South Africa rising to the HR challenge

first_imgHRdirector of mining giant Anglo Platinum Eric Ngubane has described the massivechallenges facing businesses in South Africa.“Thecountry has come from an isolated background and it has been a culture shock,”he told Personnel Today. “We have had to look again at the way we did thingsand we have had to restructure and be more competitive.”Hesaid there is a huge training issue for staff who lack technical and IT skills.Ngubanestudied at Warwick University and London Business School. He said there is anacute shortage of experienced black HR directors and he has headhunters phoninghim every week.www.hrsummit.comCatrionaMarchant reports from HR Summit 2001 – Human Resources Solutions for Europe,held in Montreux, Switzerland, 18-20 February, organised by marcusevans events Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article South Africa rising to the HR challengeOn 27 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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HR urged to brush up on international law

first_imgHR urged to brush up on international lawOn 27 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article HRmanagers must become more aware of international employment law as theworkforce becomes increasingly globalised.Thiswas the message delivered by Eversheds lawyer Ann-Marie Pugh at the legalpractice’s Employers’ Convention 2001 in Brighton last week.Shesaid delegates must be more conscious of the cultural differences which existin an international workforce.Shecited the recent McKinsey report, which showed that 90 per cent of the world’sgross domestic product came from the global market and 60 million staff wereemployed by American companies outside the US.“Ifyou are not already operating in the international market, you soon will be,”Pugh said.Evershedsclaimed the key to business success was developing a good corporate reputation,which observes local customs.  Aquestion and answer session showed a poor grasp of international employment lawamong the delegates.RobbieGilbert, head of the Employers’ Forum on Statute and Practice, said afterwards,“My feeling was that the talk was aimed at employers who are not global playersbut are looking to extend their reach into other countries.” Gilbertadmitted that it was difficult for HR professionals to find a source ofinformation on international employment law. “The quiz was used to flag up perceptionsthat may be wrong.” StevePeace, employee relations adviser for One2one, the mobile phone technologycompany, said, “The quiz made me realise how little UK employers know aboutinternational employment law. “Ourcompany has taken on people from Germany due to the severe skills shortages weare experiencing. We’ve also looked at South Africa and South-east Asia –wherever the talent is.” last_img read more

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Letters

first_imgThis week’s lettersLetter of the weekHR must practise what it preaches Well done to your correspondent for speaking out in “Agencies and HRcould care more”, (Letters, 5 June). Having been “deselected” just before Christmas as part of thePrudential’s restructuring that you featured, I found myself in a very similarposition – long experience in HR, the wrong side of my 40s and redundant. Although I was lucky enough to find a handful of agencies that were willingto put some effort into matching my skills against vacancies in theirdatabases, the vast majority of them were completely silent and even seemed toresent me phoning from time to time to check on progress. I was also on the receiving end of questions on how I felt about workingwith people younger than me and even suspicion because, at the age of 45, I wasnot an HR manager (my choice). The icing on the cake was answering questions about the O-level exams I took30 years ago. The delays your correspondent is experiencing are more cock up thanconspiracy. Nevertheless, HR simply does not practise what it preaches. Despite finewords on ageism, youth appears to be everything and stereotypical judgementsare still made about people based on how old they are. I even remember a recent front page story in your journal about younghigh-fliers, which came out at the height of my own job search. There should be more mature people in HR. We might then feel our experienceis genuinely valued and we still have a chance of finding work in our chosenfield. I cannot see that happening, and the solution for me was to broaden mysearch. Despite my qualifications and track record, I left HR behind and movedinto a new field. Curiously, within three weeks of doing that, I was offered anexternal HR role. Des Farthing Via e-mail Recruitment must rip up rule book The sentiments expressed in “Agencies and HR could care more”reflect a widespread problem in the recruitment industry. I have seen this fromboth sides – as an HR professional and as a candidate – and have been bitterlydisappointed by the performance of a number of agencies. As an HR professional, I was fed up with receiving speculative CVs fromagencies on the off chance, and others that in no way reflected the briefprovided. Agencies had rarely met the candidates, so exactly how much work had theyput in for their 25 per cent commission? Then a colleague told me that an ex-employee of a well-known agency told herthat she had been encouraged to present as many CVs as possible – the more theclient gets, the more chance that they will recruit one of them. This delusion led me to develop a totally different approach to recruitment.We don’t use databases or CVs, we tailor everything to the vacancy, and wefocus on future ability, rather than historic technical competence. However, part of the problem lies in the way candidates apply for jobs. Iwant to know candidates really want the job – not just any job, but that particularjob. HR professionals complain about skills shortages – so stop doing things theway you’ve always done them, stop relying on computer process-driven agenciesand get radical. And candidates: stop doing the same thing. Do your homework, don’t just copyeveryone else. Recruitment needs a revolution, but until HR professionals, recruiters andcandidates rip up the rule books, we will continue to see skills shortages,poor service and discrimination. Chantal Walton Director HR on Tap, Cambridge There’s two sides to age bias story I have been out of work for a lengthy period in the past and share theconcerns about discrimination on the basis of age. I was, therefore, dismayed to read towards the end of the letter that thewriter did “not feel secure in putting my future in the hands of veryyoung staff.” Oops. Jon Friend Senior personnel manager The UK still won’t budge an inch I am 45 years old and was educated using the metric system. How old will I be before the UK finally adopts metrication? Your news headline, “Labouring under a ton of new legalpractices”, (News, 5 June) should read, “Labouring under a tonne ofnew legal practices” Mark Beaumont Senior loss prevention manager BOC Distribution Services Comments are closed. LettersOn 19 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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On appeal

