DTI puts HR at heart of productivity strategy

first_imgDTI puts HR at heart of productivity strategyOn 30 Sep 2003 in Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article For the first time, the DTI has spelled out exactly what itbelieves UK employers need to do to make the UK more competitiveMore effective people management and greater workplace partnership have beenidentified by the Government as two of the major tools for tackling the UK’schronic productivity problem. For the first time ever the DTI has released an official strategy fordriving productivity improvements and spells out some explicit measures and targetsto enable it to achieve this. The strategy outlines five priority areas that the DTI intends to focus on.These include helping business to successfully exploit new ideas and thepromotion of open and fair markets at home and abroad. It will also strive tostrengthen regional economies and to forge closer partnerships with keyeconomic players both at home and abroad. The final strand is the need tomaximise staff potential. Crucially, it highlights a range of HR issues as central to the solution – citingmanagement techniques, building skills, high performance workplaces andpartnership as part of the strategy. The document follows a large-scale study by the DTI, which called in US guruMichael Porter to investigate why the UK lags so far behind its globalcompetitors in the productivity stakes. Focusing on change Launching the strategy, trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt saidthat productivity improvements were the key to UK plc becoming morecompetitive. She said developments in technology and an aging workforce,coupled with greater global competition, were making high productivity evenmore fundamental to business success. “This will sharpen the DTI’s focus for the next five years,” shesaid. “Raising productivity will ensure that Britain really does provideopportunity and prosperity for all its citizens.” Research shows that productivity in the UK is consistently at lower levelsthan its major competitors, with a persistent gap of at least 20 per cent overthe past decade. The UK also invests less than its competitors in both capitaland people. The strategy identifies better qualifications and improved skillsas points of focus. The document defines the factors that create high performance workplaces,including modern management practices that develop workforce skills and deploythem flexibly. Staff engagement Other key elements are good communications that work both upwards anddownwards and foster staff engagement, and a spirit of trust and mutualcommitment to common goals. Examples put forward by the DTI are strongappraisal systems, teamworking, joint problem-solving and effective informationand consultation structures. The DTI analysis concludes that the problem in the UK is not that thesepractices are unknown, but that they are not applied widely or deeply enough. Stephen Radley, chief economist at the Engineering Employers’ Federation(EEF) said the DTI had identified the right areas, but said delivery would becrucial. “Increasing productivity is vital because our competitors are wellahead. The DTI is also right to talk about moving up the value-added chain interms of different ways of working.” However, he said the report ignored the rising costs faced by manufacturers whichthe EEF believes is another barrier to productivity. Essentially the strategy wants business to make use of more innovativeworking practices, modern management and strong leadership to build workplacepartnerships where employees feel empowered and motivated. It states that whilethe UK has some of the best managers in Europe, the country as a whole suffersfrom low levels of enterprise and is slow to adopt modern managementtechniques. The Work Foundation’s chief economist Rebecca Harding welcomed the strategyas something that would help business, but warned that some areas would be verydifficult to deliver. “Each business and each sector has its own view of what highperformance is. I’m enthusiastic about it, but the devil is in the detail. Thisis about making organisations more efficient and better places to work, butthat’s a very tricky thing to do,” she said. It would also help employersrefine the employment relationship because staff were increasingly acting likecustomers in their attitude to work, she added. The DTI cites diversity, fair treatment at work and work-life balance as thekey components for raising levels of participation, motivation and creativity,leading to increasing productivity. The study claims high-performance workplaces have been proved to reduceturnover and sickness absence as well as improving motivation. The DTI hopes to drive through the changes by engaging employees andemployers through the skills strategy launched earlier this year as well as byworking closely with the unions. Richard Exell, a senior policy officer at the TUC, said the unions had beenpointing to the same productivity barriers for the past few years and thatengaging the workforce was the way to remove them. Crucial role for HR “Staff can have a huge impact on the strategic direction of a companyand if employers want to build trust they need to work with representativegroups like the unions to maximise employee involvement,” said Exell. He said HR was crucial to developing these modern employment relationshipsand warned that simply coercing staff would not generate the involvement ormotivation needed to drive up productivity. “The idea that commitment can be assumed doesn’t work. It has to bedone on an explicitly mutual basis. Companies expect better productivity, butthere have to be sweeties for everybody at the end of this,” he added. However, Susan Anderson, head of HR policy at the CBI said the DTI was toopessimistic about the ability of managers and the measures already in place. “The strategy is unnecessarily gloomy about the situation as many firmsalready do these things, but don’t label them in the same way. They’veidentified the right areas but used loaded terms. Unions aren’t the only way ofcommunicating with staff,” she said. The strategy also said basic skills must be addressed if there is to be adynamic and flexible workforce, as there are seven million adults in the UKwithout basic literacy skills. The report estimates that as much as 20 per centof the productivity gap with Germany is due to low skills. Debbie McCallion, HR director at software firm Intentia, said it wasimportant to increase both management and basic skills to make sure businessesfunctioned efficiently, but also so people feel challenged and motivated. TheDTI has also pledged to change the way it operates as a department to drive upperformance and become more business focused. By Ross WighamDTI’s five key priorities to raise UK productivity1. Transferring knowledge from science base and betweenbusinesses to aid innovation 2. Maximising potential in the workplace increasing value andskills3. Extending competitive markets4. Strengthening regional economies with more autonomy at locallevel5. Closer partnerships with key economic players in the UK andoverseasWeblink www.dti.gov.uk Comments are closed. last_img read more

