Facebook Twitter SHARE What is Really in that Seed Bag? By Gary Truitt – Sep 13, 2017 Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News What is Really in that Seed Bag? SHARE What is Really in that Seed Bag?This time of year, growers are placing their seed orders for next year. But, do you really know what is in that bag? Farmer’s Business Network is a new company that collects and analyzes data for its farmer members. Head of Analytics, Matt Meisner, says they analyzed the actual genetic hybrid being used by their members by reviewing seed tags and found a significant amount was the same seed just being sold under different names. “We analyzed more than 7,500 seed labels, 2,550 unique genetic varieties from 110 seed companies, and 10,000 seed price invoices, and released the industry’s first-ever Seed Relabeling analysis,” he stated.Through its analysis, the report found that a full 38% of corn seed analyzed and 45% of soybean seed analyzed are relabeled and re-sold by multiple different brands. Individual corn seeds were found being sold by as many as 12 brands, for as much as a $97/bag price difference (35%) in the same state. Meisner said, in some cases, there was a considerable price difference, but the need for transparency goes beyond just economics, “Farmers can substantially over pay for seed by not knowing that the identical seed is sold by other brands at a lower price. It also means the actual genetic diversity available within each crop is much smaller. And, most importantly, it can create the dangerous potential for farmers to accidentally concentrate genetic risk, leading to increased resistance issues.”According to FBN, Seed Relabeling was found to be common amongst the vast majority of seed companies; 71% of corn seed companies and 79% of soybean companies studied were found to be relabeling at least some of its seeds. More than 50 corn seed companies relabeled more than 50% of their seeds, and 10 companies more than 80%. Many smaller, regional, and independent seed companies without breeding programs utilize relabeling to increase their product offerings and compete on price and service. However, the study also found widespread relabeling amongst the major consolidated agrichemical companies. Amongst the very largest seed and agrichemical companies, it is not uncommon to see more than 60% of a company’s seed product portfolio being relabeled and re-sold by multiple brands.“This was only possible by crowdsourcing from thousands of farmers, nationwide, simultaneously, this planting season,” said Meisner. “We rigorously examined every seed label and pricing invoice to build our cross-matching database.” Co-Founder & VP of Product, Charles Baron, said, “We are a network of and by farmers whose mission it is to put Farmers First. This information is critical for farmers and is their basic right as consumers.”As widespread as the practice of relabeling was found to be, FBN analysts still believe the estimates are actually conservative. “Each additional new seed entered in our system, the likelihood that it matches another seed increases. As the data set expands to encompass all seeds on the market, the percent of each brand’s relabeling will almost certainly rise,” said Meisner. Previous articleUSDA Raises Corn and Soybean Production EstimatesNext articleDo You Know What’s in that Bag of Seed? on the HAT Wednesday Morning Edition Gary Truitt
to go further News VietnamAsia – Pacific VietnamAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders today called for the release and an end to harassment of the independent journalist Nguyen Hoang Hai, known under his blogging name Dieu Cay, who was arrested for “tax fraud” on 19 April.Dieu Cay had posted articles on his blog about protests worldwide during the Olympic torch’s progress through various cities, along with articles critical of China’s policy in Tibet and the Parcel and Spratly archipelagos. He had called for demonstrations as the torch passed through Ho Chi Minh-City. “Tax fraud was just a pretext to prevent Dieu Cay from demonstrating when the Olympic torch went through Ho Chi Minh-City and from criticising the communist party online,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.The authorities claim that he paid no tax for ten years on premises which he owns, but Dieu Cay rents out the premises to Hanoi Eyewear Co in an agreement authorised by Vietnamese law under which the company should pay the tax themselves. No date has been fixed for his trial.The blogger, who took part in demonstrations in Ho Chi Minh-City at the start of the year in protest against the Chinese government, is regularly watched by the authorities and frequently summoned to the police station to explain his activities. He has been particularly closely watched by the authorities since March. Local police in district 3 of Dalat, having not seen him for one month, on 24 April search his house and seized papers.“Clearly, the authorities have no proof about this accusation of fraud,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They searched his house five days after his arrest. All his immediate associates have been questioned about his activities, particularly about the “Free journalists’ club” which he founded.” Reporters Without Borders today called for the release and an end to harassment of the independent journalist Nguyen Hoang Hai, known under his blogging name Dieu Cay, who was arrested for “tax fraud” on 19 April. Help by sharing this information Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison News Follow the news on Vietnam Organisation Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam April 27, 2021 Find out more News June 18, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New call for release of blogger Dieu Cay after two months without news News April 22, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts RSF_en April 7, 2021 Find out more RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang For further information