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. On appealOn 15 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Continuing our regular series on the implications of recent significantcases.  James Humphery, partner atThethowans Solicitors, Southampton, looks at the issuesIllness and Frustration Hogan v Cambridgeshire County CouncilUnreported decision of EAT Case382/99 HR Professionals often find themselves grappling with the concept of a‘frustrated’ contract in the context of an employee’s long-term illness. Ifsomething unforeseen occurs making a contract impossible to perform, the lawmay recognise an automatic termination of the contract thereby releasing theparties from their obligations. A lengthy inability to work due to illnessmight frustrate an employment contract, but courts and tribunals have beenreluctant to line up behind the doctrine of frustration. An employee had a rolling employment contract that included provision forsick pay, retirement, ordinary notice of termination and an ill-healthprocedure. She went on sick leave and was paid for seven months, after whichher employer was advised she was unfit to return to work. Nothing was done, anda few months later the employee started a full-time college course. When herabsence reached 16 months the employer decided enough was enough and wrote tothe employee to say her contract had ended by frustration. She countered with aclaim of unfair dismissal and breach of contract. The claim failed, but therewas an appeal in which the EAT looked at the principles of frustration. In her appeal, the employee argued that the contract envisaged long-termillness through the provisions of sick pay and an ill-health terminationprocedure. In this way, she claimed, her absence was foreseeable and could not,therefore, be capable of frustrating the contract. She also pointed to theopen-ended nature of the contract and her seven years’ service. On the otherhand, the frustration indicators were that she had enrolled for full-timestudy, had not been paid for nine months, was not a key employee, had beenunable to work for 16 months with the prognosis poor. The EAT dismissed the appeal, but in so doing differentiated between whetherthe facts were capable of establishing frustration (a question of law) andwhether those facts really did frustrate the contract (a question of fact). Itcould not, of course, reconsider the facts and found the tribunal was entitledto conclude that the contract had been frustrated. The EAT was unwilling toenunciate new principles for applying frustration to employment contracts andindicated that no individual factor was determinative. Although the employee failed in this case, it seems that frustration isstill an uncertain course for employers. Devising and applying sensitivesickness and capability procedures seems to offer the safest way out of atricky situation. Disability Discrimination Cosgrove v Caeser and Howie(2001) IRLR 653 Cosgrove was employed as a secretary. She became dep-ressed and, after shehad been absent for 12 months, she was dismissed. Cosgrove presented claims fordeclarations of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The tribunal found no evidence that Cosgrove had been treated anydifferently from the way her employer would have treated anyone else who hadbeen absent for a year. It also noted that neither Cosgrove nor her doctorcould suggest any reasonable changes to her work arrangements. Thediscrimination claim was dismissed. Cosgrove appealed. The EAT decided the tribunal’s approach was incorrect.The EAT asked as to the material reason for Cosgrove’s dismissal and found itwas her absence and uncertainty as to whether she would return. It then askedwhether the reason for her dismissal related to disability and found that itdid. Lastly, the EAT asked if the employer would have dismissed anotheremployee to whom the material reason did not apply. The EAT was unhappy with the tribunal’s choice of comparator because itcompared Cosgrove’s absence with another’s absence which might be for differentreasons or for no good reason at all. It said the proper comparison was with anemployee who had not been absent and decided there would not have been a reasonto dismiss such a comparator unless other potentially fair grounds fordismissal existed. Cosgrove had been treated less favourably than someone towhom the material reason did not apply. The EAT then looked at whether the apparent discrimination was justified andsaid that it cannot be justified where there is a duty under section 6 of theDisability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments to workingarrangements. There was such a duty in this case and the EAT emphasised thatthe duty lies with the employer. Employers will not discharge their obligationsif they simply pass the buck to the employee or the employee’s doctor.Cosgrove’s employer did not believe she was disabled so did not consideradjustments. The EAT found there was discrimination and remitted the case for a remedieshearing. Disciplinary Procedures Injunctions may restrain a breach of a disciplinary procedure. Barros D’sa v University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (2001)IRLR 691 A consultant surgeon was suspended pending investigation of allegations ofprofessional misconduct. He had a contractual disciplinary procedure, whichrequired his employer to commission an investigation and report prior to asanctions hearing before the CEO. The inquiry found the allegations proved, butrecommended a first written warning. In its preparation for the sanctions hearing, the employer indicated therewas an irretrievable breakdown in trust and confidence caused by a letter sentby the consultant to his MP about his employer and some of his colleagues. Thishad not been before the inquiry panel. The consultant saw this as an indicationthat the CEO would be likely to dismiss him and he applied for an injunction tostop the use of the new allegation. An injunction was granted because theintroduction of this new issue was outside the disciplinary procedure andcontrary to natural justice. The employer appealed. The Court of Appeal said it must be an intrinsic partof the fairness of the procedure that issues considered at the sanctionshearing be limited to those in which the inquiry made findings. It was unfairand a breach of the contractual procedure for the employer to try to prove amore serious case, as it put the consultant at risk of being disciplined for anoffence that had not been tested or substantiated. The appeal was dismissed. last_img read more

