HR to play vital role in boosting UK productivity

first_img Previous Article Next Article HRcan play a vital role in helping to plug the productivity gap which is plaguingthe UK economy.Thatis the prediction of The Work Foundation’s chief executive Will Hutton, whobelieves many organisations have over-simplified the reasons behind poorproductivity levels.Heargues that poor UK productivity – which is 20 per cent lower than the US and25 per cent lower than parts of Europe – is the combination of a multitude offactors.”Weneed to develop a new approach to understanding productivity at a corporate,industrial and sectoral level,” he explained.Huttonsaid a successful HR department is able to drive up company performance, and inturn, its productivity.”Weneed a more subtle understanding of this. If you get the HR dimension of an organisationright, there are measurable consequences for performance.”Tounderstand performance, a company must look at five key areas: its market,shareholder value, stakeholder value, HR and management, Hutton claimed.Hesaid HR must make good performance across all five areas the norm, not theexception.Inaddition, he said there needs to be a common vocabulary to explain peoplevalues to investors, and a greater business building culture.Healso accused UK bosses of being short-sighted, and hit out at the “povertyof ambition”.TheWork Foundation is looking into productivity for the DTI. HR to play vital role in boosting UK productivityOn 20 May 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Foursquare’s Google Moment: Recommendations Launch Tonight

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The race between tech companies aiming to tell you what to do with your free time will heat up tonight with the midnight launch of version 3.0 of location-based social network Foursquare. According to the company, its long awaited recommendations feature will be included.It’s one thing for Amazon or Netflix to recommend movies or other products you might like (that’s a huge business), it’s another thing for an automated system to tell you where you should go when you walk out the door of your house, what real-world venues you should patronize. That’s something a whole lot of companies are going to try to tackle, including Google and Facebook. The Enormity of Real-World RecommendationsInside every “where should I go?” question there are other big questions, like: What should I eat? What should I buy? What should I do with my leisure time plus expendable income? What should I do with my life? Foursquare would love to be a service that regularly answers those questions for millions of people. It’s a very ambitious goal. It’s reminiscent of the question Google has answered, “What Web page should I look at for information about my interest?” As big as the Web is, though – the offline world is bigger, richer and can be more interesting. Win at recommendations offline and your Web application has really done something big.Real-world place recommendations are higher risk (in terms of expense to the user who makes a purchase, the effort required and maybe social cost) but also much higher reward (in terms of lived experience gained and potential commercial activity) than online shopping or media consumption are. Can Foursquare get recommendations right and capture some of this huge potential? What Foursquare Brings to the TableFoursquare first began talking publicly about experiments with recommendation technologies six months ago. Three months ago the company posted a job opening for a data scientist, believed by observers to be someone who would focus on building out the recommendation technology.Nearly two years after launching, the company now says it is fast approaching 7.5 million users and has recorded 500 million user check-ins. Foursquare doesn’t disclose the number of venues it has indexed but one estimate is about 10 million bars, restaurants, parks, stores and other places across the world. If that number is accurate, that would mean there’s been about 50 check-ins per venue on average. That sounds like a healthy little data set to analyze for recommendations.Here’s how the company said today that data will be put to use:The idea is pretty simple: tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll help you find something nearby. The suggestions are based on a little bit of everything – the places you’ve been, the places your friends have visited, your loyalty to your favorite places, the categories and types of places you gravitate towards, what’s popular with other users, the day of the week, places with great tips, the time of day, and so on. We’ll even tell you why we think you should visit a certain place (e.g. popular with friends, similar to your favorite spots). You’ll find it’s helpful for general things like “food”, “coffee”, “nightlife” (we built in quick access to these searches) and you’ll be surprised by what you get when searching for really specific things, like “80s music,” “fireplaces,” “pancakes,” “bratwurst,” and “romantic.” The more random you get, the more interesting the results get (though be patient with this first release… sometimes we can’t find every random thing).Factors Contributing to the New Foursquare Recommendations Your friends’ historyYour loyalty to your favorite placesYour favorite categoriesPopular places across all usersWhat day of the week it isThe time of day a request is madeThe quality of tips a place hasWhat topical experts have to say.And outside of the “Explore” tab, you’ll see some of this thinking starting to surface on the “Me” tab as well. As we started to tinker with our recommendations algorithms, we started to see “expertise” starting to emerge from the data – we’re seeing friends that have been to every karaoke place within 10 miles or tried every burger in Los Angeles. The new “Me” tab surfaces some of this, letting you seek guidance from your friends on the categories and places they explore most.Now, with over half a billion data points, and with every additional check-in and every tip, foursquare gets a little smarter for you, your friends, and the rest of the community. We’re already finding this can be just as helpful for finding a brunch spot in your neighborhood as it can be for helping you navigate a new city for the first time.That sounds great, but the proof will be in the pudding of course. It’s great to hear that this complicated problem is being approached with at least nine different factors taken into consideration. A Design ChallengeWith that many moving parts, there will be engineering challenges for Foursquare for sure – but the resulting experience is what will matter most. Users will be able to know right away if recommendations are for places they have been intrigued by or places they know already and dislike. It’s going to take some finesse to really be compelling.“Machine learning,” wrote Joseph Reisinger in a recent blog post titled Why Generic Machine Learning Fails, “is not undifferentiated heavy lifting, it’s not commoditizable like EC2, and closer to design than coding. The Netflix prize is a good example: the last 10% reduction in RMSE wasn’t due to more powerful generic algorithms, but rather due to some very clever thinking about the structure of the problem; observations like ‘people who rate a whole slew of movies at one time tend to be rating movies they saw a long time ago’ from BellKor.”Will the Foursquare team be able to look at all the diverse kinds of data it has and thread the needle of the mobile, location-based, game-like, social experience in a way that means users look to it for recommendations of places to go in the offline world? Is this the feature that makes the millions of people who’ve looked at Foursquare and asked “what’s the point?” reconsider their perception of an abscence of value? “I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions,” Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt said last summer. “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”Google is far from the only company that will aim to solve that problem.Foursquare 3.0 for iPhone and Android should be available for exploring starting late tonight. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#Analysis#Location#NYT#Recommendation Engines#web center_img Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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This day, that year: Remembering Leander Paes’ 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medal

