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Living on the frontline

first_img Previous Article Next Article What is it really like at the junior end of HR? Paul Nelson spent a day withtwo young women starting their careers in the public sectorTo an outside observer, the role of assistant personnel officer at WokinghamDistrict Council could be likened to that of a call centre operator. Fiona Spain and Sinead O’Flynn – by their own admission – spend most oftheir time sitting at their desks answering managers’ questions via e-mail andphone. It appears mundane, but is an important operational role that must behandled by someone. “Most of our job involves answering the phone and giving policy adviceto managers and informing staff of their rights,” says Spain. “We arethe first point of call for everybody. Our telephone numbers are the maincontact point and we take all queries on payroll and policy advice.” Despite still studying for her CIPD qualification, Spain has had a variedfive-year HR career that includes recruiting Oxford and Cambridge Universitygraduates for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and being involved in runningan e-learning centre for communications firm Energis. It is a background manyjunior HR professionals would envy. But the 27-year old’s lack of generalist HR experience leaves her frustratedin her desk-bound role. She says: “I do not have the years and years ofexperience necessary to give people instant answers to queries. I have notdealt with 10 disciplinary cases to refer back to. In fact, frequently, it isthe first time I have dealt with a particular query so I have to put the phonedown, check the facts and call people back. I look forward to the day thecorrect answers roll off my tongue.” Other aspects of Spain and O’Flynn’s role include collating quarterlystatistical data and providing managers with sickness absence reports. Theybelieve that the Information Commission’s Records Management Data Protectioncode of practice – which forces HR departments to separate sickness and absencerecords – will be an ‘absolute nightmare’ for them and stop the councileffectively managing absence. Project work is the aspect of the job they enjoy the most, as it is a breakfrom the tedium of being on the end of a phone. It gives them their only forayinto the strategic aspect of HR. O’Flynn is writing a report into the council’s social services and housingdepartment’s recruitment processes, because the number of black and ethnicminority staff are far fewer than those that apply. She will recommend to herpersonnel manager that the council updates its recruitment literature by translatingit into other languages, and introduces written and spoken English classes.O’Flynn will also advise the council to radically overhaul how it advertises inthe ethnic press. “There are local ethnic newspapers and magazines which we do notadvertise in, as the council thinks that if a professional is job hunting, theywill look at business press or a national newspaper,” she says. “By doing it this way, we may be putting off ethnic minorities fromapplying for jobs. It might be good to raise awareness of the council as anemployer among this community.” Another project O’Flynn works on is ensuring staffing agencies’ recruitmentprocedures are as rigorous as the council’s are. Later this year, she will beinvolved in harmonising employee terms and conditions. Also, Spain is lookingto host seminars for managers about the council’s flexible working andmaternity policies. How the two women joined the HR profession could not be more different.Spain started a career in HR because she wanted to help people, which shebelieves she does, “but not in the rose tinted way that the naive19-year-old thought”. O’Flynn, by comparison, stumbled into HR by accident. After graduating fromMiddlesex University in 1995 with a degree in English Literature, she took anadministrative job in the personnel department at Berkshire County Council.”I went for a job that just happened to be in HR,” she says. The 28-year-old then earned promotion to personnel assistant, preparingcontracts for and checking teacher’s records. She moved to Wokingham via a planning and legal role in the HR team at theRoyal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council. From a HR point of view, Wokingham is a fairly innovative local authority.It has been shortlisted in the communication strategy at this year’s PersonnelToday Awards, but neither Spain nor O’Flynn could answer questions about thecouncil’s HR strategy. Despite this, the personnel assistants are angry that HR is not viewed as abusiness partner by the council’s staff. Spain says: “The bad aspect of HR is that we are viewed as a policingfunction. For example, we have to chase up line managers because they have notgot back to us on specifics.” They are so fed up with being blamed by staff when managers fail to informthem about employment changes, that they have introduced an e-mail reader replysystem – so managers are unable to claim ignorance. “Staff do not really understand what we do in HR. We are viewed assitting twiddling our thumbs, waiting for an issue to come to us. The councilhad a recruitment freeze earlier this year and the general view was ‘you mustbe bored now’,” continues Spain. Their future plans for a career in HR highlight a lack of confidence in theprofession – with neither seeing themselves representing HR in the boardroom. Despite her career in HR being popular with her friends and family, O’Flynn,who has toyed with the idea of studying for a MA in Business Ethics, is unsureif she intends to remain. Instead she dreams of a job as a creative writer. “My boyfriend manages staff, so he gives me case scenarios from hiswork. My sister is an employment lawyer so understands HR is a demanding job.My parents have some friends who are in HR and have done well, so they see itas a good career move,” she says. “I do not know about being a HR director though. I would like a moresenior job, but maybe in a different environment. I am not sure if I would wantto carry on in this particular field,” she adds. Spain likes her job and sees her future firmly in HR – but not at boardroomlevel. “I would not want the responsibility of being a HR director – Idon’t think I would be able to get the work-life balance right,” saysSpain. “I want to progress up the ladder to personnel officer and manager,but not just for the sake of it. I enjoyed my involvement with e-learning andthink training would be very rewarding.” Career factfileSinead O’Flynn1996 – Berkshire Council1998 – Windsor and Maidenhead Council2000 – Wokingham CouncilFiona Spain1998 – Andersen consulting1999 – Energis2001 – Vale Williams (chartered surveyors)2002 – Wokingham District Council Council fact file– Wokingham became a unitary authority in 1998 when BerkshireCounty Council split into six district councils– The 22-person HR team at the council is responsible for 4,500staff– It covers more than 150,000 residents in an area stretchingfrom Henley in Oxfordshire to Basingstoke in Hampshire and Reading to Bracknell Living on the frontlineOn 22 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today – Jacqueline Wiltshire, head of personnel – who reportsdirectly to the council’s chief executive, is responsible for the HR andtraining team– Two personnel managers and three personnel officers supporther. Two personnel assistants help Spain and O’Flynncenter_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Residential transactions fall 4.4% – HMRC

