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  • It appears that some organisations may be purchasing training that could prove completely ineffective. A global survey revealed that half of human resource professionals lack confidence in certain programmes for high-potential workers and feel as though much of the current training programmes are actually ineffective for developing future leaders.
    A sample of 6.6 million people was surveyed for the initial research. Only around one in six employees entering a high-potential development initiative will succeed in entering a senior role. This poor statistic results in about £1.2 million of spend that is wasted on learning and development.
    Human resource experts feel as though one of the issues among organisations is how high-potential staff are identified. Many organisations lack a systematic approach, while only one third of companies use valid assessment methods to back up their choices. Furthermore, experts explain that more clarity is needed to define what “high-potential” really means. Just because an employee performs well in a current position does not mean there is necessarily room for promotion.
    Human resource experts have outlined different ways that organisations can stop the financial bleeding when it comes to training programmes. Companies need to adopt a clear definition of what “high-potential” is and how it differs from high performance. Companies can also identify whether or not workers with high potential have any aspiration to rise into senior roles. Looking at how engaged staff are can be an easy way to indicate which employees have this aspiration. Finally, managers can use stretch roles and/or assignments to develop these carefully identified staff, prior to paying for additional training.

  • A quarter of pension trustees believe their scheme isn’t completely compliant with The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) new defined contribution code of practice (DC).
    This code of practice comes into force this month and defines how trustees should manage their schemes to improve returns in order to get the most out of the pension. Unfortunately, research released at this year’s NAPF Annual Conference showed that only half of schemes see themselves as fully compliant with the Code. Approximately 5% claimed to be “partially compliant”.
    This finding came despite a majority of trustees feeling that there should be a requirement to demonstrate their scheme’s compliance with the Code and TPR’s guidance. Many trustees, four in ten, voiced their concerns about the challenges presented by the Code. These same trustees would like to raise standards so that risk amongst pension holders can be managed.
    Interestingly enough, when the trustees were polled about compliance, 9% said they hadn’t completed the TPR’s trustee toolkit or PMI qualification.
    Ultimately, the introduction of the DC Code could offer a platform for trustees who are seeking better member engagement. This is a great opportunity for trustees to demonstrate how hard they’ve been working to aid their members. The best run DC schemes will need all members involved to play their parts in order to reach full potential.

  • It appears that the economy and job market may finally be back on the up and up.  Companies are starting to take on more staff at greater rates, indicating a firmly rooted recovery.

    A study by Ortus found that approximately 45% of the human resources industry said they have increased their employee numbers within the past year.  This surpasses 2010’s results by a full nine percent. 

    There is a growing feeling in the United Kingdom that the economy has finally been able to turn the corner, however, human resource experts are rather weary over the Government’s economic uncertainly.  It is hard for people to not feel optimistic when the number of companies cutting staff is lower than at the same point three years ago.

    Teams are expanding their employee counts with plans for larger workloads in the hope that they will see a hefty return on investment.  Meanwhile, the Ortus data says that the future looks positive, predicting that 12% of organisations will increase their employee headcount in 2014.

    One thing is for sure, however, only time will tell.

  • A landmark case titled, Cox v Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, was able to shed light on how much knowledge employers are expected to possess in order to conclude that an employee is or is not disabled.

    Cox was employed as a deputy finance director by a company called Essex Fire Service.  It was during the recruitment process that Cox disclosed that he suffered from mild depression and that it was being treated with anti-depressants.  At the same time, Cox explained that while he suffered from depression he didn’t have any conditions that would disable him from carrying out normal daily activities.

    In September 2008 Cox fell down a small flight of stairs at work and injured himself.  He spent a three-week period at home and began personal injury proceedings against his employer.  About one year after the accident, Cox told his employer that he visited a counsellor to help deal with the effects of the concussion and the severe depression that began as a result of the accident.  Cox was referred to the employer’s occupational health service that confirmed it was highly unlikely he had a disability under the relevant statutory definition.

    Cox was suspended pending an investigation into his behaviour.  In September 2009, Cox informed his employer that he had been suffering from bipolar disorder for about three months.  A psychiatrist considered that his accident may have actually amounted to a “hypomanic episode”.  It was at this point that the employer began to request medical reports from Cox’s GP in order to ascertain whether the bipolar disorder was an, ‘active diagnosis’.

    At the advice of his personal injury lawyer, Cox withdrew his consent for his GP and his consultant to disclose any medical condition.  Having conducted their own investigation, the employer dismissed a series of grievances raised by Cox and ended up dismissing him for gross misconduct.

    Cox brought a claim for disability discrimination, arguing that his employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments and claimed for unfair dismissal.  The tribunal held that Cox prevented a definitive diagnosis by refusing to disclose the relevant medical information to the employer, which prevented them from recognising the true nature of the condition.  Since there wasn’t a definitive diagnosis, the employer would have no way of concluding whether he was or was not disabled.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal stated that for an employer to have the requisite knowledge that an employee is disabled, it would need to have an actual active diagnosis.  In this case, the employer could only rely on Cox’s diagnosis.  Therefore the appeal was dismissed.

