Archive for November, 2008

Is Honda’s strategy smart?

Honda’s decision to shut down production during two months of 2009 but retain all their talented people for a future upturn is a smart decision.

For some time I have been advocating that to shed staff to save money saves one asset, money, but it reduces another asset, the talent contained within the people.

In the last downturn both Hershey and Pilsbury adopted similar tactics and came out of the downturn faster and stronger than their competitors.

I wonder how many other companies might look at this tactic and copy it?

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Meeting with employees

During these uncertain times it’s inevitable that at some point we will need to meet with employees to carry out a hearing whether it’s a warning of dismissal or an appeal against redundancy.

How these meetings are approached is important when a Tribunal might consider whether you have acted reasonably or not. The main points to consider are:

a) Don’t prejudge the situation or alleged breach of discipline.

b) The employer needs to listen to what is being said.

c) The employer accepts that there is an issue that requires consideration but that no decision has been taken before all the evidence has been considered.

d) That it’s an opportunity for the employee to state their case and be heard by an employee with an open mind and with fairness.

It is crucial that handwritten minutes of the meeting are taken and that these match the typed record. Minutes should not be adapted but should be an accurate reflection of what happened at the meeting. (retain the handwritten notes as these may be required later).

Any issue raised by the employee must be examined and that all issues for consideration must be open for review and investigation. It is important to remember that one of the decisions that can be made is to agree with the employee.

If, having held the hearing, you decide to issue a warning or reject the employees grievance then there must be reasoned justification and you may need to state why you were satisfied with your conclusion on that point.

When holding such meetings it’s best to take advice so that they are conducted correctly and to ensure that you abide by the staff handbook covering such events.

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3 Million Unemployed

This morning a number of people have contacted me over the headline that the Chamber of Commerce has predicted a rise in unemployment in the UK to three million whilst at the same time blaming the UK and US Governments as well as the banks for the situation.

It seems that people are now beginning to become angry at what is happening.

People are failing to understand how the UK Government is reducing benefits, cutting grants to students, unable to force banks to maintain loans whilst continuing to pay bankers their bonuses.

The tone of the telephone calls seems to be:

a) That as people feel they are having to pay (physically and through redundancy) for an unjust system of rewards to those that caused the current situation the more likely we are to have social unrest.

b) That people’s demands for protectionist policies such as reducing immigration will begin to increase in volume.

c) That if the tax cuts that are promised don’t satisfy the public expectation then there will be even more anger.

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The Unemployment Quandry

BT has announced 10,000 job cuts today, with unemployment rising and the dark clouds over manufacturing companies such as General Motors is there an end of the reluctance for companies to make their talent redundant?

It poses a question: Will companies ensure that they identify the best talent to survive the recession or assume that talent can be picked up when needed when an upturn comes?

History would indicate that once talent is lost it’s very difficult to replace. 

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Redundency costs employers £10,000

Last week the CIPD reported that the average cost of making someone redundant was £10,000. Being an average figure some people are receiving much less and some much more than this amount.

Thus, an employer making 150 people redundant using this figure will have to find £1,500,000 (average). The costs may be a reason why unemployment has been rising slowly to date.

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If Barack Obama wins

If Barack Obama wins the presidential election will there be a “feel good” factor affect both the markets and how people feel about their future?

and if there was a feel good factor will this soon disappear as the hard reality of the financial downturn becomes apparent and unemployment rises. 

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