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People Matter February 2018

Women driving business forward, but more needs to be done

International Women’s Day will be taking place on 8th March 2018. The theme is #PressForProgress which aims to motivate and unite colleagues and communities into thinking and acting in a gender inclusive way.

There has been some progression in gender equality in Ireland over recent years – in 2007 the gender pay gap was 17.3% and in 2014 it decreased to 13.9%. This contrasts with the EU’s gender pay gap, which in 2014 was an overall of 16.7%. Clearly, there is still much to do, both in Ireland and beyond.

The current Programme for Government includes commitments to introduce a range of policies and initiatives to promote gender equality and women in the workplace.

These include implementing measures to reduce the gender pay gap, increase investment in childcare and review the lower wages of women. Wage transparency is to be promoted by requiring businesses of more than 50 employees to complete a wage survey. This in turn will aim to put pressure on businesses into closing any pay gaps that exist within their company.

2018 is the centenary of women gaining the right to vote in Ireland. But there are more FTSE 100 CEOs called Steve or Stephen than there are FTSE 100 female CEOs. And more Davids too! Between 2011 and 2015, the most gender diverse companies were 20% more likely to have above average financial performance compared to those with a less diverse workforce. These results speak for themselves.

And what about smaller businesses? There is a significant gender pay gap at this level, too. How gender diverse is your business? Many businesses will benefit from seeking advice on how to implement processes that avoid unconscious bias. For example, one positive step would be to create wage bands that are applied equally across the genders.

For advice on building a gender pay policy, boosting gender diversity and the benefits that these actions will bring to your business, contact The HR Dept.

Why staff shouldn’t bring their own computer to work

A bring your own device (BYOD) IT policy is often seen as the trendy way to work. But whilst you may think it will slash your IT spend and let employees revel in the latest gadgets, there’s increasing push-back against this practice.

According to a survey, many IT directors feel that BYOD is not cost-effective. The company can end up forking out extra for individual costs such as data plans, and employees tend to use the IT department as a first line of support even if they’re not meant to.

There could be cultural issues too, with disparity between the kit that employees can afford.

Perhaps most importantly, it presents data security risks, with it being harder to provide standardised security measures and to enforce robust IT policies.

Maybe providing your employees with IT equipment is the most appropriate solution after all? For a fit-for-purpose IT policy, contact us.

Finance manager who faked cancer convicted of fraud

A UK court recently heard the case of a finance manager who faked a terminal illness and stole €20,000 from her employer. The employee made nine fraudulent transactions including stealing €1,200 within the first three days of starting her new role.

Her fraudulent behaviour was uncovered whilst she was off work to deal with her alleged cancer. It transpired that this finance manager had two previous fraud convictions, in 2012 and 2015.

For her latest crime, she was sentenced to 20 months in jail.

As is typical in such cases, her employer needed to dedicate a great deal of time and money investigating what had happened, and in getting their accounts back in order.

A useful tool for understanding and managing the risk of employee fraud is The Fraud Triangle. It is a framework designed to explain the factors at play when an employee commits fraud. The triangle is made up of, first, motivation: greed is the most common motivation, followed by debts and gambling. Opportunity is the second point of the triangle and examples may include weak internal controls, no training and no checking of references. Rationalisation is the third point – for instance the employee feels that the company is too big to notice, or deserves to be punished, or that the employee has “earned it”.

Understanding this model highlights the importance of due diligence and stringent recruitment processes as well as the need for robust internal controls.

Jobbledygook – Some of recruiters’ weird titles

Wily job recruiters are forever thinking of ways to stand out and make their job listings more appealing. A current fashion is to come up with the weirdest titles possible for job roles. A practice known as ‘jobbledygook’.

A few of our favourite job listings include, Five-a-Day Collection Operative (Fruit Picker) and Transparency Enhancement Facilitator (Window Cleaner).

Whilst these may provide some passing amusement, job seekers can find it difficult to understand what the role actually entails. This means that businesses which use such recruitment techniques are running the risk of losing potentially high quality candidates.

The HR Dept’s recruitment service is jargon-free, ensuring that applicants fully understand the job position you are listing. For a clear and concise recruitment service, contact The HR Dept.

Smart employers are investing in staff commutes

While it isn’t news that long commutes have a big impact on health and productivity, one survey has quantified the productivity hit.

A study found that those who commuted to work in less than half an hour gained an additional seven days’ worth of productivity each year, compared to those with a commute of an hour or more.

Some smart employers are recognising the benefits of mitigating the commutes of their staff. These include reducing lateness and absenteeism, cutting error rates and lowering staff turnover.

Initiatives that might ease the commute for everyone’s benefit could be to offer the option of commuting outside of rush hour, a cycle to work scheme, or even flexible working.

The worst excuses employees use when calling in sick

It’s amazing what excuses some employees use when calling in sick. Some real examples that are unlikely to have been heard with a sympathetic ear include a fish being sick and the dog eating the employee’s shoes (the adult equivalent of the dog eating your homework).

One employee even called in saying his dog had had a fright and he didn’t want to leave him.

The first rule of managing absence is having clear policies.


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