In-sourcing – the new out-sourcing?

Maybe what lies at the nub of the idea of disbanding the HR function is the concept of sense of purpose – not for ourselves, but as judged by other people. It’s not our own answer to ‘what are you here for, exactly?’ that’s the issue, it’s how other people see it: not the purpose we think we serve, but the one that others think we do. Or, more critically, don’t.

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A long but broken engagement?

Back in April 2010, we wrote about the MacLeod Review, a government review into the complex and timely issue of employee engagement. Judging by the frequency with which we read about the topic in the HR/L&D press – and are even requested to comment or write for the same media outlets ourselves – it is not in that category of organisational issues that we can mark down as essentially a fad. On the contrary, engagement is the issue that will not go away. But are organisations listening to the sources that provide evidence of the need to make changes (or even the benefits of doing so)? The verdict is less clear.

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What makes the grunts disgruntled?

One of the long-standing conundrums of life in the workplace is the gap that exists between managers’ perceptions and those of their employees. Some middle-managers also find themselves having to act as buffers between a 'bad boss' and the staff who report to them. Middle-managers may not be natural born tailwaggers, but they do share something with puppies: treat them badly for long enough and they’ll stop loving or respecting you.

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Workplace Learning: don’t stand in your own way

As employees increasingly take their training ‘on the run’ as well as ‘on the job’, the percentage of training that takes place in the manager’s rather than the trainer’s arena will only increase, but how far are managers shouldering or responding to this increasing responsibility? Is the determining factor more one of willingness or of ability? Or, perhaps, of opportunity and encouragement? This is a vital debate, and one in which managers’ own voices have so far been little heard. To ask these questions so that we might all benefit from being aware of the answers, ASK (working with Institute of Leadership and Management) has launched the UK Workplace Learning Survey 2013-14.

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Line Managers are organisational pillars, but pillars need support too

Despite the evidence of the passing years, we had perhaps clung to a hope that the optimism we were showing by doing so was less delusional than that of organisations that identify a genuine need and use ill-equipped people as sticking plaster or means to plaster over the cracks. Hand on heart (and palm on forehead), the brief chuckle that we had at the recent example of a project manager being hired to act as a dedicated change manager (see our recent post) was hollow laughter: the kind of merriment to be briefly gleaned when something terrible happens to someone else. But also the kind of merriment that dies on your lips when you realise that something far less than optimal will have happened to several other people as a result.

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Generations at work: The other ‘squeezed middle’

Barclays Bank recently commissioned research into the appeal of benefits packages offered by employers to different generational groupings within the workforce. Someone with a keen interest in pop culture – albeit not very recent pop culture – may have chosen the report’s title: Talking About My Generation. Looking at coverage of the report since its publication, other Who singles might have spoken more clearly about the findings: I’m thinking, for example, about The Seeker, Let’s See Action or the inevitable Won’t Get Fooled Again.

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The Importance of Losing Well: Andy Murray

In terms of achieving our full potential, our reactions and responses to defeat are as telling – if not more so – than the fact of losing. As Murray has shown, displays of ill-grace or tantrums are not the best way of demonstrating a player’s commitment: the best route is to choose to learn from adversity and defeat rather allowing it to undermine confidence and self-belief – and, in turn, the capacity to perform to the best of our personal ability. The attitude that defeat can be a powerful and inspiring learning experience is echoed by

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Sisters: doing it for themselves?

Harriet Green OBE has many outstanding qualities: attracting attention to her opinions, her abilities and to herself are just three of them, judging by coverage in recent days in The Times and The Telegraph. Her business abilities clearly extend to knowing which elements of a story will capture both an audience’s and a journalist’s attention: her message to other women to contact blue chip company Chairs directly rather than using headhunters or recruitment consultants – and using her own example as evidence of the success of this approach – makes no mention, for example, that she holds an OBE and is a member of the UK Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group. Not everyone who is chipping away at the glass ceiling possesses quite such a diamond-tipped chisel. I hope that it’s not cynicism that leaves me wondering whether chutzpah alone would have been quite so effective.

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UK Learning Transfer Survey 2012 Results

Every two years, the UK Learning Transfer Survey seeks to look beyond the academic research on learning transfer to identify the actual practices of learning and development professionals and their organisations. The results of the 2012 UK survey – a full copy of which you can request from our website - provide compelling evidence that, although learning transfer has become established as a mainstream activity in most organisations, the dash to technology-enabled training observable in the organisational learnscape may threaten that progress as trainers seek to re-define their role for the digital era.

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