CIPD warns businesses – use female talent or lose it

CIPD warns business – use top female talent or lose it

As the green shoots of economic recovery emerge, new CIPD research shows how urgent action needs to be taken by the corporate world to stem the leaking talent pipeline that could hinder the progress of growth.

Building on the messages in a report from the Women’s Business Council published in June, it is clear that if business does not adopt flexible or innovative working practices, it will continue to lose impressive women who decide to set up their own businesses to achieve a better work-life balance.

‘Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs,’ the second report in a three part series by the CIPD on entrepreneurial practices, highlights that there are more than 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work and that if there were as many female entrepreneurs as there are male entrepreneurs, GDP could be boosted by 10% by 2030.

To gain insight into what motivates female entrepreneurs and makes them successful, the CIPD interviewed a number of women to find out what made them go solo, what has made them thrive and what they think would encourage more to set up on their own. What became clear is that employers could have much to gain by creating the conditions in which these talented and committed women could thrive in the corporate world.

The CIPD’s research shows that female-run enterprises are often particularly successful due to their unique approach to leadership and running their businesses:

  • They tend to be motivated more by a sense of purpose than by solely the prospect of generating wealth
  • They tend to grow their businesses incrementally and sustainably, avoiding debt in favour of self-financing wherever possible
  • They tend to take a personal approach to marketing and relationship management, taking great care to protect their brands and enhance their reputations
  • They tend to demonstrate great self awareness and business acumen, with ability to spot opportunities and recognise where bringing in new expertise can drive the business forward.

Dianah Worman OBE, Public Policy Adviser at CIPD, said: “It’s clear from our research that women have a lot to offer to the economy – be it by starting up their own businesses or by letting their entrepreneurial flair and business savvy shine in the corporate world. Employers need to act out of self interest to broaden the pools of talent available to them and ensure they do not lose out on the skills, energy and passion women can bring to their workplaces if they were allowed to work more autonomously and flexibly. Government is right to actively stimulate the wider take up of flexible working by employers and to seek to support women in setting up and growing their own enterprises. It makes perfect sense to find ways of helping them to do this in order to build economic growth.”

The research found that the key drivers that motivate women to set up on their own are the desire for more autonomy and the need for greater work-life balance and flexible working. However, the women interviewed in the report also revealed some of the challenges associated with going it alone, stating that more women would be motivated to start successful businesses if they had access to a central business advice portal with quality guidance on financial business planning, franchising, up-skilling and training.

Naomi Timperley, Co-Director of Enterprise Lab and Director of Social Media Boom, who famously turned down Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den, offers her recommendations for female entrepreneurs in the report:

“Women are increasingly savvy at recognising and tapping into emerging trends but there needs to be greater guidance out there for enterprising and creative women. I learnt that you can start a business with very little money but you need to make sure that you have done your research and know your market.”


@CIPD is hosting a Twitter Q&A on Thursday at 13:30 with authors of the research Dianah Worman and Claire McCartney and the case-studies featured in the report #cipdQandA


  • If you wish to reproduce this press release in full on your website, please link back to the original source
  • The full report can be downloaded here
  • The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. It has over 130,000 members internationally working in HR, learning and development, people management and consulting across private businesses and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors.  As an independent and not for profit organisation, the CIPD is committed to championing better work and working lives for the benefit of individuals, business, the economy and wider society – because good work and all it entails is good for business and society at large, and what is good for business should also be good for people’s working lives.  The CIPD brings together extensive research and thought leadership, practical advice and guidance, professional development and rigorous professional standards to drive better capabilities and understanding in how organisations of all kinds operate and perform, and in how they manage and develop their people. A Royal Charter enables the CIPD to confer individual chartered status on members who meet the required standards of knowledge, practice and behaviours.
  • The CIPD is proud to celebrate its centenary in 2013: one hundred years of leading HR into the future. For more information about the CIPD’s history, please visit


CIPD Press Enquiries

Robert Blevin / Katy Askew / Isabel Allanwood

Tel: 020 8612 6400


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Business leaders and HR are united on short term priorities but different things keep them awake at night

Senior HR and wider business leaders are both clearly focused on the short-term business priority of cost management. The challenge for HR is to balance the tension between responding to short-term cost imperatives and keeping longer-term people issues firmly on the agenda, as these are what will really make the difference to sustainable performance.