    This case reinforced the notion that employers are not held responsible for any kind of adjustments if they do not know an employee is disabled.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has enrolled the help of many aviation experts to help solve an issue that could potentially get worse if unresolved.  The FAA’s processes, combined with financial constraints, has created a bottleneck that held up about 1,000 certifications last month alone. 

    An FAA representative said that due to the loss of resources in the certification office, paperwork just began to pile up.  The sequester, hiring freezes, and the infamous government shutdown are all partly to blame for the loss of resources.  Unfortunately, aviation experts are also warning that the industry “continues to grow” and existing budget challenges will only make it harder for the FAA to keep up.  While regulatory changes may be in the pipeline, financial challenges do not seem to be nearing an end.

    FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, recently said that changes within the agency might be necessary in order to keep up with a growing industry. In the meantime, signed legislation is hoping to streamline the certification process but no sooner than December of 2015.   

  • New research from the CIPD revealed that more employees are searching for a new role at the same time as fewer organisations are implementing a recruitment freeze.
    After years of what is being called “labour market stagnation” talent seems be seeking jobs at their highest percentage since the spring of 2011.
    The CIPD surveyed a pool of 3,000 employees. Out of this population, 24 percent of workers in the private and voluntary sectors were actively looking for a new job.
    The research also indicated that, not so surprisingly, the intention to look for alternative employment increased with job dissatisfaction. Sixty-two percent of dissatisfied employees were looking for a new role. Only 10 percent of employees who said they were satisfied at their workplace were seeking out other job opportunities.
    The same data patterns proved true for employees who claimed to be disengaged and employees who said they were under excessive amounts of daily pressures.
    Overall, employees in the voluntary sector were the most satisfied with their employments, while satisfaction levels in the private sector continue to decline year over year.
    Human resource experts said that employers and organisations should use this research and not look at it as discouraging. Employers should up their game when it comes to retaining key talent because if they aren’t monitoring progression and career development, they may risk losing their workers.

  • Aviation industry periodicals and news channels are abuzz with reports that major airlines have been cutting back on fuel in order to save money. As it turns out, these different channels are correct; in some situations cutting back on fuel is used as a means to optimise expenses. It is important to note, however, that this fuel is EXTRA fuel.
    Aviation experts explain that determining how much fuel to carry on a given flight is a science. It is safe to say that aviation crews aren’t ‘guesstimating’ how much fuel they need to have with a quick glance at gauges or reports. This number is determined by the airline’s dispatchers and flight planning staffs, using data such as routing and altitude, balance against wind and weather conditions.
    There are also rules and regulations when it comes to the amount of fuel an aircraft carries. For example, a US domestic rule says that a plane cannot take off without enough fuel to reach the intended destination then proceed to the most distant of any required alternate airports, with the addition of a 45-minute cushion. This rule is non-negotiable according to aviation experts.
    Fuel levels once in flight are carefully and constantly monitored by pilots and the airline’s on-the-ground dispatchers. Therefore it is important to note that while fuel cutbacks allow for less room to wiggle, they aren’t necessary dangerous.  

  • After months of back and forth concerning airlines offering expanded use of personal electronic devices on flights, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it would, in fact, allow this expanded usage. Now there is a race amongst airlines to see who will be able to offer this first.
    Delta announced that it is expecting to be ready to offer the expanded electronic device use below 10,000 feet within the next two weeks. In regard to its regional partners flying under the Delta Connection brand, it expects to have the capability by the end of the year.
    Delta’s senior vice president for in-flight service, Joanne Smith, said that the airline appreciates the work the FAA has done within the aviation industry to define a path that is more suitable for growing technology and electronics.
    Much to Delta’s chagrin, JetBlue also announced that it began the process to become the first airline to allow customers to use personal electronic devices during all phases of flight.
    Delta and Jetblue’s press releases were literally released within 20 minutes of each other. Southwest Airlines did indicate that it also wants to offer this capability but not immediately.
    Regardless of who becomes the first to make this landmark change, every airline agrees that this is a huge step towards 100% customer satisfaction.

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a report that revealed the gap between men and women has narrowed slightly in the past year in many countries.
    The report was based on topics like political participation, economic quality and rights such as health and education. Topping the list of 136 nations were Iceland, Finland and Norway.
    This is the fifth year in a row that Iceland has appeared at the top of the WEF rankings earning this nation the title of “world’s most equal” country.
    Saadia Zahidi, the report founder, said that since the WEF began compiling its index 80% of the countries made progress.
    The report, which has been produced for the past eight years, also showed that the only countries to show no improvement within the past year were the Middle East and North Africa.
    Zahidi said that while some countries hadn’t purposely invested in women and their role in society, it was through necessity that the gender played a major role in the economy. Nordic countries continued to top the list because they have a long history of investing in their people, both men and women.
    The report found that 96% of the gap has now closed when considering matters of health and survival.
    The United Kingdom held its position in the top 20, coming in at number 18.


