Change management

first_imgChange managementOn 18 Apr 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Outsourcing is set to change the nature of the personnel profession, with ashift in focus from service provision to partnership nurturing. But what kindof skills will professionals need to succeed in this brave new world of HRShivers went through the HR world at the recent news that BP Amoco isoutsourcing virtually the whole of its personnel function, involving thetransfer of up to 350 staff. The £370m five-year deal – by far the biggest ofits kind – is a gamble both for the company and US provider Exult, which nowhas little more than a year to start showing results.That is a tall order for a new entrant to the market with no track record.But through an aggressive use of web technology, which long-established UKoutsourcing companies have been slower to take advantage of, BP Amoco isbetting it will succeed in yielding significant cost savings and serviceimprovements.In that case the scepticism employers have traditionally felt aboutoutsourcing could dissipate and other companies would be encouraged to followsuit. BP Amoco is only one of at least half a dozen major concerns said to haveplans in that direction, and a trend also shows signs of developing in thepublic sector, with Lincolnshire local authority following Westminster byoutsourcing its entire HR function last year.But if deals of this size become common, where does that leave HR as aprofession? Concerns have been voiced that when training, recruitment, legal advice andother mainstream personnel activities come to be treated on the same level aspayroll and pensions, the function will be fatally downgraded. Far frombecoming ever more central to a business, as many have been urging, the averageHR professional will eventually be marginalised.Not so, say many experts, who argue that the need for HR in organisations isin no way diminished by outsourcing administration functions. On the contrary,the more of the day-to-day tasks that can be handled by third parties, theeasier it will be for HR to provide the kind of strategic advice organisationsneed to work effectively. Meanwhile, those who work for outsourcing companieswill enjoy varied challenges and opportunities for development that are notalways available in the HR departments of large organisations.In effect, outsourcing can be seen as cementing a split between these twoarms of HR. “It could change the nature of the profession,” declaresMarta White, managing director of search firm DS Wolf International.”Administration can be 80 per cent of the burden and without that hasslethere will be opportunities for those who are more strategically oriented tobring their expertise to organisations.”She adds, however, that HR departments will increasingly be charged withmanaging outsourcing contracts, a role which many think will require new skillsand competencies.David Koch, European leader for HR sourcing at PricewaterhouseCoopers, says,”You are establishing a partnership with the organisation, not a service,so you will need a different kind of person, someone who is focused on managingrelationships rather than handling transactions. It doesn’t take a lot of thosesorts of people but it needs to be someone with clout.” Koch says he often hears stories of chief executives asking why they need anHR department at all, but argues that there still has to be someone in thecompany who understands its culture and internal workings. To deliver services effectively,the outsourcing partner will often need internal change to take place in theclient organisation – something it is not equipped to handle.”If we are having difficulty delivering services, we need to sit downwith the client to learn what issues they are facing and how we can help themmeet those needs,” he says. “There also has to be someone in theorganisation who knows where to go for talent and understands where the bestperformers come from. That is something the outsourcing organisation will takeyears to understand.”At Penna HR Consulting, chief executive Suzie Mummé believes that in thefuture there will be more competition for fewer HR roles. “HR will have toidentify the best companies to work for, with enlightened CEOs who see them asa partner not as a processor,” she says. “Then they will have todevelop an ability to manage strategic initiatives in such areas as resourceplanning, operational excellence, and leadership issues.”Be selectiveInstead of outsourcing non-core competencies to a variety of specialistagencies, Mummé sees the HR professional of the future developing strongrelationships with just a few, who themselves will have fewer clients. Butthese experts will be unlikely to understand the culture of the organisation,so HR will need to adopt a partnership mentality, being more open to get thebest out of them. Influencing and conflict management skills will be importantas well, which means developing gravitas and credibility.To be useful as strategic advisers, Mummé says HR professionals also need tospend time studying trends and best practice, for instance, by picking up thelatest thinking from gurus, establishing networks with peer groups andresearching the market for the best providers.To the board of a company, outsourcing might seem an attractive way ofachieving cost savings, quality and flexibility. The ideal is a deliveryservice that can be ramped up quickly and then turned off when the requirementis satisfied. But the need to have HR controlling and monitoring the deliveryof strategic objectives will always remain.For instance, an HR director who is closely in touch with the provider of anemployee assistance programme might learn a lot about the effects of changesbeing carried out in the organisation, information not necessarily availablefrom other sources, points out Philip Sanders, managing director of EAPprovider PPC.”A company that is downsizing or regionalising faces a huge potentialimpact,” Sanders