+44 (0) 1792 522 244|info@jane-systems.co.uk

Do the Right Thing

Starbucks was publicly shamed last month after two black customers were arrested in one of their Philadelphia outlets for reasons that still seem baffling. The two men were waiting for a friend to arrive before placing an order, but were asked to leave. When they asked why, the police were called. Almost inevitably the incident was filmed and the fallout has been wide-reaching. The chain, which draws annual global revenue in excess of $22 billion, faced accusations of unconscious bias and even open racism.

To their credit Starbucks wasted no time in addressing the issue. Over 8,000 US-based outlets were closed yesterday afternoon, enabling 175,000 staff to receive “unconscious bias” training. No expense was spared in the session and shutting up shop on a weekday afternoon meant a huge amount of expense was incurred, but the reaction has been mixed.

There’s anger among some employees that anyone should have to be trained not to be a racist. There’s also widespread scepticism about the effectiveness of the exercise. From a PR standpoint it may have looked like a good option but to those of us who’ve worked in environments that were poisoned by prejudice – conscious and unconscious – it seems optimistic in the extreme to expect that kind of negativity to disappear because people watched a video. Doing something is usually better than doing nothing, but what’s the best course of action?

We can’t blame Starbucks for the racism that pervades society and it’s harsh to blame them for recruiting people who are guilty of unconscious bias. Unspoken prejudice can fly under the radar in the most diligent recruitment interviews, so how can we deal with it and give it no room to flourish?

Those of us who […]

Mind the Gap

We’re still making progress, though, and the movement towards pay equality is gathering momentum.

Legislation introduced in 2017 compelled all companies, charities and public-sector bodies employing more than 250 staff to submit their gender pay figures by not later than April 4th.

The results are in, and they paint an unsatisfying picture;

Of the 10,014 employers who submitted data, eight out of ten pay men more than women.

There is no sector in the UK in which women have a pay advantage.

1,557 employers didn’t bother submitting any data at all.

The equalities watchdog will look into the employers who missed the April 4th deadline and hopefully secure their commitment to playing by the rules, not only in timely submission of data but in working to close the pay gap. We need these rules to be enforced. Across the private and public sectors the disparity is often striking. Trade Unions have traditionally supported those who seek fairer treatment in the workplace but Unite, the largest union in Britain, revealed a pay gap of 29.6% between the sexes, far above the national average of 18.4%. Even more notably, the teachers’ union NASUWT revealed that female educators are paid an average of 42.7% less than their male counterparts.

Jane’s Gender Pay Gap Analysis software delivers precision reporting on:

The average gender pay gap as a mean average

The average gender pay gap as a median average

The average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average

The average bonus gender pay gap as a median average

The proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment

The proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay

It’s up to individual organisations how they face the challenge of […]

Prevention or Cure?

Microsoft’s Chief People Officer Katherine Hogan has communicated this to all members of staff and made it clear that such conduct is unacceptable. The tech giant deserves credit for acting decisively and making no attempt to sweep the news under the carpet and in fairness 20 bad apples in a global workforce of 124,000 is a very small minority. As with all cases of workplace harassment, though, it’s deeply regrettable that innocent people had to come to work in the morning and find themselves objectified and intimidated. Criticism still hangs over Microsoft after it was revealed that 118 cases of gender discrimination were made between 2010 and 2016, and only one of them was taken under consideration. The possibility remains that a class action lawsuit will be brought against Microsoft by multiple employees essentially complaining about the same problem. None of this is good news for one of the world’s most recognisable brands, and as a HR service provider to household names in the public and private sectors Jane Systems appreciates the importance of maintaining a reputation.

We help our clients protect their good names by advocating prevention, not cure.

We advocate having a system in place that helps you capitalise on your good intentions and make it clear what your expectations of your people are.