Validating and improving elevation data of a satellite-image map of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, with results from ERS-I

first_imgA satellite-image map with surface-elevation contours of Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf has been published previously as a topographic map. The image map was constructed from a mosaic of 69 Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) images and NOAA AVHRR data. The standard deviation in position in the central part of the mosaic is ±125m. Topographic-glaciologic features were taken from Landsat scenes and represent the best coastline of this region. Surface elevations have been calculated from airborne and ground measurements of either ice thickness (by assuming hydrostatic equilibrium) or barometric pressure. Accuracies vary from ±2 to ±7 m, Oversnow trigonometric levelling in the northeastern part of the ice shelf, tied to sea level at the ice front, has given accuracies of ± 1m. Accuracies reduce to about ±20 m in the grounded ice areas, ERS-I radar-altimeter data over the ice shelf have been processed to give ellipsoidal heights elevation above the ellipsoid), Geoidal reductions have been used to convert these to orthometric heights (elevation above sea level). No tidal corrections have been applied. The overall accuracy of the radar-altimeter-derived elevations is estimated to be better than ±5m. There are noticeable differences from the topographic map in the central part where the radar data indicate a lower surface. However, the maps agree to within the stated error figures.last_img read more

Shell reports $21.7bn loss in 2020, but plans dividend raise

first_img Shell has launched a low-carbon shift targeting net-zero emissions by 2050 (Credit: Photographic Services, Shell International Limited) Royal Dutch Shell reported a $21.7bn full-year loss for 2020, continuing a series of gloomy financial updates this week from the world’s biggest oil producers.BP, Exxon and Chevron have all posted hefty losses for the 12-month period, one in which the effects of the pandemic weighed heavily on oil demand and prices, and forced Big Oil into aggressive cost-cutting mode.The earnings result, driven largely by impairment charges taken in the second quarter to reflect a long-term downgrade in commodity-price outlook, compares to profits of $15.9bn in the previous year.Adjusted to take into account the charges, the Anglo-Dutch company posted full-year profits totalling $4.8bn, still reflecting a 71% year-on-year decline.In the fourth quarter, adjusted earnings stood at $393m, down 87% from $2.9bn a year earlier.“2020 was an extraordinary year,” said Shell chief executive Ben van Buerden. “We have taken tough but decisive actions and demonstrated highly resilient operational delivery while caring for our people, customers and communities.“We are coming out of 2020 with a stronger balance sheet, ready to accelerate our strategy and make the future of energy.” Adjusted for accounting charges, the oil company posted full-year profits totalling $4.8bn, still reflecting a 71% year-on-year decline Shell plans dividend raise despite loss-making 2020Despite the earnings drop, Shell has elected to raise its dividend for the first quarter of 2021 by around 4% to 17.35 cents per share. Early in 2020, it cut its dividend for the first-time since World War Two by 66% amid the worst of the market downturn, later raising it by 4% to 16.65 cents per share.“We are committed to our progressive dividend policy,” said van Buerden.Like other European oil majors, Shell has launched a strategic low-carbon shift as it seeks to redefine itself in the ongoing energy transition. Further details of how it plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 are expected at a strategy day next week.The company reduced capital spending to $18bn throughout 2020 in response to the financial constraints of the pandemic. That compares to $24bn in spending during 2019. Operational costs were cut by $4bn.In September, Shell confirmed plans to cut around 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022 as it seeks to streamline the business for the upcoming pivot to low-carbon.Net debt was reduced by $4bn over the year to $75.4bn, although included a $1.9bn increase between the third and fourth quarters due to lower free cash flow. The company is aiming to reduce its debt to $65bn, a level that will allow it to restart a $25bn share buyback programme that was suspended back in March.last_img read more