says. “We would monitor the phone calls comingthrough and advise HR if we are getting significant numbers of complaintsconcerning the effects on employees’ health as a consequence of thesechanges.”Contract management, however, is a competence most HR departments lack,argues Colin Carmichael, partner at Organisation Consulting Partnership.”That’s a real issue for companies, because unless they can managethird-party providers they will have big problems in the future,” he says.”They need to be careful at the outset that they don’t find themselves ina contract that ultimately delivers more benefit to the provider than to thecompany doing the outsourcing.”HR will also have to work to convince other departments in the organisationthat it has something to offer, Carmichael believes. “A lot of linemanagers want the basics done well and may not have an expectation of muchbeyond that. The personal credibility of senior players in HR is to add valueto the company, and outsourcing will help by giving them the space they need tobe strategic.”If outsourcing becomes the norm, one major effect will be that HRprofessionals will be less likely to follow careers in organisations operatingin specific sectors. Instead they will be employed by outsourcing providers,handling a range of different accounts.That may be a cause for concern for some, but from the perspective ofoutsourcers themselves there are obvious advantages. Alison Humphries, directorof Barkers Norman Broadbent (BNB) Outsourcing, says, “It provides muchgreater opportunities. With an outsourcing partner the role of HR professionalsbecomes central rather than peripheral. Instead of being regarded as being ofdoubtful value they will find themselves an essential fee-earning part of theirbusiness.”Nor need HR staff being transferred to another company necessarily feel theyare being dumped, Humphries says. In her experience, employers putting out totender are usually keen to ensure that the outsourcing partner can provideoutgoing staff with good career development opportunities.Similarly, at Rebus HR Services, personnel services director Michelle Walkerpoints out that outsourcing gives HR professionals a more varied andchallenging agenda. “We are servicing more than 110 clients for personnelservices across a range of services, including financial services, educationand manufacturing. My staff act more as consultants, which gives them thechance to become much more rounded in their skills. And when they choose toprogress, their CVs will be much broader as a result.”Get wiredTechnology is a major element in managing outsourcing relationships andthose who use it effectively are likely to gain an advantage. A key factor inthe BP Amoco deal with Exult is the provider’s emphasis on the Internet andcompany intranets as a communication channel for employees. Systems that enablestaff and managers to enter data automatically reduce labour and makeoutsourcing easier.This focus has been less evident in the UK but the potential is beginning tobe recognised. For instance, Collinson Grant Consultants offers an”extranet” service where the HR director can log on to a privatenetwork and look at all the phone traffic between outsourcing consultants andcompany managers. CEO Andrew Collinson says, “They might want to see howmany tribunals are on the go and then look at the results, analysing sites bythe number of calls. They can also see the notes typed by consultants duringthe conversations. That enables them to get a feel for all the issues.”The effective use of such methods is an area HR must seek to develop, arguesTerence Brake, president of TMA. He believes the profession will continue to bedriven by the traditional competencies of handling people and talent, but willtake a big leap when these are interfaced with technology.”The real breakthrough will come when there is a far strongerpartnership between HR and IT,” he says. “Some say these should bethe top two objectives of any organisation. I would take that further by sayingthey should not be separate objectives – the focal point must be on globalcompetitiveness, and the interface with IT people is essential to achievingthat.”Brake continues, “I believe there will be a big shakedown in the HRcommunity, and those who remain will be those who have the thinking agility tounderstand the business issues.”People who come into HR will be quite different. The trend tooutsourcing will continue but at the same time business executives will beaware of much clearer value propositions from what remains in HR. And it willbe up to HR professionals to define very clearly what that is in eachindividual company.”Gain flexibilityAt the strategic level a key HR role will be to strive for flexibility andadaptability, Brake believes. He cites the case of Intel, which suffereddamaging delays over bringing a much-heralded new chip to market last year andrealised it had lost sight of its customers.”Intel understood that it had fallen into the trap of spending too muchtime fine-tuning products and forgetting about its customers” needs,”Brake says. “An outsourcing agency cannot address that because it doesn’tknow your business like you do. The HR person has to be the one that spots theproblem and says we must quickly shift to a new mindset.”But that change of strategy can be on a day-to-day basis and HR directorshave to stay alert, he says. Brake remembers visiting the museum in Mount StHelens in Oregon, where a volcano erupted spectacularly in 1980. There he cameacross a quote from the local sheriff, who said the authorities were totallyunprepared for a disaster on that scale.”The sheriff said they had to act as though they were trying to build aboat and row it at the same time,” says Brake. “With the pace ofchange as fast as it is, that is the kind of situation HR people willincreasingly find themselves in.” Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Lumber prices at record highs thanks to hot housing market