first_imgExactly 21 years ago, India’s tennis star Leander Paes brought home India’s first individual Olympic medal in 44 years at the Atlanta Olympics.As a 22-year-old, Paes entered the 1996 Games as a wildcard and went on to end a nation’s wait of 44 years for an individual Olympic medal.In the first match of his Olympic campaign, he lost his opening set to Richey Reneberg of USA but from there, he fought all odds, won eight straight sets to set up his semi-final clash against Andre Agassi.He lost to Agassi 7-6, 6-3 and went up against Brazil’s Fernando Meligeni for the bronze medal match. Against Meligeni, he was one set down but he fought on, rallied from behind to beat the Brazilian 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and brought home the bronze.Paes, even today, is known as a fighter. At the age of 44, when he keeps hearing that he should now be retiring, Paes still plays and does that because he “likes to play.”Later that year, in the US Open, Paes was 6-3, 4-0 leading against Andre Agassi that led Agassi to calling him “a flying jumping bean, a bundle of hyperkinetic energy” and Paes still upholds that energy on the court, of course there’s more strategy involved now.For years, Paes has led India’s Davis Cup campaigns from the front pulling off memorable wins in ties against France, Switzerland and Croatia along the journey.Earning his fame as a doubles specialist, Paes has a rare Grand Slam of titles in both men’s and mixed doubles.advertisementWith Bhupathi the non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team now, he has chosen younger and fitter players in the team over his former partner Paes. Owing to his drop in rankings, Paes has been playing in Challenger tournament in search of victories and rise in ranking.Clearly, the fire in him is slowly diminishing; it is only natural. Yet, his Olympic bronze was a revolution; since then India have got quite some individual medals home.First individual Olympic medal in 44 years — the memory of Leander Paes with the national flag is fresh as ever.last_img read more

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10 months agoBournemouth boss Howe: Tottenham can win Premier League title

first_imgBournemouth boss Howe: Tottenham can win Premier League titleby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBournemouth boss Eddie Howe says Tottenham are capable of winning the Premier League this season.Spurs went second after thrashing the Cherries 5-0 yesterday.Following the game, Howe was asked if he sees Spurs as title contenders and replied: “Without a doubt.”They’ve got the forward players and the creative players that can cause anyone problems.”They are in great form and are very clinical – we had equally good chances but didn’t take them.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Eat Smart brand salad bags recalled due to possible Listeria contamination

first_imgOTTAWA — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says certain Eat Smart brand Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Bags are being recalled due to possible Listeria contamination.The affected product was sold in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and possibly other provinces, in 340 gram packages with a best before date of Feb. 16 2019.Consumers are advised to either throw the product out or return it to the store where it was purchased.The CFIA says there have been no reports of illnesses linked to the salad bags.Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. In severe cases the infection can be fatal. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Although some of the events that we expected did o

