Diversity

first_imgAs a career option within HR, it doesn’t come much tougher than diversity.”You’ve got to be sensitive and able to empathise with people, but you’vealso got to be prepared to be bashed and bruised,” says CIPD diversityadviser Dianah Worman. “You have to be resilient and have the resolve tobe a strategist and prioritise.” The role of diversity manager can be interpreted in a number of ways, butwhichever way you look at it, it’s not for the faint-hearted. In its narrowest form, a diversity manager’s remit may be to look afterdiversity in a specific area such as gender, race and disability, and it tendsto be typecast in this capacity. At the leading edge, though, it broadens out to encompass all sorts ofcharacteristics. “I see my role as ensuring that all Ford employees have the opportunityto realise their potential,” explains Kamaljeet Jandu, diversity managerfor Ford of Britain. “You can’t just limit that to, say, women and ethnic minorities, youhave to include everyone, and everyone has a role.” For Jandu, who has a background working for trade unions (he was previouslyin the equal rights department of the TUC and before that a researcher at theTGWU), his typical day will include meeting diversity councils from one of theFord plants and/or meeting employment relations managers. Diversity managers deal with “big agendas”, says Worman andwhether there are several people in the department (Ford has 10 peopleresponsible for all locations in Europe) or they are in a department of one, itis important that they have support from the top. This is vital because demands are made on the diversity manager from everylevel of the company – you’ll be expected to have an opinion and a solution totheir problems, whether it’s a line manager, a recruitment manager, seniorexecutive or trade union official. Although being a diversity manager requires soft skills, like the ability toempathise, and it is equally important to be well-versed in the business sideof the organisation. Increasingly a link is being made between product and brand, customer baseand employees. If a company’s products are designed, built, marketed and soldby a well-rounded, diversified workforce, this will translate through to brandperception. “Of course it’s about being an employer of choice and doing the rightthing, but diversity also has to be rooted in the business agenda,” saysJandu. “If our customer base identifies with Ford and its products, it’sbecause we have an effective diversity programme.” Jandu’s sentiments are echoed by the diversity manager of Ford-owned LandRover, Donya Urwin, who describes product and brand as the fourth corner in herremit. “In one corner you need the necessary leadership, behaviour andinfrastructure in place to bring diversity into focus, in another you need amodern workplace with all the necessary policies and procedures that will allowan organisation to respond to variety in the workforce, in the third one youhave the management and retention of the talent and in the fourth you haveproduct and brand, the external facing bit. “I believe that if you have the first three in place, the final oneshould almost take care of itself,” she says. Diversity managers require a mix of abilities that aren’t found in everyone.Clearly Jandu’s training as an economist, mixed with his knowledge andsensitivity to workplace issues gleaned from his union work, has given him theright kind of make-up for the job. Similarly, Urwin’s successful track record as a business manager rather thanexclusively HR has induced the right kind of skills set and sensibilities. But both stress that one of the main requirements of the job is a sense offairness, justice and integrity. “People who can do this kind of job haveto be highly motivated and have a sense of equality,” says Jandu. And Urwin adds, “You’ve got to want to do a job like this and be interestedin it.” Evidence suggests that those who do fit the bill are amply rewarded. Wormanreckons that at the very top end (and she stresses “very top”),salaries could be more than £90,000, but on the whole they can be expected tobe around £30-35,000. Where diversity managers go afterwards isn’t easy to assess. Because of thedemands, some diversity managers say it is something that is best done for twoto three years. Certainly it provides a good basis for which to move into a general businessmanagement role, but equally it provides excellent experience with which tore-enter HR in a generalist role at a more senior level. Case StudyDonya Urwin, diversity manager at Land RoverDonya Urwin has been part of morethan one successful team in her time, but she says whenever management has comein and scrutinised the teams it finds no magic ingredient. “We’ve all just worked well together because we’vecommunicated, debated, discussed, compromised, listened to each other and soon. And that’s what diversity is all about.”Urwin has a solid background in HR – she was previously policymanager at Marks & Spencer and before that worked in a variety ofcustomer-facing senior management roles – but she has never seen herself as apure HR person. “I’ve always considered myself a more general businessmanager,” she says, adding that she doesn’t necessarily think diversityshould sit within the function. “It fits into HR in that some of the toolsand techniques it uses are sensibly aligned to the department, but I see myselfas more of an ombudsman.”In her role as diversity manager at Land Rover, where she hasbeen for six months, she reports directly to the HR director, but has what shedescribes as “a dotted line to the CEO”. She says, “I have a oneto one with him every month.”When she arrived at Land Rover, she was given a blank sheet ofpaper. Since joining, she has initiated a major organisational diversityreview, including employee surveys, focus groups and internal councils. Urwin is big on listening to what staff want and the reviewwill provide invaluable workforce feedback. “I’m a great believer inflexible working, but I don’t know if it’s what the workforce wants. Everyoneis different – it’s a case of finding out what makes everyone tick and holdingthings up to the light. “You must be aware that you are working with variety allof the time, and not just think of diversity in terms of race, gender anddisability. What a mother of four children wants and needs, for instance, willbe very different to the demands of someone in their 50s.”Urwin’s four corners approach identifies a strong link with theworkforce and product, but she also emphasises the importance of understandingthe mechanics of how an organisation works and how it produces and sells itsproducts. For this reason, she says, it’s not for her to decide whetherflexible working is right because it may not work well in a productionenvironment (she is also waiting to hear what the workforce thinks of it, ofcourse). But it is her job to provide the managers with a script on thesubject to go through with employees. “It’s easy to be evangelical andmoral in this job, but if you don’t know the reality of how cars are made andsold, you won’t get anywhere, which is why I think that working closely withthose who are in the frontline is vital in this job.”So would she recommend her job to others? The upside, she says,is that you feel like a pioneer every day because everything you do is aboutchange and transformation, but this can be draining. “Sometimes you’recreating tension,” she says. “But it is rewarding and satisfying. It’s the sort of jobI’d probably still like to be doing in five years’ time, but I don’t know if itwould be a good idea to do it that long. “It may be good to do for three or four years and itcertainly gives you the experience to then go on and be an even better businessmanager or HR professional.” DiversityOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Meet the Dogs of Dell

