £4000.

it is absolutely right that legislation exists to protect hardworking, dedicated employees from those less scrupulous employers.  However the balance had been lost, the power placed squarely in the hands of the employee.  Employers of all shapes and sizes had become nervous, fearful even, of dismissing an under – performing employee for fear of the repercussions.

That is not healthy.  It certainly does nothing to encourage employers to hire.  Quite the opposite.  It costs nothing for the under-performing employee to launch a claim.  That in itself encouraged a whole host of “chancers” to pursue a payout, having been advised by the no – win no fee brigade that they had nothing to lose to pursue a claim.  The wasted management time was enormous, the legislative cost vast, nobody wins.

The answer to this has been to introduce the prospect of a fee for employees to fight an unfair dismissal claim.  A great idea, certain to prevent any such chancers from trying their luck.  Those that know or can be advised that they have a genuine case for unfair dismissal will pursue such a claim and have every chance of winning, rightly so.  Employers are afforded a greater degree of protection and will as a consequence feel more confident about the prospect of hiring.

To add to that confidence is the proposal that companies would have greater freedom to dismiss under – performing workers, extending the current period from one to two years.  I am not convinced this measure is necessary.  If someone is not performing in your business, you know early enough.  If they have been performing and after a period of say 12 months that performance starts to tail off, it is managements responsibility to look at the reasons behind that decline and to performance manage that employee back to “health”.

After all, you have invested enough time, money and resource getting them through the door, getting them trained and in to the DNA of your business that it is absolutely right to support them.  Still the principle behind the move strikes me as a positive one, business friendly, jobs friendly.

If you are a committed, motivated, hardworking employee you have nothing to fear in the new legislation.  I for one applaud these steps.  We have allowed an entitlement culture to develop.  If something goes wrong, who can I blame?  How much can I get?

A nonsense.  If you are a responsible, hardworking, decent, honest person then you have nothing to fear in this change.  If you are the kind of person who thinks life owes them a living, then I am afraid you are wrong and you will get what’s coming to you.

I am all for the Employers Charter.  The reaction from business and employers groups would appear to be broadly supportive.  A step in the right direction.  Next step, tackle the cost of employing someone and reduce the cost of Employers NIC’s.  Now there’s a thought!

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Is the grass greener?

There are times when I am convinced that I was born in the wrong country.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a fiercely proud Englishman.  It’s just that I love the sunshine.  From November to February I seem to live my life in the dark, up in the dark, travel to work in the dark, come home in the dark.  I don’t feel as if I see daylight for four months.  It is a form of hibernation.

It would appear I am not alone.  A survey by job site http://www.escapethecity.org found in the region of 70% of executives surveyed are considering a move abroad to live and work.  Among the more popular destinations were Asia, Australia and Africa.  France and Spain still feature among the top five destinations, but migrating south to our warmer Eurozone partners has become increasingly expensive as the pound has continued to decline against the Euro.

The results of this survey are not just simply about the weather.  Dig deeper and you’ll find this is more about the pursuit of happiness than it is about chasing sunshine.  Of those surveyed, just 10% felt that their current job was their vocation.   70% admitted to being bored at work.

This is about chasing a dream.  People want something different, they want to feel as if they are contributing to something more than just a bottom line but find it hard to break from the routine, lifestyle, comfort and often necessity of income.

The results of this survey are not about where you live but the sense of belonging, purpose and connection with what you do.  You can get such connection anywhere in the world.  In a global war for talent, employers are going to have to come up with increasingly innovative ways of connecting with their employees or risk increasing staff turnover and decreasing productivity.

David Cameron is proposing a national measure of happiness alongside traditional GDP as a way of evidencing the progress we are making as a country.  I shall be interested to see the results.  With only 10% of us enjoying a vocation and 70% of us bored, there is much to be done to lift the sense of satisfaction that people have in the workplace.  This is both the responsibility of not just employers, but the individual to understand more about their motivations and the state to create the conditions that encourages people to pursue their dreams.  I accept this is something of an ideology but people are peering over the fence and asking if the grass may just be greener on the other side.

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Good old fashioned hands on experience just can’t be beat

People are disillusioned with politicians.   They screwed up.  Expenses, Banks, outrageous public spending, public spending cuts, austerity measures, scandals, sleaze, spin, the list goes on.  We screwed up. We voted for them.

Politics has become a career choice (albeit a less lucrative one since the expenses scandal).  It never used to be.  There was once a time when you had your career, whether in business or public service,  then you went in to politics.  As a consequence politicians knew how to deal with people, how to get things done (rather than just simply hold an enquiry to appease or form yet another committee).  They certainly were not immune from the corruption caused by the lust for power ( that has always been there and always will be) but at least they had experience of the real world that they could take in to politics to make things happen, to effect change, to do something.

Nick Clegg is a prime example.  A career bureaucrat, civil servant and politician.  Other than a brief stint as an Office Junior between studies and a couple of writing posts he has made a career out of politics.  He took his first job with the European Commission five years out of his studies.

I have no issue with Nick Clegg (yet).  He has done nothing wrong.  It is the system that is wrong and it is a system that we have allowed to evolve.  You can do a political sciences degree, get a job as a researcher and before you know it you are a front bench MP.  If all your experience is based on theory, how you respond in practice will be sorely tested,  yet you have no margin for error and the rest of us suffer as a consequence.

In some jobs you just can’t beat good old-fashioned, real life, hands on experience.  Politics is a prime example of where such experience ought to be a pre – requisite.

Politicians are running the country.  They are making decisions that affect us all.  Experience is essential.  It is not a training ground and nor should it be.  Our politicians should have to evidence hands on, practical business or public service experience (not as a bureaucrat or civil servant but as someone who got stuff done, a nurse, doctor, policeman, soldier,  teacher, someone who made things happen, who made a difference.  Knowing how to get things done is enormously powerful.  Make sure your MP has the experience that in your view qualifies him or her to get the job done.  Only then can we start to restore faith in our political system.

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Thank you, David Cameron, what about the rest of the world?

No sooner had I published my previous post extolling the virtues of government truly engaging with business, than David Cameron unveils his panel of leading industry bosses he says will help to the shape the UK Governments economic policy.

He would appear on the face of it to have picked a group of real winners.  Amongst them Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Group, Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO of Sony, Paul Walsh, Boss of Diageo, Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP, Justin King of Sainsburys, Sam Laidlaw of Centrica, BT Chairman Sir Michael Rake and Dick Olver of BAE Systems.  These guys know a thing or two about job creation.

Cameron is quoted as saying “the group offers a real interchange with us about the priorities for growth, the priorities for the economy” .  A word of warning if I may Mr Cameron.  Your predecessor had a similar panel and didn’t listen to them.  Please make sure you do and act.  Your actions could have hugely positive impact on the 5 million unemployed in the UK.

Now for the remaining 207 million…….

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