Friday, 27 November 2009

What's Latin for 'Suck this?"...

Yet more trouser shenanigans going on in the financial world I see! Overweight and oversexed old city boy sexually harasses attractive female employee - it's an all too common and depressing story.

A couple of things really stand out for me though in this one.  Firstly, the shameless way Mr Lowe is defending his actions as if they were entirely normal.  Cute Asian hookers in hot pants at meetings? Of course, someone's got to take notes and make the tea!

Sending an employee a note ending with a piece of 'Latin poetry' that roughly translates thus: 'I will fuck you in the ass and mouth'? Why, it's merely poetry! He's only trying to educate the woman!"

Money, or too much of it it at least, seems to remove all sense reality from some people, which is probably why we have heard nothing but total garbage from finance industry leaders and the government in the last 12 months or so.

The second thing that occurs though, is just how obscenely overpaid this young lady appears to be. Reports vary, and we should be careful not to believe too much of the bollocks we read in the press obviously, but most put her 'salary' at £500k for the job of 'marketing executive'. This guy wants me to put my money in his fund to manage when he's going to be spanking huge chunks of it on people like her to take notes at meetings? Not bloody likely.

I have a tip for Miss Wimmer. Before she complains about her boss paying for talentless totty, dressed to please and hang around meetings for the viewing pleasure of his fellow city types, she should take a long, hard look in the mirror. Because from where I'm standing I'm struggling to see the difference between her and the ladies he paid by the hour.

"HR?! Get me more whiskey.  And be quick about it.  Nice arse by the way..."

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Aviva Triangle

So Andrew Moss, CEO of Aviva has been caught up to his nuts in one of his collegues?! The affair, Dubbed The Aviva Triangle (an apt title given that's such a great name for where he appears to have been hiding the sausage) screamed out at me from the Standard last last Thursday.  However my excitement turned to pure joy when I read that the lady in question, the lovely Deirdre Moffatt, was his HR lacky!  How I roared.

No wait, it gets better.  Unbelievably, Mrs Moffatt's husband is none other than Andrew Moffatt, Aviva's European HR Director.  How frustrating for Mr Moffatt - most senior HR execs would give their right arm for a chance to appear in the mainstream media, ala David (Fit to burst) Fairhurst.  And when he does finally get his 15 minutes of fame, sadly its not celebrating his impressive European talant management strategy.  Oh no.  He gets his mug in the papar because his boss is banging his wife.  Ouch!

Now on the face of it, I've never really had a problem with internal affairs.  Yes I know there is the usual protest that two people indulging carnally, particular senior bods, can conspire and confer and get up to all sorts of nastiness but get real people. If you think only those with their hands in each others underwear are guilty of that then you are living on another planet. It goes on all the time, regardless of who is knobbing who.

But wait a minute? What's this?! A company source said "All three decided she had to go". Did they really? Of course they did, she didn't really have a choice. Apparently Andrew wasn't going to resign and if had done it wouldn't have been accepted.

Why not? Because the chairman has a cock that's why.

Given I can't afford to lose my job I won't be blowing my chief exec any time soon.

Apologies for my absence folks.

Apologies for my absence folks. As I said in my recent tweet, my workload in the last 5 months or so seemed inversely proportional to my organisations' revenues. Who said HR are not needed in a downturn - Rubbish!

There are people to fire - sorry, 'rightsize' as we now call it - the survivors need serious stroking and of course there is all the internal comms to manage. And I'm not talking about official lines of communication, briefings and the like. No. I'm talking about keeping on top of all the watercooler gossip that's been keeping the grapevine smoking.

It's not easy trying to justify a Bonus AND pay rise for the top team when everyone else is on an indefinite pay cut. However given the amount of internal PR work I have to put in on this issue alone I feel justified when I look around the table at my fellow leaders that I, out of all of them, have earned mine.

And so it is a rich landscape of all matters People to which I return!  The Royal Mail, Aviva - see post - to name but a few.

I do hope to manage my time better so I can keep this blog up because HR is suddenly looking like a great place to be for once!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Let he who is without sin....

Casting the stone is a somewhat topical notion given that a few of them ended up in 'Fred the shred's' front room via a closed window recently. And only a few weeks ago, as i mooched around our great capital city i had met several people who had avoided wearing a 'suit' for fear of being mistaken for a banker and run the risk being stoned to death. Me, I'm not a banker. And, along with my 'wheat and dairy intolerance' I have a 'suit intolerance' also so I passed by unnoticed.

But as I'm basking in the post 'G20' experience and wondering what impact it will have longer term, I cant help feeling that its all a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Don't get me wrong, like many of you, I'm as appalled at the next person at the situation regarding 'C' level remuneration, and there are posts here on this blog stating so. I mean, I did my very best to fail this year and did I get a penny in bonus and shares? Did I fuck.