first_imgOne of my favorite fictional dogs can speak English via a special collar that translates his thoughts into speech. Over the next few weeks — squirrel — some equally lovable canines will be guest posting here on Direct2Dell in celebration of National Service Dog Month.You may have already heard of one of them if you’ve been reading our blog for a while, or more recently if you’re on Facebook:Long known as “man’s best friend,” service dogs in particular play a special role. These four-footers are hardworking helpers that have shown themselves to be outstanding assistants for people with disabilities of all kinds.Just as no two people are alike, no one size or type of breed fits the bill to become a service dog. A lot depends on what tasks they will be called upon to complete. Service dogs may be called upon to guide the blind, hear for deaf, perform tasks for wheelchair users, anticipate and warn of seizures, and perform many other jobs for disabled owners.They have to be calm, cool and collected, and also need to have a laser focus that the animated hound I mentioned above definitely lacked. Service dogs can’t be distracted by what is happening around them while assisting their handler.Yes, it’s all business when they’re on duty, but that’s not to say they never get a break.Becoming a service dog is not easy, though. They must be energetic, but not overly active. People-oriented and friendly, but ready to work in an instant. It can take anywhere from six months to up to two years for them to complete the necessary training.While some share their insights with us on the blog this month, there are many more alert, smart canines around Dell that enable our employees to contribute to the team. We’re thankful for their hard work and salute them this National Service Dog Month, and every day.Service Dog Posts:5 Ways to Become a Top Dog at Work – by Coach5 Ways to Be a Zen Dog at Work – by Adella5 Ways to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – by Maggie5 Ways to Make a Friend at Work – by Sabrinalast_img read more

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Full funding in sight for UK pension schemes after posting 11% returns