first_imgThe number of residential property transactions fell in July, the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed, with 100,720 transactions recorded last month, up 0.2 per cent compared to the corresponding month in 2014.But HMRC’s seasonally adjusted estimate shows that the number of home transactions actually fell by 4.4 per cent between June and July. There were also 10.100 non-residential transactions, down from 10,460 from the previous month.The volume of non-adjusted residential transactions was 2.4 per cent higher than in June and 8 per cent higher than in July last year.The number of seasonally adjusted transactions has steady increased over the past seven years, according to the HMRC report, with the volume of seasonally adjusted transactions remaining broadly stable at around 100,000 per month.The latest figures reflect a “shift-change of late”, with property sales over the past couple of months “stepping up to the mark of last summer”, Peter Rollings (left), CEO of Marsh & Parsons noted.He said, “In July, sales may have slipped back slightly month-on-month, but we need to remember that the market was working overtime in June to regain lost ground lost before the election.”Doug Crawford (right), Chief Executive Officer of conveyancing firm myhomemove, agrees that the General Election has had a major impact on the housing market in recent months, and that the outcome of the poll had assured buyers and sellers that the housing market was likely to remain stable, “leading to a spike in the number of property transactions in June”.He continued, “The HMRC figures show that the number of transactions has barely changed over the last year and this begs the question about why a year’s steady improvement in the economy hasn’t led to an increase in home purchases, particularly when mortgage availability and rates have been so favourable.”“The main impediment has been a serious shortage in supply. There is a lot of appetite from buyers but not enough homes for sale to meet demand. This mismatch is stoking price rises. In some areas we have even seen instances of gazumping, as sellers look to make the most of competition between buyers by accepting higher offers,”Crawfordadded.residential property transactions residential transactions residential transactions fall August 27, 2015The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles 40% of tenants planning a move now that Covid has eased says Nationwide3rd May 2021 Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 Home » News » Housing Market » Residential transactions fall 4.4% – HMRC previous nextHousing MarketResidential transactions fall 4.4% – HMRCThere were just over 100,000 residential property transactions last month, the latest figures reveal.The Negotiator27th August 20150529 Viewslast_img read more

Image of the Day: Navy Ships Patrol Dutch Waters amid Nuclear Security Summit

first_img View post tag: ships View post tag: Amid Authorities The said vessels are HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, Holland and Friesland.The Dutch Navy has sent its ships to patrol the area and provide security both at sea and on land to 58 world leaders and thousands of delegates who are visiting the Netherlands from 24 to 25 of March.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, March 25, 2014; Image: Dutch Navy View post tag: Defense View post tag: Security March 25, 2014 View post tag: Dutch Three ships of the Dutch Navy and teams of the Special Maritime Forces (MARSOF) of the Dutch Marine Corps have been sent to sea anent the Nuclear Security Summit in 2014, in The Hague. View post tag: Navy View post tag: Navalcenter_img View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Summit View post tag: nuclear View post tag: Defence View post tag: waters View post tag: Patrol Share this article Back to overview,Home naval-today Image of the Day: Navy Ships Patrol Dutch Waters amid Nuclear Security Summit Image of the Day: Navy Ships Patrol Dutch Waters amid Nuclear Security Summitlast_img read more