first_img(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)Lumber prices are rising to record prices, signaling that 2021 could be another strong year for homebuilding.Lumber prices generally drop during the winter months. But this season they have risen to historic highs for species, products and grades, according to Random Lengths, a pricing service, the Wall Street Journal reported.Read moreTimber REITs are having a momentUS housing supply nears 40-year lowWarped lumber, failed projects: TRD investigates Katerra Share via Shortlink Oriented strand boards — commonly used for walls — and southern yellow pine — often used for fences and decks — are at their highest prices ever, according to the Journal.Even engineered wood products used for new construction are on backorder until March because of high demand. The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price increased to $966 per thousand board feet last week, up from $955 in September.Lumber futures have risen 47 percent over the past three weeks, the Journal reported.At the beginning of the pandemic, some mills slowed production over fears that job losses would sink demand. But government-ordered lockdowns motivated people to complete home improvement projects and buy new homes for more space. The surge was aided by historically low mortgage rates.Housing starts and building permits for private-owned residential units increased in December to their highest level since 2006, according to the Journal.[WSJ]  — Keith Larsen Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img homebuildersHousing Marketminimum Construction Tagslast_img read more

Utah makes NIT semis, tops St. Mary’s in OT 67-58

first_imgMarch 21, 2018 /Sports News – Local Utah makes NIT semis, tops St. Mary’s in OT 67-58 Tags: Basketball/NIT/Utah Utes FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailMORAGA, Calif. (AP) — Sedrick Barfield scored 19 points and had three of Utah’s four 3-pointers in overtime and the Utes beat Saint Mary’s 67-58 on Wednesday night to advance to the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden.Donnie Tillman added 17 points for Utah (22-11), which joined Gonzaga as the only teams to win at Saint Mary’s this season.The Utes, headed to the NIT Final Four for the first time since 1992, will play Western Kentucky on Tuesday. The win by Utah, a second seed in its bracket, ensured that none of the No. 1 seeds in the four brackets would reach New York.There were 14 ties and nine lead changes and neither team led by more than five until Barfield hit a stepback 3-pointer from the left wing for a 66-58 lead with 30.4 seconds to go.Saint Mary’s (20-6) only made two of 11 shots in the last 9:11 and had 15 turnovers. Jock Landale led the Gaels with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Tanner Krebs had 10 and 10. Landale, Calvin Hermanson and Emmett Naar passed Matthew Dellavedova’s 2013 class for a record 109 wins in their previous game.An offensive foul on Krebs with 7.3 seconds left in regulation allowed the Utes the last shot but Justin Bibbins missed a leaning 15-footer from the left wing at the buzzer.David Collette, Utah’s second leading scorer at 12.6, only played 14 minutes and scored eight points, because of a back injury. Written by Associated Presslast_img read more

