Tag Archives: Work

Work / Life Balance; Fact or Fiction

So just what is this thing we call work life balance?  Does it even exist?  Is it something that deep down we all know that we should aspire to, or even better should actually achieve?  Are we scared to try?

In this last couple of years its gotten harder for sure.  The work place has gotten tougher, business has gotten tougher, just hanging in there has gotten tougher.  Technology has advanced to such an extent that the line between work and home has gotten ever more blurred.  Will we ever find the answer?

There is no such thing as perfect work life balance.  Don’t let anyone ever tell there is.  This is not something that can be answered in a text book.  Do your best to do what works for you.  Do your best to do that which leaves you fulfilled.

Regular Readers now my views on TED talks.  Simply awesome.  Here Nigel Marsh, Author of “Fat, Forty and Fired” gives his take on the ongoing battle for work / life balance.  Give this a look, it leaves you asking some challenging questions as to just how you spend your time and why.


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Filed under Corporate Governance

What place the Unions in 2011?

The Trade Union Movement was legalised in the UK in 1871.  From what I read, at the time working conditions, whilst rapidly improving, were still pretty dreadful.  Workers had little by way of rights and many Employer treated employees with a very straightforward management style.  You turn up, you get paid, you don’t turn up, you don’t get paid.  Should you continue not to turn up, don’t bother coming back.  Can you imagine that today?

No such thing as maternity leave, paternity leave, flexible working, contracts of employment, notice periods, sick pay, death in service benefit, pay reviews, annual pay increases, appraisals, redundancy payments, duvet days, chill out rooms, company gyms, health club membership, private health cover, flexible benefits, days off in lieu.  Need a trip to the Dentist?  Tough no pay.  Need to collect the kids?  Tough no pay?  Wife had a Baby?  Congratulations, now get back to work.

The Unions have done an incredible job since the Tolpuddle Martys to ensure that work, pay and conditions are something that we can be proud of in the developed world and rightly so.  Clearly some parts of this planet have a long way to go, but on the whole working conditions have improved immeasurably.

So what do we need Trade Unions for in 2011?  Are they an invaluable defender of workers rights, or simply an over – bloated, unnecessary relic of a bygone era?  Workers have never had it so good, have we?

Union Leaders are some of the best paid, do they deserve it for the greater contribution they make, for the goodwill of the working majority?  Are they simply self serving, rewarding themselves handsomely from members subscriptions whilst embarking on a shameless quest of self promotion?

So what’s your view?  What place the Unions in 2011?  Let me have your comments, I would love to listen.


Filed under Uncategorized

Where do you go to get things done?

What is this place we call work?  We get in the car, get on the bus, get on the train, join the commute and descend upon this great bricks and mortar building where we all are required to do great work.  This is 2011.  We are all connected.  Is this best use of our time, our skills, our talents?

Jason Fried is the Co – Founder and President of 37 Signals.  Here he asks a great question, very simply “Where do you go to get things done”?

So what’s the answer?  When you really need to get something done, where do you go?  Is the answer really work?  So why do we go to the same place every day?  Do we need to anymore?

Working practices are changing at the fastest rate in economic history.  Change is scary, change is exciting, change creates opportunity.  What do you think?  Do we really need to go to the same place each day to achieve great things or even just get things done?

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Filed under Careers, Employee Engagement, Hiring

Diversity delivers.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers is the worlds second largest professional services firm, employing 161,000 people in 757 cities across 154 countries.  Despite its global reach, only 14% of its Partners are women.

They want to change this to better represent the diverse nature of customers they represent and people they employ.  Chairman Ian Powell is reported as wanting to set an “aspirational goal” of 40% to 50% of partners “being women or from other under – represented groups, such as ethnic minorities.  Good for him.


What encourages me most about the way this is being reported is the fact that reference is made to this not being about “quotas”.  This isn’t about political correctness, this is about recognising that talent is not defined by gender or ethnicity.  Talent is always in demand and always in short supply, regardless of the economic cycle.  If you want the very best for your organisation, why restrict that which from you select to half the population?

I don’t want quotas, or for that matter positive discrimination.  I want to able to judge everyone purely on merit.  I want to hire the very best talent I can attract within the budget that is available to me.  That should be the case for all hiring, if you want your organisation to flourish.