  • Prior to take off in a Cirrus SR22T, a 550-hour instrument-rated pilot requested that the aircraft be refueled before flight. However, according to the report filed by the NTSB, the airplane managed by a management company was not refueled. The line-service at the company was “unable to find the airplane to refuel it,” thus the refueling never took place.
    The pilot never visually verified the fuel levels in the tanks during his preflight inspection and take-off took place with a manifestation of low fuel alerts on the flight displays. Not long into the flight, the pilot notified ATC that the engine was running “rough” and that he needed to divert and return back to the airport.
    The first instrument approach was terminated, while on the second approach the engine lost power causing the pilot to attempt a forced landing into a field.
    Witnesses reported seeing a parachute deploy prior to the plane’s impact, also citing that there wasn’t any evidence of spilled fuel at the site of the accident.
    After further examination of the engine, it was determined that there weren’t any defects concerning the engine and that it actually produced full rated power.
    The NTSB reported that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot’s failure to adequately preflight the airplane prior to departure. This, according to the report, resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

  • The Boeing 747 is synonymous with aviation revolution. The double-decker jumbo jet has been around for decades but it seems that the 747 could be nearing its end.
    After cutting 747 production targets twice in a six month period, the manufacturer is only producing 18 of these jumbo jets each year for the next two years. Records reveal that Boeing wouldn’t have sold any 747s if not for the Korean Air order made last Thursday.
    Boeing began building 747s in the late 1960s. The 747 changed the way people were able to travel. Before 747-production, international travel was limited to those that could afford extremely pricey flights. Due to the size of the 747, long flights became more economical for the airlines and ticket prices dropped.
    While Boeing maintains that they believe in an extended need for the 747, especially in regions like Asia, many airlines just don’t want an airplane that big anymore. Most airlines prefer newer, two-engine jets that burn less fuel during flight.
    One aviation expertexplained that larger planes used four engines when aviation technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now. Now, you really only need two engines because they are able to accomplish the same amount of power as four.
    Another issue with 747s is what they are also most known for: their size. Being able to seat anything from 380 to 560 people is a blessing and a curse. Some airlines, depending on how flights are scheduled, can’t fill in each seat of the six-story high 747 for certain flights. Whether each seat gets filled or not, the airline would still need to rationalise the cost of jet fuel for the flight.
    Surveys also found that most business travellers want multiple flights to choose from when scheduling business trips. Using smaller jets allows for more flights to be scheduled throughout the day.
    Boeing has said that slowing 747 production will not have a significant financial impact on the company. The manufacturer will simply shift their attention and production efforts to more popular aircrafts.

  • Pulsar Informatics showcased a new web application at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual exhibition that promises to help evaluate crew fatigue.
    The application, called Aviation Fatigue Meter, was created by the Philadelphia-based company and claims the app provides an “easy way for people to see how any particular schedule is impacted by human fatigue factors.” The company has been around for about a decade now and has developed fatigue assessment tools for agencies like the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense and even NASA. The company is now looking to address fatigue issues throughout the business aviation industry.
    Aviation experts explain that similar factors within the aforementioned industries affect how an employee’s internal clock functions, including extended hours and night work.
    The application is optimized for use on the iPad and takes the scientifically tested bio-mathematical model of human fatigue and makes it accessible in an interactive manner. Users of the app are able to move their finger to lengthen or shorten duty hours, sleep hours and rest periods. As the lines move the user has the ability to see immediately how their fatigue levels are affected.
    While situations where only one factor is involved may be simple to calculate, it becomes more difficult when there are multiple. This is when the application comes into play. All the drivers of fatigue are projected onto the performance impairment curve as the user creates their schedule.
    It is imperative that sleep be managed to ensure pilots and everyone else involved, remain safe. The Aviation Fatigue Meter is being released by the NBAA. The company is still exploring different ways the app can be marketed considering both part of an existing flight planning package and stand-alone options.

  • One woman’s request for a parking spot landed her an involvement in one groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case.
    Pauline Feist worked as an assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice. Feist has osteoarthritis in her knee and asked the department for a free, on-site parking space. Refusing to grant Feist her request, the department claimed that this would not help her accomplish any of the essential functions of her job. Feist filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming that the state failed to accommodate a disability. Soon after her filing, Feist was fired with the department citing poor performance.
    After her termination, Feist filed a lawsuit claiming disability bias and retaliation. While the district court ruled in the company’s favor, a circuit court ruled in Feist’s favor on appeal.
    The court decided to look outside of the official definition of “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, the court asked for advice from the EEOC.
    The agency stated that accommodating a disabled employee so that the employee is able to complete the essential functions of their job makes up only one of three categories of reasonable accommodation.
    The court found that reasonable accommodations can include actions that enable a worker to “enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment”. Ultimately it was decided that there does not need to be a link between an employee’s essential functions and a reasonable accommodation request.
    While the case is only binding in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, human resource experts across the country took away from this that an employer’s accommodation is not reasonable as only measured against an employee’s job functions. An employer should focus their accommodation analysis based on the reasonableness of the requested accommodation itself.