Talent and redundancy

Da na, Da na, da da der da da.

Yes, you guessed it… it’s the theme tune from The Sweeney. Any minute now a copper brown Ford Consul will jump over a ramp and through a couple of empty cardboard boxes, thoughtfully left by a slag.

Because we are back in the 70s.

But before we all start wearing donkey jackets and saying things like ‘crickey, it’s the Rozzers’ this is the 70s with a difference.

Of course, I’m far too young to remember the three day working week and fuel rationing from Sweeney time but I have read about it and it’s happening again, only with a difference that is so stark it just cries out to be blogged.

Last week we had a whole bunch of workers walk out of the Total refinery in Lincolnshire. The strike action was illegal because it wasn’t balloted and, whatever their motives or grievances it was not the way to do it.

But what happened next?

You’d expect Messrs Carter and Regan to screech to a stop, bundle a hundred workers into the back of their car (let’s face it, it was big enough) and throw them in the cells.

Not a bit of it.

Instead, these workers on the illegal strike walked back into their jobs, with the conditions they wanted and those that didn’t were relocated. The union heralded it as a ‘slap in the face for the employer’. So much for co-operation and thoughtful industrial relations.

Compare this to the actions of KPMG whose talent and knowledge management is key to their operation. KPMG is clearly not immune to the economic disaster we find ourselves in but just cannot afford to lose any of their knowledge – let’s face it there are many, many organisations that would like the opportunity to blag (that’s slang for stealing) what KPMG knows.

So KMPG employees have been offered a choice – to voluntarily work four days a week and have the fifth as a day off, but unpaid, or four to twelve weeks at 30% of their contracted salary.

86% of KPMG (according to the People Management website) have signed up to the voluntary arrangements.

KPMG seem to have pulled off that most difficult of tricks; slashing staffing costs through this difficult time whilst protecting its most important asset – its people and their knowledge.

Having said that, the world has officially been turned on its head. We have industrial workers walking out of the jobs on illegal strike action and white collar workers on voluntary four day working weeks.

What next?

I hear the Goodies might be making a comeback.

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