first_img Although some of the events that we expected did occur this year, the “indefinite halt” has not. The nationwide wildcat strikes that ended in mid-November suggested that that scenario was possible, but the bubbling pot simmered down. We were asked by our readers to share our view on the implications of those actions on the price of platinum. So, what is the outlook for the platinum market now, and is it time to buy? State of the Market Let’s start with some context. According to Johnson Matthey’s Platinum 2012 report, the platinum market in 2011 was in a state of surplus. Primary supply rose by 7% to a four-year high of 6.5 million ounces, while total demand grew only 2%. All segments of the platinum market expanded except investment demand, which declined 30% year-on-year. Supply from South Africa grew by 5% in 2011, but not from actual mining. It was “due to releases of metal from in-process and refined inventories.” Mine production fell by 3% because of safety stoppages and labor disruptions. Production in South Africa was unstable throughout 2011, and Johnson Matthey forecasted that difficulties would continue in 2012, with an anticipated decrease in total supply. Well, the analysts were right: through mid-September, BMO Capital Markets estimated that 250,000 fewer ounces were produced, due to the labor disputes we’ve seen so much about in the news. The overall impact of the South African labor strikes on the supply-demand balance, as estimated by Johnson Matthey in its Platinum 2012 Interim Review, will amount to “at least 300,000 oz.” The report predicts that the platinum market will end this year in a state of deficit, by about 400,000 ounces. Demand is projected to remain steady at about 8.1 million ounces, whereas global supply will decline. On the surface, this might sound like a buying opportunity; but before we jump in, let’s take a look at the full demand picture. Industrial Demand Johnson Matthey expects industrial demand to fall by 13% in 2012. BMO estimates that slow European auto sales have translated into a loss of 280,000 ounces of platinum demand through mid-September. This by itself almost offsets the forecasted 300,000-ounce drop in production caused by labor strife. The net impact on the supply-demand relationship is, again, mixed: demand is expected to remain relatively stable. This year’s supply disturbances may not necessarily cause a major, long-term imbalance due to the influence of the third part of the equation: recycling. In fact, the report explicitly states that recycling, not the South African supply issues, “will be a key factor in the platinum market balance in 2013.” Downside Risk Remains If you accept the Casey view that global economic hardship is far from over, the downside risk for platinum is significant. Platinum and other platinum group metals (PGMs) are industrial commodities, and trends in their industrial demand can serve as a good indicator of price movements. So far, we have not seen signs of significant improvement in the global economy. We here at Casey Research do not believe that further monetary-easing efforts will cure what ails the US and global economies, so our bearish outlook for the industrial metals, including PGMs, stands. This doesn’t, however, mean that we won’t see interim spikes in the platinum price, such as the recent one that followed the deaths of 47 protesting miners in South Africa. Fear gripped the market, and a short-term rally ensued. Was that reaction justified? Yes, given how much platinum production comes from South Africa and how bad the situation there is. That behavior, though, is driven by panic, not fundamentals, and was short lived. It is very different from what we see in the gold market, where fundamentals do support long-term bullishness for an asset that serves as both money and a hedge against economic uncertainty, despite short-term, knee-jerk reactions. In other words, until signs of global economic growth emerge or we see serious, permanent supply destruction, we view any movements in the platinum market as fleeting, not fundamental. What Does It Mean? Now that the large, nationwide strikes have ended, investors are trying to assess their impact on the supply-demand balance. After all, they were a primary factor driving perception of the platinum market this year. However, we doubt that the recent strikes will have a deep and lasting impact on the state of the platinum industry. Whatever lingering effects there might be will not be more powerful than the ongoing global economic weakness. Although the platinum market is now estimated to end the year in deficit, unless there’s a new and even greater supply disruption, the existing recycling output will likely adapt and fill in the 2012 supply gap rather quickly, especially if prices move up. Investors who are more bullish on the economy than us might want to speculate on platinum now, to benefit from a pop in prices should the estimates of the global market deficit become reality. As for us, we plan to stick with our preferred monetary metals: gold and silver. Holding physical metals is a great way to protect your wealth against inflation, which is widely regarded to be baked in the US economic cake already. To increase your wealth, however, investing in the right precious-metal companies is the way to go – and now is precisely the right time to get in, as prices are incredibly low on some sound companies. Get the details here. In October of last year, we published a platinum-market overview in the Casey International Speculator and concluded by saying: “We recommend avoiding South Africa, and in this context it means staying away from platinum producers located there. If the energy situation spins out of control, miners’ strikes continue, and the local trouble puts an indefinite halt to a significant portion of platinum production, some speculative opportunities may appear in the physical-metal market or platinum-backed investment tools. If we see signs of that happening, we may speculate on the results.”last_img read more