Watch the streamed gig for Fergal Nash album launch Linkedin Advertisement Facebook Celebrating a ground breaking year in music from Limerick Twitter TAGSMusic LimerickNASTAR WhatsApp Previous articleTim is Limerick’s top young farmerNext articleLimerick FC in FAI Cup action John Keoghhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Emma Langford shortlisted for RTE Folk Award and playing a LIVE SHOW!!! this Saturday Cyril Bennis from Fairgreen with Brienna L. Henwood, director of space training and research at the NASTAR Centre in PhiladelphiaCyril Bennis from Fairgreen with Brienna L. Henwood, director of space training and research at the NASTAR Centre in PhiladelphiaA 65-YEAR-OLD Limerick man who originally hails from Fairgreen is to fulfill his lifelong dream next year when he is set to take a trip into suborbital space.Cyril Bennis, who now lives in Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK with his American wife Roxanne, came one step closer to his goal this week when he completed his space training in the USA.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Musician and former Stratford-upon-Avon Mayor Cyril attended the National Aerospace Training and Research Centre (NASTAR) in Philadelphia where he earned his Sub Orbital wings.He told Limerick Post: “I had to undergo training to deal with the pressures of being blasted into space. I did zero gravity training in Florida, then the opposite to that is the g-force training where you’re blasted off at seven to eight Gs. I’m still coming down to earth after it.”Cyril is set to make a two-hour trip to suborbital space accompanied by a pilot at some stage in 2014.He explained: “I’m just an ordinary person who wants to achieve his dream of going into space. Ordinary people are allowed to sign up to do this training as long as they are medically fit and have made sure that they are able to sustain the pressure of the g-force.“For this flight you are blasted off in a Lynx suborbital spacecraft at about five to six Gs with a pilot, then you can float around in the outer circles of space for about two hours and come back.” RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Email NewsCyril needs his spaceBy John Keogh – August 22, 2013 886 #SaucySoul: Room 58 – ‘Hate To See You Leave’ #HearThis: New music and video from Limerick rapper Strange Boy Print New Music: 40Hurtz
Local NewsEducation UTPB sets variety of music events, audition day Twitter Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp Facebook utpb logo words OR USE THIS ONE A number of University of Texas of the Permian Basin musical events are coming up, including an opera and audition day for students interested in admission to the music program.The University Choir has been asked to be the chorus for the Permian Basin Opera Company’s production of “Tosca,” set for 7:30 p.m. today at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.About 30 UTPB students and 10 to 12 high school students will take part, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies Frank Eychaner said.Eychaner said this is the first time UTPB singers have been asked to collaborate.“Our folks in March learned all the choruses. Then we started rehearsing with the professional staff they bought in. The students are really enjoying working with Rolando Salazar, who is the music director. They are, of course, enjoying singing with the professional actors singers that they brought in,” Eychaner said.A Jazz Ensemble contest is set for 4 p.m. April 22 in Rea-Greathouse Hall. The String Quartet concert is at 7 p.m. April 23, also in Rea-Greathouse Hall; and a Brass and Woodwind Ensemble Concert is set for 7 p.m. April 30 in Rea-Greathouse Hall, which is in the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.Associate Professor of Music and Music Coordinator Dan Keast said Audition Day is coming up April 28.“Most universities have an audition day, or three or four in the spring where they have interested students come to the campus, meet the faculty, tour the facility and they play an audition to see if they can get into the school and/or a scholarship,” Keast said.UTPB tried audition days last year, but had individualized try-outs for some years before that, he said.Keast said individual appointments will be set up for students to perform for faculty.Students will sing for Eychaner.“We want to make sure they get a chance to hang out on our stage. I know that one of my strengths out here at UTPB is that stage. It’s one of the greatest acoustical environments on the planet,” Keast said.There’s also the star power of knowing they’re standing in the same place as big stars like Willie Nelson or Santana.“They get on that stage and instantly they understand that UT Permian Basin is about business. They’ve got the real deal they’ve got this stage. I always include a facility tour besides the audition. The other thing I like to do is make sure they get a free lesson from our faculty,” Keast said.This is important because it lets Keast know if the faculty member they learned from can teach them something, whether the student can see themselves learning with that faculty member for an extended period; and then he can talk about scholarships with them.“I’m looking for teachability. If I have a student come in here that’s not teachable, it’s going to be a rough ride,” Keast said.More Information By admin – April 20, 2018 UTPB Scholarship, Music Audition Application. Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Previous articleCarlsbad Caverns warns of extreme fire dangerNext articleDAILY OIL PRICE: April 20 admin