That’s according to a new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) based on a survey of 369 business leaders and 107 senior HR professionals. The report, HR Outlook: A variety of leader perspectives, reveals that although 64% of business leaders and 71% of HR professionals cited cost management as their top priority, when it comes to what keeps them awake at night, HR is more likely to be worrying about longer-term people issues. Most notably, leadership development (41% of HR respondents versus 18% business leaders) and talent development in line with future skills needs (27% HR versus 18% business).

Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, comments: “This is a time of real opportunity for HR. In what is often called the ‘current economic climate’, but would more accurately be called ‘the new normal’, businesses face many conflicting priorities, such as reducing costs at the same time as trying to increase employee engagement. This puts HR issues at the heart of the business agenda now more than ever. Business leaders are looking to HR for creative solutions to the challenges the business faces – but there still needs to be a solid and robust business case for action. Using metrics effectively to inform business decision-making is essential.”

However, the research also found that many business leaders remain unconvinced about HR’s contribution to business performance, suggesting they are not currently demonstrating their strategic value as strongly as they could. HR is perceived by business leaders to be more involved in implementing strategy than in devising it. And worryingly, almost a fifth of business leaders say they don’t know what HR’s contribution to strategy is.

“It is clear that HR still has work to do in terms of increasing its visibility and impact and ultimately in demonstrating the organisational value they deliver,” Cheese continues. “HR needs to make better use of metrics to look forward, support and inform the business agenda, but HR leaders must also have the courage, and the business savvy, to effectively challenge and influence business leaders and strategies.”

CIPD Press Release

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 760 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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‘Two-year itch’ among managers damages workplace productivity

A “two-year itch” experienced by managers as their happiness at work falls is undermining productivity, a survey of more than 1,000 team leaders has revealed.

The research, conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), asked managers to assess themselves and their teams in terms of confidence, happiness and performance.

Responses revealed that ‘happiness’ reaches a peak during the first years managers are in post but then it drops off and continues to fall after that period.

This represents a serious challenge for senior leaders and HR as the survey responses also suggested that happy managers were better managers overall.

People who rated themselves as high performers were among the top 10 per cent for happiness, rating this feeling as 86 out of 100 on average.

A similar link was found between unhappy managers and those who rated themselves as poor performers, with the bottom 10 per cent showing this correlation.

The survey showed that managers with happy and low-stressed team members were happier and less stressed themselves, indicating that both happiness and stress radiate up and down through organisations.

Charles Elvin, ILM chief executive, said: “Our research shows that managers’ performance and happiness tend to peak after two years within an organisation, before falling away rapidly.

“Organisations can counteract this ‘two year itch’ by harnessing and retaining managers’ early energy and enthusiasm with timely training over this crucial period.”

This research indicates a clear link between training and development, and the happiness and performance of both managers and their teams, the ILM said in its report ‘The pursuit of happiness: positivity and performance among UK managers’.

The report also said that managers with clear access to progression and development pathways were shown to be happier and performing at a higher level than those with less access.

“Our survey highlights the pressing need to target training more effectively for front-line managers, who have the least access to development opportunities, and stand out as being less happy, more stressed and performing to a lower level than their more senior colleagues,” Elvin added.

People Management

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Can a reduction in hours lead to a redundancy situation?

Companies experiencing a downturn in business are increasingly looking for alternatives to redundancies.

Recruitment freezes, unpaid sabbaticals and secondments have all been used to avoid making job cuts. In addition, employers often ask employees to reduce their hours of work and take a commensurate drop in salary. Two recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decisions have, however, created some confusion as to whether or not a dismissal arising from a reduction in hours, rather than a reduction in headcount, will be on the ground of redundancy. Holly Murphy looks into the cases.

Headcount reduction not necessary for redundancy

In Packman (t/a Packman Lucas Associates) v Fauchon, Ms Fauchon was employed to provide book-keeping services. As a result of a general downturn in business and the introduction of new accountancy software, the employer needed fewer hours of book-keeping services. Ms Fauchon was therefore asked to reduce her weekly hours. She refused and was dismissed as the business no longer needed her to work her contractual hours.

The key issue before the EAT was whether or not there needed to be an actual or anticipated reduction in the number of employees for the dismissal to be on the ground of redundancy.

The EAT decided that if the amount of work available for the same number of employees is reduced, then a dismissal arising out of the downturn in work will be on the ground of redundancy. This is despite the fact that there is no reduction in the number of employees needed. The judgment specifically notes that the decision is consistent with the HR practice of considering the issue of hours and number of employees by adopting a full-time equivalent (FTE) approach: even though the number of employees actually working might stay the same, the FTE workforce is reduced and therefore there is a “real” reduction in headcount.