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Userled organisations across the country are cont

first_imgUser-led organisations across the country are continuing to close, with the sector even facing a “real threat of extinction”, leading networks have warned this week.Those user-ledorganisations that have found a way to survive are increasingly being side-linedfrom government consultations and government-funded projects, they said.The National Survivor UserNetwork (NSUN) estimates that about 50 more user-led organisationsthat were previously NSUN members have been forced to close in the last year. This followsa net loss of more than 150 member groups in the previous year.NSUN, which represents groups and people in Englandwith experience of mental distress, has now warned its members: “This ishaving a deep impact on collectives of oppressed and marginalised peoplewho have been campaigning to have a voice, lobbying for legislative changes andself-organising to make things better.”It is soconcerned about the continuing attack on the value of user-led groups that itis to focus its campaigning this year on this issue.ShapingOur Lives, anational network of disabled people and service-users, was even more stark inits warning about the sector’s future.Its latestestimates are that it has lost about a sixth of its user-led memberorganisations in the last couple of years, and it believes that this rate ofclosure is accelerating.Professor Peter Beresford (pictured), SOL’s co-chair, said successive governments had argued for a wider range of providers of public services, but in practice this had led to a “big shift to privatisation and the dominance of big metropolitan-based charities, which are run like big businesses”. He said: “Thegreat, much-valued innovation of the age has been small, local, accountable user-ledorganisations (ULOs) and disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs), runby the groups – disabled people, mental health service-users, people withlearning difficulties – they are meant to serve.”But he saidthe “rising tension in service provision in the context of austerity cuts” hadled to the marginalisation of these ULOs, which were now “facing serious crisis”and “a real threat of extinction”.He calledfor a “radical review of both government and funding policy” in order to avertthis “tragedy”.SarahYiannoullou, NSUN’s managing director, said that user-led groups and networksneeded to work more closely together, share their common concerns andexperiences and look at collective solutions to ensure their survival.She said thenetwork’s members and other user-led organisations and networks had facedsimilar problems over the last five years. She said:“We are finding there are very similar and common issues, with groups closing,whether it is due to lack of resources or burn-out of the leaders of ourgroups, there is less and less opportunity for that independent, collective anddirect voice. “So what wewere campaigning about 20 years ago and feeling like we were making someprogress on, now it feels as though – particularly over the last couple ofyears – that we are regressing.”NSUN is nowseeking funding for joint research to examine how many user-led organisationsare being lost, and how well understood user-led groups are and why they are sovaluable.This week,NSUN launched a survey* that it hopes will provide evidence from user-ledorganisations of the challenges they are facing, the work they do, the impactthey have, and the policy changes they believe are needed to support user-ledgroups.NSUN alsohopes the research will look at the growing use of language that “blurs the lines”between user-led and non-user-led organisations.Yiannoullousaid: “The space that user-led groups have worked hard to carve out forthemselves around advocacy, peer support, involvement, participation andrecovery, has become an area of income generation for other [non-user-led]organisations.”As well aslarge charities, private sector and statutory bodies like NHS trusts are nowinvolved in this work, further crowding out user-led groups and often changingthe kind of work taking place in areas like peer support “beyond recognition”,she said.Governmentdepartments, for example, will use phrases like “user groups” to describe thevoluntary sector groups and organisations they have been consulting with, and don’tnecessarily differentiate between user-led and non-user-led organisations, saidYiannoullou.Such groupsmay have access to service-users who can take part in consultations ondisability-related issues, but they are usually not run and controlled byservice-users, which means the government is repeatedly breaching the UNConvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and “general commentnumber seven”, which was agreed last autumn by the UN’s committee onthe rights of persons with disabilities.TheUNCRPD makesit clear that, when developing laws and policies relating todisabled people, governments “must closely consult with and actively involvepersons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through theirrepresentative organizations”.It defines“representative organizations” as those that are “led, directed and governed bypersons with disabilities”.Yiannoullousaid: “We want to reassert and raise awareness of what the distinction isbetween user-led groups and user groups.“We alsowant to get a sense of whether it’s just us (user-led groups) that think thisis important.”NSUN fearsthat the importance of user-led groups is being lost in the clamour forcontracts and increasing competitive tendering. Yiannoullousaid: “It’s a real concern that user-led groups are reporting that theircontributions are not being recognised and are having less and less impact.“The smallergroups, which tend to be the user-led groups, find it really hard to compete.There’s no level playing-field.“We need tohave some high-level conversations about the value of user-led groups, whatmakes them different and what needs to happen to help them survive the currentclimate.”BeckiMeakin, SOL’s general manager, said: “The growing pressure on voluntary andcommunity sector organisations to secure funding is evolving into a fight forsurvival. “Tacticspreviously only used by the most aggressive profit-making companies are nowbecoming common place in the voluntary sector.“Funders andcommissioners need to realise that different types of voluntary and communitysector organisations have different skills and strengths. “One fundingmodel and approach does not work for everyone.”She added: “Recentgovernment policy is now looking to the community to meet the gaps inprovision.“With thedeclining number of local user-led groups, where is the knowledge and capacitygoing to come from?“It is notjust the user-led movement that is stretched to its limits, but it is also thepeople with lived experience who have committed their time and energy, oftenfor little reward, to providing peer support and advocacy. “Austeritypolicies and service cuts have also devastatingly impacted the capacity ofindividuals to fight for others.”*User-led organisations that would like to provide their own experiences and concerns can contact NSUN by email at [email protected] or fill in the online surveyA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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SAINTS produced one of their most accomplished per

