Not everything is about money

I’ve just seen an article about a local council overspending on agency workers for it’s children’s services by £865,000. Schools, the NHS, all sorts of businesses are dependent on agency workers. No one seems to see them as obviously the most expensive option. Why are they obviously the most expensive option? Well, not only are you paying the worker, but you are also paying a fee or percentage to the agency as well.

I appreciate that it is getting harder and harder to find staff that are willing to work under current conditions, but I can assure you that is only nominally to do with wage rates. It is predominantly to do with unrealistic expectations that employers have of the time and energy that their workforce are supposed to give to their work. Hours are too long, paperwork is too extensive, the scope and detail that are expected are completely unrealistic, out of hours work is excessive, too much time is tied up in meetings that serve no useful purpose, holidays are too short… I could go on.

But the biggest issue of all is that workers are not respected by their employers, neither are they trusted. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be safeguards to help encourage professionalism, I’m saying that when you have good staff you should respect and trust them. And if you really want to save money, you need to make sure that you employ enough people to do the job and cover maternity leave, annual leave, emergencies… even if it looks wasteful on paper, I can guarantee that in terms of mental health (employers and staff) and work place atmosphere, it will pay dividends.

Not everything is about money, even when people say it is.

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Wrong On Both Counts

I was talking to someone the other day who has to claim JSA. They aren’t happy about it, but they can’t find a job. They’ve been put on something that bears the title of a course, but it isn’t a course, it’s a series of meetings where they are coerced into producing their CV in a variety of different formats.

From what they were describing it seems to be an exercise in duplicity. The CV that they are expected to produce does not bear any resemblance to their real experience or even personality. They are supposed to sell themselves, not to be honest.

I find this disturbing. How about young people with no experience and poor education? How are they supposed to sell themselves? They have no experience to inflate, so they will have to lie outright, rather than exaggerate (which is bad enough).

Those with poor educational results can’t make them look good without lying. And a mismatch between claimed skills and educational attainment is going to raise a red flag for any potential employer.

Worst of all, if someone does get a job using one of these misleading CV’s they are unlikely to be able to live up to the expectations of their new employer. This means they are unlikely to keep their job. Also they will not get a good reference when they try to get their next job.

The whole exercise seems to me to be a waste of time for both the person I was talking to and the person they have to meet, as well as being a complete waste of money. It also reinforces my belief that our British government thinks that we are all liars, and that they think lying is an acceptable thing to do.

For most of us they are wrong on both counts.