Merton celebrate historic Time Ceremony

first_imgBetween 2am British Summer Time and 2am Greenwich Mean Time last Sunday, Mertonians took part in the traditional Time Ceremony, walking backwards around Fellow’s Quad in full sub fusc, allegedly to “maintain the space-time continuum”.The ceremony dates back to 1971, when only five undergraduates at Merton College took part. Forty three years later, these same five undergraduates still return to their old College every year on the last Sunday of October, to take part in the now archetypal Mertonian ritual.The science behind the ceremony has never been truly validated, but the aim of the ceremony is to “create an oasis of calm to protect against the perturbative effects of the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time”, according to Merton JCR President Daniel Schwennicke.The ceremony begins on Sundial Lawn at 01:50am British Summer Time, where the founders (or the “Grand Originals” as some Mertonians know them) give three toasts to the assembly. These toasts are:“To a good old time!”, “Long live the counter revolution!” and “o tempora, o more!”.Students then move on through the South Gate to enter the 17th century Fellow’s Quad, where the actual ceremony takes place. The participants in the ceremony walk backwards, linking arms to form chains of people, and spinning at each corner.Paul Engeham, one of the five founders of the Time Ceremony, described one of the difficulties of participating in the Time Ceremony: “when you have great strings of people, you can’t turn properly, and the furthest person on the line ends up being swung out… three is the perfect number for spinning”.As is tradition, attendees drink port (or a non-alcoholic, but purple coloured substitute). College has banned glass bottles from the quad due to safety concerns, so participants carry their drinks in plastic bottles.JCR and MCR volunteers are on hand every year to provide water and help look after any students in need of support. In an effort to control numbers, the porters locked all entrances to Merton College at 23:00 British Summer Time, and students had to present their Bod cards at the Lodge to gain admittance to the college after this time, and to ensure that only Mertonians attended the ceremony.Nevertheless, as there is every year, there were several attempts to break in. Two undergraduates scaled a wall near North Lodge Gate, and were found and turned away by Merton College porters.However, one fourth year undergraduate, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cherwell, “I managed to get into the college, but I think a porter saw me. I crouched down and hid in a bush while he walked past. He knew I was there – it was like something out of a horror film. But then I got into the Time Ceremony itself, and it was the most surreal, fantastic thing ever”.The ceremony used to be preceded by the original founders climbing up the walls in Fellow’s Quad to unscrew the lamps, so that the space-time continuum could be preserved in darkness. The undergraduates also used to hold bottles containing candles to light their way.The Time Ceremony has persisted for several decades now, having been embraced by College (whereas originally it was held in secret), but in the late 1970s it seemed that it would never become a fixed Merton tradition. Phillip Brown, a friend of the founders, and a regular participator in the Time Ceremony, died of throat cancer.Without him, his friends were reluctant to continue the ceremony. However, Paul Engeham, one of the founders, said that they decided to re-start in the early 1980s, rooting the Time Ceremony as a Merton tradition in tribute to Phillip Brown.Founder Garth Fowden said in reflection of the ceremony, “anyway, the bell tolled (did it?), the mist swirled (inevitably), much port was imbibed (with mathematical certainty), and the lonely shadowy figures reversed round the hallowed quad. They must surely now be revolving in their graves or their bath chairs at the thought of what it has become.”Since its renewal in the 1980s, the ceremony has grown in popularity, and is now as popular with current undergraduates as it was with those few who took part decades ago. First year Merton undergraduate Caleb Rich described the ritual as “weird and wonderful”.Merton College sports representative and second year undergraduate historian Freddie Money quipped that Time Ceremony is “definitely taking the concept of spinning sessions to a new level”.In an email from the Merton JCR President, Daniel Schwennicke, sent to the undergraduate student body of the college, Time Ceremony was described as, “one of the great events in the Merton calendar, and one of the most surreal and incomparable evenings that you [Merton students] will experience in your time at Oxford”.last_img read more