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In brief

first_imgIn briefOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. This month’s news in briefClean up your act A series of courses and publications has been launched by the British RetailConsortium to meet its updated standard in food hygiene. The technical standardwas developed to form a common basis by which own-brand suppliers will becertified and to acknowledge that more that 50 per cent of all food sold in theUK comes from retailers selling their own goods. New courses provide internaland certification body auditors with an understanding of the standard. The BRC Technical Standard for Companies Supplying Retailer Branded FoodProducts (3rd edition) has been revamped to recognise the move to acertification-based standard, available from The Stationery Office.  www.tso.co.uk   www.brc.org.ukRoffey park redevelops Executive education and research organisation Roffey Park has embarked on a£6.5 million redevelopment of its Horsham site to enable it to run more events,seminars, think-tanks and retreats. Among the changes is an additionalpurpose-built conference and seminar complex.  www.roffeypark.comSecuricor gears up Securicor Cash Services is piloting e-learning with the hope of implementingthe new system across its network of more than 50 branches at the end ofSeptember, to provide training for more than 6,000 staff. “The new systemprovides staff with targeted training suited to individual needs and givesemployees maximum flexibility to train at their own pace,” said HRdirector for Securicor Cash Services Jenni Moore. Dedicated apprentices Corporate hospitality specialist and independent caterer Redcliffe iscelebrating the success of its in-house apprenticeship scheme.  The company developed its programme to mouldthose with the interest but not all the skills after attempts to recruitready-qualified staff. Its first apprentice chef has just completed 18 monthsof rigorous training and is now studying for NVQ level 2. A similar scheme hasbeen introduced for Food Service Assistants.  www.redcliffe.comLatest catalogue Training and software specialist John Matchett has published a new 80-pagecatalogue with nearly 60 training courses. The company also now offers learningmanagement systems that enable users to deliver and manage both instructor-ledand on-line training.  www.jmlnet.comlast_img read more