Phil Lesh Announces “Winter Hootenanny” At Terrapin Crossroads

first_imgGrateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has announced an upcoming “Winter Hootenanny” on Thursday, January 10th, at his Terrapin Crossroads venue in San Rafael, CA.Lesh has rounded up an all-star cast of Terrapin regulars including Stu Allen, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, Greg Loiacono, Cass McCombs, Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Mike Pascale, Alex Koford, Scott Guberman, and Nathan Graham.Other than regular appearances at his own venue, Phil Lesh recently announced his 5th-annual birthday bash at his east coast home-away-from-home, The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. The three-night celebration is set to take place on March 14th, 15th, and 16h, 2019.Phil’s band lineups for the birthday shows, billed as Phil Lesh & Friends, have yet to be announced. However, an announcement from The Cap notes that Phil will be playing with “a fresh lineup of old friends and first-time collaborators.”Tickets for Thursday’s “Winter Hootenanny” at Terrapin Crossroads are on sale now here.Head to the event page for more information.last_img read more

Chile-Harvard partnership strong

first_imgCollaboration and cooperation were watchwords Thursday as Harvard celebrated its deep ties with Chile during the launch of a two-day seminar on that nation’s future. Participants hailed the contributions of Chilean scholars who’ve visited Cambridge, and the work of hundreds of Harvard faculty and students who’ve traveled south to learn and teach.Harvard President Drew Faust introduced the event, saying it represents what she’s trying to achieve at Harvard, with scholars thinking and cooperating across both disciplinary and geographical boundaries. A broad focus, she said, is an important way to bring new information and different approaches to bear on complex problems.Faust, who visited Santiago in 2011, said she witnessed there the global engagement of students and faculty who worked with local scholars on projects ranging from climate change to preschool education to earthquake recovery.The seminar, at the Center for Government and International Studies’ Tsai Auditorium, was organized by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) and the Andronico Luksic Visiting Scholars program. Speakers and panelists looked at the future of Chilean universities, environmental change, global economics, business, and politics.“This mutual need to adapt to the dynamics of change brings us to consider the role of education and realize the value of a robust relationship between Massachusetts, Harvard, and Chile,” said Andronico Luksic (center), vice chairman of the Banco de Chile. Luksic met with President Drew Faust (left) and Gov. Deval Patrick during the two-day seminar.A decade ago the Center for Latin American Studies opened an office in Santiago, the first University-wide office in a foreign nation. It has provided support and information to some 110 faculty members and 843 students, whose pursuits have included internships in Chile and nearby nations, study-abroad opportunities, and research.The Luksic Visiting Scholars program was also launched 10 years ago, through a gift by Andronico Luksic, the vice chairman of the Banco de Chile. Since then, 15 Chilean scholars have come to Harvard to pursue studies across a range of fields — business, politics, science, social science, and the humanities.Of the visiting scholars program and the University’s other Chile-based initiatives, Merilee Grindle, the Mason Professor of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School and DRCLAS director, said: “We can’t help but celebrate these 10 years of such … successful activities.”Luksic, whom Faust described as “deeply committed to improving the world through education and knowledge,” said Thursday that he hoped the event would encourage thought on how Chile can meet its challenges and achieve a more equitable society, progress that he said must be driven by intellectual, rather than natural, resources. In doing so, he said, there may be lessons for other nations hoping to thrive in this globalized age.“To attain the full social and economic benefit of development — and sustain the unique position Chile has earned for itself in the world — the intellectual environment, the educational environment, and the opportunities that exist in both … must continue to exist and diversify,” Luksic said.“Chile is not … the only place in the world concerned about how its citizens adapt to a changing global scenario. Harvard is facing the same challenges. The state of Massachusetts is facing the same challenges. This mutual need to adapt to the dynamics of change brings us to consider the role of education and realize the value of a robust relationship between Massachusetts, Harvard, and Chile,” he said.Gov. Deval Patrick, whose administration has established an economic relationship with Chile in clean energy, biotechnology, and education, was among the opening speakers. He said that although Massachusetts’ brainpower makes it uniquely positioned to compete in the global knowledge economy, knowledge is nothing without the desire to collaborate with others and reach out to the world around.“I believe the winners in today’s global economy will be those who’ve learned to look out and collaborate,” Patrick said.During a panel discussion Thursday morning, leaders from several Chilean universities discussed concerns and possible solutions. Issues included a lack of Ph.D.-holders on faculties, a lack of faculty research, and difficulties integrating students from poor backgrounds who might not be prepared for university studies.last_img read more