Headcount reduction required for redundancy

The case of Welch v The Taxi Owners Association (Grangemouth) Ltd was heard by the EAT one month after Packman. Ms Welch was one of two nightshift radio control operators for a taxi company. An increase in competition led to a downturn in her employer’s business of at least 50% during the nightshift. It therefore sought to reduce her hours, but she rejected the proposal and indicated that she would be prepared to accept “voluntary redundancy”. Her employer did not dismiss her and she resigned, bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

Ms Welch’s claim was poorly pleaded and presented to the tribunal. The EAT dismissed the issue of whether or not there was a redundancy situation as “irrelevant”, but suggested nevertheless that there would be no redundancy unless fewer employees were required to carry out work of a particular kind.

Practical tips

What do these conflicting EAT cases mean for employers who want to reduce their employees’ hours? The good news is that permission to appeal has been sought inPackman so the confusion arising from these decisions may be resolved in due course by the Court of Appeal.

In the meantime, employers should be wary of relying on Welch, which suggests that there will be no redundancy situation unless there is a headcount reduction. This point was not central to the EAT’s decision and there were issues with the way in which the claim was pleaded. A more certain approach to reducing employees’ hours is to consult with them regarding the proposed reduction and ask those who accept the proposal to agree to the changes in writing. If some employees refuse, the employer should ascertain their interest in taking voluntary redundancy. If there are not enough volunteers and the employer decides that dismissals are necessary, it should commence its usual redundancy process, including collective consultation where required.

Personnel Today

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Strengthening labour market polarised by growing tail of long-term unemployed

Commenting on the ONS Labour Market statistics released today, Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), comments: “A quarterly rise of more than 150,000 employees offers the strongest evidence for some time that the jobs market might be gathering genuine momentum, with growth now being driven by firms rather than the self-employed. Almost every economic indicator is tentatively improving; with redundancies falling, vacancies rising and increases in basic pay edging to a level close to the current rate of inflation. However, with around a third of this increase in employment being taken up with temporary work, the figures also highlight the uncertainty still felt by many employers.

“Also interesting to note is the reversal of the recent trend in the proportion of migrant and UK born workers filling vacancies. Recent quarters had seen UK-born workers fare less well in relation to non-UK born workers. However, three quarters of the employment increase is now being taken up by UK-born workers, which suggests that the government’s jobs search requirements are working.

“The only cloud on the government’s horizon is the growing tail of long-term unemployed. All eyes will now therefore be on Work Programme providers’ task of bridging the gap between the demands of employers and the employability skills of the long-term unemployed”.


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HR Is NOT a 47 Year Old White Woman!

Last year the folks at HRxAnalysts published a fascinating psychometric report about HR.  Who works in HR; what’s the education level of HR professionals; do they get certifications; do they go to industry trade shows; what industry publications do they read; do they like to be wined and dined. It is a fascinating read. The title of the report is What HR Thinks and Feels: The 2011 HRxAnalysts Psychographic Survey of HR Professionals; The Demographics, Behaviors, Attitudes and Beliefs of HR Professionals

Without being overly simplistic, the bottoms line is that the average HR professional is a 47 year old white woman with a college degree, two kids, pretty middle-of-the-road politically who isn’t into team sports and likes music.

It’s good and useful information – especially if you want to sell stuff to HR.

However, based on a new survey published in Human Resource Executive, the title really should have been HR is a 47 Year Old White Woman – Unless They’re the CHRO of a Major Employer.

In the September 16, 2012 edition of the magazine, on line here, the editors published the yearly list of HR’s Elite:  the 50 highest paid HR executives “culled from a universe of about 227 former and current HR executives at Russell 3000 companies who were among the five most highly compensated officers in their companies and were, therefore, included in those organizations’ filings.”

Ten of the 50 top compensated CHROs were women.  Ten.  That’s 20%.  And that’s down from 43% in 2011.  Now I’m not assuming that only 20% of all large employers have female CHROs – HRE says its 43% of the nation’s 100 largest employers – but that’s not as high as the 67% as the HRxAnalyst research highlights. Not even close.  And I’m pretty sure that the reason more female CHROs don’t show up in the top 50 highest paid HR executives is the still prevalent truth that in general men still make more than women.