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Wrath of the regulator

first_imgWrath of the regulatorOn 1 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Because of regulatory changes, the financial services sector has no choiceother than to adopt e-learning, says Wide Learning’s Jan Hagen.  But other sectors would do well to pay heedto such impetusOver the last few years there have been many predictions about the rocketdevelopment of the e-learning market. Every year there were plenty of reasonswhy this market was a bit slower in developing than expected, but next year itwould be massive. Why then did it not happen so quickly? Why then is it nowsuddenly taking off? There are some entirely logical answers here. Firstly, let’s consider the rapid growth that failed to materialise. This islargely due to the fact that it takes a lot of time to change an approach tolearning and while it is easy to sell the benefits of e-learning to management,it is not so easy to sell it to an end user. Added to this, much of thelearning was poorly designed. A lot of ‘learning’ companies sold managementfeatures rather than effective learning, ensuring a dismal learning experienceand so a cynical marketplace. Why then, you may ask, is e-learning top of the agenda in many financialservices firms right now? It now makes sense to buy into e-learning because aneed has emerged that is most effectively solved by an e-learning-basedsolution. The changed regulatory structure in the financial services sectorputs a difficult obligation on the industry. There is a need to quicklycommunicate the intricacies of a changed regulation to everyone within anorganisation, making sure that everybody understands what these changes meanfor them as individuals and generate reports on individual progress to satisfythe regulator. On top of that, there is a need to test a large section of staffon their actual competence to do their job. And when you have solved all of that, you have to do the same thing at leastevery two years. The only way of doing all this effectively – without bankruptingor seriously disrupting the work a company does to earn a living – is by usinga technology-based solution. As always, a product or an industry will benefit when there is a genuineneed for its products. Obviously, the same thing is happening as before. Againthere are companies who see this opportunity as a way of making some fast moneyand they jump in and quickly roll out some e-learning training. A few tips are:check their learning design strategy – how do they ensure learning outcomes aremet? Check their understanding of compliance and last, but certainly not least,check how they are going to assess the ongoing competence of your staff. Just afew courses may be enough right now, but certainly will not be sufficientwithin a few months’ time. Jan Hagen is director of e-learning sales at Wide Learning – www.widelearning.com Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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DRC launches guide to discriminate claims

first_imgDRC launches guide to discriminate claimsOn 5 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has launched a new guide to helpdisabled people take discrimination claims to employment tribunals. Called How Do I Make a Claim?, the guide outlines disabled people’s rightsunder the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and how to make a claim if theybelieve their rights have been infringed by their employer. Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC, said: “It is the DRC’s goal to createa society where all disabled people can participate fully as equal citizens.However, there are some 8.5 million disabled people in the UK and many areunaware that they have new rights or how to exercise them. “Employers and service providers are often unsure how to implement bestpractice to make it easier for disabled people to gain employment or use theirservices,” he said. “The guide will make it easier for employers and disabled people tounderstand their rights and responsibilities.” www.drc-gb.org Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Briefing

first_img Comments are closed. A round-up of news from the professional journals Resistance to registerNursing regulators are making a last-ditch attempt to resistGovernment demands for a publicly available list revealing which cities orregions nurses work in. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has been told it mustpublish a list of who is on the register and where they are from. This hadprompted fears that a ‘stalker’s charter’ would result, with members of thepublic able to look up nurses’ names and addresses on the internet or in alibrary.Nursing Standard, 13 May‘Racially biased’ NHSThe NHS is ‘chronically and consistently racially biased’ andis preventing black and ethnic minority nurses from being promoted, it has beenalleged. Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE),called the situation a clear case of ‘snow-capping’ – where white members ofstaff are at the top of the organisational pyramid and black workers at thebottom.Nursing Standard, 13 MayCancer linked to obesityObesity is a risk factor for cancer as well as cardio-vascularand other diseases, new research has suggested. A report in the New EnglandJournal of Medicine found that obesity could be linked to up to a fifth of allcancer- related deaths in the US. The prospective study over 16 years of nearly1 million men and women found a correlation between a high body mass index andcancer risk.Nursing Times, 24 April BriefingOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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Sussing psychometrics