Gardaí in Letterkenny have reissued an appeal for information over a single vehicle collision on Saturday night last just before 9pm. The driver was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital with serious injuries.Garda Sean Sweeney is urging any witnesses or anyone who may be able to assist with their investigation to contact them:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/golfrdcrash1pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. AudioHomepage BannerNews Twitter Twitter Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Pinterest Facebook By News Highland – January 7, 2020 Facebook Pinterest Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Gardai reissue appeal over weekend crash on outskirts of Letterkenny Community Enhancement Programme open for applications Previous articleMcShane could play Championship with TyroneNext articleFormer Derry Chamber CEO to replace Colum Eastwood in Stormont News Highland Google+ News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Google+ Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic WhatsApp WhatsApp
Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Lowe’s heroes roll up their sleeves to rehab CHHS front office area Lowe’s of Troy has begun a rehab project at CHHS that includes new painting, counter-tops and flooring. The work is being done by Lowe’s heroes. Pictured are Ashley Johnson, Human Resources manager at Lowe’s, Brock Kelly, CHHS assistant principal and Lisa Motes, an employee of Lowe’s.Lowe’s Heroes volunteer thousands of hours each year to improve the places where they live and work.Before the school bells ring to signal the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, Lowe’s (Troy) Heroes will have put their handprints all over Pike County.On Monday, Lowe’s Heroes were at Charles Henderson High School in Troy beginning a major facelift of the school’s main office. When that Hero’s project is completed, Lowe’s Heroes will go to Pike County High School in Brundidge to participate in a landscaping project. Sponsored Content Published 3:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016 Book Nook to reopen Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration By Jaine Treadwell Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… “Everybody comes here. Students, teachers, parents, visitors,” Kelly said. “This is where we make a first impression. Now it’s going to be an even more positive first impression.”The rehab project also includes a safety feature, a mirror tint to the windows that allows for seeing out but doesn’t allow those on the outside to see inside.“We want to thank Lowe’s and all of the employees who are working and will work on this project,” Kelly said. “They are making a difference.”And, that is the goal of Lowe’s Heroes program.“At Lowe’s, we want our employees to make a difference in the communities where they work through our different volunteer programs,” Johnson said. “Our employees are willing and eager to be a part of the Heroes’ program and appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in the community and in the lives of others.” Email the author By The Penny Hoarder Latest Stories You Might Like Downtown workshop follow-up Jason Fondren, planning studio leader for KPS Group, takes resident feedback as he marks a design schematic of downtown. “Design… read more Ashley Johnson, Human Resources Manager at Lowe’s Troy, said Lowe’s is always looking for ways to extend a helping hand in the communities where they are located.“Lowe’s wants its employees to be involved in the community and offers them different opportunities to give back,” Johnson said. “The project at Charles Henderson High School will rehab the main office at a retail cost of between $5,000 and $6,000.”Johnson said the project includes painting, replacing countertops, taking up the existing carpet, installing hardwood (vinyl) flooring and the rehabilitation of the common areas in the office building. Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day “It’s a good rehab project for our Heroes and they are excited to be a part of doing something for the kids,” Johnson said.Brock Kelly, CHHS assistant principal, said the Lowe’s rehab project is a dream come true for the school.“We can’t thank Lowe’s enough,” Kelly said. “When Ashley Johnson came and asked for a list of needs, I had no idea of anything like this. We just kept mentioning things and Lowe’s kept saying yes. It’s incredible for Lowe’s to do something like this for the school.”Johnson and Kelly said the focus of the rehabilitation is the main office because that’s where there is the greatest amount of traffic. Print Article
iStock/ChiccoDodiFCBy: EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News (COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The Columbus, Ohio, public safety director has decided to terminate Columbus police officer Adam Coy after Coy shot and killed Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, last week.In a Monday ruling, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. wrote that “known facts do not establish that this use of deadly force was objectively reasonable.”Pettus said Coy didn’t try to deescalate the situation before shooting Hill, and after the shooting, Coy didn’t render aid or ensure that others did.Coy also didn’t activate his body camera while on the service call, Pettus said.