first_imgFixed income was less positive, with negative returns of 5.9% on UK Gilts and 6.4% on global bonds, led mainly by poorly performing emerging market debt.Average pension fund allocations remain relatively stagnant compared with 2012, with around 46% in UK and global equities, 35% in fixed income and 16% in alternatives and real estate.Despite the negative fixed income returns, Ian Barnes, head of USB Global Asset Management in the UK, said funds would not necessarily be disappointed with the losses.“Being stung does not have to be a bad thing, as you are always hostage to the timing of investing in an asset class,” he said. “Emerging market debt is not being used for liability matching but for diversifying. It has still played a strong risk-reduction role, even if it has damaged returns.“I do not think we would see a knee-jerk reaction out of the asset class in the near term.”UBS GAM said discussions about, and allocations to, smart beta had become the most prominent change over the last year.The report highlighted a growing trend of using smart beta factors to target specific outcomes within portfolios, or using multi-factor strategies that are uncorrelated and add diversification to the remainder of the portfolio.Barnes said there was a confluence of influences leading to popularity of smart beta and its use as a diversifier.“Smart beta can be anything you want it to be,” he said. ”You do not even have to believe in the return argument, just that it will perform in a different way, and a different way to deliver equity beta.”Similarly, infrastructure’s popularity grew, with global assets invested into the class almost at levels seen before the financial crisis.However, Barnes said belief remained that there was still a “cliff edge” for investors with respect to allocations to the asset class.“This is more related to the governance hurdles,” he said. “The investment opportunity has been proven, and now the challenge is getting the money in the ground.”Barnes said the issue also related to infrastructure having high start-up charges, despite long-term benefits, and consistent regulatory pressure for pension funds to focus on fees.UBS’s study also found defined contribution (DC) assets were now growing at 8.8% per annum, with defined benefit (DB) assets slowing to 5%.The growth is driven by high allocations to equity from within accumulating DC funds, and the influx of assets via automatic enrolment, which picked up steam in 2013. UK pension funds are now actively working towards full-funding as asset returns fuelled by equities lifted schemes’ hopes, according to research.In UBS Global Asset Management’s annual Pension Funds Indicator report, the manager said achieving full-funding in the current low-yield environment had become the primary concern for pension funds.It said this correlated with the positive 11% asset performance experienced on average, making the aim more realistic when setting targets.Leading the returns for UK pension funds was global equities, providing 22.7%, closely followed by UK equities at 20.8%.last_img read more

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More demand for smaller homes with big rental returns in Cairns

first_img Palm disease flagged as ‘too hard’ a problem MORE NEWS Tom Quaid of Quaid Real Estate. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN Pub owners consider new CBD highrise Smithfield bypass revs up A PERFECT storm of tight vacancy rates, high rental returns, difficulty in securing a mortgage and high body corporate fees is forcing Cairns homebuyers to rethink their ideal properties.Thirty years ago any block under 800 sqm was “looked upon as inferior”, but it now it represents the premium end of the market, according to Real Estate Institute of Queensland Far North zone chairman Tom Quaid.“Now 600 sqm lots are taking that position and sub-400 sqm is becoming generally accepted as the way forward for both sustainability and affordability,” he said. More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms2 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns2 days agoThe trend is something Melanie Reynolds, Value Homes’ investment and development manager said was a niche her team had been able to effectively fill. “We often deal with investors, both locally and out of southern markets, who are looking for cashflow and the security of bricks and mortar but are finding themselves priced out of other markets and looking for new opportunities,” she said. “Cairns remains affordable, has some of the tightest vacancy rates in the state and is achieving consistently high rental returns, so to be able to create a product that lets them maximise both rent and the depreciation of a new asset means they can feel secure in their investment and achieve a result far better than simply having money in the bank.” SUBSCRIPTION OFFER: $5 A MONTH FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS “This reduction in lot size has becoming particularly prevalent based on the specific conditions of the Cairns market, with high body corporate fees and difficult viabilities of new apartment construction pushing developers to small lot subdivisions in order to maximise their financial yields rather than just density.”Boutique developments of two to four homes, including semi-attached townhouses have been designed to be affordable and provide a new housing product. Mr Quaid said contrary to popular belief, not all buyers were looking for a large house on a large block.“There are those for whom proximity to services or a smaller, more low maintenance property is ideal but existing homes that might otherwise fit the bill were designed in another time and without the features they would expect now,” he said. “This provides an option at a price point which can provide a valid alternative. Six or seven years ago we saw a spate of this style of construction as older Queenslanders were either repositioned or removed from blocks to allow for additional homes to be built close to town, but now we are seeing this style also come out in growing suburbs as well.”He said 185 Isabella Rd in Millhouse Estate, Edmonton was an example of the new breed of duplex which provided the full features of a home but on a low maintenance block and at an affordable price point. A duplex with two four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with secure garages and a fenced yard could get rent of up to $860 per week. Not all buyers are looking for a large house on a large block. Pictures Lucas Muro.last_img read more

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