Suspended Secaucus principal speaks out at board meeting

first_imgSECAUCUS – Secaucus High School Principal Dr. Bob Berckes gave his side of the story behind why the district suspended him last month, at the May 10 school board meeting. Video of Berckes is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH-cl6k4yowLast month, Berckes and a vice principal were suspended, and a security guard reassigned.Various media outlets quoted sources as alleging that the suspensions had to do with the handling of a student who allegedly brought a knife to school, and a possible cover-up.Berckes said that on the day of that incident, assistant principal Jeffery Case (who was also suspended) and the school’s psychologist were investigating a student for possibly possessing a pocketknife.Berckes told the board he looked up school policy for weapons possession. He said he then called Superintendent Jennifer Montesano and told her about the student.Montesano later sent a police officer from the middle school in response. The officer, Berckes said, determined the incident was not considered weapons possession because the alleged knife was not used for “unlawful purposes.”Berckes then discussed disciplining the student with Montesano, he said. “I said, ‘Two days’ [suspension], she said, ‘Whatever you think, it’s your call. I don’t know this kid.’”Later on, Berckes said the student allegedly told him he was hiding marijuana in his shoe. He told Montesano and she agreed with increasing the student’s suspension to five days.Berckes gave the marijuana to the officer. The principal and officer said it was a juvenile matter, and the student wouldn’t be charged.That’s where things get tricky.Berckes said on the video that he asked the officer what to do with the substance. He alleges that the officer encouraged him to “flush it down the toilet.”The suspension and overall handling of the incident are in dispute, but Berckes wound up suspended. (For more of his side, see the video.)Ann Marie Grecco, the superintendent’s administrative assistant, said last week that the superintendent was not offering any comments on Berckes’ allegations at this time.In a statement to NJ.com, Montesano said that “Those who have expressed their opinions about this ongoing investigation have done so without the benefit of all of the facts that have been determined and remain to be determined.” ×last_img read more

Hoosier postal workers call on Congress to fund post offices

first_img Facebook WhatsApp Google+ Facebook WhatsApp (Photo supplied/United States Postal Service) Indiana Postal Workers are urging Congress to provide them with funding.The Indiana Postal Workers Union says mail carriers are troubled by recent delays in delivery times due to changes in the national postal service policies.Union President Doug Brown told Indiana Public Radio that mailing of first class letters has decreased significantly during the pandemic.Brown says some mail sorting machines have already been paused or disassembled in cities across the state, and others are scheduled to be removed. As of Tuesday the removals have been temporarily suspended until after the election. Google+ By Tommie Lee – August 25, 2020 0 362 Twitter Hoosier postal workers call on Congress to fund post offices Pinterest Twitter IndianaLocalNationalNewsSouth Bend Market Pinterest Previous articleThree contractors dead after becoming stuck in Columia City manholeNext articleWhitmer says she won’t rush into reopening Michigan businesses Tommie Leelast_img read more

Aldi continues to take more market share

first_imgAldi has notched up yet another record increase in market share, according to new figures.The latest grocery share figures (12 weeks ending 10 November 2013), published today by Kantar Worldpanel, revealed growth for Aldi of 31.1% for a market share of 3.8%, previously at 3% in the same period last year.Elsewhere, Lidl enjoyed 13.8% growth, resulting in a market share of 3%, up from 2.7% in 2012.Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range has lifted sales by 12%, recording growth of 2.6%, the highest of the big four group. However, market share fell to 16.8% from 16.9% for the same period last year.The results also showed that Morrisons’ year-on-year sales growth continued to be positive following the declines seen at the start of the year.Tesco reported 0.7% growth, Asda saw 0.8% growth, Morrisons 1.5% and Iceland 2.6% in the 12-week period, while The Co-operative recorded a decrease of -0.4%.Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The number of shoppers visiting Aldi has grown by 16% year-on-year, at the same time as the average basket size has swelled by nearly 15%.  In fact, almost a third of British households have shopped in Aldi in the past 12 weeks. “However, in the shadow of Aldi’s performance, Lidl’s sales growth of 13.8% also remains strong. In direct contrast, sales of premium products have also increased significantly over the past year. This Christmas, shoppers will be seeking both luxury and lower prices.”Garner added that Waitrose’s increase of 8.8% to a market share of 4.8% continues an unbroken trend since mid-2009.Grocery inflation stood at 3.7% for the 12-week period ending 10 November 2013. This exceeded the overall grocery market growth of 3.2% and implied pressure on households to manage down their ‘personal inflation’ by seeking lower prices.last_img read more