However, there is no demand without supply as they say. Similarly there is not action without consequence. And we are all, in a small, but not insignificant way, guilty of having our noses in the trough too. I cant look at a sequinned top without getting an image of a 5 year old boy in India, sewing sequins onto that very garment, 12 hours a day for a wage of 50 pence or something similar. Computers now come free with other things. That, if you think about it, is not right. Things have to be paid for, and complicated financial and risk models are created to pay for them. Money is lent and borrowed, to have today what we used to wait until tomorrow for.

"Not me" I hear you say. Well I beg to differ. You have a discounted mortgage? Guilty. Waited until the sale to buy that item you wanted? Guilty. Picked a John Lewis salesman's brains for 45 minutes then promptly went and shopped on-line for his recommendation, denying him the sale? Guilty as charged.

A long time ago many of our global partners would cynically refer to us as a 'nation of shopkeepers' and in the years since we have puffed out our national chest and done everything we can to change from shopkeeper to international player. But where has it got us? At least back then we owned the shops and had cash stashed under the mattress to boot. Now, we are a nation of shoppers and home-owners who, ironically have no cash to shop with and who don't actually own our own homes.

The Jury is in, the verdict is guilty. I sentence you to 10 years hard labour.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Burn them at the steak!

Well bugger me! Hot on the heels of my ramblings about our bigoted society comes the 'revelation' that nearly 20% of the professional therapists responsible for treating mental health issues think that being 'gay' is a disease to be 'cured'.

Actually, on a purely physical and scientific level they are probably right. No, no, stay with me here. You see, your brain is nothing more than a blob of physical matter, suspended in a hot chemically charged soup. That's it. Nothing more. Think of it like a wet cell battery, much like the one you have in your car. Somehow, the lump inside your skull combines with its broth and, magically, from nowhere, springs a whole host of unexplained things including your spirit, personality, imagination and desires.

So at a very simplistic level, according to behavioural averages and norms, some people's head broth hasn't quite mixed up into the expected soup of heterosexuality and that if we can just pop a bit of 'seasoning' in there somehow we can adjust the recipe and get you back to 'normal'. Get the neurons to behave differently.

Quite how they think they can address this issue though is beyond me. I imagine the scenario:

Therapist to male 'patient': "OK, men's bottoms equals baaaad, very bad. Womens vagina's gooood, very good."

Male 'Patient' to therapist: "What about women's bottoms?"

Therapist to patient:" Er..............."

I can't see it working can you? Clearly these taxpayer funded fatheads have a chemical brain imbalance of their own. The magic of the human being, for better or worse, is that we are one of the few examples where you can see the notion of 'greater than the sum of its parts' in action. Granted, we often abuse that gift, but in the main, we are quite literally a miracle to behold. But the fact that we turn out in a variety of shapes and sizes, thought patterns and preferences (including sexual) should be celebrated, not calibrated. Unfortunately, the worst aspect of human evolution is that some of us feel we know better than others.

Rather unwittingly, the NHS is clearly suffering from something that its been bleating on to the rest of us about for some time - morbid obesity. Time the NHS went on a controlled diet and got rid of its 'fat belly' of bigoted thinkers.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Stale, Male and Pale...

Diversity and Inclusion, now there's a contradiction in terms. Thanks to Tony Blair and his henchmen we have seen an avalanche of legislation on this subject in recent years and a matching explosion in 'professionals' to manage it within organisations. Another great opportunity for the function to build its part. But what now? The market is shrinking faster than a lambswool sweater in a boil wash and all of a sudden (some public sector organisations aside) the opportunity to meet diversity 'targets' in terms of appointees is looking rather bleak. In the boom time of 'jobs a plenty' even the most ignorant of employers begrudgingly made some effort to extend the makeup of the workforce beyond stale male and pale because there was opportunity all round.

However, in these challenged times the pressure is on to fill those limited vacancies with 'only the best' and, for some, I’m afraid, that doesn't include you. There is hope though. If you are not of English origin or you have a sexual orientation that is anything but industry standard heterosexual, you are far less likely to suffer the public hand of discrimination. Despite fairly rampant levels of bigotry in our corporate society you won’t hear anyone say "No spooks or fags on my manor" in a public setting. Well, maybe in construction... but nowhere else. Ok, ok maybe the legal profession as well. But in the main, racial, and more recently, sexual orientation discrimination are pretty much more taboo in professional circles. It does go on as we know, but mainly behind closed doors.