All the research I’ve ever read on the subject of hiring evidences the more diverse your board, your leadership group, your managers, the better performing, more productive, profitable, sustainable, successful your business will be.  This is about applying best practice in your hiring.  I applaud PwC for taking these steps, I look forward to seeing them deliver.  Not only great news for their employers, but frankly their customers.

Lord Davies take note, quotas are not the way to encourage behaviour along these lines.   Education is the answer.  Keep getting the message across that you can greatly impact your bottom line by attracting a diverse range of talent to your business.  Give business the evidence, the case studies, the facts and keep giving it.  Diversity delivers.  It is a positive message we would all be well served to heed.


Filed under Hiring

Green Shoots for Graduates

A report out this morning from the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows significant improvement in the Graduate Jobs market.  The survey of 200 employers evidences an 8.9% increase in graduate jobs in 2010 for the first time since the recession.  That trend is expected to continue in 2011 with a predicted 3.8% increase on 2010.

It is still an employers market, as evidenced by the median average salary for Graduates remaining fixed at £25000 per annum for the second year in a row.  That is expected to remain at this level in 2011, an unprecedented third year in a row that this number has remained static.


Despite the fact that salaries remain static, there is still much by way of discrepancy between sectors.  The best starting salaries for Graduates remain Investment Banking, offering an average starting salary of £42,000.

If you want to get ahead once you graduate evidence is yet further increasing of the value of work placements.  Ernst and Young recently highlighted more than one-third of its latest graduate came from those who had undertaken internships with the firm.

“In this tough jobs market, getting access to these placements is absolutely invaluable for young people, because it is increasingly a foot in the door to a future career.” Microsoft.

As the war for the very best future talent hots up, there is increasing evidence that employers are looking to form links with the most talented stars of tomorrow whilst they are still at University.

All this is reported as if it might be a new phenomenon.  It isn’t.  Getting ahead has always been about putting yourself out, sticking your hand up, volunteering, pushing yourself forward and doing what you need to do to succeed.  Internships are not new.  Work experience is not an invention of the modern age.

Employers have always wanted people who are prepared to do above and beyond the norm, who are prepared to make personal sacrifices to evidence their commitment, motivation, talent and skills.  Anything that can give you an edge in a crowded market is clearly a positive.  Expect to see the trend for internships continue.  I for one applaud their return.


Filed under Careers, Recruitment

Diversity makes for great results

Planet Business is a very small place.  Success for so many is no longer just about your street, your town, your district, your region, even your country.

To be successful in 2010, you need an unswerving commitment to diversity in the workplace.  You need a clear, coherent, consistently applied strategy to ensure that your organisation attracts the very best talent available.

This is not about quotas or ticking boxes.  This is about the facts.  The more diverse the workforce, the more likely you are to be successful and the more sustainable that success will be.  Talent is not defined by borders, gender, race, sexuality, religion.  Talent comes in all shapes and sizes.  Your business success is entirely dependent on your ability to attract the very best from all four corners of the planet.

Here PwC talks about their commitment to diversity and the competitive advantage they have enjoyed as a result.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Filed under Recruitment, Talent

Staff Turnover costs the UK £42BN per year! What are you doing about it?

A new report is out this week from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  It is a frightening read.  In the last 12 months, despite one of the toughest economic climates on record and rapidly rising unemployment,

“an average of 10.4 % of UK staff resigned from their job in the last year”.

That is a staggering number.  Can you imagine losing 10% of your staff in one year of their own volition?  What would be the impact on your business?  Do you know?

The cost to UK Plc of staff turnover in the last 12 months has been a staggering £42 billion!

The cost to business of staff turnover is huge.  Yet this cost would appear to be largely ignored.  So many espouse the virtues of people as the organisations greatest asset.  Yet how many are truly focused on having a great hiring strategy?  What about engagement?  Retention?

To much of hiring is left to chance.  No other business process would be treated in the same way.  Why?

You would never take a chance on a business critical pitch.  You would give it your all to ensure you got your new customers signature on the contract.  Once you’ve got them, you’ll move mountains not to let them go.  Why not do the same with staff?  What’s the difference?  Do we work any harder to attract customers?  Attracting retaining and engaging talent is crucial.  The same survey highlights

24% of UK employees are looking or intend to look for a new job.

Look around at your workforce today.  One in every four is looking for a new job.  Can you afford to lose them?  What are you going to do about it?

Take your hiring seriously.  Invest in your people.  Do it from today.  Do it every day.


Filed under Employee Engagement, Hiring