first_imgSAINTS produced one of their most accomplished performances to totally dominate the Wildcats 42-4 on their home soil, writes Graham Henthorne.The only disappointing aspect of the evening was that in attack the Saints squandered numerous chances to post an even more impressive win.Defensively the Saints showed a hunger to get off their line and close down the home side which really impressed Coach Derek Traynor. In the first period the Saints repeatedly confined the Wildcats to their own half and only on two or three occasions found themselves carrying the ball away from their own line, usually as a result of a penalty.The Saints opened their account with their first taste of possession. The Wildcats kicked out on the full allowing the Saints to start the set deep in the opposition half. Big drives from Ross McCauley, who punished the home side all night, and his Captain Joe Ryan put the Saints on the front foot. From the play the ball Danny Richardson ran at the line dummying his way over to the right of the uprights.Five minutes later and the lead was doubled as Liam Cooper and McCauley again drove the home defence back. On the next tackle Morgan Knowles broke the Wildcats defensive line. He fed the ball out to Dave Hewitt who found Richardson on his inside to go under the sticks.Despite their almost total dominance the Saints found it hard to increase their lead. Aaron Smith got over the line only to drop the ball and Regan Grace could have had a hat-trick but for some heroic last ditch tackling for the increasingly beleaguered home side.It took until five minutes from the break for the Saints to score again and what a beauty it was. Jake Spedding, coming in off his wing, broke through. He went 30 metres, passed the ball onto Lewis Hatton who in turn took the ball to the full back before feeding the supporting Richardson for his third try of the half. Dave Hewitt’s third goal effectively took the game away from the home side before the interval.In a mirror image of the first half, the Saints couldn’t field the kick off and the Wildcats scored in the corner from the resultant scrum.But the Saints regrouped and closed shop again restricting the home side to sporadic forays into Saints territory.Then came a special moment as Matty Lees scored his first in the red vee and what a great try it was, as he came steaming onto a wonderful Josh Eaves pass to rocket over the line from 20 out.Spedding got his name on the scoresheet next reaching over to score from Calvin Wellington inside ball after a splendid pass from Ricky Bailey.From the kick off the Saints scored the tray of the game. Knowles’ half break saw him get the ball out to Olly Davies who in turn put Spedding away down the left. He outpaced the cover but in trying to pass inside to Grace the ball was picked up off the floor by Smith for the try.The final try was scored by out wide by Bailey but fittingly after another set of drives from McCauley and Ryan which terrorised the defence under the posts.Although with ball in hand the Saints have played better, all in all this was a great way for the side to warm up for the big derby battle against the Auld Enemy at Langtree next Saturday.Match Summary:Wakefield U19s:Tries: Kyle Ratchford.Saints U19s:Tries: Ricky Bailey, Jake Spedding, Danny Richardson 3, Aaron Smith, Matty Lees.Goals: Dave Hewitt 7.Half Time: 18-0Full Time: 42-4Teams:Wakefield:1. Max Jowitt; 2. Dec Brererton, 3. Judah Mezzive, 4. George Lord, 5. Kyle Ratchford; 6. Tom McGretton, 7. Christian Ackroyd; 8. Aaron Gledhill, 9. Ben Cornell, 10. Jack Teamby, 11. Harry Swan, 12. Sean Wooffitt, 13. Kieran Holt. Subs: 14. Sam Blake, 15. Fraser Morris, 16. Liam Senior, 17. Martin Reilly.Saints:18. Ricky Bailey; 2. Jake Spedding, 19. Matty Fleming, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles. Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Chris Worrall, 16. Lewis Hatton, 17. Matty Lees.last_img read more

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