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. With conflicting reviews and an endless range, it is important for companiesto ensure the tests they use on their people are credible and meet theorganisation’s requirements. Keith Rodgers investigatesFaced with thousands of different types of tests, lingering controversy overinternet-based measurement techniques and a host of legislative complications,it is hardly surprising that some HR managers approach psychometric testingwith a degree of trepidation. The occasional horror story about its misuse –from firms that fired individuals because their results were ‘wrong’, toorganisations that adopt it as the basis for redundancy selection – haven’texactly helped. The reality, however, is that psychometric testing is widely used among TheTimes’ 1,000 companies and beyond. Championed in many instances byhighly-qualified professionals from the psychology field, it has a longpedigree and well-established best practices. Not only are online mechanismsmaturing, but the application of testing continues to expand into new fields,complementing its traditional role in the recruitment process. Applications arenow in areas such as employee development, managerial decision-making andimproving workplace relationships (see below). Organisations that use this testing, however, do need to bear certain challengesin mind. Robert McHenry, chairman of OPP, says the first priority is findingthe most suitable instruments to use. He believes there are some 5,000published personality tests available, of which only 20 are top quality. Thereare another few thousand aptitude offerings, so it is important to be confidentthe test is credible and meets your organisation’s specific requirements. In addition, the quality of reporting remains a concern. Many computer-basedtests generate crude results that are little more than a series of pre-written‘observations’ triggered by the associated response. Testing output isultimately only of value when the candidate’s answers are analysed in thecontext of other biographical information, and interpretation is key. E-testingcompany ASE, for example, matches individual psychometric reports against itsclients’ competency frameworks, examining the output against the specificrequirements of each role. Likewise, feedback to respondents – whether job applicants or employees –needs to be carefully handled. OPP asks customers to sign up to a code ofethics that covers a number of sensitive issues, from basics such as keepingresults confidential, to ensuring employers don’t use the output to challengeindividuals about what they think or feel. “Testing can be intrusive,” says McHenry, “so you need tomake sure you protect the integrity of the individual.” This awareness extends to legislative responsibilities, and organisationsneed to ensure that their procedures clearly meet their responsibilities underthe demands of race, sex, disability and data protection legislation. Experts also advise HR practitioners to be inclusive. One large financialservices organisation found that its biggest challenge in adopting onlinerecruitment was gaining acceptance from managers used to handling CVs andmanaging the process themselves. Faced with a mix of practical and emotionalresistance, it had to invest significant amounts of time managing expectationsand demonstrating tangible benefits. Roy Davis, head of communications at SHL,argues that HR should also involve IT from the outset when online testingproviders are being selected, given that there will be security and othertechnical implications. Above all, as Neville Osrin of Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow points out, thereis a danger in putting too much credence on the tests. One company heencountered fired staff on the basis of their responses, regardless of theiractual performances at work. The key is to contextualise, viewing tests as oneelement of a broader exercise. Looking forward, psychometric testing will increasingly be seen in thecontext of a broader human capital management remit, and its effectiveness willultimately be measured in new ways. As companies look for a return on the timeand money they invest in testing, organisations will seek statisticalvalidation that will help them hire the right kind of talented individuals, whostay with the organisation long term. What is psychometric testing and why do organisations use it?While many people think ofpsychometric testing as a recruitment tool, a number of organisations areadopting it to help with employee development, management training andpersonality-based workplace issues.Andrew Hill, managing psychologist at occupationalpsychologists Pearn Kandola, has used testing to help organisations with a widerange of development goals, including improved decision-making and conflictresolution.Rooted in Jungian and Freudian psychology, the tests helpindividuals understand key dimensions of their personality, such as whetherthey are introverts or extroverts, how they gather information, how they makedecisions and whether they tend to seek closure of an issue or hear out all thepossibilities. This process helps establish key differentiators in the waypeople work. Are they detail-focused, or do they like the big picture? Do theystep outside a problem and tackle a high-risk decision logically, or do theyput themselves into the situation and assess risk in terms of whether theywould personally be comfortable with the answer?These factors have come into play in numerous scenarios. At oneclient site with a high focus on worker safety, the tests allowed two feuding middlemanagers to understand what motivated each other and they learned to worktogether more constructively. Managers at the same site were also able toanalyse their own decision-making capabilities.Neville Osrin, of Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, also uses testingto assist in personal development. In a 360-degree appraisal, for example, amanager may receive feedback explaining that they are inaccessible.Psychometric testing will help them analyse their behaviour towards staff andunderstand which innate traits they need to counter-balance. Sussing psychometricsOn 10 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Message centre – understanding and articulating the occupational health ‘brand’