Rolls-Royce Lands Two US Navy Contracts Worth Up to USD 496 Million

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today Rolls-Royce Lands Two US Navy Contracts Worth Up to USD 496 Million Rolls-Royce has been awarded two contracts worth a combined value up to $496 million to support T56 engines on US government aircraft.Under a $406 million, six-year contract, Rolls-Royce will provide parts, plus field and engineering support, for thousands of T56 engines. The contract was awarded by the Defense Logistics Agency and will support approximately 1,000 C-130, P-3 and C-2 aircraft in service with the US Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Customs and Border Control and international fleets.A separate contract from the US Navy for up to $90 million includes engine repairs for E-2 Hawkeye aircraft, which are powered by two T56-A-427 engines. The five-year contract is renewable annually and is valued at $17 million for the first year.Paul Craig, Rolls-Royce, President Defense Services, said, “These contracts demonstrate our continued success in supporting our customers and the thousands ofRolls-Royce T56 engines powering their operations. Our mission remains the same: to keep these fleets in the air as their operators require, and we will continue to focus on innovative solutions to provide affordable support for our customers.”Rolls-Royce T56 engines have been in production since the 1950s and have been proven in the field as dependable and efficient powerplants operating around the globe. The T56 engine fleet has accumulated more than 200 million engine flight hours.[mappress]Press Release, October 07, 2013; Image: Navy View post tag: Defense View post tag: lands Equipment & technology Rolls-Royce Lands Two US Navy Contracts Worth Up to USD 496 Million View post tag: contracts View post tag: Naval View post tag: Rolls-Royce View post tag: Defence October 7, 2013center_img View post tag: 496 View post tag: Navy View post tag: News by topic View post tag: worth View post tag: USD Share this article View post tag: two View post tag: up View post tag: millionlast_img read more

JCRs vote for compulsory £1 donations to homeless charities

first_imgSt Hugh’s and St Catherine’s colleges students also voted to pass the motion to support the ‘What’s a pound?’ campaign. The scheme seeks to add £1 to Ball tickets, with the money raised going to a charity of the Ball Committee’s choosing.The President of this year’s Corpus Christi Ball Committee, Molly Willett, has also pledged to give £1 from any remaining tickets sold to charity.St Hugh’s JCR expressed their belief that: “Despite our luxuries, such as college balls, we shouldn’t forget the inequality that surrounds us every day” and that “students in a financial position to spend £100 are in a position where spending one more pound would not be problematic to them”.The President of Law Society, Tom Fadden, has also pledged to add £1 to each ticket sold to their Trinity Term Ball, for a charity voted for by its committee.The OUSU homelessness campaign, On Your Doorstep, praised the move, telling Cherwell: “It is encouraging to see JCR responses to our drive to introduce a charity battels donation directly to homelessness charities.“We believe that the University has enough power in Oxford to make a visible difference, and in light of the recent cuts to homelessness services, students’ help is needed now more than ever.“We would urge everyone who has the means to donate, and we are hoping to take this even further by reaching out to Oxford alumni.”Homelessness is viewed as one of the biggest issues facing Oxford and the UK as a whole, with many viewing the cost of living in the area too high.A Cherwell investigation last term showed that the median house price in Oxford increased by 133 per cent from 2001 to 2015 (£150,000—£350,100).Meanwhile, the investigation also showed that Oxford’s median earnings only increased by 42 per cent in the same period (£21,960—£31,271). Pembroke JCR have joined a growing movement across colleges to take action in support of the Oxford homeless community.It follows a motion by St Anne’s JCR to add a compulsory £1 donation to battels each term for Oxford homelessness charities.A number of Oxford balls will also see an additional £1 added to support the homeless, in support of the ‘What’s a pound?’ campaign.Pembroke JCR resolved to support a scheme enabling students to voluntarily donate the price of a meal when paying at the Pembroke Farthings Café. The proceeds from the scheme will go to Porch, a charity which, according to the JCR, “seeks to tackle homelessness at its roots by providing crucial services to society’s most vulnerable populations.”The JCR noted that “homelessness soared 50 per cent in Oxford from 2015 to 2016, and it continues to rise. At the same time, the homeless’ access to resources is dwindling. Two of Oxford’s largest Homeless shelters, Simon House Hostel and Julian Housing are facing closure, and there is due to be an additional £1.5 million in council funding cuts to related welfare provisions over the next three years.The JCR expressed the expectation that with the support of the student body the scheme would be able to “help the members of Oxford’s homeless community rebuild their lives.” It is hoped that increased aid to the homeless will continue among Oxford colleges.First year Materials Science student Josh King told Cherwell: “I think it’s sad to see how bad the situation seems to be getting.“I’ve seen people on the streets tearful because their services are being cut, and I don’t believe it would take that much effort to change things. It’s a small amount to us, but small amounts of human compassion add up.”last_img read more