“I applaud Safety Director Ned Pettus and Police Chief Tom Quinlan for their swift action in firing Mr. Coy for not using reasonable use of force consistent with Division policies, not activating his body-worn camera and not rendering aid to a dying Mr. Hill. This does not represent the values of the Columbus Division of Police,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement Monday. “Now we wait on the investigation of BCI, a presentation of the evidence to a grand jury and potential federal charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.”“This is the first step in our journey and fight for justice in the unjustifiable killing of Andre Hill,” Ben Crump, Hill family attorney, said Monday.Coy had already been stripped of all police powers and has surrendered his gun and badge, according to the Department of Public Safety. Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan called for Coy’s termination last week when it was discovered that Coy did not turn on his body camera until after shooting Hill.Hill was shot on Dec. 22 after officers were dispatched to a “non-emergency” disturbance call from a neighbor who allegedly saw a man sitting in an SUV for an extended period of time turning his car on and off, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety.After Hill came out of a garage, with a phone in his left hand and his right hand obscured, Coy opened fire.Coy then approached Hill and ordered that he show his hands and roll over, before asking a colleague if medics were called. Coy didn’t administer aid, according to the footage.No weapon was found at the scene, and none of the other responding officers had their cameras on until after Hill was shot, according to investigators.The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an investigation.Pettus’ decision came after a disciplinary hearing Monday morning and the chief’s investigation. Coy was not at the hearing; Fraternal Order of Police members attended on his behalf, the Columbus Department of Public Safety said.“The information, evidence and representations made by Chief Quinlan as the investigator are, in my opinion, indisputable. His disciplinary recommendation is well-supported and appropriate,” Pettus said in a statement Monday.ABC News’ Meredith Deliso and Andy Fies contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
AmbitiousHR professionals want to work their way to the top, but in most cases it willnot be a direct route. Godfrey Golzen asks why CEOs need a so-called ‘hard’backgroundHRmanagement is in danger of falling victim to flawed logic – namely that allCEOs have to be good at managing people, HR managers are good at managingpeople, therefore HR managers are destined to be the next generation of CEOs.Thatmay be so, but it doesn’t necessarily follow. Our survey shows that a growingnumber of CEOs have spent a considerable amount of time in HR roles, but theyare still in the minority. Even fewer have moved directly from HR into the topspot, so does this mean that “people are our most important asset”is, for most organisations, rhetoric rather than reality? Notreally. For one thing, in some of the most important companies, a spell in HRhas become a necessary step on the way to the top. Donald MacLeod, Europeanvice-president for the head-hunters Korn/Ferry International, reports that, asin a growing number of instances, the joint MDs of Mars in Europe have both hadlong spells in HR. Indeed KFI’s highly regarded European president, DickBuschman, is one of the few business leaders to have made a direct transitionfrom HR, although since executive search is a pure people-play, that is not sosurprising.Thefact is, however, that most CEOs have moved up from line positions and oftenhave a background in the “hard” skills of management. Clive Morton,the previously quoted commentator on HR issues and author of the award-winningbestseller Becoming World Class, thinks that the reasons may be psychologicaland cultural. “In Myers-Briggs terms, a typical CEO is a sensor and athinker, whereas an HR manager would rely more on feelings and intuition,”explains Morton. “For a CEO, decisions would be approached from aright/wrong point of view. An HR person would be more aware of grey areas.”That is often reflected in their education. Although no studies have been doneon the matter, anecdotal evidence suggests that a high proportion of CEOs havedegrees in subjects like finance, engineering, science, maths or law, whereanswers can be seen in black and white terms.”Butwhy should HR people want to be CEOs anyway?” asks Klaas Wassenaar, whoruns the HR Leadership programme at the Rotterdam School of Management. This isa view that is echoed by Ian Keenan, principal consultant at ER, a UK-basedniche consultancy in HR. “People go into HR because they’re moreinterested in those issues than in the numbers.” Whatthe Rotterdam programme is setting out to do is turn participants intobest-in-class HR managers rather than into CEOs. Wassenaar is concerned aboutthe fact that RSM’s research shows that HR managers spend less than 5% of theirtime on strategic issues and that their general business awareness is low,which on the one hand makes them targets for outsourcing initiatives, and onthe other makes them less-than-credible board members if they do move to topspots. “WhileHR managers are being promoted to the boards of companies, their traditionalinternal-facing, cost-rather-than-revenue roles do not ‘cut it’ with the boardlooking for new or succession CEOs,” says John Mahoney-Phillips, grouphead of human capital performance at UBS. “How many HR directors reallytalk in terms of ROI and can measure and quantify it?” At UBS, he says,traditional HR disciplines and measures like assessment, performancemanagement, succession planning and internal surveys are crucial, but as abasis for developing a