We advocate disciplinary and grievance procedures recorded with follow up action monitored for enhanced problem-solving. So the first time you investigate an example of inappropriate behaviour, you can put measures in place that won’t just act on it but will monitor the effectiveness of that action. One instance of harassment is too many and some offences deserve dismissal, but when faced with someone who has inadvertently crossed a line, employers […]

Partners In Progress

Yesterday saw the 100th anniversary of partial voting rights being granted to British women. Fate decreed that it would also be a day to discuss the gender pay gap that still faces them. In 1997 the difference between male and female earnings in the UK was 27.5%. By 2017 the disparity was down to 18.4%. While this represents progress, it’s coming at a rate that suggests we may have to wait another 40 years for parity.

Tesco is widely regarded as a fair, supportive employer, so yesterday’s news that thousands of the retail giant’s female staff are mounting a legal challenge for back pay raised eyebrows. These women are claiming pay parity with men in similarly demanding roles, and Leigh Day, the law firm acting on their behalf, are making a persuasive case. It’s been revealed that the most common hourly rate for female employees is £8 while the equivalent for men is £11. Arguments that the physical demands of warehouse work justifies significantly better may not stand up; if we take that thought to its logical conclusion then pickers and packers in retailer warehouses might claim the right to higher wages than white collar workers who never break a sweat.

 

This hard-hitting review of Tesco policy was followed yesterday morning by a softer-hitting investigation on a BBC current affairs show revealing that female contestants on the latest series of “Love Island” were paid less for subsequent promotional work than their male co-stars. Some might argue that there are worthier standard bearers for equality of opportunity. Others might wonder why anyone would choose to employ a Love Island alumnus of either sex. But if we’re serious about pay parity then we can’t just stand up for […]

Uber’s Challenging September

Uber are getting that message from all directions, and it’s made September a challenging month for them. The transport company turned over $20 billion in 2016, but its dramatic growth has been threatened by Transport for London’s decision to revoke its London licence.

Most of us who’ve lived and worked in London over the past five years will know people who believe Uber has made their lives safer, offering a secure journey home when there were limited alternatives available. Thousands of Londoners have signed petitions in support of Uber this month for that exact reason. The other side of that argument is the accusation of sex discrimination by a female driver that’s hit the headlines this week. The driver claims that Uber is putting her and other women at risk, arguing that drivers don’t know a passenger’s destination until they are in the car, and if the journey is to a remote or unsafe area the driver has no option to cancel the journey. If passengers behave aggressively in the car, the driver can’t ask them to leave without risking a complaint and a low customer rating that could jeopardise their chances of future work.

To compound matters, Uber is appealing a legal ruling that its drivers should be considered workers rather than self-employed independent contractors. The appeal takes place today, and will go a long way to deciding whether drivers should be entitled to benefits such as sick pay and the minimum wage.

Critics argue that Uber’s policies offer insufficient protection to female drivers, and insufficient rights to all drivers. The company has countered with a survey that suggests most drivers enjoy working for them, and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has now gone further, writing […]

A Work In Progress

Those of us who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s will be acutely aware of just how much progress has been made towards equality of opportunity. Employers are more supportive, more committed to diversity and more focused on wellness and engagement.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels. This week we’ve seen a reminder that we need to keep moving forward.

In addition one in five are concerned enough about perceived bias to have taken action to hide their age, disability, social background or sexuality.

While many of us are happy with our employer’s commitment to equality and diversity, others are unconvinced. Nicola Linkleter, President of Professional Staffing, is among the prominent voices making the point that a positive workplace culture must come from root-and-branch commitment that’s clear in every strategic decision.

Here at Jane Systems, we’re in full agreement. We believe a company’s culture manifests itself in every recruitment interview, every training session and every client interaction. And we don’t believe in “bolt-ons”. You can’t just tack on a message of inclusiveness as an afterthought.

Each service module – HR, Payroll, Occupational Sickness, Recruitment and Staff Development – works effectively in its own right, and when you put them all together you have a system that supports diversity, cooperation and achievement. The Jane Self-Service Portal has been praised by employers as a motivating tool that actively increases employee engagement and training take-up. The recruitment module has been applauded as an equality aid that focuses entirely on applicant suitability and creates a compliant and ready-made employee record for new starters.

This morning I found a dollar bill in my wallet, left over from a recent trip to the United States. On the reverse side of the […]