Boots sandwich criticised on social media

first_imgBoots is not naming the supplier who produced a Delicious Simply Ham sandwich that has been showcased on social media. Boots is not naming the supplier who produced a Delicious Simply Ham sandwich that has been criticised on social media.A photo was uploaded on sharing forum Reddit, with the title ‘Simply Ham Sandwich Epic Fail’. It showed the £1 sandwich with limited filling on white bread. The news brought a raft of news reports showcasing people on social media who have complained about the standard of their sandwiches.In another Boots case in May, Gareth Jones also complained about the lack of filling in his ham sandwich. He put a picture on twitter under the statement “looking to find out what you think of my ham sandwich bought from Boots Cardiff today?”In a statement Boots UK said it would be looking into the issue.“At Boots UK we take the quality of our food products very seriously and are disappointed to see that two of our customers have had a bad experience with our Delicious Simply Ham sandwiches,” the spokesperson said.“We are working with our supplier to investigate this and would urge anyone else who has experienced something similar to get in touch with our customer care team on 0345 070 8090.”last_img read more

Maître Choux set to open second site in Soho

first_imgSpecialist patisserie company Maître Choux has confirmed that it will be opening a second site in Soho, London.Opening on 1 November 2017, the new site, which will be located on Dean Street in Soho, will be opened by Michelin star chef and master patissier Joakim Prat (pictured below).The new outlet will have a spacious seating area and offer the same core-range of baked goods such as its lemon meringue & bergamot éclairs and chouquettes (empty choux pastry balls topped with pearl sugar), which will be baked on-site every hour.The Soho site will be larger than its original bakery in Kensington, which opened in April 2015.“It has definitely exceeded our expectations and we are really looking forward to the future,” Joakim Prat told British Baker. “We have had people from as far as Australia who came to London and our mission is to bring Michelin-star quality desserts to the high street.”Prat added that the business was “rapidly” closing on a third central London site, which is expected to open before summer 2018.“We are looking at central London as a whole, particularly where there is a good mix of tourists/residential,” Prat added. “We may look at other large UK metropolitan areas in the future. However, for the time being we would like to keep our focus on London.”last_img read more

Konditor & Cook rebrands to focus on cake heritage

first_imgKonditor & Cook is rebranding to Konditor as it celebrates 25 years in business.The business said it was removing the “& Cook” from its name to focus on its cake baking heritage as it looks to the future.The name Konditor – meaning baker in German – aligns with to the company’s mission of spreading joy through cake, it added.The rebrand will include a new logo hand-written by founder Gerhard, and a new bright and vibrant image, as well as new social media handles, and a new URL.Last month, the business extended is partnership with surplus food app Too Good To Go, making the service available at all five of its London stores.Launched in 1993, Konditor operates six stores across London, a same-day cake delivery service and a cake school.last_img

