44% of UK senior decision makers lack confidence in succession plans

While the majority of UK firms have succession plans in place, almost half of them are unsure whether those plans are delivering the right results. That’s the key message from new white paper Challenging Talent, from recruitment agency BPS World. In a poll of 500 senior decision makers in firms with 50 employees or more, the agency found that 90% of them had implemented succession plans, but 44% lacked confidence in their effectiveness.

One of the main concerns that respondents highlighted was the struggle to find people who could positively influence and manage teams. The white paper notes that candidates will rise through the ranks thanks to strong technical skills, but all too often end up in line management roles without any specific training.

BPS World CEO Simon Conington said: “Some people are not suited to managing others, and organisations need to think in a less linear way about career development and offer multiple ways to progress. I like to use a sporting analogy: your best footballer could potentially become a terrible manager, yet some fairly average players have become the best managers.”

The white paper advises employers to look at ways of helping people to rise to senior roles without managing teams, if that is not in their skillset. Forcing these people to manage others, it notes, will have a damaging impact on overall performance.


Level of presenteeism in UK organisations “shocking”, says CIPD

The number of employees turning up to work while ill has more than tripled over the past eight years, according to a new research from CIPD. In the body’s latest Health and Wellbeing at Work report, 86% of respondents said that they had observed that type of behaviour in their organisations – up on 72% in 2016 and well above the 26% recorded for 2010. Furthermore, 69% had observed cases of leaveism – colleagues using their annual leave as a window in which to do work.

CIPD senior employment relations adviser Rachel Suff said: “The survey shines a light on the shocking scale of presenteeism and leaveism we have in the UK, as people feel under even more pressure at work. Increasingly the threats to wellbeing in the modern workplace are psychological rather than physical – yet too few organisations are discouraging unhealthy workplace practices and tackling stress, which is strongly linked to health conditions such as anxiety and depression.”

Suff added: “In order to encourage a healthy workplace, organisations need to look beyond sickness absence rates alone and develop a solid, evidence-based understanding of the underlying causes of work-related stress and unhealthy behaviour like presenteeism. Without this evidence base, efforts to support employees and improve their health and well-being will be short-lived.”


Men at heart of Starbucks wrongful arrests case reach deal with city to fund young-entrepreneurs scheme

Two black men who were wrongfully arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks branch while waiting for a friend have reached a settlement with city officials that could spur the creation of new leaders. As News & Views reported on 20 April, the men – who have been named as Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson – were apprehended in the coffee bar after an employee called police to the scene, accusing the pair of trespassing.

Nelson and Robinson have chosen not to launch full-blown civil proceedings against the city following their treatment at the hands of the attending officers. Instead, they have accepted symbolic payments of $1 each – plus a pledge from City Hall to fund a $200,000 mentoring programme for young entrepreneurs, aimed at the city’s high-school students.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said: “Rather than spending time, money and resources to engage in a potentially adversarial process, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson approached the city and invited us to partner with them in an attempt to make something positive come of this. This agreement is the result of those conversations, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this effort in the coming months and years.”


TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile flunk Ofcom customer service poll

Bad tidings for TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile have emerged from an Ofcom poll to find out what the UK’s broadband and mobile phone users think of their service providers. TalkTalk scored poorly across the majority of the regulator’s customer-service measures for broadband – although Plusnet also took flak for their average call-waiting time of eight minutes, compared to EE’s snappy 48 seconds.

Vodafone and Virgin Mobile received similarly poor ratings in the mobile category, with customers particularly dissatisfied with the firms’ complaints systems and unlikely to recommend the brands to their friends.

Ofcom Consumer Group director Lindsey Fussell said: “People often focus on price when they’re choosing a phone or broadband provider. But there are big differences in the customer service offered by providers. We’re encouraging people to look beyond the price and consider customer service too. In such a competitive market, companies simply can’t afford to let their service standards slip. If they don’t up their game, customers can vote with their feet.”

Scathing review for Sainsburys chief’s song choice amid Asda merger revelations

Sainsburys boss Mike Coupe was left red-faced this week after he was caught on a hot mic – and camera – singing ‘We’re In The Money’ as his firm’s proposed tie-up with Asda was formally announced. Sainsburys’ share price leapt up 20% after the merger news broke and, while he was between live TV interviews, Coupe was shown performing an impromptu cover version of the classic show tune. After critics rounded on his cavalier song choice, Coupe apologised for his “unguarded moment” and explained that the song was from the musical 42nd Street, which he saw last year.

That cut no ice with Forum of Private Business managing director Ian Cass, who said that if the song signals Coupe’s position on the deal, “I very much doubt small suppliers would choose the same song to sing – one option would be ‘Highway to Hell’.”