strategy for developing and deploying human capital, notas sets of processes carried out for their own sake. Theprogramme at RSM focuses on HR professionals who want to become HR businessleaders, not functional specialists, and that is ultimately the route to thetop, for those who want to take it. Mahoney-Phillips points out that in thelight of such an objective, HR people ought to welcome outsourcing as “aliberation from the lower added-value activities that so many HRMs complainabout”.Headds, “If anything, the lack of a passion to raise the game and trulyalign people and business strategy is why HRMs are not making it to the top –they should embrace outsourcing as one strategic shift in the value they canadd to the business.”Lotsof others are now emerging, and they relate to taking a proactive view of whatthe mantra “people are our greatest asset” really means. ProfessorLynda Gratton of London Business School provides a number of clues and examplesin her latest book, Living Strategy (FT/Prentice Hall). At Glaxo Wellcome (nowSmithKlineBeecham), for instance, the management team recognised thatcompetitive advantage in the immensely challenging environment ofpharmaceuticals lay not just in research capacity as such, but in thewillingness of research teams to share their knowledge – and hence in thecreation of incentives that would further this end, a pure HR play. InMotorola’s move into mainland China, the marketing people promoted the ideathat creating and developing a cadre of Chinese managers, an HR task, wouldalso yield invaluable insights for a marketing strategy. At Hewlett-Packard,operating in the frontline of the war for talent, it was decided thatcompetitive advantage could only be sustained by getting HR involved increating a culture of commitment and involvement that other companies wouldfind difficult to imitate. The technology itself was just another commodity.”Onedoesn’t think of Jack Welch in the context of HR, but it’s significant that atevery stage, having put the processes for change into place, he spends anenormous amount of time going round and talking to people,” says ER’s IanKeenan.Thespeed of advance in technology has, paradoxically, put people at the heart ofstrategy. At the same time, it has opened a Pandora’s box of opportunities forHR managers who want to make it to the top. “Those who want to and cancombine HR skills, experience and competencies with commercial awarenessassuredly will,” says Sarah Barwell of Courtenay, a specialist Britishrecruiter of top HR talent, who warns, however, that top talent from otherfunctions, aware of the possibilities of HR, are now seeing it as a step on theroad to the top – a view unheard of even three years ago.Thefact is that as the result of technology, HR issues are appearing in functionswhere they never appeared before – research, market entry strategies andmaintaining competitive advantage – as witness the example quoted by ProfessorGratton. But they are embedded in the very structure of new economyorganisations, in particular in the fact that these are based on networks,alliances and partnerships, both between people on the inside and with external,and to an increasing extent global, stakeholders, such as financialinstitutions, members of the supply chain and customers. That is why Citicorpchairman John S Read is quoted in the McKinsey Quarterly as saying “ourglobal human capital may be as important a resource, if not more important,than our financial capital”. CEOsof leading-edge companies are aware of these new strategic scenarios and ofcrucial role that HR managers could play. The trouble is that not enough aredoing so. “When they get on the board, in many cases they’re not really atthe top table,” says Linda Holbeche, director of research at Roffey Park,a British business school that is developing a global strategic HR network. Onereason is that they are not used to taking rapid-action executive decisions. “Takemanagement development. It’s a vital process and needs a lot of thought on howto integrate it with business strategy. But it’s not something that happensfast. And there’s also the fact that a lot of HR work consists of process,administration and checking,” Holbeche says.Theselatter elements of the job are just the ones that are being outsourced.”HR managers need to think beyond outsourcing and look at ways in whichthey could play a full role as business partners,” she adds.Sowhat can HR managers do to achieve the credibility they need and currently lackto get to the top? Above all, they need to enhance their business awareness,which means they need to understand how every aspect of HR management impingeson other functions. One CEO, for instance, insists that his HR managers shouldbe able to justify every proposal in terms of measurable forecasts of costs andbenefits, and certainly financial skills is one of the areas where HR peopletend to be weakest. Thereis no great secret about how such competencies can be achieved.Mahoney-Phillips says, “Career development for HR directors is nodifferent from that of other functional specialists. At UBS, for anysenior-level position we would look for experience across functions, divisionsand culture. HR directors need to take opportunities to contribute to otherstrategic project teams.” He notes, rather ominously for HR, that “wesee rotations of other functional directors into HR, but rarely in the other direction”.Whilepractical experience is the best teacher, there are other ways in which HRpeople can develop their skills, most notably through doing an MBA or throughexecutive programmes dealing with specific aspects and tools of management. Thecore part of an MBA, offering as it does very intensive modules in