The concern to me is that if it is true, as HRxAnalysts published, that 67% of all HR professionals are women, then why aren’t more of them moving into the top job? The hard question is that if 55% of HR Managers are female, and 64% of HR Directors are female, and 69% of HR Vice Presidents are female, then why, practically speaking, are we not seeing those percentages hold true in the top HR jobs?

I get it:  HR is a 47 year old white woman.  Unless we’re talking the CHRO job.  Then, HR is a guy.  Interesting, huh?


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Unfair dismissal changes ‘will lead to rise in other claims’

Employers have predicted that the number of tribunal claims will rise following the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, as employees will bring cases under different headings, according to the latest survey by XpertHR.

In April, the Government extended the length of service required for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim from one year to two years, in a bid to increase business confidence when hiring workers and reduce the number of tribunal claims.

At the time, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the change would reduce the number of unfair dismissal claims by between 3% and 5%.

However, according to the research from XpertHR, more than half (51%) of employers said that they believe that the overall number of employment tribunal claims will rise following the change because there will be an increase in the number of claims made under other headings, such as discrimination, where there is no service requirement.

Rachel Suff, XpertHR employment relations researcher and author of the report, said: “If this forecast is borne out, the Government’s legislative change, designed to help reduce the number of employment tribunal claims, could prove to be counter-productive.”

Just one employer in five (22%) of the 258 surveyed by XpertHR thought that the number of tribunal claims would fall following the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.

However, despite employers’ scepticism about the impact of the changes on the number of tribunal claims, the latest Ministry of Justice employment tribunal statistics suggest that claims may be falling on their own.

During the year to the end of March 2012, prior to the extension of the unfair dismissal qualifying period, there was a 15% fall in the number of tribunal claims accepted by employment tribunals on the previous year.

Personnel Today

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New tool for achieving sustainable organisational performance through HR in SMEs

New tool for achieving sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs goes live.

Practical tips for growing small and medium sized businesses will also feature at CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition, 6-8 November 2012 at Manchester Central

A tool for those with responsibilities for people management within SMEs has been launched by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). In recognition of the crucial role good people management has to play in driving long-term performance in SMEs, the tool will help users put people management and HR strategies into practice within their organisation.

Based on the findings of recent CIPD SME-focused research, Sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs, the practical tool provides support for individuals and organisations who want to get the most from their people and support their businesses through times of transition and development. The tool includes an ‘organisation stock take’, practical exercises, action planning facilities and a number of real-life case study examples.

Maintaining employee engagement through SME growth is also one of the key topics being discussed at the CIPD’s Annual Conference and Exhibition, this year, where two of the HR professionals highlighted in the SME tool will be speaking. Hazel Stimpson, HR Manager at Harrod UK, an organisation that has successfully transitioned through various stages of growth in recent years, will share her experiences, alongside Lesley Cotton, HR Director at P&O Ferries, who has a history of establishing good people management practices within growing SMEs. The session will provide practical information on how to maintain employee engagement, tips on how to deal with some of the challenges along the growth journey and an overview of how drivers of engagement continue to change as an organisation expands.

Dr Jill Miller, Research Adviser at CIPD and author of the research and tool, will be chairing the SME-focused session at the CIPD Annual Conference. She comments: “SMEs are vital for future economic growth and jobs, accounting for 99.9 per cent of all enterprises in the UK. CIPD research has found that excellent people management helps to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that is crucial to SME success. However, as an organisation grows, certain challenges arise, particularly when it comes to balancing the need for formal systems and processes with the desire to preserve an innovative culture. With larger teams, maintaining people’s strong engagement with the organisation’s purpose and vision becomes more challenging as the distance between the founder of the organisation and employees increases.”


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Why cyberbullying is an issue for HR

The recent news that a 17-year-old has been arrested after sending a malicious tweet to Olympic diver Tom Daley comes as a stark reminder of how hurtful online abuse can be and how quickly it can escalate.

The workplace is not immune from such abuse of social media either. A recent legal case turned the spotlight on the risks that arise should employees decide to bully or “troll” other staff online. And examples are not limited to social networking sites – cyberbullying can include malicious emails or texts, sharing compromising images or even screensavers featuring offensive content.

In the Teggart v Teletech case, a call-centre worker was dismissed after making offensive comments about a colleague on Facebook.

The comments suggested that a female employee had been sexually promiscuous with other colleagues. After a formal investigation by the company, Mr Teggart was dismissed for gross misconduct for bringing the company into disrepute and having harassed his colleague, who had reported feeling “upset, physically distressed and tearful” after discovering his post. Mr Teggart appealed to an employment tribunal, which threw out his claim for unfair dismissal.