first_img No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Message centre – understanding and articulating the occupational health ‘brand’By Nick Pahl on 7 Dec 2018 in Military, Continuing professional development, OH service delivery, Research, Occupational Health, Wellbeing and health promotion, Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Occupational health practitioners are, rightly, always focused on delivering excellence. But with government reviewing the future shape of OH, Nick Pahl argues that OH needs to grasp the opportunity to communicate better the real value it can bring to the table.Amazon’s Jeff Bezos describes the concept of branding as: “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”So what, then, is the occupational health “brand”? How do people think and talk about occupational health when we, as OH practitioners, are not on the room? And how can we communicate better how occupational health is essential for the future health of the workforce?About the authorNick Pahl is chief executive of the Society of Occupational MedicineAt one level, of course, occupational health is arguably already a globally recognised brand. It has adapted over the years – from providing healthcare in industrialised settings to now working via telehealth and offering multidisciplinary services in the military, the NHS and service industries. OH keeps people safe and free from occupational disease in the UK and globally.It is, quite rightly, perceived and recognised as a leader and champion of workforce health and wellbeing, of improving organisational culture and providing key evidence based interventions such as health surveillance and assessments.A punitive service?However, do people – employees predominantly – see it too often as a punitive service, as a means (in tandem with HR) via which to fire someone? Moreover, in reality, how recognised or understood is OH as a brand? How many times have you as an OH practitioner perhaps been confused with an occupational therapist or needed to explain what it is and what you do at, say, a social event?OH is often currently perceived as being something to be called on at the end of a health journey, when an employee is in trouble or an employer is stuck as to what to do. This is rather than what it can be, namely a proactive friend right across the whole health journey, as well as delivering benefits for the whole of society.I recently visited Dr Richard Heron, chief medical officer at BP, and was struck by the leadership role that occupational health provides across what is a huge organisation – summarised in a recent article.Yet, even for someone with this level of profile within his organisation, when I showed a draft of this article to Dr Heron, he said: “I am proud to be an occupational health professional and to make a difference to the lives of workers, but all too often we are apologetic in public settings… If we cannot champion the discipline we cannot expect others to see its value.”This also feeds into a wider discussion: what does OH’s role, perception and brand need to be in a fast-changing and increasingly fluid working world, yet one where health and wellbeing challenges abound? Is OH caught between the unexciting but important world of statutory duties and obligations – in essence our profession’s “works nurse” or doctor industrial heritage – and emerging issues such as big data and health technology, precarious gig economy working and self-employment, and the burgeoning workforce wellness/engagement agenda?Once-in-a-generation opportunityWith such profound changes afoot, there is a strong argument to be made that OH needs to improve its brand identity, to be much more proactive about what it means, what it can do and the value it can offer, both now and in the future working landscape. I believe the government’s ongoing review of occupational health gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to articulate a new vision of occupational health – but only if we grab it with both hands.The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) is feeding into this review, including holding regular discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions/Department of Health and Social Care’s Work and Health Unit, which is leading the review process. We are also working more widely, including engaging with occupational health business and stakeholders, such as the World Health Organization.But don’t just take my word for it that things need to change. For this article I spoke to Professor Anne Harriss, this publication’s CPD editor and OH nursing and workplace health management programmes course director at London Southbank University. She told me: “Promoting the value of occupational health to both organisations and individuals must be central to the practice of occupational health professionals. National initiatives, including the move to include work as a health outcome within pre-registration medical and nursing curricula coupled with the Work, health and disability green paper: improving lives results in us being very well placed to further raise awareness of workplace health.