Coup a further complication for tricky Myanmar-China ties

first_imgBANGKOK (AP) — Before Monday’s coup, relations between Myanmar and China already were complicated by Chinese investments in its infrastructure and the Myanmar military’s campaigns along their shared border. The military deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi a little over a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping made a show of support to her with the first visit by a head of state from Beijing to Myanmar since 2001. Analysts say that even if China played no role at all in ousting Suu Kyi, Beijing is likely to gain still greater sway over the country. That’s even more likely if the U.S. and other Western governments try to punish the new military regime through sanctions.last_img read more

Planners back conservation campaign

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Brazil coronavirus cases reach 2 million, doubling in less than a month

first_imgOn Thursday, confirmed cases in Brazil totaled 2,012,151, while deaths numbered 76,688.Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is home to around 210 million people – roughly two-thirds the size of the US population.In both countries, contagion has exploded as the virus has gained steam in new areas far from the largest cities. A patchwork of state and city responses has held up poorly in Brazil in the absence of a tightly coordinated policy from the federal government.Despite the rapid spread of the virus, Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has pressured local governments to lift lockdown restrictions. Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the virus last week, has played down its health risks and fought against social distancing orders, calling their economic effects worse than the disease itself. Under pressure, many governors and mayors have loosened restrictions in recent weeks, fueling bigger outbreaks.Polls show Bolsonaro’s popularity has been sinking during the pandemic. The share of Brazilians that see his government as bad or terrible has risen to 44%, according to a late June survey by pollster Datafolha. That was up from 38% in April and 36% in December.”The government didn’t budge despite the health crisis. They thought more about money than about people,” said Rafael Reis of Rio de Janeiro, who lost his 71-year-old mother to the illness. “They mocked the disease. They didn’t believe in it … They wanted everyone back in the streets.”In some big cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, where the outbreak first emerged in Brazil, new daily cases have stabilized and even begun to decline slowly. However, that has been offset by worsening outbreaks in other regions.Among the states with the fastest growing outbreaks are Rio Grande do Sul and Parana in southern Brazil, which had kept a lid on their outbreaks early on.”The disease has evolved not only over time, but also over geographies,” said Roberto Medronho, a professor of medicine at Rio de Janeiro Federal University. “We still have not reached the peak in Brazil because of these successive epidemics occurring in various regions.”He said models show the next million cases in Brazil may come more slowly, as there are now fewer untouched corners of the country. By the end of July or first half of August, Medronho said new daily cases could begin to decline nationally.However, public health experts are raising alarms about the worsening outlook in southern Brazil, which has the coldest weather during the southern hemisphere winter, now underway, and a population that skews older than the rest of the country.COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is known to be significantly deadlier for the older population. While other coronaviruses have spread more rapidly during winter months, the impact of the colder weather on the novel virus has not been scientifically proven.”What worries me in the south is the spread to the interior, with an older population,” said Wanderson Oliveira, a former secretary in the health ministry. “Given the cold and the humidity, it has all the conditions to explode.” Topics : Brazil on Thursday passed the 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases mark, with little sign that the rate of increase is slowing as anger grows over President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the outbreak.Just 27 days have passed since Brazil, which has the world’s second-largest outbreak after the United States, reached one million cases. In recent weeks, there have been nearly 40,000 confirmed new cases per day, according to government figures.By contrast, 43 days passed between 1 million and 2 million confirmed cases in the United States, where the spread of COVID-19 eased briefly in May before accelerating again in June, according to a Reuters tally.last_img read more