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The Connection Awards 2009

10. Best attempt to recruit from outside the usual circles

AwardsWe’re all looking for the golden CV, but MI5’s recruitment strategy has to be applauded. The advert, aimed at teachers, read: “Your experience of dealing with people means you can build trust and relationships with all sorts of individuals, which makes you the ideal candidate for developing a career securing the information we need to protect national security.”

They also claimed that teachers are good at “writing reports”. Brilliant.

9. Most difficult HR policy to announce

Sensitivity is required at all times in HR, but how do you tell a 21-stone bus driver that he can no longer drive the bus because he might break the seat? Pity, then, the Hull-based coach company whose HR policy refresh highlighted weight regulations for bus drivers.

8. Best attempt to boost brand through recruitment

Krispy Kreme went the extra mile this year by getting potential candidates to text them. Nothing revolutionary, you might think, except that they are now putting an edible text number on a doughnut. Sorry, donut.

Head of HR Steve Gill said: "This programme will help to grow the brand and protect it as the business expands, while helping us to retain our best talent."

7. Best attempt to wind up the Daily Mail readership

The police force must have enjoyed their one-day course on how to smile, especially when the Daily Mail revealed that it cost the tax-payer “tens of thousands of pounds”. Our PCs were told to avoid phrases like “we don’t want any trouble”, and many of them appeared none too happy at being told to be... well... happy!

6. Best analogy used to describe how HR needs to improve in 2009

CrabSpeeches about how HR needs to improve in order to survive have been made since the year dot. However, one speech at this year’s HR Forum, said that HR needs to be more like a crab.

This was our favourite quote from the speech: "The crab's own development provides a change management plan. It doesn't allow itself to move to the next process until it has completed the one before. It tells us to identify what strengths we need to keep and what we need to get rid of before moving further into the change process."

We’re expecting to see a crustacean CEO by the end of 2010.

5. Lowest expenses claim of the year

In a year which has seen MPs pilloried for their extravagant expenses claims, this one managed to sneak in under the radar. A former leading HR chief claimed an astonishing 72p for mileage to go and see a TV programme. This comes as part of a total annual expenses claim of £6,659.58.

Seventy-two pence! We have to give him credit for not rounding it up.

4. HR’s favourite person of the year

Last year we gave this award to Alistair Darling, which gives you an indication as to the level of irony we use when considering who to give this prestigious award. This year, the award goes to Alan Sugar, who allegedly said: “what does HR do? In our days, we called it 'the bloke what gives out the job'. It's a very simplistic way of looking at it.”

Shocking grammar aside, Sir Alan’s views do seem a little dated. He then went on to ask an Apprentice candidate: “You are a human resources manager - but you can't say you can't do numbers, you can't do this or you can't do that. You know how to work out a redundancy package on a calculator, don't you?" Ouch.

3. The least popular Health and Safety announcement of the year

It can sometimes be a fine line between guaranteeing the safety of your employees and patronising them. So spare a thought for the HR department at the West Midlands police force, whose advice to officers was to watch out for “slippery leaves in autumn” and “bright sunshine in summer”.

You can imagine the moans and groans of police officers, but have some consideration for the poor HR team who were faced with one shocking statistic in particular: 23% of all accidents in the West Midlands police force are caused by slips, trips and falls.

2. The worst possible news for victims of stress

A leading health expert claimed this year that stressed workers should “toughen up”, and that they have convinced themselves they are more stressed than they actually are.

So, great news for all those HR teams who have worked so hard to reduce stress in the workplace – you needn’t have bothered, apparently! The expert went on to claim that the current generation is ‘soft’, and too quick to hit the panic button.

He even suggested banning the phrase ‘work stress’.

1. The best HR response to social networking

AvatarWe seem to have moved on from how to stop employees from using Facebook and Twitter, to how to make the best use of Facebook and Twitter, and soon, it appears, we’ll be discussing how to draw up policies on appropriate usage!

An IT specialist claimed this year that businesses will soon have to produce HR guidelines on ‘avatar’ dress codes. This is especially important for virtual arenas such as Second Life, where it would be inappropriate to host an online meeting with an avatar wearing a bikini.

Imagine having to hold a disciplinary meeting because Neil in Sales turned up in his virtual birthday suit to a virtual meeting and shocked the virtual delegates from Japan.

  • 1st December 2009
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