finance,marketing, operations management, business strategy, information systems andquantitative methods, was seen by Sue Turner, HR director service provision atBarclays Bank, as a way out of the career silo of mainstream HR. “Thesedays I can talk to any of my boardroom colleagues, knowing what I and they aretalking about. I couldn’t do that before,” she says.ManyHR people are critical of the standard content of their functional training onthe grounds that it does not develop the overall business awareness that youneed to be credible at the top. That is a situation that a number of businessschools are seeking to correct. The Rotterdam School of Management, CranfieldSchool of Management, Roffey Park Management Institute and City University alloffer HR-related MBAs and executive programmes – Cranfield, for instance, hasjust launched an executive development programme for HR managers in conjunctionwith Wharton, ESADE in Spain and HEC in France. But a generalist MBA at a goodschool will provide the core courses previously referred to. They are a bigcommitment in time as well as money, but there is a price to be paid if youwant to get to the top.SkillsHR managers need: an Anderson surveySixtyHR directors surveyed by the human capital division at Andersen Consulting feltthe following skills and competencies are crucial to carry out their roleeffectively:–interpersonal skills–communication skills–vision and creativity–leadership–change management skills–strategic perspective–cultural fluency–business and market awareness–technological literacy–project management experienceNewbusiness factsIfyou want to get ahead in the new business environment, then take note of thefollowing trends:–Invisible assets, particularly knowledge, are replacing tangible assets as thefoundation of competitive advantage.–There are fewer people, but more are brought in on a project-by-project basis –more like a film crew than regular employees. That raises other issues liketrust and the importance of communication.–Human capital – the basis of competitive advantage – is a scarce resource. Inorder to attract and retain it, companies will have to become the employer ofchoice. That takes HR into the areas of employer brand and reputationmanagement on a global scale.–Cultural sensitivity is all-important, not just in the obvious areas of whatmight be called etiquette, but in how HR policies and core values, likefairness, are perceived in different parts of the world – and particularly inthe notoriously tricky aftermath of mergers and acquisitions.Furtherreading–The 8 Practices of Exceptional Companies. How Great Organisations Make the Mostof their Human Assets, by J Fitz-Enz, published by AMACOM.–Living Strategy by L Gratton, published by FT/Prentice Hall.–Competitive Advantage Through People by J Pfeffer, published by HarvardBusiness School Press.–Tomorrow’s HR Management by D Ulrich, M Losey and Lake G, published by Wiley. MoreinformationForfurther details, check out the following Web sites: www.cranfield.ac.ukwww.roffeypark.comwww.rsm.nl Comments are closed. The right stuffOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Working harder to net the top talentOn 1 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Shakingup the recruitment and application process can help fill key skills gaps in thepublic sector, writes Nic PatonAfew years ago, a former private sector boss was applying for the post of deputychief executive at a major London council. One evening, he and his competitorsfor the post were invited to a meal with the councillors – nominally, socouncil staff could get to know them, but also so to cast a discerning eye overthe potential candidates. Althoughmore than used to jumping through some unusual hoops to land jobs in theprivate sector, he was somewhat surprised to find himself playing a form ofmusical chairs with his erstwhile rivals. As he and his competitors remainedseated, and after each course, the councillors moved round a place to grill, asit were, a new person in turn.Suchidiosyncratic behaviour may, thankfully, be relatively rare, but it highlightshow seriously the public sector takes the search for talented and skilledindividuals. Skills shortages are a major headache within the public sector.Yet all too often, public sector organisations let themselves down by outdated,bureaucratic thinking and processes, a lack of creativity and poor self-image.Astudy by recruitment group Reed, published in July, found public sectororganisations were 9 per cent more likely to experience skills shortages whenrecruiting than their private sector counterparts. A total of 53 per cent facedshortages, compared with 44 per cent of private sector businesses, by and largereversing the situation from the 1990s.Localgovernment (at 61 per cent) was the worst affected, with healthcare on 55 percent, uniformed services on 53 per cent, education at 49 per cent and centralgovernment on 48 per cent.And,according to IRS Employment Review, in a study published the same month, just 7per cent of public sector employers were confident their recruitment problemswould decrease in the next 12 months, with the proportion anticipating no endto their difficulties almost doubling.Lastyear, the Audit Commission was even more gloomy, warning that staff shortageswere reaching crisis point, particularly in London and the South East. Stresswas the number one reason why many were leaving public sector jobs. Demand wasoutstripping supply and the age profile in many professions was becoming acute,with local government in particular dominated by older workers. Whilethe evidence may look grim, the picture on the ground is more complicated,suggests Paul Masterman, head of local government recruitment