Gender and age seem to be fair game however. Over 50 and male, or female in the wrong environment and you’re stuffed. The odds, as they say, are well and truly stacked against you. I suspect that there are many men out there in their early to mid 50's, at the mid level in management or professional careers who are shitting themselves right now. Unless they are at the top of their game or have been exceptionally wise financially, a lost job could see their worlds implode. And it’s ugly out there in the world of the great unwashed. The recruiters and head-hunters - many of whom know only the boom era - have no perception of the 'on the shelf' phenomenon and they really couldn’t care. Weeks away from their own demise, they are ruthlessly cutting out anyone that doesn’t fit the bill exactly.

And whilst women are less likely to fall victim to the age issue its no better for them. "Look, no women ok? It’s a tough environment and a woman wouldn’t be able to stand the pressure." or "Can't really see a woman here - too much male banter, before you know it we'd be at a tribunal" or "Let's avoid women of child bearing age can we, we can’t afford for the person in this job to go off and start dropping babies all over the place right when we need them focussed on the job". I could go on but you get the picture.

And where is HR in all this? Ironically those who have spent many months and years producing policies and guidelines and spouting chapter and verse on discrimination are guilty, albeit somewhat indirectly in most cases, of perpetuating the situation. Powerless to challenge the line, they are often left to try and translate their requirements, without giving the game away, into a candidate brief. Do they push back and insist on an inclusive and diverse shortlist? Don’t be stupid, to the back of the class with you. No. Be it subtle or overt, where it exists they chose in the main to let it happen.

But for all you old bags out there, there is hope. The blunt knife of diversity and inclusion might be proving ineffective, but there is a social revolution coming that might just be about to re stack the deck. Watch this space. But only if you are young, dynamic with great academics with blue chip experience and can survive in a challenging predominantly male environment obviously. Pigs need not apply.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

HR bog roll

Due to the vast amounts of UK wealth being swallowed up by 'Fred the Shreds' pension pot and the inevitable strain that has put on the Ballbag household coffers, we have introduced a 'just in time' system for our grocery requirements. Consequently we no longer keep sufficient inventory in the house to ensure survival come a nuclear winter.

"We are out of toilet roll" my somewhat better half remarked.

"No we're not" I responded, holding up my latest copy of People Management Magazine.

But just as I was reaching for the scissors to cut the satin sheen pages into handy sized squares, I flipped open the magazine and cast my eye over the news items in the first few pages. "What's this?" I thought to myself. "A topical headling? In the News section of PM?" Shurely shome mishtake.

Astonished that it wasn't to do with some public sector, competency based, health and safety policy legal amendment implication, it caught my eye.

"Ineffective non-exec directors cited as factor in bank crisis." it said.

Mildly encouraged and perusing the thought that there must be a new editor in town, I read on to find it was regarding a recent round table discussion on the subject, held by the CIPD at the RSA.

Now, personally I try to avoid 'round tables' and the such like as, more often than not, the journo's always seem to take my sharp, witty and insightful pearls of wisdom and slap them carelessly into the article out of context, thus making me sound like a complete arse.

It appears this fate befell David (Fit To Burst) Fairhurst during the discussion. Unfortunately for David, someone asked him for his opinion on why Ned's (You are thinking 'Nerds' aren't you?! I was) are ineffective and published his response thus:

"Effective dialogue is the biggest generator of additional value, but its been deficient in too many businesses, whether from employee representatives, managers or leaders. Proper two-way conversations of a high quality are not happening."

Wtf?? That's what he said according to the article, I kid you not.

Worse still, he 'added' that firms were not giving proper induction training to Neds who were simply "left to get on with it". Great. I now have a vision of said 'Fred the Shred', when he gets his next Ned post (Inevitable I'm afraid) sitting with Kirsty from accounts and Bob from the warehouse, in front of Brian from HR, learning where the bogs are and when they can use the subsidised canteen. "Corporate greed eliminated by Induction programe". Thanks for that David.

I sometimes suspect that David suffers from SCA - Speaker Circuit Amnesia. Doesn't know where he is, doesn't care where he is and trots out another bit of jargon when prodded before tucking into another pie.

The only sensible comment on the matter came, surprisingly, from one of the CIPD bods, Laura Holbeche who commented that directors hired people in their own image for the job and the crop of headhunters they used to find them habitually fished in the same 'gene pool' for these overpaid part timers.

After a desperate flip through a few following pages I'm sad to report that the rag slipped back into expected territory with a piece entitled 'Let your employees take you higher'. No it was not about recreational drugs, more's the pity. It would seem that a couple of intellectual types have invested an awful lot of time and money in coming up with a new title for all employee meetings and offsite jollies - wait for it - Large Group Methods.

Christ on a bike. I think I'm losing the will to live. Incredibly, it's listed under the 'Most Popular' section of the website.

So, quite by accident I find that, for the first time ever, I'm in a position to recommend People Management magazine. It's not quite as soft and absorbant as your usual brand im sure, but it beats the cheap stuff from the corner shop.