Pep rallies undergo revisions

first_imgThis fall has seen the implementation of a multitude of changes to the format of pep rallies at Notre Dame, and while student participation fluctuated from week to week, student government is overall pleased with the results. “I think that we definitely saw a positive response to the changes for the Michigan pep rally,” student body vice president Andrew Bell said. “The walkover seemed to be very successful, and we think it solved the issue of dorms standing amongst a bunch of alumni an hour before the rally.” Bell said the changes helped with logistics and the overall atmosphere of the rallies. “We thought the atmosphere of the Michigan rally was great. Attendance was high, we thought the fact the walkover included the band made it more exciting,” he said. “We recognize there were some issues especially as students were entering the section, and we’ve addressed those for the coming rally, so students won’t get clogged in.” Student body president Catherine Soler believes the positive student feedback is evidence of the success of the changes. “We’ve heard positive feedback because of the various different locations we used for the rallies, and we’re really pleased with how athletics has worked with us and how students have responded,” she said. Bell believes the guest speakers have been central to the improved response from students. “I think the guest speaker mixes things up, so it’s not the same week to week,” he said. “So we are still working with athletics to continue to get prominent speakers.” Mike Oliver, Hall Presidents Council co-chair, thinks dorms have improved their display of school spirit in response to an incentive offered by head football coach Brian Kelly. “We’ve also provided the dorms with the incentive of whoever comes with the most spirit has the opportunity to have Brian Kelly come to the dorms, and it’s worked really well,” Oliver said. While the overall student response has been positive, Soler said she felt the student turnout at the student-only Boston College rally was lacking. “We were disappointed with participation in the Stepan rally, and we think it can be indicative of many things,” she said. “From a planning perspective, we really did all we could. It could have been the timing, maybe it wasn’t a good time for students,” she said. With the losing season, Soler recognizes that student government must work especially hard to encourage disheartened students to attend the rallies. “I think one of the things that has made a big difference this year, and hopefully will continue to … is our emphasis on keeping them short and sweet and encourage dorm participation,” Soler said. “We want to brand the rallies as a time for students to get excited, have fun and socialize. We want it to be something they can do for themselves as well as in support of the team.” Both Soler and Bell emphasized the pep rally format as being a work-in-progress. “I think thus far we’ve been to all the locations possible and now we’re in the evaluation period, where we want to determine the best location and format in the eyes of the students,” Bell said. “We’re honing in on what students really want.” Soler said student government has already taken steps to soliciting student advice on improving the rallies for the remainder of the season. “Right now we’re just working to improve them, we’ll be sending out a student survey to get concrete data about what they liked about rallies and where we can improve them,” Soler said. Bell said the key to improving the pep rallies will be to concentrate on the basics. “We’ve tried to make the emphasis from the beginning that pep rallies are best when focused on the student body and the football team.”last_img read more

Office of Sustainability announces new recycling policies

first_imgBowling balls. Christmas lights. Headphones.These are just a few examples of items that occasionally pass through local recycling, even though they are not recyclable, members of the Office of Sustainability said.And with new recycling requirements rolling out, the Office of Sustainability is aiming to educate students about what can and cannot be recycled.Whereas previous rules allowed for 10 percent contamination of recycled materials, the University’s recycling procedures now require that recycling be no more than 0.5 percent contaminated. This means all food and liquid must be removed from items, and greasy or dirty items cannot be recycled.Sustainability senior program director Allison Mihalich said the University used to encourage students to recycle in cases where they weren’t sure whether an item could be recycled. Now, she said, the Office of Sustainability is emphasizing the motto “When in doubt, throw it out.”“Our tagline is really ‘Recycle clean. Recycle right,’” she said. “So it’s cleaning if you have access to a sink. Rinse before [recycling] and definitely dump before recycling.”In addition to new contamination regulations, sticky notes can no longer be recycled. However, many other items remain recyclable, Caitlin Hodges, an associate program manager in the Office of Sustainability, said.Plastics labeled with the numbers one through six can be recycled, as well as clean glass, cardboard, paper, aluminum and newspapers.“Recycling is a complicated process and there are people involved at different stages of it to try and make it something clean and recoverable — but there’s no substitute for knowing how to put the right things in the bin,” Hodges said.However, other items such as plastic bags, cutlery and straws cannot be recycled — even though they often end up in recycling bins, Hodges said.“They cause a big challenge, especially bags,” she said. “With the volume of recycling that we generate, just the way that has to be processed is a huge challenge if bags wind up in the load.”The new policies are the result of a changing global market for recycled materials, Mihlich said. According to the New York Times, China previously accepted approximately half of the world’s recycled papers and plastics, before changing its policies at the beginning of this year.“Essentially, they discontinued accepting 24 types of items,” Mihlich said. “So we’re not able to send it overseas. Much of our recycled content in the United States and countries like the United States was going overseas. So when that changed it made the waste management, the recycling facilities tighten their belts.”In response to these changes, Notre Dame’s trash and recycling vendor, Waste Management, rolled out changes to the materials it would accept from the University, Hodges said.“Some of those changes are going to be rolling out — you see them already in certain municipal programs. … Because we generate so much waste in a small area, we’re the first ones that are seeing the changes in this region,” she said.Both Hodges and Mihlich said they were optimistic about the changes, despite some initial challenges.“I have heard some people say in response to this, they’ve asked me if it still matters that we recycle and I would say absolutely, it still matters,” Hodges said. “This is more of an opportunity to be engaged in the reality of what generating waste is, and what that looks like from the time you buy it to the time it leaves you and goes somewhere to potentially be turned into something else.”Tags: Office of Sustainability, recycling, trash, Waste Managementlast_img read more