at TMP Worldwide.OutsideLondon and the South East, for instance, recruiting teachers is not necessarilya problem, whereas hiring an environmental health officer or social worker canbe a trial anywhere.Increasedinvestment in the public sector, as well as better levels of pay and attractionof better job security and pensions than in the private sector have encouragedmore people to look at it as a career. “But we need to look at how weengage with people during the recruitment process and, once we have got someoneon board, how we communicate with them and retain them, and how we reinforcethe employment promise made,” says Masterman. Someof the problems facing the public sector, notably that of an ageing workforceand lack of younger people coming on board, are not sector specific but genericproblems faced by employers as a whole, he points out.Itis only in the last year or so that the public sector has seriously begun totalk about how it can address skills shortages, argues Bill Brace, publicsector manager with Reed. “It is about how organisations promotethemselves as employers of choice, how they brand themselves,” he says.Accordingto the Reed survey, technical and professional skills are commonly in theshortest supply, followed by IT and computer skills, public sector knowledgeand experience, financial skills, management skills, customer service skillsand, finally, those with private sector experience.Publicsector organisations have to work harder to capture the skilled people theyneed. Potential candidates too often rule themselves out because they thinkthey do not have the right skills or experience, so the sector needs to thinkof ways of getting the message across that they should at least try, Bracesuggests.BlackpoolBorough Council is one employer that has taken the initiative, making intensiveuse of new media technology to find individuals from different backgrounds. Ithas partnered with online recruiter Monster.com, and now offers a weblink topotential candidates, where they can download video presentations on what it islike to work for the council. In less than two years, the internet response hasgrown to 30 per cent. TheMetropolitan Police are also taking an innovative approach; having justcompleted a £20m community and race relations training programme to bring raceawareness training to its police and civilian employees. It has also beenmaking great efforts to encourage applications from the wider community in thewake of the Macpherson Report into the death of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.Nationally,forces have made widespread use of advertising in unusual places to attract awider range of recruits. You are now just as likely to find an advert for Essexpolice in the pages of women’s magazine Glamour, as there was recently, as onewithin Police Review or in the Guardian.”Blackpeople never used to see the police force as a career for them, but there havebeen some changes now. We need to learn from that marketing campaign,”admits Andreas Ghosh, head of personnel and development at the London Boroughof Lewisham, and director of recruitment and retention at the Society of ChiefPersonnel Officers.Publicsector employers need to play to their strengths more, he argues. They need tothink about the key words likely to attract people, such as ‘buildingcommunities’, ‘helping the environment’ and ‘working with children’. Recruitersalso need to think laterally, analysing what is attractive about the job, andwhat misconceptions there might be.”Wehave started to break down some of the myths associated with working in thepublic sector, but there is still more to do,” stresses Ghosh. “Weare trying to develop good practice around promotion and recruitment and tryingto get senior managers to remove a lot of the bureaucracy from the recruitmentprocess.”Andthe process is certainly an issue. For applicants from the private sector, thethud of a thick, impersonal briefing pack and application form on to thedoormat is often just the first shock. Formal panel interviews, test days,candidate presentations and a generally much longer time frame can also workagainst public sector organisations. “Ina tight labour market, if you have three or four employers looking for someonewith the same sorts of skills, and for one of them you have to complete afive-page application form and the other you can send in a CV, then the easiestoption will be the CV,” says Mick James, assistant director of recruitmentand careers at the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government (EO).Whenorganisations take between eight and 14 weeks from application to hiring, thenit is not surprising they lose talented applicants to faster-moving privatesector firms, he adds. The difficulty is balancing the demands for publicsector probity against the need to be efficient and move fast.Yet,when public sector organisations do try to rebrand themselves and streamlinetheir application process, they can be hugely successful. The EO’s nationalgraduate development programme, for instance, is to double its intake afterjust one year of operation.Akey idea of the EO scheme is to try to make local government a more attractivecareer option for younger people, shaking off its image of elderly pen-pushersand to ‘sell’ the range and scope of careers on offer. About2,600 people applied for just 50 places on offer on the programme lastSeptember, up from 2,100 the year before. The number of posts available is nowto be increased from 500 to 1,000. What’smore, about 85 per cent of these applications were made online, making theprocess more efficient and more candidate friendly.”Whydon’t local authorities make more of their final salary pension schemes? Thepackage they