“Back To School” Photo Showcase

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) [metaslider id=62568] JAMESTOWN – It’s “back to school” time and with that comes the yearly back to school photos and we want to see them.This is the year no one saw coming, the year COVID-19 disrupted our lives in unimaginable ways.Whether your student is a kindergartener or a high school senior there’s a good chance he or she has missed out on some school normality this year.Show us your kids leaving home for class or going to school virtually at home by posting them on social media with the hashtag #MyNewsNow, via email to [email protected] with ‘Back To School’ in the subject line, and/or on our Google Form document (users must have a Google Account).Also, attention teachers or other school staff, we want to shine a spotlight on you too. Educators are asked to also share photos which we will feature part of the segment.WNY News Now wants to make sure all students and teachers in our area get shown some love at the start of this school year.The photos will be shared in a gallery on our website, mobile app and noon broadcasts.Please include the following with your photo submission: Student’s name Student’s age Student’s schoolSubmit Photos HereLegal Disclaimer: By submitting a photo, you confirm that you are the parent or guardian of the student and that you own all rights to the photo. By submitting a photo, you are granting WNY News Now permission to use it in perpetuity on any digital platform or on television without additional permissions. Please do not submit a professional or yearbook photo. We will not use any professional and official yearbook photos that are submitted. Please submit photos taken only by you or a family member. We reserve the right not to publish any photographs in our editorial discretion.last_img read more

Julia Knitel Will Lead the Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Tour

first_img View Comments Julia Knitel You’ve got a new friend! Broadway understudy Julia Knitel will star as Carole King the national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Knitel will take over for Abby Mueller in the touring production of the hit Broadway musical beginning September 13 in San Francisco. Erika Olson will also join the tour as Cynthia Weil.Knitel has appeared on Broadway in Beautiful, where she’s been the Carole understudy for the last year, and Bye Bye Birdie. Olson is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon; her theater credits include Forest Boy, Eurydice, The Full Monty and Uncle Vanya.Knitel and Olson join a company that includes Liam Tobin (Gerry Goffin), Ben Fankhauser (Barry Mann), Curt Bouril (Don Kirshner) and Suzanne Grodner (Genie Klein).Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.With a book by Tony and Academy Award nominee Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil.last_img read more

Use member analytics to create better service at your credit union

first_imgEvery day, consumers tell financial institutions (FIs) what products, services and marketing efforts are most relevant to them. Consumers are explicit in what they want from their relationships with their FIs. For FIs, however, the key lies in knowing how to listen.Data analytics and business intelligence are the tools that help FIs translate the secret language of consumers into real, actionable demands. They bridge the information gap between FIs and consumers, helping them achieve mutually beneficial solutions.A recent article from Visible Equity highlighted several key questions data analytics can help FIs answer to improve their consumers’ experience. A few of them are listed below.What are the needs, values, desires and behaviors of your target audience?To what extent is your target audience being reached?Which consumer groups have the highest levels of engagement, loyalty and longevity?Which consumers are most likely to promote your FI to others?Are consumers being adequately reached across all channels?How are offers personalized for consumers based on their data? continue reading » 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Football season is here! 3 ways to save

first_imgA full slate of college football games kicks off tomorrow and you know what that means: smoked meats and cold beer. While that sounds awesome, it can also be expensive. If you’re planning on having big weekends for the next 3 months, you’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting for all the money you’re going to spend. Here are 3 ways you can save this football season.Raise some cash: If you’re going to spend a lot of money this football season, try figuring out a way to raise some extra dough to fund your fun. Having a yard sale could be a great way to raise some cash. Have a bike or some free weights you don’t use much anymore? Throw it up on Ebay or Craigslist and turn it into some ribs and chicken quarters.Do it right or don’t do it: We all love the big games, especially when our team is involved. When those weekends roll around, do it big! If you’re throwing a party, grill it up and stock up on beer. Having a big event is always fun. If you plan on attending the game, plan out an exciting tailgate and do it right. When your team is involved in a lopsided matchup, keep it low-key and just hang out with the fam.Split your tickets up: Feel the need to be at the stadium a lot this season? Try splitting those season tickets with a friend. You can go to games together or divide the games and take other friends and family. This way, you’ll each get to see 3 or 4 games for a decent price. You can even sell your tickets for one of the bigger games (for slightly above face value), avoid getting stuck in the crazy traffic, and maybe even fund the rest of the season. 51SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: Detailslast_img read more