Wide audience

Acas advice
Last year, Acas published the following guidance on the use of social media at work, which includes suggestions for drawing up appropriate use policies:

  • Have a policy on social media use, but consult with staff on its content.
  • Set out clearly and explicitly the organisation’s expectations and definitions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
  • The main message should be that online conduct is no different from offline conduct, with reference to existing conduct guidelines.
  • Communicate policies on internet use – many employees may not know there is even a disciplinary policy regarding social media – and review them on a regular basis.
  • Ensure there are mechanisms for employees to raise formal and informal grievances.
  • Reciprocate trust by encouraging staff to reap the business benefits of social networking.
  • Keep up to date with new case law in relation to social media.

See the full guide on the Acas website.

Bullying at work is nothing new, but comments posted online, or shared via email or another networking site, can reach a wide audience very quickly. The ease of access to social media both at home and at work also means that the line is increasingly blurred – Mr Teggart made the comments about his colleague on his personal Facebook profile after a few drinks at home, but his actions were still considered worthy of dismissal. Further, constant access to smartphones makes it easier than ever to post rumours, gossip or derogatory comments to social networking sites.

According to Ann Munro, an associate at the law firm Charles Russell, bullying via electronic means should be treated no differently to bullying offline. “It is still unacceptable behaviour, it is just being carried out via different means,” she says. “An individual subjected to online bullying may claim they have been harassed, which could lead to a legal claim for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Damages for a successful discrimination claim are uncapped and the award would be based on financial and non-financial losses (such as injury to feelings).”

Other personal claims employers could face as a result of cyberbullying include defamation, where the employer could be held jointly or vicariously liable where one of its employees defames another, or constructive dismissal. In the case of the latter, the employee could resign and then claim that they have done so as a result of a breach of contract by the employer, which has breached their mutual duty of trust and confidence.

Reputational damage

The risks of not taking cyberbullying seriously are not just restricted to individual claims, either. Comments made about an employer on Facebook or Twitter could lead to reputational damage. There is also the risk of staff leaking confidential information, such as company financial results before they have been released to the markets.

There has been considerable debate over whether or not employers should draw up standalone social media policies, with some expressing concern that to control employees’ use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter is distrustful and counterproductive. But employment lawyers’ advice is very clear on this: having a policy in place will not only spell out to staff what is and is not acceptable when it comes to using social media, but it could also protect your company in the event that someone brings a claim.

“Our strong advice is that companies have a social media policy. Saying that you don’t need one is a nice sentiment, and your policy should always reflect the culture of your organisation, but you should at least have some hard and fast rules,” says Nicola Doran, a lawyer on the employment team at Osborne Clarke. “These should include rules on making discriminatory comments, defamatory comments and the release of confidential information.”

Reporting line

Doran also advises that companies have a good reporting line in place. Under the Equality Act, an employer could be held liable if it knew that one of its staff was being harassed but didn’t take reasonable steps to deal with it. “If something happens, have a conversation with the employee, investigate their claim, and go down the disciplinary route if necessary,” she says.

Whether you choose to have a discrete social media policy that covers cyberbullying or not, ensure that your disciplinary procedures or anti-bullying policies are joined-up, and that staff are aware that they encompass online as well as offline activity. Munro advises training staff on the content of the policies and what happens if they do not comply. “They should be made aware that failure to comply with the provisions will be treated in accordance with your disciplinary policy, and in serious cases may lead to dismissal. This should then be enforced in practice,” she says.

On a more informal level, discuss with staff what is and is not appropriate to share via social media. In organisations where using Twitter is a core part of their working day, for example, encourage staff to differentiate between their personal accounts and those they use solely for work. “Get staff to be clear on what’s personal and what are the views of the company,” says Doran.


Staff should also be aware of what they can and can’t do on smartphones: posting something to Facebook on a personal mobile phone might seem innocuous, but a defamatory comment made while the employee is on work business could leave the employer vicariously liable. Even personal computers carry a risk, as the Teggart case shows.

Ultimately, being as clear as possible with staff on what’s appropriate and joining up relevant policies will reap benefits, says Doran: “Where employers have had adequate provision for the consequences of any inappropriate social media use is where they’ve been protected. While 99 out of 100 staff will behave impeccably online, if one doesn’t and your company ends up liable, you’ll be kicking yourself.”

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