offer can be a very attractive option to someone in their late40s. Or job security? Where else could you go to work in an organisation thatin most towns and cities is the largest employer, with a huge span ofopportunities?” asks James.Forthe past five years, for instance, Nottingham City Council has been working toboost the number of employees under 25 through a scheme with Jobcentre Plus.The council has appointed a New Deal employment manager, cut job requirements,simplified application forms and helped with interview training and formfilling. Sofar, some 82 people have been recruited into permanent posts through thescheme, with 66 per cent aged between 18 and 24. High-profileadvertisingTheDepartment of Health, too, has been working hard to attract nurses back intothe profession, with high-profile advertising campaigns. It is trying a similarapproach with social work, setting up a national campaign to raise the profileof social work as a potential career. Thedifficulty here is that professions dealing with mental health are not seen asglamorous, according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, and often get apoor press when things go wrong. Even in the medical profession, psychiatry isoften thought of as a poor relation to things like surgery.Astudy by the centre published in April suggests there is still too muchreliance on recruiting staff through conventional training and education, withtoo little done to retain existing staff or use skills more creatively.TheNHS and police service are both due to get their own Sector Skills Council(SSC), the Government’s replacement for the National Training Organisations(NTOs). The councils, which are designed to develop action plans to tackleskills gaps in specific sectors of the economy, are a key part of theGovernment’s Skills Strategy unveiled in July. Atthe launch of the strategy, education secretary Charles Clarke pledged a rapidexpansion of the council network to “identify, map and meet key skillsneeds in employment sectors”.Centralgovernment, too, has its own skills issues, in particular, how to address ashortage of skilled lawyers, economists and accountants, argues NickyOppenheimer, a partner at recruitment firm Odgers, Ray & Berndston.Whilepay is still an issue, the focus has been on the challenges and career rewardsthat come with such posts, she says. “People are beginning to realise itis intellectually fascinating and stimulating, and the fact they are at theheart of things can be attractive,” she says.Forpublic sector HR professionals, argues the EO’s James, the challenge is tostart thinking bigger. It is up to HR to lead the debate, he suggests, and tolook at where recruitment and retention strategies are within the biggerpicture and study where they need to positioned in the future.HRhas a pivotal role to play when it comes to attracting skilled and talentedpeople. It can keep its head down and do nothing, or it can act as therecruitment champion, speaking to and cajoling the elected members and drivingforward new attitudes.”HRneeds to be challenging managers who want to do it a certain way because thatis the way they have always done it. It has got to start challengingtraditions,” James argues.Casestudy: Kent County CouncilTargeting the local communityKentCounty Council has found itself in the enviable position of being inundatedwith applications for social worker positions, thanks to an innovative schemecalled Ready for Practice, launched four years ago.Thescheme is designed to ‘grow your own’ social workers by targeting the localcommunity for social work jobs. Local people are taken on and trained, whilebeing paid by the council, so as not to put off applicants worried aboutattracting debts and to attract older applicants and those with first degrees.Candidates start off on a basic salary of £13,000, with their college fees allpaid for.Thescheme, developed in partnership with Christ Church College, Canterbury, hasbeen widely marketed through local newspaper advertisements. The council knewit was on to something when, in its first year, there were 1,600 enquiries and650 applications for the initial 14 places. This year alone, it has attractedsome 400 to 500 applicants for 40 places. “Wehave been swamped by applications each year, and overwhelmed by the number ofpeople who want to come on to the scheme,” says Frank Nichols, head ofprofessional development at the council. Thevacancy rate for children and family social work positions is now just 7 percent, way below average for the South East, he adds.Akey element has been promoting the fact there will be continued opportunitiesfor development and training, not just for the basic two years. There is a10-point plan staff care package and a new career-grade structure.Thecareer-grade structure is linked to a competency framework that allows staff todevelop from newly-qualified to senior practitioner. The council has also triedto minimise bureaucracy and looked at benefits such as health promotion.”Bytrying to get local people, you have the advantage that they are less likely tomove elsewhere and, politically, it is a very good thing for our electedmembership to support. It is an investment in local people,” says Nichols.”Wehave tried to make Ready to Practice our Kent brand and have made a big playabout the scheme. Being trained as a qualified social worker is just part ofthe package,” he adds.Therehas also been a push to attract existing staff who might have always wanted tomove over to social work but had never felt they had the opportunity to do so.Other local authorities have expressed strong interest in the scheme, as hasthe Department of Health, which has visited the council to speak to the team,Nichols adds.