“We must grasp the nettle, ensuring we are no longer the ‘Cinderella’ service. Cinderella must be seen at the ball and be seen in all her finery!”SOM recently hosted a special interest group discussion precisely on this topic of OH marketing and how better to communicate OH to the public and employers, how to widen the OH offer, for example by linking OH much more clearly with workplace wellness.We agreed that a “value proposition statement” for OH could help to improve how OH is perceived and valued by customers. The group noted two documents, one produced by SOM for the UK and another for an international audience, on the value proposition of OH. These documents reviewed the evidence for OH and its unique value, how it benefits nations and organisation’s productivity, workplaces, and of course employees.But what should such a statement include? A value proposition statement is a good way to demonstrate benefit and instil confidence that the brand will deliver on its promise. When crafting a value proposition statement for OH I’d argue practitioners need to consider the following three points:The target market (in other words to whom are you speaking?). What should are target market be: large organisations, public versus private, small and medium enterprises, precarious gig economy workers, all of the above?What needs to be your “brand promise”? This could be, for example, the quality of what you deliver (perhaps evidenced by, say, SEQOHS accreditation) or the results or business case or return on investment you can bring to the table.What, precisely, is your service offer or your unique selling point, and how it that different from the competition? This could be, for example, the link OH offers between health and wellbeing or perhaps health, wellbeing and take-up of employee benefits.When he reviewed this article, Dr Alasdair Emslie, chief medical officer at Duradiamond Healthcare and a former president of SOM, added that OH “branding” should be informed by six key considerations:What we do that nobody else doesThe societal, corporate and individual importance of what we doThe return on investment of what we doThe links to corporate social responsibility and productivityThe positive impact on reducing NHS and benefits costsThe fact we alongside primary care are the last generalist specialismTo give an example of what a value proposition statement can look like, at SOM we describe ourselves as “the largest and longest established nationally recognised professional organisation of individuals with an interest in health and work. Through its collective voice, SOM advances knowledge, raises standards and increases awareness to influence the future of occupational health. SOM membership is for anyone working in and around occupational health”.So, take a step back and think: what would your value proposition be for your OH service? If you’re struggling, perhaps take a look at what other OH providers say on their websites.Importance of marketingAlongside articulating our value proposition, it is important that OH recognises and embraces the value and importance of marketing. When you’re busy or (only rightly) focused on delivering a high-quality service, it is only too easy for marketing to fall by the wayside or be seen as something secondary, an add-on to the “core” of what you do. But if OH practitioners want to raise their profile and their brand, effective marketing has to be part of this mix. And this needs to include:Ensuring an effective tone of voice, for example creating content about OH that is insightful and relevant, engaging, and currentUsing both traditional (for example leaflets and/or contact with HR) and digital marketing (for example business-to-business social media platforms such as Linked-InSearch engine optimisation of websites, so they appear higher when searched for online; andPresenting at trade shows or eventsBeing published within trade or peer review publications, including (of course) publications such as Occupational Health & WellbeingAnyone who works in OH has a role in shaping and being proud of the OH “brand”. OH needs to ensure it is at the forefront of the employee health agenda, being proactive and not passive.All of us within occupational health need not only to take advantage of the current interest in and engagement with occupational health by the government, but also work to project what OH does and can offer to UK and global businesses.Clearly, we cannot do this alone. We need support from government to ensure, for example, there are enough properly trained occupational health professionals to meet demand for OH services as (we hope) it scales up. As we highlighted in the last edition of Occupational Health & Wellbeing, SOM is working hard to get the message out that OH is an attractive profession to join, including launching a new “career in OH” booklet and related YouTube video.Finally, occupational health shouldn’t and mustn’t feel threatened by the increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of workplace health and wellbeing. We can build on the new interest in workplace wellbeing from the government and society to create constructive partnerships with linked providers such as in employee assistance, income protection, vocational rehabilitation and HR.Ultimately, OH is the leading force in this “family” of services – and we need to be stepping forward, celebrating and articulating this. Let’s make these links and build a refreshed OH brand, fit for the future.SOM hosts with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine a “why occupational health” campaign website with a related Facebook page. If you wish to contribute a blog or help support the campaign contact [email protected] JB et al. “Role and Value of the Corporate Medical Director”. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 01 May 2018, 60(5):e215-e226. Available online at https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/29608537“Occupational health: the value proposition”. A report from the Society of Occupational Medicine May 2017. Available online at https://www.som.org.uk/sites/som.org.uk/files/Occupational%20health%20-%20the%20value%20proposition.pdfQ&A with Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine, 13 June 2018. EAP Association. Available online at https://www.eapa.org.uk/nick-pahl-som/ Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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